In the news: drawing up a national park housing planning policy

Written by: Ben Kochan
Published on: 18 Jun 2014


The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority earlier this month approved draft supplementary planning guidance (SPG) aimed at increasing the supply of affordable homes within its boundary. Members of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority approved the proposals for a more streamlined and targeted approach to delivering affordable homes.

Martina Dunne is the authority’s head of park direction.

What has been your personal involvement in the project?

The authority was frustrated about the low level of housing delivery and it was my job to manage the review of the SPG, taking on consultants, discussing possible revisions with them and securing approval from the park authority’s members for the revised version.

What have been the most important elements of the work that you have done?

It was important to find the right consultants and then to leave them to go out to run a workshop with members in the local community.  Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners and Andrew Golland Associates brought a fresh pair of eyes and if I or other representatives of the authority had been at the workshop, the discussions would have got diverted on to individual site issues.  

What have been the biggest challenges and how have you overcome them?

There were a range of perceptions and expectations which I had to manage. Some thought we should relax our affordable housing requirements – and others thought otherwise. I had to point out that we were relatively small players in housing provision as the planning authority and not the housing authority.  One reform which pleased most was that we are streamlining the planning application process and encouraging developers to get pre-application advice about specific sites and to discuss Section 106 contributions at an early stage. We want to use the SPG as a basis to go out and encourage land owners and developers to bring forward sites for residential development including affordable housing which is an ongoing challenge.