THE coronavirus pandemic has caused a seven-month delay and “uncertainty” over the creation of a new strategy for allocating land for developments in Blaenau Gwent.

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) – which sets out areas where the authority will allow new developments – includes provision for a delay of three months – but delays due to the coronavirus pandemic have set the plan back seven months.

When the current LDP ends on December 31, 2021 the council will have no grounds to refuse developments on open spaces – and any appeals against a refusal of planning permission could be approved as a result.


Before the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, preparations for a replacement plan were “well under way with consultation on the preferred strategy completed and a second call for candidate sites about to take place”.

In March, the Welsh Government wrote to all 22 councils telling them not to progress with LDPs that could conflict with legal requirements due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

A report says: “The minister considers that as LDPs are evidenced based the result of the pandemic and resulting downturn in the economy will mean that much of the evidence on which LDPs are based is likely to be out of date.

“This she considers is particularly the case for economic and social evidence covering areas such as the need for social and market housing, viability, economic forecasts and transport modelling.”

The second call for candidate sites will now not start until October at the earliest and the need for longer consultation periods adds a further two weeks to the process.

The Welsh Government has said they will explore opportunities to introduce legislation to make sure that LDPs that have passed their end date continue to have the development plan status, but Blaenau Gwent council has raised concerns over this as “there is uncertainty that this will be possible due to the legislative requirements involved”.