The approval and adoption of the Newtown Place Plan as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) to the Powys Local Development Plan will strengthen opportunities for the sustainable development of the town.
That’s according to architect Doug Hughes who also welcomed the adoption of an Archaeology SPG and a Historic Environment SPG within the LDP.
Mr Hughes, who is Managing Director and Principal Architect at building design and planning consultants, Hughes Architects, said: “The Newtown Place Plan is an important document to ensuring a sustainable future for the town. It ensures the community has a voice in directing investment, resources and infrastructure in the town.
“In recent months there have seen many comments about the future of the town centre. Unfortunately, like most market towns, Newtown’s retail centre has been affected by the impact of coronavirus and effects of the lockdowns. Changes in purchasing habits have also affected trade.
“But Newtown has a lot going for it now and in the future. We have a vibrant and architecturally attractive town centre with a variety of independent and national retailers who, together, provide a place to come to shop. The wider projects created by Open Newtown and the Town Council, such as the Riverside Venue, Playpark, MTB track and a host of other activities means we do have an attractive town to live and work in or to visit.”
Mr Hughes said the adoption of the Newtown Place Plan into the LDP would ensure future planning decisions, and the direction of investment and infrastructure in the town, would be targeted to where they are needed.
Evidence to back future investment and planning decisions
He added: “This isn’t just about future planning applications having to tick a box. It’s much more important than that. The clear consultation with the community and collection of evidence that took place during the Plan’s consultation means there is hard evidence to back future investment and planning decisions.
“From architects like ourselves, to businesses, utility companies, the Welsh Government and others. We will be ensuring our work fits the mould of the Place Plan within the LDP.
“Together, we can ensure Newtown and the wider community has a bright future within a built environment with the right services, facilities and infrastructure to support it.”
Mr Hughes added that the adoption of the Archaeology SPG and Historic Environment SPG were also important.
Conservation Architecture is key
He said: “As a specialist Conservation Architect, I am all too aware of the importance of the environmental and historic obligations we have to protecting such areas as well as older and listed buildings within our communities. We already have stringent planning measures in place to protect these structures.
“However, this is now being strengthened through the two SPGs which set out more specific guidance and guidelines. As an architect it might well make the process more intense in certain cases, but we understand that protecting the fabric and character of our built environment is vitally important, as well as the habitats around them.
“Whether it’s converting a building for alternative use, extending or refurbishing one, we are specialists in that area, so we can ensure our expertise protects and enhances such buildings, providing our clients with solutions that reach their expectations, while ensuring a smooth passage through planning applications and decisions.”
More details of the SPGs to the LDP can he found here: https://en.powys.gov.uk/article/4907/LDP-Supplementary-Planning-Guidance-SPG