We have received the latest amendments to the Final Draft of the NPT Local Development Plan. The document is called a ‘Schedule of Proposed Focussed Changes’.

The changes are set out in this document and in the council’s view ‘represent logical and rational amendments ensuring that the Plan is coherent, consistent and sound’.

Two significant words have been added to a crucial paragraph on the three Canals (the Neath, the Tennant and the Swansea) in the NPT area. I have highlighted them in capitals in the following amended paragraph:-

“2.4.9 Built Environment & Historic Heritage
Table 2.4.9.1 FC30 (Paragraph 5.5.25)

Deposit Rep Ref
Proposed Focussed Change
Paragraph 5.5.25

Amend Paragraph as follows:

‘The stretches of canal where restoration currently appears to be less likely, but may be feasible in the future, are also protected by the policy to ensure WHERE POSSIBLE that new development does not cause any physical impediment’.

Reason / Justification
2.4.9.1 It is acknowledged that as currently drafted Paragraph 5.5.25 implies greater protection than indicated by Policy BE3.

2.4.9.2 The paragraph is intended to reflect and expand on the provisions of Policy BE3. In order to clarify this point, the paragraph should be amended accordingly.”

It is a great shame that Policy BE3 could not have been changed to reflect the provisions of para 5.5.25 before amendment, and not the other way round. As it now stands, those two words, ‘WHERE POSSIBLE’, make it much more likely that developments will be allowed that do cause a physical impediment to restoration of derelict sections.

You can make your views known to NPT as follows:-

‘Representations can either be submitted directly online or on a Representation Form which is available on request or to download from the Council’s website: www.npt.gov.uk/ldp

The consultation begins on Tuesday 2nd September and will end at midnight on Monday 13th October 2014. Representations received after the deadline will not be accepted.’

Please do help us save our local heritage for future generations. No development should be allowed by NPT that causes a physical impediment to reinstatement. No ifs, no buts.