The first National Development Framework was due to be published this autumn. I had planned to submit the draft NDF in April to the Senedd, to enable Members to scrutinise the draft plan and our proposed changes. During the summer I was to consider the recommendations of Members of the Senedd and in September, I intended to publish the NDF.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the suspension of normal Senedd working and the need for the Welsh Government to urgently prioritise how we as a nation responded to the public health emergency I was not able to present the draft NDF to the Senedd.
These extraordinary circumstances have delayed the NDF’s scrutiny and publication but I remain committed to publishing this important national development plan. The NDF alongside Planning Policy Wales (PPW), will set out how places can be more sustainable and resilient. I strongly believe the planning system will be central to the actions we need to take in the post Covid-19 period to build better places.
The crisis has drawn into sharp focus the importance of the communities in which we live and the essential services and infrastructure we rely on. Access to green spaces, the importance of local shops, the reliance on digital connectivity, the ability to work at home for those who can and to walk and cycle to work for those who can’t have caused us all to reflect on the things we really value about where we live. As we think about the steps we need to take to build more resilient, fair and sustainable places, I will continue to advocate strongly for the planning system to lead the way.
I have published Building Better Places in order to pinpoint the most relevant policy priorities contained in PPW that will aid in the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and help to achieve our goal of building those sustainable, resilient and, ultimately, better places we all want to live in.
The NDF is central to setting out our vision for all parts of Wales and will provide an important foundation for regional and local planning in the future. I intend to lay the draft NDF with the Senedd to scrutinise proposed changes in September, with publication of the NDF to follow early in 2021. Covid-19 continues to make timescales uncertain; I will prepare an updated timetable for the delivery of the NDF as soon as I am able to. Further updates will be published here and shared with our stakeholders via the NDF Newsletter.