ABSTRACT

This case study is based on Mid Glamorgan County Council, a local authority that existed prior to local government reorganisation in Wales in April 1996. Mid Glamorgan, comprising predominantly the South Wales valleys north of Cardiff and south of the Brecon Beacons National Park, covers an area of over 100,000 ha, and has a population of nearly 550,000. The area has suffered from persistently high levels of unemployment as a result of the severe decline in coal mining and other heavy industries. The numbers of those economically active in the area are well below numbers for the United Kingdom as a whole – economically active males as a proportion of the working age population are 78.2 per cent (compared with 86.8 per cent for the United Kingdom as a whole); economically active females are 59.9 per cent (compared with 67.6 per cent for the United Kingdom). As a consequence of these factors, Mid Glamorgan was part of the Industrial South Wales Objective 2 region, which received nearly £40 million from the European Regional Development Fund between 1986 and 1996. Objective 2 status was granted to the area from 1989. Mid Glamorgan has also been eligible for a number of Community initiatives, such as RECHAR and RETEX. This chapter considers the European dimension of planning in Mid Glamorgan by considering a number of interrelated factors, including the organisational structure, the development plan context, the networks that have developed, and the operational programmes.