Challenge to scrap Labour's Developer PlanPlans to allow 7,700 new homes to be built in Wrexham should be paused after new population estimates show the borough's population could actually shrink by 2028.
The call has come from Plaid Cymru councillor Carrie Harper, a long-term critic of the borough's plans to allow thousands of homes to be built on greenfield sites around the town.
It comes after new Welsh Government population estimates point to a 1.5% reduction in the borough's population - in complete contrast to earlier projections that estimated a 10% rise in the population. She said:
"The Welsh Government's population projections have been used to justify building thousands of new homes on green fields around Wrexham and we've consistently argued that these projections were unrealistic and out of step with reality. The past seven years have seen a static population and now this trend is set to continue for the coming decade.Just two weeks ago, Plaid Cymru pointed out that the population in the borough had risen by just 156 in the past seven years.
"This means we have to adapt to a changing reality. The Welsh Government and its Planning Minister Julie James cannot ignore this and keep working hand in glove with developers.
"Plaid Cymru at all levels have argued that a lot of these new estates were being built as Cheshire overspill rather than responding to local need. We need to see more affordable housing, more bungalows and retirement homes, more starter homes for young families and more council housing. This plan didn't deliver on any of these because it allows developers to dictate and they will always opt for the most profitable executive housing.
"Communities in Gwersyllt, Stansty, Llay, Gresford, Rossett and most recently on the Holt Road side of town all understand the big housing developers are closing in on Wrexham with little regard for the pressures this puts on our roads, schools, health services and other infrastructure.
"These new figures mean we can't carry on regardless. Wrexham has been left without protection from greenfield development for too long by Welsh Government and a succession of do-nothing planning ministers. It's time to shape up or ship out - we need someone in charge who will take responsibility for this free for all."
"Back in 2011, the Welsh Government was demanding 13,000 new homes in the plan because they said there was going to be a 20% increase in population. That was halved to 10% as they realised they were totally wrong and now it's gone down to -1.5% in the latest statistics.
"This no way to build communities in Wrexham - it's imposing false targets that don't allow communities to develop at their own pace. What we've got now is a complete mess and the minister has to step in and press the pause button. It has to stop now.Just last week, Wrexham councillors voted to refuse planning permission for 600 houses on a greenfield site on the Holt Road that's seen as vital for the emerging LDP to meet its targets.
"Over the coming week, Plaid Cymru locally will be outlining an alternative housing strategy that meets the needs of local residents and builds in the interests of communities not of the housing corporations."