Labour AM 'out of touch' as he backs 12,000 new homes for Wrecsam
A Labour politician has been challenged to name the green fields on which he wants new housing built.
The Plaid Cymru group on Wrecsam council have hit back at a statement from Labour AM Ken Skates supporting thousands of extra homes for the county, claiming the Labour party is out of touch with local people.
The Labour AM made a statement supporting plans for an extra 10,000 general market houses in Wrecsam. He mistakenly claimed the houses would be affordable for local people.
Plaid Councillor Carrie Harper said:
“It really is surprising that an Assembly Member is so poorly informed about the current situation with Local Development Plans for the area he is supposed to represent. Far from being ‘affordable’ for local people, as Mr Skates suggests, the vast majority of the new houses planned will be general market houses built by private developers.
"In addition to that, the Planning Inspector is also demanding that Wrecsam reduce the amount of affordable housing that should be provided, which wasn't much to start with. Given that local people would need to secure a deposit of at least £20,000 in order to get a mortgage, it clear that these houses will not be affordable and nor are they intended to provide for the local population. Mr Skates would know this if he had taken the time to research the average local wage."
The statement from Plaid comes in the wake of a letter published by the Planning Inspectorate today that is now demanding nearly 12,000 general market houses be built in the town. The letter also insists the council expand its settlement boundaries and build houses on green fields.
Plaid Councillor Arfon Jones added:
“The extra houses now being demanded by the Planning Inspector will have to be accommodated on open green space. I wonder which fields in Wrecsam Mr Skates would suggest they go on?”
Plaid Cymru remain steadfast in their opposition to the plans and have vowed to challenge both Labour and the Planning Inspectorate.
Leader of the Plaid group in Wrecsam, Cllr Marc Jones said:
“I would be interested to know if either the Labour party or the Planning Inspector have considered the impact such a huge population increase will have on Wrecsam? The latest demands for 12,000 houses could see the town’s population boom by almost 30,000. Additionally, there are no plans to provide the infrastructure improvements needed to support such an increase, only plans to build the houses. Who is providing the extra hospital, extra schools and road network improvements that will be essential?
“Quite simply, these plans cannot be allowed to go ahead, they will damage the town and surrounding area beyond recognition. We also need to be clear that the houses planned are not going to be affordable or accessible for the vast majority of local people. The impact of a further 12,000 general market houses in Wrecsam will be catastrophic, with the merging of villages and the disappearance of our green fields. It is beyond me how Labour can possibly think this is a good idea, let alone be backing it. It’s time they stopped pandering to the developers and started defending our communities. Plaid Cymru will fight these plans every step of the way."
NOTE from Lawrence Isted, Head of Community Wellbeing and Development, Wrexham County Borough Council
Overall the Inspector's conclusions are that, on the evidence, the plan is unsound as it does not meet the identified need for general housing and affordable housing and that it cannot do so without changing the LDP strategy to allow the allocation of green field sites outside of settlement boundaries. He refers to the established need for housing being 11,786 which would require 3721 houses to be allocated above the 8065 presently proposed in the LDP.
A report is being prepared for the Planning Policy Panel to be held on Wednesday 15 February, 2012 setting out the options open to the Council.