Thursday, 3 March 2016

Welsh Government allows developers "green light" over greenfield sites

This letter by Cllr Arfon Jones, Plaid Cymru's representative for Gwersyllt West, outlines the way in which Welsh Government minister Carl Sargeant has moved the goalposts over planning. It effectively gives developers the green light to target greenfield sites for housing.

Dear Editor,

The reply by the Welsh Government denying responsibility for forcing Wrexham Council to build houses on the greenbelt is both misleading and disingenuous. (Welsh Govt claim Wrexham fields building plan has nothing to do with them) Post February 20th.

The Joint Housing Land Availability Studies Group in Wrexham have in the past determined the amount of land that is available for house building for the next 5 years and how many houses will be built annually. This figure was based on the average house build over the previous 5 years. Due to the low number of completions since 2008, the Minister, Carl Sargeant decided arbitrarily to increase the period from 5 to 10 years to justify much higher level of build based on the boom years.

The effect of this change by the Minister was to increase the number of houses to be built and decreasing the number of years of land supply from just under 5 years to 3.6 years.

The Minister has now decided that if a council does not have a 5 years supply then they have none... zero.

The Welsh Government's Spatial Plan, Technical Advice Notes and a myriad of other guidance state that if a council does not have a 5-year land supply and no Local Development Plan then the law and guidance will allow for building on the greenbelt.

Make no mistake about it, the number of houses that Wrexham are required to build is forced upon them by the actions of the Minister for Natural Resources, Carl Sargeant and his not-so-independent Planning Inspectorate to keep developers happy and to ignore the needs of local people.


Cllr Arfon Jones

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