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New Research Questions Vale's Housing Target for the LDP

posted 10 Feb 2013, 15:21 by Ian Perry   [ updated 10 Feb 2013, 15:35 ]


The need for 10,000 new houses in the LDP for the Vale has once again been challenged, this time by by Plaid Cymru, who have calculated that the Welsh Governments forecast for the years 2006 to 2011 over estimated growth by almost 40%.  Plaid Cymru councillors have called for the Vale Council’s LDP housing projections to be cut by 4,000 homes. 


Follow this link to the Minutes of the January 23 Extraordinary Council Meeting discussing the LDP.


The Welsh Government has forecast that the Vale’s population will increase by almost 20,000 between 2006 and 2026. 


Plaid’s research, based on the 2011 census, has found that, after five years (2006 to 2011), the Welsh Government projections are almost 40 per cent out, with the population growing by 3,000, rather than an estimated 5,000. 


Plaid says that the population of the Vale grew from 123,275 to 126,300 between 2006 and 2011, when the 2006 estimate was 128,100. 


‘MEET NEED’ 


If this pattern were to continue, then the Vale’s population in 2026, at the end of the LDP, will be about 135,600 rather than 143,600 – 8,000 fewer than predicted. 


Plaid Cymru councillor Ian Johnson said: “The LDP’s housing projection should be concerned with meeting need, not driving the housing market. 


“Welsh Government population projections were nearly 40 per cent out over the last five years. Over the next 15 years, that could mean a difference of around 8,000 people. That would make a huge difference to future plans. 


“Any re-assessment of the LDP must look at these figures and change the housing projections. 


“It would be ridiculous to build 10,000 homes in the Vale for only 9,000 extra people. 


“What we require are houses to meet the need in Barry, and on a smaller level in all towns in the Vale so that young people and families can live where they grew up and not be priced out. 


FAMILIES 


“Housing across the Vale should reflect real families and not just be executive housing. 


“With thousands of houses already given planning permission on brown-field sites, including more than 2,000 in Barry, there is almost no reason to build on greenfield locations around the Vale, such as around Weycock Cross.” 


The Plaid Cymru group leader on the Vale Council, Chris Franks, added: “These are shocking figures which show how much we could be over-building in the Vale. 


“In addition to looking again at planning permission on greenfield sites, we also shouldn’t be building large numbers of homes where there is only one main road exit, such as the 400 houses in Dinas Powys that will feed onto Cardiff Road. 


That will only lead to gridlock on already busy roads. 


“It was made clear when Plaid Cymru councillor Chris Williams and myself questioned the Vale Council recently that changing the housing numbers had not been considered. 


“That should now be a matter of high priority.” 


The Vale Council’s director of development services, Rob Thomas, said: “A discussion on the number of new homes required in the Vale is premature, pending a consideration by the council on January 23 as to whether work will commence on a replacement deposit plan.” 


Coun Lis Burnett, cabinet member with responsibility for the LDP, appeared to be open to the possibility of a cut in the housing allocation. 


SUSTAINABLE 


She said: “The cabinet has made it clear that it wishes to see a replacement LDP produced for the Vale, and that the replacement plan will provide a sustainable framework for development in the Vale. 


“If the full council, on January 23, supports the cabinet in its desire to produce a replacement plan, there will be sufficient opportunity to review all relevant data and to assess the housing need for the Vale,. 


“I remain committed to reviewing all the data that was used to inform the deposit plan, as produced by the last administration.” 


It certainly appears to be a decision that is up to the Vale Council. 


A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The Welsh Government does not dictate housing targets to local authorities . 


“This is a matter for local authorities and communities to determine, based on evidence. 


“Local authorities are required, by law, to have an up-to-date development plan, setting out their policies and proposals for the development and use of land. 


“These plans must look 15 years ahead, and identify where different types of development, such as new jobs or homes, should be located. 


“Our statistical division issues trend-based population and housing projections so authorities can ensure that they are preparing for what new homes may be required over the 15 year period. 


“This is the starting point when preparing a plan, not necessarily the final figure. 


“All local authorities have access to the methodology and data enabling them to formulate their own level of housing provision. 


“It is perfectly acceptable for each local authority to determine their own level of growth and this is happening across Wales, provided they have the evidence.” 


However, having convincing evidence could be crucial. The spokesperson continued: 

“It is the independent inspector who determines whether a plan is sound and can be adopted, not the Welsh Government. 


“Having a plan in place provides certainty for the local community and businesses, enabling local authorities to attract the infrastructure and investment needed to support their communities.” 


Vale MP Alun Cairns MP commented: 

“Naturally, I support any measure to reduce the housing target, but we need to remember that it was a Plaid Cymru housing Minister who came out with the original formula. 


“I have long called for a smaller housing target and look to the Vale Council and the Welsh Government to respond to the demands of people from Barry and across the Vale.”

Source: Cowbridge Gem

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