Greenfield sites and playing fields are coming under greater threat from speculative housing developers because the Cardiff Labour Government is failing to protect communities properly.
That’s the view of Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd, who’s calling for a Wales Audit Office inquiry into the matter.
His letter refers specifically to problems encountered in Conwy Council, where plans to build houses on sites outside the Local Development Plan boundaries at Deganwy, Abergele, Gyffin and Llanfairfechan have met resistance.
The letter states that the problem is caused by developers exploiting a loophole in the system, whereby councils have to provide in their LDP a five-year land supply for housing. If they do not, then developers can claim that additional land is needed and will appeal to the Planning Inspectorate to overturn local democratic decisions.
Mr Gruffydd said: “The Government in Cardiff has got it horribly wrong on housing in the past. It has based its housing figures on population projections that have proven wildly inaccurate when compared with actual Census figures. This has skewed Local Development Plans to provide more housing than is needed locally and the communities facing over-development on greenfield sites are the ones paying the consequence.
“The planning system is currently riding roughshod over the local planning committees, failing our communities, threatening important greenfield sites and will lead to urban sprawl right along the A55 corridor unless checked now. I’m asking the cabinet secretary responsible for Planning to call in the Wales Audit Office to look at the basis for the five-year Housing Land Supply rule because this is being abused by large housing developers to build on greenfield sites.”
Mr Gruffydd challenged the government to act decisively:
“We have a clear choice ahead of us – community-led developments or developer-led communities. What is the Government doing to protect our communities from speculative housing development?”