Minister backs Plaid AM’s battle against urban sprawl

Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM has won the backing of a Welsh Government minister in his battle against urban sprawl in Wrexham.

Llyr Gruffydd AM questioned minister Julie James about the Planning Inspectorate putting pressure on Wrexham Council to increase the number of houses allocated in its forthcoming Local Development Plan from 8,500 to almost 12,000 over the next 10 years.

Mr Gruffydd said this would mean more housing estates being built on greenfield sites and the creation of more urban sprawl, which would destroy distinct communities and harm the environment.

He added that the reality of a static population in Wrexham – in contrast to the dramatic rises projected by the Welsh Government – meant that a rethink was needed before further damage was done to communities.

In response the housing minister Julie James said the Welsh Government agreed with position of Wrexham Council in terms of housing numbers.

Mr Gruffydd said: “If the local council and Welsh Government are in agreement about the housing numbers, then I have to ask why is the Planning Inspectorate still pressing for this hugely unrealistic figure of 11,715 new homes. Wrexham county borough has seen a population growth far slower than predicted by Welsh Government and it’s about time there was an acceptance that the projections were wrong. This is a key reason why the council’s first LDP was rejected. At present, the lack of an LDP means there is little or no protection for greenfield sites from speculative developers and this yo-yo approach by both Welsh Government and the Planning Inspectorate is working against the interests of local communities.”

Plans for a new housing estate of 455 homes on a greenfield site between Gwersyllt and Wrexham are due to come before Wrexham’s planning committee in the coming months – a test case for councillors opposed to the growing urban sprawl along the A483 corridor.

CLIP OF QUESTION: https://senedd.tv/Meeting/Clip/f9d1fbae-3110-4b53-bfc9-79a060ca83f7?inPoint=01:22:15&outPoint=01:26:20

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