The newly elected Conservative administration in the Vale of Glamorgan Council has thrown down the gauntlet to the Welsh Labour Government and demanded the housing targets imposed on the Vale by Labour should be reduced by “at least” 1,500 .
The previous Labour administration in the Vale had meekly accepted the controversial and widely criticised Welsh Labour Government diktat that 9,950 new homes (private and social housing) should be built in the Vale – even though there was scant evidence of population growth to justify this figure.
Now with the election of a Conservative administration in the Vale of Glamrogan Council, the Welsh Labour Government is being challenged head-on.
The Leader of the Vale Council – Cllr John Thomas – says “We have a duty to protect and preserve our green spaces for future generations, and the new administration was elected having promised to oppose inappropriate development in the Vale”.
Cllr Thomas is also demanding review of all the housing targets that the Welsh Labour Government is seeking to impose on the Vale of Glamorgan. He says the Welsh Government’s own statistics prove that the targets should be reduced significantly.
The Vale’s Conservative leader is now calling for an urgent formal meeting with the Welsh Labour Government’s Environment and Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths.
The full text Cllr Thomas’s letter to Secretary Griffiths is as follows:
RE: Call for Review of Welsh Government Housing Targets (Local Development Plan)
I write to you in relation to the Vale of Glamorgan local authority’s Local Development Plan, with urgent reference to the housing targets identified by the Welsh Labour Government.
As you will be aware, the Deposit Plan was prepared based upon 2008 data for household projections.
Additional data has since become available, revealing Welsh Government projections to have been significantly higher than true levels of population growth – data which could enable the authority to significantly reduce housing development targets in the LDP.
Welsh Government projections for 2011 (published in February 2014) identified a need for a significantly lower figure than that identified within the Deposit LDP. Specifically, the 2011-based projections identified a need for just 5,778 dwellings over the lifetime of the LDP (using the Principal Projections) – or 7,399 dwellings if a 10 year average migration trend was utilised.
In either case, both figures are significantly below the 9,950 requirement identified within the Deposit Plan – a figure which was reached as a result of targets imposed by your government.
Further, the latest projections for 2014 appear to suggest that housing targets for the Local Development Plan could be reduced by at least 1500 properties.
It is my duty as the newly-elected Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan council to represent the interests of the constituents I serve, and it is my firm belief that the Welsh Government’s targets must be reassessed.
Housing policy, particularly when viewed alongside plans for required infrastructure improvements and greater service provision, must reflect genuine local need.
With Welsh Labour Government data having been proven inaccurate, there is an opportunity for your officials to reassess the target – enabling the local authority to revise the plan and reduce the housing development requirements in our LDP.
We have a duty to protect and preserve our green spaces for future generations, and the new administration was elected having promised to oppose inappropriate development in the Vale.
With that in mind, I would ask for a formal meeting with you at the earliest opportunity to discuss the Local Development Plan. I would also request an official review of these housing targets.
Cllr John Thomas
Leader, Vale of Glamorgan Council