THE Welsh Government written a strongly worded letter raising concerns about one of the most important documents the Vale Council has ever produced.
The Welsh Government’s (WG) planning manager notified Vale planners, before Christmas, that it felt the authority’s Revised Deposit LDP (Local Development Plan) did not show evidence of enough growth and that it was concerned about the plan’s delivery.
The WG considered there was a shortfall of 500 homes, resulting in raising the housing provision to approximately 10,950 dwellings over the plan period and said housing provision in the Deposit Plan should be an absolute minimum.
It also raised concerns about the phasing, timing and delivery of sites.
It noted additional sites may be required to ensure the plan made sufficient provision to meet the identified need, potentially from alternative sites, candidate sites or those in previous versions of the plan, having been subject to a sustainability appraisal.
Welsh Government planners urged the Vale Council to meet to discuss the issues.
Vale MP Alun Cairns said campaign groups should contact their five Assembly members, to support his actions, as the Welsh Government would be the ultimate judge and urged the Vale Council to respond in a forceful way.
Mr Cairns said: “The letter from the Welsh Government is exceptionally strong and critical. “It is explicit in its criticisms of the delivery of the plan and says that the ‘scale of growth is insufficient’. I am very concerned that it is calling for ‘additional sites will be required to ensure the plan makes sufficient provision’.
“The letter even underlines the phrase of housing numbers being an ‘absolute minimum’. It goes on to question the rationale for shifting developments from Barry to the rural Vale and seeks further explanations.”
He said the letter expressed doubts over the delivery of some housing developments because of the lack of sewerage and drainage capacity and stated some would not be viable due to extra costs. And gypsy and traveller provision questions had not been addressed.
He added: “I have not seen such a strongly worded letter in this context before and am concerned that some areas that thought they would be protected may not be as a result of their policies.”
Vale Council director of development services, Rob Thomas said the council had had several representations, including the Welsh Government.
He said: “All representations are currently being recorded and entered onto a database with a view to publishing a register in the near future. Consideration will be given to the representations received in due course and until then it is premature to comment on specific representations."