Vale residential projections questioned

First published in News

A VALE councillor has claimed the Vale Council has drafted “fantasy” figures after a recent report revealed more than 4,000 fewer homes need building.

Buttrills councillor Ian Johnson said newly published Welsh Government Housing projection statistics showed the Vale needed around 5,600 new houses between 2011 and 2026, compared with 9,950 in the council’s draft Local Development Plan.

The StatsWales figures for the Welsh Government estimate that by 2026 the Vale of Glamorgan will have 130,000 people living in houses and flats, not including sheltered accommodation, with an average of 2.20 people in each.

There were 53,600 houses in 2011 with the estimated requirement for 2026 being 59,200 – an increase of 5,600 houses over 15 years.

The Vale of Glamorgan’s Local Development Plan called for 9,950 houses by 2026.

But the Vale Council defended its proposals saying it had higher aspirations.

Cllr Ian Johnson said: “These Welsh Government figures support what Plaid Cymru has said for a very long time – that the house building targets in the LDP are absolute fantasy and should be scrapped.

“Instead of needing to build almost 10,000 homes in the Vale, we need to build a little over half of that.

“Welsh Government planners and the Vale of Glamorgan Council have got this wrong.

“They should now admit this and get back to the drawing board to come up with a realistic plan that meets the Vale’s needs.

“Brownfield land already available on Barry Waterfront will take up a large number of required housing, with much smaller schemes in other parts of the Vale to meet local need.

“Unfortunately, the build-at-all-costs attitude that led to these original figures is still there and must be challenged.

“It is no good that protestors and Plaid have been right on this all along if these un-necessary developments take place regardless.

“If the Vale Council, Welsh Government and the Planning Inspectorate continue to allow or support these developments, in spite of the facts and local opposition, then we must ask serious questions about our local AM’s influence and the failure of the cabinet member for planning to recognise this issue.”

Vale Council cabinet member for regeneration, innovation, planning and transportation Councillor Lis Burnett said the projections released last month were household projections based on a short-term trend covering a time when there was significant economic decline and some of the lowest housing build rates experienced for many a year.

She said: “I have higher economic activity and job creation ambitions for the Vale of Glamorgan to 2026 than has occurred over the past few years. I want the Vale to be a place where people can live and work.”

She added that her officers were considering this latest household projection data and would be analysing and interpreting it to provide an up-to-date projection of housing need for the LDP Plan period.

This update would, she said, be considered by cabinet alongside all of the representations received to the Deposit Draft Vale of Glamorgan LDP.

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