Vale's Local Development Plan: Public must have 'full facts' before consultation
12:01pm Wednesday 30th October 2013 in Penarth news
PLAID Cymru councillors have warned that the public must have the full facts on the Vale of Glamorgan’s Local Development Plan before the draft proposals go out to consultation on November 8.
Last week, the Vale of Glamorgan Council decided to push ahead with the consultation despite Plaid councillors asking for a deferral until new figures on household population become available from the Welsh Government in the next few weeks.
Plaid Cymru councillors said that the Vale Council had ‘missed the point’ on why a delay was needed - so that the public could have the most up-to-date information before responding to the proposals, and said that waiting in order to get it right was only common sense.
Plaid Cymru councillor Ian Johnson said: “During the debate on the LDP, I warned that we were using out-of-date figures and that new estimates on household population were due before the end of the year.
“Earlier in the year, I argued that the population growth in the Vale was not going to be as great as we originally thought.
“That has now been agreed by the Welsh Government, who have slashed population growth forecasts from 17,000 to 6,000 between 2011 and 2026.
“The census results also show that estimates on household population, ie the number of people in each house, are wrong, but we are still waiting for new Welsh Government figures, based on the census.
“Those are due to be published in the next few weeks, but the Vale Council are foolishly pushing ahead, despite not having the full facts available.
“The information we have so far is that the population growth is smaller than first thought and that household population sizes are more than we thought.
“This would mean that we need fewer houses than the 9,900 target based on the earlier information.
“When Plaid Cymru councillors challenged the Vale cabinet on this we were told that changes could be made afterwards and during the lifetime of the plan.
“This completely misses the point that we were making, which is that the public should have the most up-to-date information available in order to make informed decisions about the LDP.
“Even if those figures are just one per cent out, then that means 100 houses are not required.
“That’s a big deal in places like Dinas Powys, Barry, Cowbridge, Sully, Wick, Bonvilston, Ystradowen or St Nicholas and other towns and villages where development is planned.
“What would be the criteria for change if it is needed? Who decides which candidate sites stay in and which get left out?
“With the Vale planning committee throwing out controversial plans for building on the former HTV studios at Culverhouse Cross last week, the whole LDP housing strategy is being questioned."
Cllr Johnson concluded: “For the sake of a few weeks, the public could have been properly informed before the consultation takes place. Now they are being left in the dark, and left to guess what might happen.
“Plaid Cymru councillors are disappointed that the Vale Council cabinet has not listened to common sense on this and delayed consultation until the new figures are released.
"We need to make sure that we have the right number of houses and the right number of affordable houses so that everybody can have a place to live.”