Council told to reduce house building plans by thousands of homes

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Tuesday, December 7th, 2021 7:36pm

By Saul Cooke-Black - Local Democracy Reporter

Monmouthshire council has been told to reduce the number of new homes it plans to build over the coming years over concerns it will impact on growth in other areas.

The Welsh Government has objected to the county council’s plans to build 7,605 homes in its proposed Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP) which runs until 2033.

The proposals for new homes include a committed housing supply of 4,708 homes, including 1,218 already built and 1,642 which already have planning permission.

New housing allocations make up 2,897 of the 7,605 homes proposed in the strategy.

The strategy sets out plans to provide 2,169 affordable homes, helping to address the authority’s affordable housing waiting list of 2,440 households.

However the Welsh Government has objected and instead has proposed a maximum growth of between 2,610 and 4,275 homes.

A letter from the Welsh Government to Monmouthshire council’s head of planning says there is “fundamental concern” over the number of homes proposed.

“The level of economic and housing growth proposed by the preferred strategy undermines Future Wales focus for strategic economic and housing growth in the SE Wales National Growth Area,” it says.

The national growth area comprises Cardiff, Newport and the Valleys, but not Monmouthshire.

The Welsh Government says Monmouthshire’s strategy “undermines the role of Cardiff, Newport and the Valleys as the main focus for growth and investment in the South East region”.

“The level of growth proposed has the potential to negatively impact on environmental assets and have adverse consequences for climate and nature emergencies,” the Welsh Government letter adds.

“This is heightened by the absence of brownfield land development opportunities and the consequential need to identify significant green field sites for development.”

The letter warns the proposals will result in displacement of housing, jobs and population from elsewhere in South East Wales to Monmouthshire.

The Welsh Government’s proposed maximum target for homes of 4,275 means there would be no new housing allocations in the RLDP.

A council report says Monmouthshire’s economically active workforce would increase by 2,661 people between 2018 and 2033 under its strategy.

But under the Welsh Government’s maximum growth level it would only increase by 357 people.

A special meeting of the council’s economy and development select committee has been called to consider the implications of the Welsh Government’s maximum homes requirement.

“The select committee is invited to consider whether or not the Welsh Government’s desire to focus growth on Newport, Cardiff and the Valleys by limiting growth in Monmouthshire will achieve ‘levelling up’ or ‘levelling down’,” the report says.

The report adds that the Welsh Government is “an important stakeholder”, but that an independent planning inspector will determine whether the council’s RLDP strategy is sound.

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