Cardiff campaigners voice fears over Local Development Plan delays
Campaigners who oppose the over-development of Cardiff are concerned that delays in progressing a Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP) for the city could make it easier for inappropriate, profit-centred housing schemes to secure planning permission.
The current Local Development Plan, which specifies the areas in which new homes should be built, expires in 2026, and if a new one isn’t in place by then, the fear is that developers could have a free-for-all.
Cardiff’s RLDP is now almost a year late, and members of the Radyr and Morganstown Local Development group on the north west outskirts of the city say the council has not explained why to their satisfaction.
Originally timetabled for September 2022, the draft strategy is now scheduled to be published in July, with a 10-week public consultation period over the summer holidays.
The original delay of three months last year was for council planners to analyse the Census 2021 figures, even though their publication was always earmarked for the summer of 2022.
Peter Fortune, of the Radyr and Morganstown group, said: “The last feedback was that Cardiff council was planning to allocate land for another 7,000 homes, on top of the 41,000 it had already allocated for. The vast majority of these have yet to be built, of course, a situation not helped by the cost of living crisis dampening demand for new houses.
“The capital clearly has a housing crisis, as does Wales as a whole. But this is a crisis of a lack of decent rented accommodation and affordable homes, not four and five bedroomed houses on greenfield sites such as Plasdwr and Lisvane. These do nothing to solve the housing problem – they just inflate developers’ profits.
“There are small signs that Cardiff council is taking its Stronger, Fairer, Greener slogan seriously. We can only hope so, because can anyone really believe that the constant growth over the last 20 years has made Cardiff a better city to live in?
“We are told by senior councillors that there is less need for allocating new areas for housing but we still await the details.”
“Cardiff council’s timetable for the RLDP suggests that the public inquiry will take place between May and October of 2025 and that the plan will be adopted in November of that year. This takes no account of the real possibility that the Inspector could recommend changes or modifications.
“There is a real possibility that Cardiff will be left without a plan after 2026, which would make it much harder for the council to refuse planning permission from developers to build here, there and everywhere.”
A Cardiff Council spokesman said: “The census will play a part in a considered evaluation of projected population growth figures to 2036 for Cardiff’s RLDP. There is currently a shortage of housing in Cardiff, so even before population increases are considered, there is a need for additional homes, and more affordable homes, for people to live in.
“In determining what’s required, the council will take into account the latest evidence on household growth and need, including the first set of census findings. It will also take into account the need for affordable homes and the amount of new homes with planning consent that can contribute to the supply of new homes in the RLDP.
“The next stage in the preparation of the RLDP will be a consultation on a ‘Preferred Strategy’ over the summer. This will identify a proposed level of growth for Cardiff up to 2036, where the public can have their say.
“The planning policy context set out in Welsh Government guidance and Future Wales 2040: The National Plan, which identifies the city within a National Growth Area in terms of homes and jobs, will also be a consideration. This will ensure the plan is founded on a robust evidence base, which will be tested during the examination of the RLDP by the Independent Planning Inspector.
“Until the RLDP is adopted by the council, all planning applications have to be considered against the current, adopted LDP.”
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Frightening people to try and push plans through has been Council officers’ tactic every time. The Vale of Glam’s was delayed about 5 years with no ill-effect. In Cardiff’s case, there’s so much slippage over house building that spec-developers will be easy to resist – if the Councilwants to.