Katy Jenkins, local democracy reporter
“Radical action” is needed to protect communities and keep them “cohesive” a St Davids councillor has said.
Cllr David Lloyd has put forward a notice of motion calling for a task and finish group to be set up to “develop a strategy to address the housing needs of the people of Pembrokeshire as a matter of urgency.”
“More and more of our people are being excluded from the housing market, impacting inexorably upon the sustainability of our schools, social and sporting institutions, community cohesion and the Welsh language and culture,” said Cllr Lloyd, adding that the “flight from the cities” had been exacerbated by covid-19.
The issue had been “brought into sharp focus” since the motion was first presented to full council Cllr Michelle Bateman said, with the impact of covid-19 on house prices and demand in the county.
Areas to consider, Cllr Lloyd states, includes requiring planning permission for second homes or AirBnB, a cap on the number of second homes in a ward as well as other curbs, protective housing models, addressing “spiralling house prices” and the impact on community and Welsh identity as well as acknowledging “the impact that unfettered tourism is having on parts of the county.”
At cabinet on Monday (February 15) Pembrokeshire County Councillors agreed to adopt the motion and an affordable homes strategy be developed, with a members group set up to inform and guide the strategy.
The council aims to publish the strategy for public and stakeholder consultation by the end of September 2021, with the work to build on the existing Affordable Housing Working Group (AHWG) which has representation from the Council’s Housing, Planning and Policy teams, PCNPA, and Registered Social Landlords.
Changes to Welsh Government legislation would also be required said Cllr Bob Kilmister, highlighting the steps other local authorities had been taken to lobby on the issue.