Minister says Local Development Plans should be kept under review after we ask about predicted -1.5% drop in local population
The Welsh Government Housing Minister has said a ‘strategic level plan’ and a ‘national development framework’ could be put in place for Wales.
At yesterday’s Welsh Government briefing, where we were the only North Wales media attending, we asked the Housing Minister Julie James MS about Wrexham’s Local Development Plan (LDP), pointing out it is based in part off a population prediction of 155,000 people by 2028.
We pointed to the new statistics we first reported on that show Wrexham’s population could drop by 1.5% rather than grow substantially. Wrexham is one of four local authority areas in Wales that is set to shrink in population size by 2028 according to the new statistics.
More recent LDP evidence base documents refer to a range of projections, that could indicate a 152k to 158k total population range, and it appears locally the LDP is being worked off delivering to meet those population expectations.
We asked the Minister, “Do you have any concerns over that vast population difference and the impact on LDPs? And should LDPs be paused or revisited, not just in light of the population projection changes around Wales, but the impact the pandemic will, and is having on society?”
The Minister replied to us, “We’ve been working very closely with planning authorities to understand where they are in terms of planning on the ground and where they are in terms of their systems.”
“We have always said that people should keep the LDP under review.”
“We’re also working hard through the Local Government and Elections Bill to put a regional arrangement in place for a strategic level plan in place and we’ll be introducing the national development framework at the beginning of the next term of the Senedd.”
“We will have a fully plan-led system in place and as a result of those other plans going into place, we would expect councils to review the LDP.”
“We are of course expecting people to have realistic plans on the ground and to keep them under review.”
The top image is of land off Holt Road where the local Planning Committee recently refused plans for 600 new houses.
The site between Wrexham Rugby Club and the roundabout by Wrexham Golf Club forms part of a wider area, which has been identified by Wrexham Council as suitable for up to 1,680 new houses in its Local Development Plan (LDP) to meet the apparent housing need for the growing population. However, the houses may not have had people to live in them if the new figures are correct.
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