Local Plaid Cymru councillors are calling on the Welsh Government to pay a sum to Wrexham Council that they claim is the cost incurred due to Local Development Plan delays caused by Welsh Government officials.
We reported on the Local Development Plan 2 ahead of next week’s Executive Board meeting where it will likely be put out for consultation, in our report we quoted Wrexham Council Leader Mark Pritchard’s comments to us when we queried about the plan.
Councillor Pritchard told us: “I felt at the time that the previous LDP 1 was sound and a good plan, but the Inspector at the time thought it was not. We felt it was an excellent plan, but well it is up to the Inspector and he made the decision.”
“There was one area in particular we were not building enough houses in the borough, and he felt we should build more. They felt at the time 13,000 but this time will support around 8,000. That probably tells you we were right in the first plan, and they have conceded .”
Plaid Cymru’s group leader Marc Jones agrees with that view, and has gone a step further requesting a lump some back to cover the costs incurred as ‘compensation’ and an apology: “The original LDP was approved in 2012 and rejected by the Welsh Government because, they said, it didn’t allocate enough land for housing over the 15-year period of the plan. The original plan aimed to provide for 7,700 houses while the Welsh Government was insisting on between 11-13,000 dwellings.”
“At the time, Plaid Cymru warned that the Welsh Government’s intransigence would cause problems and local AMs Ken Skates and Lesley Griffiths must accept their part in creating this problem. Their government’s insistence on thousands of extra homes has now been shown to be completely out of kilter with reality – the new LDP opts for a far more modest sum of 8,500 that is far closer to the original plan.”
“So the council has effectively been forced to go round in circles on this at a cost of £203,000 because the Welsh Government doesn’t know what it’s doing. They should have the good grace to apologise and compensate the council for this extra cost at a time when essential services are being cut.”
Cllr Jones added: “One other damaging aspect of the LDP being delayed for six years by the Welsh Government is that developers have been able to claim the council does not have an adequate housing land supply. Because of this, the 365 houses in Llay were given the go-ahead by planning inspectors. Again, Welsh ministers and local AMs who were complicit in this should hang their heads in shame.”