Local Development Plan

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  • #196486

    Matt
    Participant

    Well if you look at how the LDP process is structured -The main problem is that there are SIX stages – all with opportunities for 3rd parties, including Joe Public and community and other organisations able to get involved at each stage.

    Local Development Plans

    How did anyone ever expect something so complicated and multi-layered to ever make it through local councils with all the objections of individual councillors and the amplified voices of concerned citizens and organisations at each stage?

    Does anyone have any idea at what stage out of SIX the Wrexham plan has reached, only for the major stakeholders – the local political bigwigs – to have withdrawn their support?

    So moving past such a ridiculous and complicated framework, the whole point of the LDP was to address a few key issues, if this is the correct understanding of it.


    1) Make sure there are sufficient homes built overall to meet projected population demand in the future


    2) Make sure that there are sufficient affordable homes in that mix – in particular for families and young people who want to get on the property ladder (so we are talking about 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom new builds)


    3) Deal with a shortage in stock of council and social housing in the county – So we need to get the respective stakeholders building more houses to deal with those sold off over a number of decades.


    4) Make sure that all of this building is done in a sustainable manner with a balance of building on green belt and brownfield sites, so that individual villages are respected and don’t end up turning into a giant urban sprawl

    I guess when it all boils down to it issues 1, 2 and 3 – getting more homes built of each type falls down to a case of affordability (in the case of councils and social housing providers) or profitability in the case of private developers who regularly cite the margins on affordable homes as too limited in the case of building cheap houses on valuable land.

    If you are a big home developer why would you want to build cheap homes at low costs when you can build big expensive homes for commuters who want to then work in England? Likewise with councils and social housing – it’s pointless when you can only afford to build 5 houses at a time if the demand is you need 20+.

    I’d read earlier in the year that the Welsh Government were investing millions in the idea of building prefab (not the crap temporary post-war ones) homes to boost building of affordable homes. My guess is that this plan has been stalled somewhat recently due to Covid.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-51613917

    But if these homes can be knocked out at affordable prices/at a profit margin deemed worthy then there’s movement there into meeting the quantity requirements in each local area.

    Obviously issues 1-3 count for nothing if you can’t deal with issue 4 and the bugbear of everyone – where can you locate this quantity of houses without upsetting the Diamond Joe Nimby’s of each precious ward in our county?

    It is my understanding that there is a lot of brownfield sites and these could surely be looked into to place these prefab type houses for affordable and social housing. Anyone who turns up their nose at wanting to live here can surely afford a home on the private market elsewhere.

    I mean you only need to look at the recent gentrification of Salford, the huge amount of residential luxury apartment blocks built on former industrial and warehouse land on the gateway into Manchester. That was all brownfield and now very nice affordable (versus Manchester prices) places to live.

    If people are still not wanting to build on the Wrexham brownfield sites then you have to offer grants to make it worthwhile and perhaps fast track planning (as long as what is being proposed is considered reasonable).

    For more expensive housing and building on greenbelt land, I believe that this whole process is working organically and as intended. Local objections ensure that anything outrageous doesn’t get built but new housing developments are turning up all the time.

    If you apply a common sense approach and don’t build houses on flood plains (I believe there was an issue with proposals in Llay) and don’t try and build huge developments that merge village or swallow up playing fields then we shouldn’t have a problem. Does there really need to be a whole level of bureaucracy on something that seems to be working to a certain extent – accepting that you are never going to make everyone happy.

    It’s more often than not members of the last new build communities who object to the building of the next new build estates because they spoil their views, which is highly amusing – like migrants complaining about immigration to put in a crude comparison.

    So perhaps the LDP really needs to focus on how can they build homes quickly and cheaply on land that will meet the least objections. At least then you can get building and tick some boxes without needing to have a never completed concept that can be derailed at any moment.

    I’ve probably missed some finer points and details but I don’t think there’s any easy solution for housing the masses – we’ve tried terraced houses, we’ve tried high rise flats and we’ve tried council estates and there’s always issues with each.

    #196487

    Matt
    Participant

    I also need to add in an additional caveat that any mass development of new housing areas needs to make sure that they ensure appropriate services and infrastructure are put in place to meet the needs of the expanding population and not put a strain on the existing population.

    I’m not even sure if the current LDP does factor in things like building of new roads, provision for new schools and GP surgeries etc… does it?

    #196544

    newwales
    Participant

    What Wrexham needs are more 2 bedroom housed not flats, & for a Rule that for the first month ONLY owner occupiers can purchase the house, as most development recently have only built 2 to 8 2 bedroom houses & virtually all are instantly bought by Buy To Let landlords. 2 bedroom houses are starter homes.

    #196998

    JaneJ
    Participant

    I am now baffled on this issue – how can the Leader of the Council and ‘his’ Group withdraw support for the LDP which he took to Executive and supported his Lead Member and officers congratulating them on what they had achieved but now have a turn around.
    It very much looks like the Leader is playing politics now as he knows that if the Council Plan is not approved then the WG Planning Inspectors can come in an enforce a Plan thus moving the blame from the Wrexham Executive to the WG and Ministers.
    Playing political football and passing decision making to WG shows a lack of professional expertise with officers and a lack of political backbone my moving their own goal posts.

    #196999

    Matt
    Participant

    You are right Jane, that is exactly what is going on and that someone put in the idea of siting a traveller site in a country park as a trojan horse that could deliberately be used later to torpedo the plans. As usual this political wrangling of those who rule over the executive has done down the town and makes them very much look like they are not competent enough to deal with something like the LDP. They are much more in their comfort zone trying to blag more electronic items for themselves like laptops to then create more busywork to pretend they are earning their keep in trivial meetings.

    #197025

    Andrewmackembailey
    Participant

    I agree with Derek Jackson . There has not been an LDP since the Lib-Dem led coalition, which included some of the leading lights ( sic ) of the present coalition, failed to produce on in late 2011-early 2012.
    There may not be one now until well into the 2020’s ,if then.
    Predatory developers can continue to have a field ,joke unintented , and WCBC will have waved the white flag on their own document!
    The LDP is not just produced by officers but members serve on the planning group devising it and it is then endorsed by the Lead Member ( sic ) for planning and the Executive.
    Frankly, in my opinion, despite the best efforts of many hard working councillors to formulate a plan the executive members , especially Leader and Lead Member have let the people of Wrexham down and should in the word of that ancient phrase “ consider their position!”

    #197076

    Ioan y Ffin
    Participant

    Wrexham desperately needs a Local Development Plan as that is the only way there is a cat in hell’s chance of the needs and interests of locals being taken into account. In the meantime it is a free for all for developers to continue building overpriced pretend luxury homes, throwing up any old how overpriced cardboard homes for the buy to let market, converting redundant office stationery cupboards into apartments and occasionally when they feel charitable squeezing a few so-called affordable homes into the worst locations on their estates, where they can serve as convenient ‘traffic noise’ barriers.

    #197312

    HeritageWales
    Participant

    Interested in the Local Development Plan discussion. I just logged on because Wrexham.com was praised by Welsh Government Deputy Minister Lee Waters in this evening’s NUJ Virtual Town Hall: A News Recovery Plan for Wales debate. He complimented your ‘sharp questioning’. But when I saw your article on planning inspectors not accepting council LDP proposals and questioning the basics of evidence I realised that I have a solution.
    Here in Merthyr Tydfil – where Heritage Wales is based – we have just been through the LDP process with the inspector at public inquiry accepting virtually all the council evidence. On his own account he only had to spend a single day in Merthyr Tydfil visiting the most important sites! Population projections were questioned from the start – the council simply produced their own. Some playing fields and green spaces were simply omitted from a document claiming to be an ‘open space strategy’ (many ruled out as they were already ear-marked by council bureaucrats as being surplus to requirements and then put up for sale without public discussion). Maps and ‘masterplans’ contained errors and inaccuracies. There was no housing strategy – just a last minute projection (guestimate) that there was a need for 5,000 units of social or affordable housing. The 3,200 units of housing to be provided by developers are to include 320 units of affordable housing only. There is a 10 per cent minimum quota only on developers.
    Suggest to the council that it asks the planning inspectorate to change inspectors – and commission consultants to write reports (paying them big fees) that say what they (the council) wants to see. There seems to be a school of thought in planning circles that if you pay consultants enough and ask them to revise their reports frequently their recommendations will actually be treated as ‘independent evidence’ – whereas questions and counter-arguments by local people and local organisations are not.
    Wrexham CBC can’t get out of producing an LDP – at least not for a few years until Wales new planning laws and Welsh Government strategies start to have some bite (my opinion only). At the moment it’s a legal requirement on all local authorities to produce one!
    Sorry for this rather tongue-in-cheek diatribe.
    Keep up the good work at Wrexham.com! Cheers.

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