As part of the formal process of producing a plan for the future of Cardiff as a capital city, developers and builders have to be invited to identify candidate sites which they would like to see developed.
It is important to understand that these are not sites proposed by the council itself.
The candidate sites however once submitted, are subject to a full assessment; taking into account how they relate to the “LDP vision and objectives” (to be considered at a council meeting in March) and how they ‘perform’ against factors relating to environmental constraints, flood risk, transportation, deliverability and infrastructure.
Significantly, these issues also have to be weighed along with the findings of a consultation and engagement exercise planned to take place in May after the vision and objectives have been agreed.
Although the candidate site submissions are now public, quite clearly the process for their assessment will take a number of months with the final conclusions being set out in the Preferred Strategy itself, planned for October 2011. It is therefore premature to be reaching early definitive conclusions ahead of the formal assessment process.
Overall in terms of candidate sites just under 18,000 housing units have been submitted on greenfield sites with approximately 2,000 housing units on brownfield sites and Plaid Cymru, as a political party has clearly indicated its preference for the development of brownfield sites.
Due to flood-plain considerations, migration and probable population growth, we are as a Council forced to consider potential greenfield sites within the County boundary. It is a great pity that the process does not appear to allow us to share this housing burden with neighbouring local authorities who would welcome the load, though we are asked to consult with them.
Given the current limited road traffic access to the city from the west, there are obvious bottlenecks at Llandaff and St Fagans and it is difficult to see how a substantial increase in housing can be serviced or justified in the Pentyrch, Creigiau and St Fagans area. Suitable transport linkage and infrastructure is simply not yet available.
Park and ride facilities at Junction 33 of the M4 and also off the A470 at Taffs Well (in Rhondda Cynon Taf) could in future improve the situation and indeed fit in with our sustainable travel ethos. In the longer term, rail links would also need to be explored before serious consideration could be given to any extensive housing or business developments.
The considerable developments previously proposed around Junction 33 of the M4 near Creigiau were complex and in some ways problematical. The Welsh Assembly Government have already signalled that a thorough environmental impact assessment would be required here, as such a development were it to take place, would dwarf the villages of Creigiau and Capel Llanilltern and change their very nature.
Proposals to develop hundreds of houses north of Pentrebane would similarly encroach on the semi-rural and historic village of St Fagans deemed to be a conservation area and sporting a folk museum, the most popular tourist attraction in the whole of Wales.
What do you think? Should any development happen in the West of the city? What transport improvements are needed? Let us know in the comments below