Cardiff North MP Jonathan Evans says LDP would leave city ‘permanently gridlocked’

January 3, 2013 No Comments »
The LDP Preferred Strategy for Cardiff proposes building 45,000 homes across the city by 2026.

The LDP Preferred Strategy for Cardiff proposes building 45,000 homes across the city by 2026.

Cardiff would become a “permanently gridlocked” city if plans for more than 45,000 new homes go ahead as part of its local development plan, it has been claimed.

Jonathan Evans, Conservative MP for Cardiff North, has added his voice to growing concerns over Cardiff council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) Preferred Strategy.

The strategy aims to see the new homes built in Cardiff by 2026.

Mr Evans said the LDP forecast for housing growth in Cardiff was “frankly impossible” to reconcile with the current, flat market.

The comments, written in response to a consultation on the council’s Preferred Strategy, come after similar concerns were aired by Cardiff West’s Labour politicians Kevin Brennan MP and Mark Drakeford AM.

The pair have penned a seven-page letter to the Labour-run council in which they said high-density housing poorly served by basic amenities would make Cardiff a less attractive city in which to live.

In his own response, Mr Evans said he had met with Mr Brennan and Mr Drakeford and had similar worries.

He wrote: “I share the scepticism which others have expressed about the need for over 45,000 new homes.

“Foreclosures are low, as both the Government and mortgage providers are endeavouring to keep people in their homes, but this has contributed to a flat market, which is frankly impossible to reconcile with the assertions made by the council about further housing growth in Cardiff.”

The Preferred Strategy, agreed by Labour councillors in October, proposes 18,250 of the homes be built on undeveloped greenfield sites on the city’s northern and western fringes.

Mr Brennan and Mr Drakeford had equated the level of overall new house-building to a city the size of Cambridge being built within Cardiff’s boundaries.

And Mr Evans said he feared for the quality of homes and freedom of movement across the city if that was the case.

“I am also concerned that to fit the land to questionable growth projections, the strategy suggests increasing housing density which undermines the aspects of the strategy that speaks of the development of good quality family housing,” he said.

“I also endorse the concerns which others have raised about the transport implications of these proposals.

“With the current infrastructure, the concept of development on the scale proposed would make Cardiff a permanently gridlocked city.”

The Welsh Government requires all councils to produce an LDP. Cardiff is without one after the previous Liberal Democrat/Plaid Cymru administration’s plan to not allocate any greenfield land for development was thrown out by a Welsh Government planning inspector.

Cardiff council deputy leader Ralph Cook said: “This response is one of many representations made in response to the consultation on the LDP Preferred Strategy which seeks to put the first adopted local plan in place since 1996.

“The issues raised will be carefully considered and inform the preparation of the deposit LDP due to be considered by council in September 2013.

“Can I also stress that the Preferred Strategy is a consultation document of a strategic nature.”

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