Cardiff Council will look again at the population growth estimates used to draw up its local development plan, after residents raised concerns that they were too high.
The city’s planning boss, Councillor Ralph Cook, has released details of the consultation responses the local authority received following the publication of its LDP preferred strategy in October last year. It proposes building 45,400 new homes by 2026 to cope with a population increase of 26% to 408,000.
But 89% of those who responded to the council’s formal consultation exercise thought the proposed level of growth was too high.
Coun Cook pointed out that the majority of these responses came from people living in areas of the city directly affected by development sites within the LDP, and when the question was put to Cardiff Council’s citizen panel – made up of people living right across the city – 48.6% of people thought the projected level of growth was about right. This compared to 47.2% who thought the estimates were too high, while 4.6% thought they were too low.
However, Coun Cook said that given the differing views he would now ask independent experts to look again at the “most appropriate level of growth” for the final version of the LDP, which is set to be delivered in September. This will take into consideration the 2011 census results, and more up-to-date predictions due to be released in April.
Coun Cook said: “The [new] results will be used to inform the deposit plan. If they demonstrate that actually the numbers are too high and we won’t require 45,400 homes, then adjustments will be made. We want to see a robustly evidenced, achievable LDP which is designed based on facts.”
The consultation responses also showed an overwhelming level of support for a Cardiff green belt, with 91% of those who responded to the formal consultation agreeing that they would like to see a green belt included in the LDP. 82% of the citizen panel also agreed.
Coun Cook said the idea would now be looked at more closely to see whether it could be included in the deposit LDP, and if so which land might be protected.
He has previously said a “preserved crescent” arching from the Newport boundary to land north of the M4, and west to the Vale of Glamorgan border, could be possible.
When asked about the individual development sites highlighted by the LDP preferred strategy, there were high levels of support for brownfield sites. But the formal consultation responses showed most people objected to development on greenfield sites, especially those close to their own homes.
However, Coun Cook said that the pattern of responses showed “this is not a moral campaign to save green fields”.
He added: “A lot of people [who opposed developments local to them] did not have anything to say about a site a couple of miles away.”
He said the council would now adopt a “masterplanning approach” to look at the issues people have raised, including the layout, quality and phasing of new developments, as well as accompanying facilities and infrastructure.
There will be two drop-in events as part of this masterplanning exercise where people can give more feedback. The first will be on March 13 from 10am to 5pm at St David’s Hall. The second will be on March 18, from midday until 8pm, at the National Museum in Cathays Park.