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Welsh Conservatives commit to starter homes policy

Words: Laura Edgar
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives

The Welsh Conservative Party has outlined plans to deliver 70,000 homes over the duration of the next Assembly term and to develop a Starter Homes Cymru scheme to deliver homes for first-time buyers.

Securing Real Change For Wales also pledges to deliver an integrated transport system.

The assembly election will take place on 5 May, 2016.



The Welsh Conservatives, “recognising the vital role of social and private rented sectors in housing provision”, aim to deliver a mix of “high quality” housing to give families a choice of property best suited to needs.

“We will provide tens of thousands of new affordable homes for people across Wales,” states the manifesto.

The party is planning to deliver 70,000 new homes over the next Assembly term, providing new properties for rent, low-cost home ownership and open market purchase.

A Starter Home Cymru scheme to deliver properties below market value for first-time buyers would be developed.

Additionally, plans include cutting stamp duty for first-time buyers on all properties up to the value of £250,000, increasing the supply of affordable home stock and extending the Right to Buy scheme to see “more people than ever before” benefit from owning their own home.



To deliver starter homes, the party says it would amend planning rules to help housing associations meet local needs by building starter homes for purchase and homes for rent on rural exception sites.

Additionally, the manifesto outlines plans to reform planning guidance to encourage building on brownfield and publicly owned land, “supporting a land-for-housing scheme, and developing a national register of contaminated land to avoid inappropriate development”.

Planning responsibilities will be devolved to local communities under the party, in an attempt to give them a “greater say” and readdress the balance between local need and central targets.

The party also wants to reform the planning system for communications infrastructure, to make it “easier” to upgrade existing sites as well as build on new sites. This would be subject to local approval.

Planning guidance that “promotes” cumulative impact and over-dependence on wind farms would be scrapped, while a “variety” of energy products would be encouraged.



To deliver “integrated” transport, the Welsh Conservatives want to create a new “arm’s length” body.

The party also wants to “assess and reprioritise” Wales’ National Transport Plan as well as implement a new, long-term strategy for road, rail and public transport networks.

The party would also support a new smart card travel scheme and consult on increasing the speed limit on the M4 and A55 to 80 mph. Consideration of cycle paths would be included in plans for road infrastructure and large residential schemes.



The manifesto outlines plans to develop a marine energy strategy to promote Wales as a location for “pioneering viable tidal lagoon development”.

The current Welsh Government’s policy related to the ministerial determination of planning applications for hydraulic fracturing would be continued under the Welsh Conservatives, while work would be undertaken with the UK Government to “secure the devolution” or responsibilities concerning fracking licences.

Securing real change can be found here.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats plan to develop a Welsh planning inspectorate and to establish a rent-to-own model. 

Housing, transport and energy have been listed as priorities for the Wales Green Party while Plaid Cymru has pledged to create a National Housing Company.

Image credit | National Assembly For Wales / Cynulliad Cymru