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Welsh planning minister accused of breaching ministerial code 

Words: Roger Milne
Julie James / Welsh National Assembly

The Welsh Government this week strongly denied claims that planning minister Julie James breached the ministerial code by allowing an appeal over a housing development in Rossett near Wrexham.

That allegation came from local campaigners the Rossett Focus Group. Its members are furious that the scheme for 132 new homes in the village – refused by the Wrexham County Borough Council following concern over flooding, loss of green space and impact on local health services – has been given planning permission.

They complained that the minister’s decision to accept the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate was made “without all the evidence available” and in contravention of the code.

James had contended that the demand for more housing in Wrexham “significantly” weighed in favour of the scheme.

A Welsh Government spokesperson told The Planner: “The ministerial code sets out the personal standards and behaviours to which ministers are expected to adhere. The minister for housing and local government in dealing with this case has acted at all times properly and on the basis on the professional advice which she has received. There has been no breach of the code.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford has also written to the Rossett protestors defending James.

Image credit | National Assembly for Wales