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07/02/2020

Wrexham LDP at loggerheads with Planning Inspectorate over housing

Words: Roger Milne
Wrexham / iStock-172847240

Wrexham County Borough Council is embroiled in an escalating row with the Planning Inspectorate over key elements of its latest local development plan (LDP).

The inspectors who have been conducting the inquiry into the blueprint have raised serious concerns over housing issues and the plan’s provision for gypsies and travellers.

The two inspectors have voiced misgivings over the reduction in housing numbers between the preferred strategy and deposit stages. This amounts to 3,190 new dwellings.

They have warned that on the evidence they have considered regarding housing requirement, supply and delivery, the latest version of the LDP might be “flawed” and the plan’s commitment to its stated growth agenda “insufficiently convincing”.

The council has responded with a 48-page rebuttal defending its position. The inquiry is due to sit again next month to consider these developments

Last week during a session of the Welsh Assembly housing minister Julie James backed the council's figures after Plaid Cymru assembly member Llyr Gruffydd raised fears of “urban sprawl” if the inspectors' call for 11,715 homes was met.

She told a plenary session in the Senedd: “The inspectors have raised concerns regarding the level of housing proposed in the plan, specifically questioning whether it is aspirational enough.

“The level of housing proposed by the council aligns with the 2014-based 10-year migration variant published by the Welsh Government, which is a requirement of 7,750 homes. Officials have made public representations supporting the level of housing in Wrexham's LDP, and do not consider that it should be increased further.”

Council planners have questioned whether the figure for housing provision favoured by the inspectors is deliverable or, equally crucially, sustainable.

Meanwhile, in a related but separate development, proposals to build more than 80 new houses in Summerhill, Wrexham, have been rejected over concerns about the impact of extra traffic.

Image credit | iStock

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