Green Belt Developments in South Wales Central

Jul 10, 2018 | Assembly Business, Cardiff Housing Issues, Uncategorised, Vale Housing Issues, Videos | 0 comments

Plenary 10 July 2018

13:55
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Gareth Bennett AM

Gareth Bennett AM

Party: United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)

Will the First Minister make a statement on green-belt developments in South Wales Central?

Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones AM

Title: First Minister of Wales Party: Welsh Labour

Yes. The local planning authorities within the South Wales Central region haven’t designated green belts in their respective local development plans.

Gareth Bennett AM

Gareth Bennett AM

Party: United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)

Yes, thanks for that answer. We’ve had recent press reports that the leader of Cardiff Council, Huw Thomas, wants to merge with the Vale of Glamorgan Council, principally so Cardiff can build more houses on land in the Vale. We’ve already had housing developments infringing on the green belt and we’re losing prime agricultural land due to this.

Do you agree, First Minister, that Cardiff Council’s bid to turn the Vale into a building site is not the way forward?

Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones AM

Title: First Minister of Wales Party: Welsh Labour

I’m sure he hasn’t said that. I find it difficult that the Vale of Glamorgan Council would acquiesce to a merger along those lines. I don’t think that Councillor Huw Thomas has approach the Vale of Glamorgan and said, ‘Merge with us so that we can build on your land.’ It strikes me that’s not the best example of diplomacy in those circumstances.

There is a duty on all local authorities to maintain an LDP, of course, and it’s good to see now that progress is being made in terms of the development of a strategic development plan as well to better manage the undoubted demand there is for housing.

David Melding AM

David Melding AM

Party: Welsh Conservative Party Region: South Wales Central

First Minister, access to green spaces is really important today. Ninety-six per cent of Copenhageners live within a 15-minute walk of a sizeable green or blue area, and work is indeed underway to improve those access rates. The city has biodiversity volunteers who play a vital role in nurturing the city’s green areas and the city has planted more than 3,600 trees, many of them adopted by local people and companies or institutions. Do you agree with me that access to really pleasant green areas can be inside the city as well as just surrounding it?

Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones AM

Title: First Minister of Wales Party: Welsh Labour

Absolutely. We’re looking at the idea of green corridors to see how they can be developed in the future. We know that Cardiff, for example, is reasonably well blessed with parks, and the last thing we would want to see, for example, as the city grows, is to see developments without access to green spaces, without access to cycle paths, without access to a rural environment. That’s hugely important in terms of well-being, for example. We know that the way people perceive their environment has a direct effect on their health and well-being and that means it’s hugely important not just to plan on the basis of, ‘Let’s build houses over there’, but more, ‘Let’s create communities that are sustainable that are easy to travel in and out of and have access to green areas.’

Neil McEvoy AM

Neil McEvoy AM

Party: Independent 

Region: South Wales Central

First Minister, in 2012, you denied announcing to the South Wales Echo that the green fields around Cardiff would be built on as part of Labour’s so-called local development plan. Your Labour colleagues stood in the green fields, and I quote, for the record:

‘Labour does not want to build in Waterhall fields or on any green spaces.’

Now, those fields are now being built on, and the beautiful countryside around Danescourt will also be built on unless we can stop it. People in Cardiff were misled. Do you now accept that those green fields are being built on, and it’s happening because Labour gave these massive housing corporations the permission to do it?

Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones AM

Title: First Minister of Wales Party: Welsh Labour

His position’s always been quite curious. I don’t think I’ve ever announced anything to the Echo at any point in time. Secondly, I’m not nor have ever been the leader of Cardiff City Council, and in 2012 I was not the planning Minister, so I could not anyway give any kind of permission for development in Cardiff or anywhere else in Wales. That’s self-evident. But it is important that local authorities, of course, are able to further manage the demand. The reality is that lots of people want to live in Cardiff. It’s hugely important that the city is able to manage that demand but also, of course, to work with authorities around Cardiff in order to manage them so that can people can live elsewhere as well. The idea that local authorities should only plan for people who live and work in their own area is clearly ridiculous, because that’s not the way it works in terms of the economy and nor should it work in terms of the planning system, which is why strategic development plans are important.