Updated: Oct 21
As means of protecting green open spaces in Wales, the Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Janet Finch-Saunders MS, has urged the Welsh Government to commit to issuing a technical advisory note to make clear that developments should not progress on land not designated for house building under a local development plan.
In a Written Question to the Minister for Climate Change, Janet asked:
“Will the Minister confirm what steps the Welsh Government is taking to issue a technical advisory note to make clear that developments should not progress on land not allocated for house building under a local development plan?
Instead, Mrs Finch-Saunders has suggested that developers should first make use of brownfield sites, empty properties and unused land owned by public sector organisations.
In research undertaken by the Shadow Minister, Janet found that the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board had empty land worth approximately £300,000; the Swansea Bay Health Board had four empty properties worth £589,000; whilst the Aneurin Bevan Board owned sixteen fully empty buildings.
Commenting on her intervention, Janet said:
“With developments being undertaken on the thin edge of the green wedge in my own constituency, and developers seemingly progressing these sites over brownfield land which has laid empty for years, constituents have been writing to my office to underline the need to more strictly protect the local development plan to protect our green open spaces. “I remain clear that sites which have long been allocated for development must always be built on before any contingency comes into play. Our environment cannot be sacrificed at the altar of housing policy due to previous inaction by this Welsh Government. “But it is also an inconvenient truth that there are more empty houses in Wales than there are second homes. The Welsh Government needs to take radical action to get these empty properties back into use, such as extending Help to Buy to include buildings in need of renovation. “Builders should develop land which has been allocated for housing before being able to even contemplate any other site or going outside a settlement boundary."
Photo: Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS