In addressing a statement from the Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change on the need for action to address housing affordability, the Shadow Minister for Climate Change – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – laid out a proactive four-pronged action plan that should be instituted including house building, unlocking development through scrapping or implementing exemptions to phosphate guidance, bringing empty properties back to use, and cutting Land Transaction Tax.
During the CPG on Housing last week, Shelter Cymru officials present agreed that tackling second homes will not solve the issue of affordability, highlighting the need for action in areas such as empty properties. Welsh Government figures show that, in January 2017, there were 25,725 long-term empty properties in Wales. Four years later this figure has only reduced by 24.
Speaking outside the Siambr, Janet said:
“In my virtual roundtable last week, I was informed that as many as 10,000 homes cannot be progressed due to NRW guidance on phosphorus. “Taken in conjunction with the fact that around 7,400 new homes are needed annually to meet demand in Wales, yet 2019 registrations of new homes were down 12%, the need for a rethink is clear. “Increasing premiums is not the answer, neither is the possibility of enabling local planning authorities to ‘switch on’ the need for planning permission to change from a primary home to a secondary home or short-term holiday let. “I am also deeply disturbed by the continued conflation between second homes and holiday-let businesses. I hope that my intervention today will give pause for thought over the Welsh Government direction of travel.”
Photo: Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS