Cardiff is blooming. Yeah! Our lovely, brilliant, vibrant and lively city is flourishing. People from all over the world are attracted by our quality of life. We are lucky enough to live in a town which is important and quite big but still human. We have basically everything one can want within a 40 miles radius. Nature lovers enjoy beaches like in Barry Island, our countryside in general and the Brecon Beacons National Park in particular. Sports fans envy our amazing Millennium Stadium and numerous sports events. More urban people will enjoy our night life with pubs, bars and night clubs. If you want culture you can go to museums such as the National Museum or St Fagans open-air National History Museum, and if you want to go out you can also go to one of our movie theatres or concert venues. Even the BBC loves the region: not only is BBC Wales located in Cardiff, they have created studios in the Bay and they shoot many of their productions in the area, such as Doctor Who, Torchwood, Gavin and Stacey, Merlin, Stella... Whether you want a quiet life or a lively one, you can find it in Cardiff.
The Capital of Wales increasingly attracts people, which means that it needs to grow in order to be able to welcome new inhabitants. The docks have already been transformed into the popular Cardiff Bay, where houses are regularly turned to smaller flats but we need more than that to embrace the planned growth. The local authorities are aware of this accommodation issue, which is why they met on 25th October 2012 to discuss Cardiff's Local Development Plan (LDP) Strategy for the 14 years to come. Every local authority must have at least a 5-year plan, which Cardiff lacked. If you want to know exactly what they talked about you can find out on the podcast and you could also follow the whole debate on the Your Cardiff Twitter Feed.
Some of the major issues are, how do we create new dwellings without attacking our green spaces? If the growth keeps pace, we would need to build 45,400 new homes by 2026 - which seems unrealistic since it would mean building over 2,600 new houses a year which has never been achieved even at the height of the 2006/2007 property boom. Meanwhile 40,000 jobs will need creating by developing "strategic employment" sites, and investment in public transport will be necessary. Obviously as Cardiff gets bigger and bigger it will become like every capital: commuting time would increase by 40%. Funding this whole plan is also an issue as Cardiff City would like to share the cost of its growth with neighbouring areas which would also benefit, but as usual no one is keen on spending money. If we want to achieve a realistic plan councillors also have to put aside their political points of view, stop criticising previous decisions and unite towards a common goal: allow Cardiff to grow peacefully and wisely while remaining an attractive city people like to live in.
The preferred strategy is out for public consultation until 14th December so it is time to give your opinion if you want to have your say. Public conferences and drop-in exhibitions will be held in various places until 30th November.