Over the last couple of years, we've reported on a number of new developments coming to Cardiff, including new student accommodation blocks, transport upgrades and residential districts. These new projects are helping turn Cardiff into more than just the Welsh capital, they're helping Cardiff become one of the best cities in the UK to live and work in. Now, the Welsh Government is looking to expand the city even further by giving the final seal of approval to plans for over 40,000 new homes.
The 41,400 new homes were first proposed in the city's Local Development Plan (LDP) in 2014, and many of the 41,400 houses have already been built or received planning permission. All of the new properties are expected to be completed by 2026.
Out of the 41,400, it has also been revealed that the Welsh Government has approved the construction of 13,000 properties on greenfield land, with most of the new houses being built on land in the north of Cardiff. The LDP includes a “green wedge” policy which will offer protection for the land around the M4 for the duration of the plan. However, those who are opposed to the LDP say a “green wedge” rather than a “green belt” means the land isn't fully protected from future development.
Political opponents have criticised the LDP and the Welsh Government, saying that the new homes will cause a population boom, and that Cardiff's infrastructure simply won't be able to cope. The LDP states that most of the properties will be built in the north of Cardiff, in and around areas such as Creigiua where, currently, roads are small, occasionally single track. Opponents such as Jayne Cowan, Rhiwbina councillor, have stressed that Cardiff's infrastructure isn't sufficient for the large number of new homes and that a population boom will have negative knock-on effects for GP surgeries, schools, libraries and traffic.
The Liberal Democrats have also expressed their concerns saying that without new schools, parks, shops and other community services, building homes will cause the city's infrastructure to fail.
Under the LDP, special “green wedge” areas in Cardiff will be protected from development until the plans finish in 2026. However, critics have stressed that a "green wedge" isn't enough and that a "green belt" that protects the areas indefinitely should be included instead. Jayne Cowan said that she was "very concerned" about the lack of a "green belt", and that the green areas of Cardiff are loved and enjoyed by many residents and unfortunately they could disappear once the LDP finishes in 2026.
Plaid Cymru's leader Neil McEvoy also added his views, saying that the lack of a "green belt" means every greenfield site in Cardiff could eventually be built upon. He also stressed that without greenfield areas, the city could be more prone to flooding as there won't be any land left to soak up Cardiff's rainfall.
Despite the criticism, Cardiff councillor Ramesh Patel has stressed that the LDP will help Cardiff continue to grow and remain one of the UK's fastest-growing cities. He also explained that Cardiff has been in dire need of a LDP plan for some time to tackle the growing housing shortage in the city. Cardiff North MP Craig Williams also added that the LDP means the city finally has a plan for the future, although he stressed that transport infrastructure will need to be improved to cope with the population growth.
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