Opposition hits back over Local Development Plan for Cardiff

Cardiff's LDP
CARDIFF could soon be home to another 40,000 houses following the city council’s decision to approve the Local Development Plan.
The vote last Thursday saw 40 councillors in favour while 27 opposed the plan, proposed by cabinet member Ramesh Patel.
The Cardiffian asked some councillors why they opposed the plan and their thoughts about what the plan means for the future of Cardiff.
Independent councillor Fenella Bowden, who represents the Heath, feels the LDP will not benefit the people of Cardiff.
“Infrastructure is simply not going to cope, and the existing infrastructure is not ready to deal with more residents,” she said.

Independent Heath councillor Fenella Bowden
Heath councillor Fenella Bowden

“We are going to see more vehicles intensifying our traffic problems in Cardiff when we already have problems with bottlenecks in the north of the city.
“I’m also concerned that there will be flooding in parts of Cardiff North. The developers are taking out a large area of fields and trees which act as a natural drainage for Cardiff and common sense tells you that once you remove those, the water is going to run downhill and into Cardiff.
“There is no legal protection of the green wedge, whatever Councillor Patel says. Once they start building on it then that green area will go, and I fail to understand why they didn’t fight harder and send this back to the Welsh Government.
“The council simply hasn’t got the money for this, so all in all I can’t see there’s going to be a benefit to the citizens of Cardiff by getting rid of the green belt.
“Why are we, as the city of Cardiff, having to accept this new development when there are other place just beyond our boundaries that actually could do with this development? We could get the infrastructure in, make sure we’ve got the park-and-ride systems in place and get people into the areas of high employment. This would make the most efficient use of the traffic systems and frankly, I don’t think they even bothered to look at that.
“They fought very hard to retain the Llanishen reservoir which they succeeded in retaining, and yet ironically it could be argued that we could’ve used that land for housing and not gone onto the green belt. I find this very difficult, because although it’s a beautiful spot, so is Cardiff North.
“The outrageous underselling of that land by Welsh Government is shocking. They’ve been paid peanuts for an incredibly valuable piece of land.
“It’s an insult to us. It hurts.”
Conservative Adrian Robson, who represents the Rhiwbina council ward, also fears for the future of Cardiff North under the new plan.
Adrian Robson, Conservative councillor for Rhiwbina
Adrian Robson, councillor for Rhiwbina

“It was disappointing to see the Welsh government oppose the green belt and water it down to a green wedge.
“The green belt would’ve added permanency to that area in Cardiff North, while the green wedge doesn’t which opens up the opportunity for developers to continue building after the 10-year deadline.”
“The council have done Cardiff a real disservice”
“I wasn’t surprised by the vote because obviously Labour has the council numbers to get their agenda through.
“This was the last opportunity to protect these areas and to question the growth figures for Cardiff, which I don’t feel are realistic.
“Ramesh Patel has been tweeting that those who voted against the development plan are voting against the green belt – that’s one of the daftest things I’ve ever heard
“We’ve backed the green belt left, right and centre, so I can’t understand where this has come from”.
Conservative councillor for Radyr Rod McKerlich explained why he felt the plan was not a positive step forward for the city.
“While it is intended that this should be Cardiff Council’s plan, who will bear the cost of implementing it, the parameters were actually set by the Welsh government.
Rod McKerlich, Conservative councillor for Radyr
Rod McKerlich, councillor for Radyr

“What we’ve really got is the Welsh government’s plans, who wanted a huge increase in the number of houses in Cardiff.
“We’re stuck with it now, for a very long time”
“At no stage in the last 10 years have we come close to building houses at the rate set out by the LDP, so by releasing that amount of land we are giving developers the green light to maximise their profit, which may not benefit the city.
“Cardiff was originally built with wide roads, and newer areas have much narrower roads.
“If you drive through northern Cardiff in the morning you can see that the roads are already completely jammed solid, so if you add huge numbers of houses to the area the roads will just turn into a parking lot.
“In October the council voted unanimously in favour of standing up for the green belt.
“Then the cabinet member Ramesh Patel accepted, without going back to council for a further vote, that they could just forget the belt and go for a green wedge.
“The Labour Party can do whatever they want. They’ve got 45 of the 75 council members and that’s why the Local Development Plan went through.
“40 whipped members of the labour party voted for it, 27 non-whipped, every opposition member present, voted against it.”
“We’re stuck with it now, for a very long time. All we can do is oppose and mitigate the worst effects of individual planning applications when they come to us for approval.
Bill Kelloway, the Liberal Democrat councillor for Penylan, suggested that the plan was approved as a result of decisions made by “unaccountable, faceless bureaucrats”.
Bill Kelloway, the Liberal Democrat councillor for Penylan
Bill Kelloway, councillor for Penylan

“What do these so-called planners know?”
“This latest plan contains provision for open land around Cardiff to be freed up, which has now been identified as development land for new housing.
“People who are in touch with their constituencies know that this isn’t very popular. They don’t really want to see the open spaces and green area around Cardiff become an urban sprawl.
“What do these so-called planners know? They’re not necessarily in touch with communities, and certainly what they’ve proposed goes against the views of the people.
“Why should we allow ourselves to be dictated to? We are the elected representatives of the people of Cardiff, why should these unaccountable, faceless bureaucrats be allowed to trample over the will of the council which is simply a reflection of the will of the wider population of Cardiff?
“The Welsh Assembly government has managed to sell off a large chunk of land for agricultural land prices for around £1.8 million. The estimated value of that land now that it has been put aside for development is in the region of £32 million, so what on earth were the Welsh Assembly doing when they knew the council were formulating a Local Development Plan?”