South East Wales

Council approves Cardiff homes expansion plan

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Media captionConcerns have been raised about a lack of transport links to support the increased population

Plans to map out the expansion of Cardiff with thousands of new homes have been backed by councillors.

The Local Development Plan (LDP) will designate land for the remaining 18,000 or so homes of the 41,000 expected to be built in the city until 2026.

Concerns have been raised about a lack of transport links to support the increased population, as well as plans to build on some greenbelt land.

The council says the plan has the necessary infrastructure "built in".

The LDP will now be submitted to the Welsh government for consideration.

All councils are required to have an up-to-date LDP but Cardiff's was rejected by the Welsh government and the planning inspectorate.

The draft LDP before councillors on Thursday proposed the biggest building project in the city since the 1960s.

Some 23,800 of the homes earmarked in the proposed LDP have already been built or have planning permission.

But the remaining developments have proved controversial, with up to 13,450 new homes proposed on five greenfield sites.

Opposition was voiced at Thursday's council meeting, however councillors voted to progress with the plans.

Several councillors raised concerns about whether the city's transport infrastructure would be able to cope with the increased population while others were unhappy about the use of greenbelt land.

Image caption The planned housing to the north and west of the city

Councillor Kirsty Davies said communities from across the city were complaining about the LDP but were "not being listened to".

"It will go down as one of the biggest mistakes in Cardiff's history," she said.

"This council needs to stand up for Cardiff and for it to grow at its own pace and sustainably."

However Councillor Richard Cook said affordable homes were needed for Cardiff to continue to thrive.

"We need the social housing and we need the affordable housing for those people who want to live in Cardiff and those people who want to have children in Cardiff," he said.

Cardiff councillor Ramesh Patel, responsible for transport‚ planning and sustainability, had said the LDP would also provide jobs.

"By 2026 we're hoping to have approximately 40,000 new jobs created," he said.

"When you have the infrastructure built in during the planning process, people are going to know exactly what you are going to have."

Metro system

The plan also includes changes in transport, with the council having ambitions for additional car use to be matched by sustainable transport use but critics want to see more detail in the proposals.

Roger Tanner, of Cardiff Civic Society, told BBC Radio Wales that large developments planned for the north west of Cardiff will add increased pressure on existing traffic problems.

He is urging the council to delay expanding in that part of the city until the details of a new south Wales metro system is known.

Owain Llywellyn, from Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in Wales, said expansion in Cardiff was needed as it was no longer sustainable to build only on brownfield city sites, but agreed the transport system needed to "looked at critically".

Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan and the constituency's AM Mark Drakeford have described the latest plan as an improvement on the previous version.

However, in a joint response last November, they stated: "...it is still our view that projections of both demand for and supply of housing in the plan are flawed, and in both cases are over-inflated."

They warned that "without adjustments to the plan, the quality of life and access to amenities of the current and future population may be compromised".

The two politicians called for a more "phased approach" to the plan and raised what they described as "serious concerns" about whether proposed improvements to the transport system were feasible.

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