This week the Welsh Government, led by First Minister Carwyn Jones, published the ‘Taking Wales Forward’ five-year national programme which sets out how the Government will build a more ‘prosperous, secure, healthy, ambitious, united and connected Wales’ through a stronger economy, a more sustainable Wales and reformed public services.
As part of the ‘Prosperity for all’ strategy there is a recognition of the importance of providing the people of Wales with high quality affordable homes which can lead to a wide range of benefits to public health, learning and prosperity.
Speaking before the Assembly on Tuesday, the First Minister highlighted that the strategy will seek to:
1. Work in partnerships to deliver an extra 20,000 affordable homes in the next Assembly term;
2. Support the construction of more than 6,000 homes through the Help-to-Buy scheme;
3. Introduce a new ‘Rent to Own’ housing model;
4. Explore options to end land banking; and,
5. Continue long-term collaboration with house builders to deliver accelerated rates of house building.
The Welsh Government aims to achieve its stated ambitions through ‘effective planning, investment in infrastructure, procurement, and tax powers.’
The Programme also highlights the Welsh Government’s commitment to delivering a National Infrastructure Commission for Wales which will seek to provide increased certainty and sustainability for investment in the future and will act as an important voice for Wales in securing future funding for large scale infrastructure projects.
Responding to the First Minister’s statement, Hefin David AM, the Assembly Member for the Caerphilly constituency, argued that in the current planning system, Local Development Plans are a ‘manifestation of regional inequality’ and that they are ‘broken.’ However, Mr David’s contribution also sought to highlight the Welsh Government’s commitment to ‘unlock the potential of SMEs to build homes’ contained within the strategy, and called on the Welsh Government to consider revisiting a policy which would provide support to enable SMEs to remediate and develop more brownfield sites.
Indeed, the remediation and development of brownfield land and ensuring effective local and regional planning will be vital in achieving the objectives of the ‘Taking Wales Forward’ strategy. Without effective avenues of delivering new homes, whether that be through an efficient planning system or support during the development of brownfield sites, the lofty ambitions and the promised prosperity of this strategy will be difficult to deliver.
If you want to know more about the National Assembly, the wider devolved political landscape or would like further information on the ‘Taking Wales Forward’ Strategy and how this affects the opportunities for development in Wales, please get in contact with Remarkable’s Wales office at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the team on 02921 670 468.