Monday, 29 June 2009

Plaid challenge over affordable homes

In a meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council, Plaid's group leader, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, challenged the council's leadership over the implementation of the council's policy on affordable homes. "The policy is a very good one, on the whole," said Cllr Hughes Griffiths, "but I am concerned that we do not always adhere to it. When developers seek permission to build more houses in the county, the council always tries to get an agreement for a proportion of the homes to be affordable. It seems at times, however, that it is too easy for the developers to come back after they have obtained permission, and change the agreement - usually to reduce the number or proportion of affordable homes.

"The result can be that the developments we see in our towns and villages do not go far enough to meet the needs of local people. It's certainly a difficult area, because the council's officers warned very clearly that unless the council is prepared to negotiate over such changes, then there could be a costly appeal which the county could lose. To me, this shows a weakness in the whole area of planning law - once the council has made a decision, we should expect that decision to be implemented."

Cllr John Edwards expressed his concern that the council would not meet its own targets for affordable houses on the basis of the figures presented to the council. He added, "What we need is a system of planning which starts from identifying local need and then responds to that need, rather than a system where developers seek to build those houses which will generate the most profit. Planning should always be led by need."

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