Several community groups will be pleased to learn that the Welsh Government has taken issue with Monmouthshire County Council’s Preferred Strategy for its Replacement Local Development Plan. Responding to the recent consultation, WG’s Chief Planner has said that the strategy’s scale of growth is not, as required, in general conformity with Future Wales: The National Development Framework. The response points out that the strategy proposed almost 5,000 more homes 2018-33 than the government’s mid-range projection, and according to county council figures this would mean no need to allocate any more housing land.
As Monmouthshire’s strategy planned to allocate new land for over 3,600 more homes, the difference between the bodies is large. Meetings and deliberations are planned before planning officers make recommendations on how the county council should proceed. The council could defy the WG response and continue on its present course in the hope that the Inspector will eventually agree with them. But if the Inspector supports the government or a compromise well short of MCC’s plans, there would be an even more embarrassing waste of time and money and a late need to rethink the plan. The sooner the difference between the bodies is reduced to a reasonable level, the better.
It is noteworthy that Cardiff City Council, at an earlier stage in its new Local Development Plan, is moving towards lower growth despite being a growth area in Future Wales, unlike Monmouthshire.