North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has challenged the First Minister over house building in Wales this week, claiming that the number of private units granted planning permission in Wales has decreased while England has seen a substantial increase.
Speaking in the Chamber Mr Isherwood (pictured) said: “Given that, in England, Local Plans produced in consultation with the community have been the cornerstone of planning reforms, how will your Government engage with the Home Builders Federation regarding the statement in its Welsh election paper, ‘Building Communities, Boosting Investment’, that, because of the many improvements in England, in terms of reduced regulation and greater land availability, the relative attraction of investing in the requisite land and skills in Wales has reduced over recent years?
“The results can be seen in the most recently published data on planning permissions, which show that, since the start of 2013, the number of private units granted planning permission in Wales has decreased by 4 per cent, whilst increasing by 49 per cent in England.”
The First Minister replied: “Well, we have seen significant increases in the number of houses being built in Wales over the past two years. It seems to me that, in England, the plans there are designed to block housing development and not to encourage housing development.
"What there needs to be, of course, is a properly regulated development plan so that people are able to see where development will take place. I don’t believe that local development plans, of themselves, are sufficient over a wider economic area, which is why strategic plans, to my mind, have a great deal of force and are a great deal of help when it comes to planning for the future.”
Mr Isherwood added: “So it seems he still won’t listen to those who actually build the homes needed to tackle Labour’s housing supply crisis in Wales. Last year Wales was the only UK nation to see a fall in the number of new homes registered.”