Government reveals most authorities will be unable to meet housing demand
Councils fail to identify five-year supply of land
More than half of Welsh local authorites have failed to identify enough land to meet housing need over the next five years.
Worst performer Cardiff Council will run out of land for new homes of all tenures in 2013 unless it identifies new sites, according to statistics published by the Welsh Government this week.
Under Welsh planning policy, councils must identify a five-year supply of land to meet housing need in a local development plan.
But figures calculated from average building rates and current area plans reveal that 14 of the 25 councils in Wales have failed to meet the target. Six authorities have yet to publish their land availability studies.
According to Cardiff’s study, its land supply will last for just 2.2 years, the shortest time of all the areas.
A report published in February by planning consultancy Turley Associates claimed that 15,000 new homes need to be built in Wales every year for the next five years to meet an anticipated population increase of 75,700 new households by 2015.
Between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011 just 5,505 homes were built in the country.
Richard Price, planning and policy advisor for Wales at the Home Builders Federation, said: ‘There are a number of things that could help house building immediately and one of those is the release of more land for development.
‘We’ve been saying for a while in Wales that we aren’t building enough houses.
‘Many councils suppress development rates because they have a pre-determined idea of how much housing they want, irrespective of the need or demand in the area.
‘The areas that embrace housing development are those that would like to see inward investment and growth, such as Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr. These will have aspirational growth strategies with the appropriate building rates.’
A spokesperson for Cardiff Council said: ‘To a large extent, the current assessment of land available reflects the current economic conditions affecting the house building industry generally, and is not necessarily a true reflection on the amount of land available for development.
‘The study doesn’t count some 4,500 dwelling units [in Cardiff]which already have planning permission, subject to legal agreements being signed. In reality, these could contribute to the five-year supply.’
Rob Thomas, head of planning and transportation at Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: ‘We are working on a new local development plan which will allocate land for development.
‘In the interim, we continue to engage with potential developers on the suitability of sites and the current housing supply is a material factor when assessing new proposals for development.’
A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said: ‘We are in regular contact with local planning authorities regarding the preparation and progress of their development plans and these statistics provide useful information to assist with these discussions.’
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Running out: how long will land supply in Wales last?
Bottom five councils
- Cardiff 2.2 years
- Brecon Beacons 3.2 years
- Vale of Glamorgan 3.3 years
- Newport 3.5 years
- Caerphilly 3.8 years
Top five councils
- Blaenau Gwent 11.6 years
- Gwynedd 11.1 years
- Rhondda Cynon Taff 7.6 years
- Torfaen 5.9 years
- Conwy 5.1 years