The Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Arfon, Sian Gwenllian, has called for balance in the planning system to ensure that it does not favour large developers at the expense of local needs and community sustainability.
Sian Gwenllian AM’s comments echo those made by barrister and planning expert Gwion Lewis who previously outlined his vision ti give greater control to communities over housing and other developments in their area.
Sian Gwenllian AM will lead a public meeting to discuss local need for housing and the Welsh language within the planning system alongside Gwion Lewis on Friday 10th of August at the Societies 1 venue at the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff.
The meeting will discuss strengthening the voice of local communities in the process of developing Local Development Plans whilst looking at the role of major developers and communities in managing the housing market and questioning whether a planning system can be created that could inherently benefit local communities and the Welsh language.
The meeting follows the statement by Cymdeithas yr Iaith on Monday that the Welsh Government’s planning guidance is "unlawful" and cannot adequately take into account the impact of planning applications on the Welsh language.
Sian Gwenllian AM and shadow cabinet secretary for the Welsh language and planning said,
“There is a need to establish a new planning system across Wales that will ensure the voices of local communitise are heard when planning developments are presented.
I fear that large developers do not take enough notice of local needs under the current system.
Local people need to have a voice in any land or housing development processes and any planning system needs to assess the local need and impact developments will have on local communities.
Any new planning regime system to move away from being based on population growth and rather adopt a holistic and strategic way of thinking about the needs of the local community thereby taking into account factors such as road infrastructure, schools, community facilities, green spaces as well as the impact of housing developments on the Welsh language and community sustainability.
"I believe that decisions on planning applications on a county level should continue but it must be based on strategic planning that include robust methods to assess the local need in each county in Wales. Others argue for giving community, town, city and parish councils the right to decide on individual applications. We will have the opportunity to explore more on that issue with Gwion Lewis on Friday. I look forward to an entertaining and constructive discussion. "