Council ‘serious misgivings’ over national development draft

The leader of Anglesey Council says there are ”serious misgivings” about a new development plan for Wales.

Llinos Medi has called on the Welsh Government to reconsider its draft proposals for a National Development Framework (NDF), aimed at setting out key priorities over the next twenty years.

A consultation on the draft document continues until next month.

The council’s executive says it’s delivered a ‘robust response’ to a consultation on the NDF amid concerns about some of the document’s themes and policies.

They argue the draft offers little recognition to important projects such as Wylfa Newydd and the National Grid’s North Wales Connection scheme.

The county council objected to a ”narrow approach” to low carbon energy, which included designating Anglesey as a priority area for future wind and solar developments.

Llinos Medi said the Executive had sent a clear message: ”We have serious misgivings about many elements of the current NDF draft document and will ask (the) Welsh Government to give it urgent reconsideration.”

”Whilst Anglesey is an Energy Island, that does not mean the majority of the island should be considered as available to host more new wind or solar developments.”

”We, like many residents and local communities, are hugely concerned that the island is seen as a priority area for wind and solar, with virtually no socio-economic benefits. This could potentially have a detrimental effect on our tourism industry and compound many other issues affecting rural Wales.”

In its response, the county council argued the NDF did not classify Holyhead as a ‘regional growth area’ for Wales, given that it identified the port’s importance.

It also criticised the draft document for omitting a dedicated Welsh language policy as a ”fundamental flaw” and argued there was a ”lack of vision” for rural areas, risking greater disparity with urban parts of Wales.

Other concerns included:

  • no mention of the proposed third Menai crossing; or the importance of Cardiff Airport as an international gateway and in connecting North and South Wales.
  • a need for a North Wales Metro system – to improve connectivity across the region and into North West England, providing  access to jobs, services and facilities.
  • a lack of explanation on how a level of circa 50% affordable housing provision would be achieved in the majority of sites in rural locations nationally.

Ms Medi added: ”We must have clear alignment between our aspirations at a local level and a national level, ensuring that the direction of travel for future investment in infrastructure and development enhances our communities.”

The Welsh Government says the NDF draft addresses national priorities through the planning system from 2020 to 2040, such as sustaining and developing the economy, decarbonisation, developing resilient ecosystems and improving the health and well-being of communities.

The consultation, which began in August, has been extended until Friday 15th November.

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