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RHA Climate Change Minister, Julie James

Resilient planning systems and strategic relationships key to delivering affordable homes in Wales

Systemau cynllunio gwydn a pherthnasoedd strategol yn allweddol i ddarparu cartrefi fforddiadwy yng Nghymru

In a speech in the Senedd, the Cabinet Secretary for Housing, Local Government and Planning outlined her key priorities for her new portfolio.

Addressing the Chamber, The Cabinet Secretary said: “My new portfolio of Housing, Local Government and Planning, brings together the key elements required to deliver my top-most priorities; tackling homelessness and the commitment to deliver 20,000 additional homes for rent in the social sector.”

To achieve these priorities, the Cabinet Secretary intends to formalise the strategic relationship between local government and the Welsh Government.

The Programme for Government outlines the Welsh Government’s ambitious target of delivering 20,000 homes for an affordable social rent this Senedd term.

The national development plan, Future Wales, identifies that over the period 2019-2039 around 110,000 new homes will be required in Wales.

By working more closely and effectively with local government and continuing to strengthen the resilience of planning services, we can maximise our chance of delivering much-needed homes in Wales.

The Cabinet Secretary continued: “With a stronger, more resilient planning system, and a more strategic relationship with local authorities, I am confident we can maximise our chances and deliver more affordable homes in Wales.”

Recent statistics show that in 2022-23, the delivery of affordable housing by local authority partners tripled in the last five years.

Support to deliver affordable homes has been provided through a record investment in the Social Housing Grant, additional investment and flexibility through the Transitional Accommodation Capital Programme and the much-needed uplift to the Housing Support Grant.

Resilient planning systems are essential to delivering affordable homes and work is already underway to improve planning services and resourcing.

The Cabinet Secretary will be engaging with Corporate Joint Committees to address resourcing and to improve resilience.

Local authorities were also encouraged to review their Local Development Plans in a timely manner to strengthen the resilience of planning services and speed up processes.

Ensuring the safety of homes is another key priority and the Cabinet Secretary recently announced a route to remediation for every residential building over 11 metres, irrespective of the presence of cladding. 

The Cabinet Secretary also plans to introduce legislation to establish a new regulatory system in Wales, create clearer lines of accountability and impose a range of statutory duties on relevant “duty-holders” of multi-occupied residential buildings.