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LDP will be first hot potato for Labour
Friday, 11 May 2012
THE major issue to come out of last week’s council elections – which saw the Conservatives suffer big losses in the Vale – will now be the future of the controversial Local Development Plan (LDP).
In a last-minute move just before the elections, Labour pledged to scrap the LDP and start all over again.
Although Labour does not have an absolute majority on the new Vale Council – it has 22 seats, while the various opposition parties can total 25 – there is little doubt that it will be able to go ahead and carry out its promise.
This is because Plaid Cymru, who took six seats on the council, has already come out and said it wants the LDP scrapped too.
The former Plaid leader, Chris Franks, who has returned to the council after winning a seat in Dinas Powys, told The GEM: “If Labour forms the administration, we will hold them to their firm commitment to scrap the flawed LDP. We agree that we should start the process again.”
Speaking before the election, the Labour Leader, Coun Neil Moore, said that all aspects of the plan would be looked at, but he made it clear that, in Labour’s opinion, the eastern Vale was being asked to take too much of the housing allocation.
He said this was bad because of the loss of green spaces, and also because the development was going ahead with no regard to whether the roads and general infrastructure could cope with the increased number of residents.
Another question that will arise is just how long Labour has to work on a new LDP.
Coun Neil Moore told The GEM that it would take as long as was necessary, and insisted that there was no formal deadline for lodging the plan with the Welsh Assembly.
However, Coun Jeff James said that time was a major factor, because the LDP had already been delayed by 18 months. This was because developers who wanted to build ‘Llandow Newydd’ – a development of more than 2,000 homes, a school, shops and business space – took the Vale Council to court after Llandow Newydd was not included in the LDP as a candidate site.
He said that if the council fell too far behind the deadline, the Assembly could move in and take it over – a prospect Coun Moore dismissed.
A GEM query to the Assembly at the time, asking for clarification over whether there was a firm deadline, did not receive a definitive answer.
(For comments on last week’s local elections, see page 6 of our digital edition).
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