Casebook: Appeal case - Housing: new build - Assembly rejects agency proposal for homes

The Welsh Assembly has dismissed an appeal by the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) for housing on a special employment site in south Wales, concluding that the scheme would undermine a local authority's economic and employment strategy.

The site had been allocated in a recently adopted unitary development plan (UDP). The WDA claimed that this had been contrary to the UDP inspector's recommendation that the land was better suited to housing. It asserted that this was an important material consideration, since the council had failed to give adequate reasons why it had decided not to accept the inspector's advice.

The assembly agreed that this was a material consideration. However, it noted that the council had identified a number of sites with good accessibility to the M4 as suitable for hi-tech business, manufacturing and research and development uses. It agreed that there had been a decline in general manufacturing but reasoned that other sectors such as information technology, financial services and telecommunications were expanding.

The assembly decided that it was necessary to ensure that a range of high-quality sites are available for these types of business. It also noted that there was no overriding need for additional housing development in the borough. This reinforced its conclusion that the land should be retained for special employment purposes to attract inward investment and expand job opportunities.

DCS No: 100039441; Inspector: Emyr Jones; Inquiry.

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