Following on from my previous post, a few more things need to be said about the way those we elect and, perhaps more importantly, those we do not elect, plan how many new dwellings will be built in Wales in the next couple of decades.
In that previous post I wrote of Carl Sargeant, Minister for Housing and Regeneration, and his assertion that the number of households in Wales would increase by 323,009 between 2008 and 2033. The StatsWales figures quoted by Carl Sargeant predict a decrease in household size in this period from 2.27 persons to 2.02, and taking an average of 2.12 (2020), this ‘translates’ into a population increase of some 685,000. Though the most recent (2012) population projections from StatsWales predict an increase of just 247,00 between 2012 and 2037. How do we make sense of these differing figures?
Though before proceeding it’s worth remembering that there is no exact or direct correlation between the increase in the number of households (and therefore the number of dwellings needed) and the increase in population. An increase in the number of households cannot translate exactly into an increase in population. Certain factors come into play, such as more people living on their own, smaller families, or even slum clearance programmes. But I doubt if many older properties in Wales will be demolished and I have used the household size projections provided by StatsWales so, even allowing for more of us living on our own, there seems no way to reconcile the two sets of figures.
Yet the answer lies in the fact that the ‘households’ figure is from 2008 (updated September 29, 2010) whereas the population projection I’ve used is from 2012. Also note that the population projection in 2012 shows a reduction of 116,000 from the projected increase made just two years earlier. (All explained in the panel on the right. Click to enlarge.) Now it stands to reason that if the population projections have been substantially reduced then the number of households projection also needed to be revised, yet this has not been done. With the result that, over the past two or three years, our local authorities have been ordered to plan new dwellings on the basis of discredited data. Worse, those demanding that our councils pass these Local Development Plans knew the figures used to justify those plans were unreliable.
Without, I hope, appearing too personal, I must return to Carl Sargeant for a moment. If you read his letter of November 12th last year to William Powell AM, Chair of the Petitions Committee, you will see that the ‘households’ figure he (Sargeant) had been working with seems to have been an even higher figure than the 323,009 of StatsWales! (Left, click to enlarge.) But worse, he appears to admit that his officials can’t explain where the figures they’ve been using came from! Can you believe this? So where might Sargeant’s officials have got this insane, and now lost, figure they were using? Thin air is one possibility, but a much more likely source is the Planning Inspectorate, represented in Wales by Richard of Poppleton (see previous post).
To help understand the mismatch in the two sets of figures on a local level, let us look at Denbighshire, where the council is being ordered – by Planning Inspectorate officials – to build thousands of
new properties for English commuters much-needed local homes, 7,500 by 2021. According to StatsWales’ 2008-based household projection the number of households in the county will increase, between 2010 and 2021, by 5,972, and this figure is, presumably, being used to justify the building programme. Yet the most recent (2011) StatsWales population projection says that the county will see growth of just 4,134 between 2010 and 2021. There is no sensible way of explaining the same body predicting, for the same area, a greater increase in new households than in total population . . . unless of course, we are dealing with a population that has yet to arrive in Wales?
What we are facing here is a blatant colonisation strategy being implemented by the Planning Inspectorate. A calculated assault on Welsh identity. It is now time for Carl Sargeant and others down Cardiff docks to stop acting as fig leaves for this racist programme – pretending these are their strategies – and to start serving Welsh interests by standing up to cross-border agencies that do not have Welsh interests at heart.
The Local Development Plans were based on what was known to be incorrect information in order to maximise the number of properties available to English buyers and tenants. This colonialist motivation should surely invalidate these LDPs. If the ‘Welsh’ Government fails to recall the discredited LDPs then this will provide further evidence of the organ grinders and monkeys nature of Welsh political and public life.