Guest post by Elin Walker Jones
Elin Walker Jones is the Plaid Cymru constituency candidate for Cardiff North.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, My Cardiff North.
The city of Cardiff is a small city, compared to cities across the UK and the rest of the world. Nevertheless, the benefits of living in Cardiff, and the problems that Cardiff faces are in line with any other urban areas albeit on a smaller scale.
People love Cardiff – the amenities, the opportunities for work and leisure that our beautiful city has to offer, and on the down side, as more and more flock to live here – particularly our young people – the problems of congestion, waste, and noise increase to intolerable levels. Crime becomes a bigger problem, and the need for communities living side by side to tolerate each other’s customs becomes an increasing issue. Cardiff has always been wonderfully multicultural: this fabulous diverse rainbow of people, food, language, lifestyles and customs were some of the things that appealed to me when I was first a student in Cardiff many years ago.
We need an ambitious government to tackle the problems of urban living, taking into consideration the effects of growth on the rest of Wales, and neighbouring countries such as England.
The Urban Age programme that looks at these issues in cities across the world. It is a collaboration between politicians, professionals and academics – people who don’t normally get together. The aim is to think and plan creatively for solutions to urban issues – to reduce traffic congestion, waste, noise pollution and so on, and increase active travel, recycling, etc. If people can get together across the world to think of solutions to such issues, why not Wales?
In Wales, we have a piecemeal approach. For example, the Labour-run Cardiff City Council and the Labour-run Caerphilly Council – neighbouring councils – are building homes without thinking about the effects on each other! Cardiff’s LDP includes plans for over 40,000 houses, including building on greenfield sites north of Cardiff. OK, the green wedge has it saved for now – just until 2026. But what about after that?
Caerphilly’s LDP includes plans to build over 600 homes on Caerphilly mountain, as well as a new road. Such plans will create a complete gridlock in Cardiff North – it’s bad enough already! Petitions are not going to resolve this. We need a Welsh Government planning strategy to take an overall view of planning in Wales, to make sure that houses, roads and general transport and economic infrastructure has a Welsh plan, and not just hope that the jigsaw pieces will fit somehow.
Plaid Cymru plans to create a Welsh Planning Inspectorate, which will oversee a National Development Framework, ensuring that local development plans take account of local needs for housing, protecting greenfield sites, and planning for the necessary infrastructure such as roads etc.
Labour have had 17 years to develop a Wales- wide strategy for planning, to build homes – affordable homes for people who want to bring up their families in a safe, warm, affordable and clean place that they can call their own. Where have Labour been?
Plaid Cymru has a range of policies that can support the development of Cardiff as a successful and vibrant city.
- Ambitious plans for infrastructure development, supporting the South East Wales Metro, and creating roads and railway transport links fit for the 21st century for the whole of Wales, in a joined up fashion.
- Abolishing the Right to Buy scheme, so that people can access rented housing, and supporting local authorities to build council housing.
- Progressive plans to tackle waste, by bringing the Zero Waste Wales commitment forward by twenty years, working with producers to reduce packaging, increase recycling facilities, ensure more and more items are recyclable, and make it a requirement for retailers and manufacturers to recycle, reuse, as well as reducing their food waste. Labour-run Cardiff City Council is busy closing recycling centres – making it more difficult for people to recycle their waste and increasing the likelihood of fly tipping.
- Pushing for the devolution of police and criminal justice powers to Wales, like they are in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
- Scrapping Police Commissioners and focus on much-needed community policing. The plan is to increase joint working between local authorities, housing associations and the police, so that together we can crack down in anti-social behaviour.
Wales needs change. Plaid Cymru is the only party that will put the needs of the people of Wales first. Plaid Cymru has an ambitious plan of government, fit for 21st century living.
Vote for Plaid Cymru on May 5th: the change Wales needs.
By Elin Walker Jones