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Why Wales needs a ‘Developers Charter’

Across Wales, developers are building thousands of homes and in Cardiff North, some purchasers of new build properties are getting a raw deal writes Cllr Joel Williams. 

When Council’s consider planning applications they will often attach conditions of consent. These conditions set out the obligations placed on developers in return for granting planning permission. Often for large developments, these conditions will include requirements to deliver community amenities such as schools, community centres and allotments.

Purchasers are often wooed by the prospect of a brand new school to send their children or a new play area or allotment plot. Sadly and all too often, developers seem to only be interested in raking in profits and fail to meet their conditions of planning.

In Cardiff North I have seen firsthand the plight of new build purchasers who are tied in to costly management companies. These management companies are often responsible for roads, play areas and outdoor spaces within developments. What is wrong is that residents pay (on top of these management fees), Council Tax; which is there to cover these responsibilities. As a result the Council gets 100% Council Tax contributions from residents in these new developments, which the Council then spend in other areas, because residents in these new developments are paying management fees to cover their own areas. It’s wrong and it’s about time the Senedd legislated to protect purchasers of new build properties.

A Developers Charter would set out the legal requirements expected from developers and outline protections for purchasers. I have no problem with developers making profit however profit must be made ethically. Developers must abide by their conditions of planning. A Charter could set out strict penalties, such as stopping notices, for developers who flagrantly disregard their obligations.

In a development in Cardiff North, the developer continued to build and sell properties throughout the pandemic yet failed to progress community amenities. It’s not acceptable and in my view the Planning Department at Cardiff Council have not been tough enough on developers who fail to develop in line with their planning conditions. As a result, the residents in these new developments have got a raw deal.

It may shock some readers that I am advocating a position which effectively places additional obligations on developers, some may call it ‘red tape’. My view has always been, and always will be, that the larger the State, the smaller the citizen. However in this area, State intervention is needed to protect purchasers and therefore the additional obligations are entirely justified and reasonable.

In Cardiff North I want to be a fresh outlook for residents, businesses and communities. The issues I campaign on are issues I’ve been made aware of by residents in our Community. I’m unapologetic in saying I will work with politicians from other political parties to achieve the changes we need to improve our communities.

By introducing a Developers Charter, Wales can lead the way in protecting purchasers and ensure communities get a fair deal from developers. I believe this is an issue which would attract support from across the political spectrum and that is a good thing. Politicians working together to address issues which matter is something we should champion and support.   

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