Thursday, March 22, 2007

Plaid,affordable housing and those business deals

Firstly I have little doubt that affordable housing is a key issue in our communities and I spend some of my working time dealing with affordable housing issues in the planning system. That quickly teaches you what a complex problem this is.

But this type of challenge from Plaid Cymru should not go without comment as we can look at their track record here in Gwynedd where the Party of Wales hold power in the council.

Firstly the council seems generally obsessed with restricting planning for new homes as they fear the evil developers will run riot. In spite of this they can approve apartments costing some £300-500,000 in a new project on Victoria Dock, Caernarfon. I am sure the people of Caernarfon are very thankful that such affordable units were negotiated on Plaid's own doorstep. Perhaps Alun Ffred Jones, Dafydd Wigley and Ieaun Wyn Jones had been distracted by the pads in Cardiff Bay.

I just hope no Plaid councillors have taken options on the flats, nor their major supporters (is it do as I say or do as I do ?) Any names accepted with interest !!

(No need to blog, you can visit and then e-mail in privacy).

Plaid's annual conference meets next door to the new Victoria Dock development this week, and luckily one of the companies in which Dafydd Iwan is a board member (Arianrhod) managed to buy another adjoining property from Gwynedd Council where he of course leads on regeneration and other issues. I understand that Arianrhod may have paid more than a pound for their building- perhaps Dafydd should ask for an inquiry ! Anyway I digress ...

We also know that Gwynedd Council consistently failed to spend money allocated for social housing in the county - was it six million pound, allocated but not spent, at the last count ?

Finally I do struggle with this idea for a grant for new home buyers - by the way would Alun Ffred Jones and Dafydd Wigley call this "grant" a "bribe" as they recently described grants for inward investment ?

The grant is to be means tested - can we have details please !.

Won't the market just adjust prices as more new entrants come forward ? Estate agents must be delighted and Plaid may well fuel the very problem they are trying to address.

So Thursday nights pub quiz :

a) Is the house buying "grant" a "bribe" ?

b) Which members/supporters of Plaid have taken options/purchased flats in Victoria Dock ?

c) How many other deals/properties has the 'Arianrhod' company, of which Dafydd Iwan is a board member, secured in Gwynedd over recent years ?

d) How much grant money has this company received via objective one etc ?

e) Does anyone have details of the means test to be applied to the housing grant ?

I must have missed some questions !

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