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Cardiff 'on course to build 11,000 homes in five years'

There is no doubt that the next few years should see high demand for the services of insulation and waterproofing fitters - be it for showers or cellars - if the UK comes anywhere near meeting its annual housing targets. Having come into office in 2015 on a pledge to build a million new homes by 2020, the Conservatives upped that figure to 250,000 this year in their housing white paper, before repeating the pledge in their election manifesto.

This increase is a tacit admission that some catching up is needed to hit the target, and while the numbers of new homes being built have been rising, there is much more to do.

Of course, the target cannot be hit just by government diktat, as if a minister could just press a button and make hundreds of thousands of homes appear. Local authorities across the UK have a role to play if the challenging target is to be met. 

In Wales, the assembly government is in charge of housing, but it is across Cardiff at the city hall where the Local Development Plan was devised and adopted last year. It has set a target for 11,000 new homes to be built in the city by 2022.

Achieving this figure will not be easy, even though the first annual monitoring report for the plan noted 1,000 of these will be built as a result of direct investment in council housing. It will mean more than doubling the rate at which new homes are built compared with the last ten years, when 9,242 properties were completed. 

Cabinet member for housing and communities Lynda Thorne remarked: "Cardiff is a thriving city with one of the fastest growing populations in the UK so addressing demand of all types of housing across the city is vital.

"It's very encouraging to see that the city is set to return to significantly higher rates of delivering new homes."
"We are also one of only a handful of local authorities in the UK who have committed to building new council homes, and have set a target to deliver 1,000 new council homes over the next five years.

Developing partnerships with local developers is central to the plan, with this offering a route to building the 2,000 private homes a year the city needs, the monitoring report stated.

Finding space for new homes is always an issue in a densely built-up city, and while Cardiff is far from the most densely populated in Britain - a title that was actually held by Portsmouth at the time of the last census but has probably now passed to London - it is the most built up in Wales. Two council wards in the inner city - Plasnewydd and Adamsdown - are now estimated to have a population density of more than 100 persons per hectare. These areas characterised by dense terraced housing developments.

While much of the recent development has involved building apartments in Cardiff Bay, family housing has been in high demand and new development will be focused both on brownfield sites and greenfield areas around the periphery of the city.

In the latter case, the first phase of the 6,000-home Plasdwr Garden Village development started this year after getting planning permission from the city council. Developed by Redrow Homes, it will occupy what is currently a green corridor running along the western boundary of the city.