A Welsh Conservative debate in the Senedd today will urge the Welsh Government to adopt an “ambitious national strategy” for urban renewal in Wales.
Shadow Environment Secretary, David Melding, recently published a White Paper – Liveable Cities – which contains a number of detailed proposals to build cities and urban spaces that are social inclusive, environmentally sustainable, and which are built on the principle of the health and wellbeing of citizens.
At the heart of the strategy is an emphasis on “liveability”, with a series of proposals to deliver “healthier, happier” cities.
Around two-thirds of the Welsh population live in urban areas and that proportion continues to rise each year.
The document, entitled ‘Liveable Cities – A Strategy for Welsh Urban Renewal’ introduces 25 policy proposals to transform our urban environments. The policies are conceived with the short, medium and long-term in mind, and address four key themes: Lifestyle, Transport, Housing and Design.
Within the document are a number of ambitious ideas, including proposals to:
- Make Cardiff the UK’s first Carbon Neutral City;
- Pilot a city wide singleuse plastics ban in Wales;
- Ensure that all commercial developments of over 1,000 m² must have green roofing for at least 50% of the total roof area of the development;
- Publicly owned urban brownfield sites will be provided at a discount to develop Urban Eco Quarters – housing developments with shared gardens and which are high density, sustainable and provide for a mixture of tenures;
- Implement clean air zones in Newport, Swansea, Cardiff and Wrexham;
- Co-ordinate our urban policies so that more of Wales’ busiest streets can become pedestrian zones.
Speaking ahead of the debate, Mr Melding said:
“With more than two thirds of the Welsh population now living in the country’s urban areas, there is an urgent need for a strategy to ensure that our towns and cities are healthier, happier living spaces.
“We have an ambitious and innovative set of proposals to reimagine urban areas to avoid the dangers of overcrowding and urban sprawl which have blighted other parts of the world.
“Regional growth deals in Cardiff and Swansea can serve as a catalyst to attracting highly skilled young people from across the country, but that will only heighten the need to create ‘liveable cities’ which are good for the economy, whilst remaining socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable.
“This debate will highlight the need for a robust Welsh Government strategy to improve our urban spaces, and to make our towns and cities places where people want to live.”