Does Wrexham Really Need a Green Belt?

The new Welsh National Spatial Strategy (replacing the Welsh National Spatial Plan) has a new section

The Welsh Government requires the Strategic Development Plan to identify a green belt around Wrexham and Deeside to manage urban form and growth.
The Strategic Development Plan must consider the relationship of the green belts with the green belt in Cheshire West and Chester. Local Development Plans and development management decisions should not permit major development in the areas shown for consideration for green belts, except in very exceptional circumstances, until the need for green belts and their boundaries has been established by an adopted Strategic Development Plan.

The close relationship between the North East and Cheshire West and Chester and the large green belt immediately adjoining
the administrative borders of Wrexham and Flintshire, mean that long-term development pressures will in part be directed from
England to the North region. The proximity to a large populous English region provides opportunities that can support the North,
but these opportunities must be managed strategically and on a regional basis

Wrexham and Deeside are designated as Growth areas, but the plan envisages limiting growth between Chester and Chester.

Green Belt wraps around Chester to around 5 miles from Wrexham.

Wrexham is around 14km from Chester. There is little chance of convergence.

Growth around Saltney (the welsh bit if Chester) would be good thing as it is next to the major employer Airbus

It is clear the political reason is not taking any of England’s housing need pushed outwards as sprawl because of the constraint of the Green Belt.

All that is needes is a slither of Green Belt North of the Dee at Blacon.

‘Treasury North’ Darlington is not ‘Left Behind’ its 7th fastest growing town in Britain

Some nonsense in the FT Today

The northern England railway town of Darlington has emerged as the most likely location for the Treasury’s new economic campus, despite a last-ditch attempt by senior civil servants to locate the project in a city. Treasury North is set to be the centrepiece of the government’s plans to move 22,000 civil servants out of London by the end of the decade. Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who will make a final decision this weekend, is under pressure from numerous ministers — including Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and international trade secretary Liz Truss — to plump for Darlington on Teesside. They believe this would be a totemic symbol of prime minister Boris Johnson’s pledge to use the levers of government to improve the economies of England’s towns through a “levelling up” agenda. Darlington returned a Tory MP at the 2019 election for the first time in decades. But permanent secretaries, the most senior civil servants, are urging the chancellor to opt for a larger northern city, such as Leeds or Newcastle, with closer ties to universities, according to Whitehall officials. Sunak will announce the location of Treasury North in next week’s Budget. It will take five years to set up and initially house 750 officials — 400 from the Treasury and the rest from other ministries including the business and trade departments. According to individuals with knowledge of the discussions, Sunak’s shortlist for the campus has narrowed to Darlington, Newcastle, Leeds, and Bradford in West Yorkshire. One government insider said: “Ministers are very keen for departments not to move to the big cities. We are the people’s government, so we have to move government closer to the people in communities that have been overlooked and undervalued in the past.” Ministers believe that youthful civil servants should capitalise on the advantages of living so far out of London, including cheap house prices. They believe civil servants are trying to build up “London-like metropolitan clusters” in major cities rather than helping left-behind towns.

However lets see what Invest in Darlington says

“Darlington is the 7th fastest growing economy in the UK – given our size and geographic location that is no mean feat – but more importantly it’s sustained growth, which comes down to having a sound economic strategy created by businesses to meet their needs”.

Key Facts:

Key Facts:

  • Darlington has a higher percentage of the working age population educated to degree level than the average for the North East as a whole
  • Darlington has a higher proportion of people in management and professional occupations compared to the North East (2015 – 2016)
  • In terms of employment concentrations against National and Tees Valley averages Darlington has comparative advantage in a number of sectors, such as, Manufacturing and Engineering, Specialised Construction, Logistics and Financial Service Activities
  • The employment rate in Darlington, currently at 74.7%, outperforms all other areas within the Tees Valley (Source: NOMIS)
  • Gross disposable Household Income for Darlington residents has grown by over 7.9% (between 2012 – 2015) to £16,139

Hardly forgotten, hardly left behind, its a major growth pole in the North East which the TReasury proposal will further facilitate.