A PLAN to scrap the need for councils to have a five-year housing land supply has been backed by Caerphilly councillors, despite concerns it will reduce the amount of homes built.

The Welsh Government is consulting on removing the need for a housing land supply over concerns it is leading to an increase in ‘speculative’ planning applications.

As of April last year, 19 out of 25 planning authorities in Wales were unable to identify enough land to build new housing in their areas to meet predicted population growth over the following five years - with four having no supply at all.

With a shortfall of deliverable land, councils have reported a rise in ‘speculative’ planning applications for housing developments on sites which are not allocated in Local Development Plans (LDPs.)

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However Caerphilly council planning bosses say scrapping the five-year land supply will have the “unintended consequence of reducing housing delivery.”

At a planning committee meeting on Wednesday, Rhian Kyte, from the council’s planning team, said the authority is currently “nowhere near” meeting its house building targets.

Figures show the authority is delivering just over 100 houses per year against a target of 575.

Ms Kyte said removing the housing land supply would create ‘uncertainty’ for developers and deter investment.

Planning officers said the way the five-year supply is calculated should be changed, but not scrapped entirely as proposed.

“The approach from Welsh Government appears to be to delete all controversial housing policies in national policy and not replace them with an alternative approach that can be applied to all local

authorities to actively result in greater housing delivery,” a draft response from Caerphilly planning chiefs said.

But Cllr John Taylor disagreed, saying abolishing the five-year land supply would be “very helpful” and could help reduce speculative applications on greenfield sites which the authority has been ‘resisting.’

“Developers will still want to make the money,” he said. “They are not going to go on strike and not do any building.”

Cllr John Ridgewell also supported abolishing the housing land supply, adding:  “All that happens is developers do not build where they have consents because the more lucrative greenfield sites can be threatened and won on appeal.”

An authority’s five-year housing land supply, or lack of it, is currently a consideration in determining planning applications.

The planning committee voted to support the abolition of the five-year housing land supply, and also said that the wider policy, known as TAN 1, should be rewritten, rather than revoked in its entirety as proposed.