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William Powell AM questions First Minister on affordable town centre living

2011 Mehefin 7 10:01 AM
Gan William Powell

Welsh Liberal Democrat Mid and West Wales AM, William Powell has today asked the First Minister how he intends to support the use of empty above shop flats in town centres across Wales as affordable housing.

Speaking in today's debate Mr Powell asked: "First Minister as I am sure you will be aware, there are numerous unused flats above shops in town centres across Wales which could be used as affordable housing given the right incentives.

"These flats would be of great benefit for thousands throughout Wales. In my region especially it could provide town centre living for people who live in rural areas and would otherwise have to rely on sporadic and inefficient public transport to access town centres.

"Furthermore bringing more people into town centres will help revitalise them, with benefits for both the environment and community safety.

"First Minister, will you provide a commitment to help facilitate this perhaps by working with local authorities and national parks as well as major real estates owners and retailers, such as the Cooperative movement (C.R.S.)?"

South Powys and north Monmouthshire Rural Housing Enabler, David James added:

"It is very frustrating that there are numerous examples of empty flats above shops in rural towns throughout Wales when there is such a significant demand for rural affordable housing.

"It is extremely difficult to find suitable land to build new housing on, so a concerted effort to bring these flats back into use could provide much needed homes and at the same time, help regenerate areas that have suffered from decline."

Commenting after Plenary Mr Powell said:

"The First Minister seemed to reply quite favourably, but I shall continue to press for progress in this important area of policy and ensure that his words are transferred into action."