Dispelling the myths

DISPELLING THE MYTHS
” The plan is simply cross-border links, they’ve always been there and always will be.”

We felt it only right to correct the somewhat misguided perception some people have referred to about the history of our ‘cross-border links’. Cross-border links are about a plethora of different interactions, such as people going to watch a football match in Liverpool or going for a night out there and vice versa. Cross-border links also extend to students coming to North East Wales to study or Welsh students going to England to study. They also extend to Welsh people accessing health care in England and also vice versa. The sub-regional strategy has nothing to do with health care.  These are just a few examples but it is important to highlight the difference between cross border links and what is being implemented by the sub-regional strategy.

By far the most important factor to consider with this plan is population movements. Natural migration has always happened, people naturally move from one place to another and it is a benefit to welcome in other cultures to our communities. These population movements are generally quite small and therefore allow those moving in to integrate with the existing community. The difference with this plan is that it is anything but natural, the demographic change it is implementing are massive and those moving in generally have a financial advantage over the local population. This is a change that is actively being planned for with no consideration of the social or environmental impacts that inevitably come with it. The economic development aspect of this plan is also ensuring the dramatic changes we are seeing in terms of our built environment, directly impacting on our quality of life. It’s not much fun having to live in the middle of a building site for years on end, in fact it’s a very stressful experience.

The population shifts are so large that we now have planning guidelines that acknowledge that the Welsh identity of the area is under threat (unfortunately the guidelines in place to protect it are not being implemented). Planning for such dramatic changes cannot be considered ‘natural’ or simply ‘cross-border links’, in fact more appropriate terms are social engineering or colonisation.

Yes, there have always been links between North Wales and the North West of England but these have certainly not been as positive as some would now like to suggest! There is an old by law in Chester that is still in existence which allows the shooting of a Welsh man with an arrow should he be found within the city walls after midnight. The clock face in Chester has a blank face to the west, supposedly symbolic of the fact that the English won’t give the time of day to the Welsh. You may think this kind of attitude is confined to the distant past, unfortunately this is not so.

Tryweryn – the drowning of the village of Capel Celyn in the 1970’s to provide the city of Liverpool with water. The city apologised for their actions in 2005, one year later they began to dump Merseyide’s rubbish at Hafod Quarry in the Welsh village of Johnstown, Wrecsam.
“The plan will bring jobs, look at the plans for Deeside and the electrification of the Wrexham to Bidston line.”

The Deeside hub is often referred to as one of the biggest benefits of this plan, employment opportunities will be aided by the electrification of the Wrecsam to Bidston line. Deeside is in Wales, surely then the direct rail link we need is from Wrecsam to Deeside, why do we need the line to go to Bidston? The truth is that documents from councils in Merseyside already provide the answer to this, the rail link will provide job opportunities for the Wirral. Regardless, the fact remains that there is no need for a sub-regional strategy to provide transport links from one part of North Wales to another.

” People opposed to this plan just want to live behind a brick wall.” Aled Roberts 2009, Daily Post and Evening Leader.”

A bland statement that has already been used to try and defend this plan by the leader of Wrecsam council, Aled Roberts. Strangely enough, the People’s Council have found a press article from the Western Mail in 2007 that we would like to share with you . In it Mr Roberts strongly raises concerns that North East Wales is catering for the housing demands of the North West of England, he goes on to say why this causes problems in terms of the increase in house prices locally. It would seem Aled Roberts has changed his mind about the situation, no ‘brick walls’ were mentioned when he quite rightly listed concerns about what was happening a few years ago.

The above is a good example of the type of language used by people trying to defend something that is indefensible, simply hurl insults at those expressing concerns, hope they go away and avoid having to debate the facts!

As for other views expressed by the council, such as the plan has nothing to do with housing, or that it is irrelevant, we would direct them to the following paragraph from their own LDP (local development plan) Preferred strategy published in 2007:

“The West Cheshire/North East Wales Sub-regional Strategy (2006)

Policies of particular relevance to Wrexham County Borough include:

1 -the need to provide between 6000 and 7000 new homes between 2004 and 2021; 2 – the need to continue Wrexham’s role as a key economic driver for North Wales and a significant contributor to the sub-region’s growth; 3-the need to strengthen and promote the Wrexham/Bidston rail corridor and public transport links to Chester 4 – the need to improve the capacity of key highway routes (e.g. A483(T)) to support the continued growth of economic prosperity: 5 – the potential need for more employment land at Wrexham Western Gateway subject to consideration of environmental/landscape impact and whether other locations are more appropriate; 6 – the need to assess the suitability, quality and site readiness of employment land:

“People have got a right to move where they want”

Anyone professing this view needs to seriously think about the whole issue of ‘rights’. People have a basic human right to their national identity, language and culture as outlined by the European Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. When population movements become so large that they threaten the very existence of these things, the above statement becomes discriminatory in itself. Rather than promoting or protecting equality it in fact does the opposite.

” The plan will bring regeneration to areas in need.”

Yes it will, but what does the term ‘regeneration’ mean in real terms? 9 out the 11 areas identified for regeneration in the plan are in Wales, they form a convenient corridor up the A55. As we have seen in several instances in Wrecsam, Denbighshire and Flintshire, regeneration has actually meant re-population.
In the village of Brymbo in Wrecsam there were plans for regeneration, they built a new village and moved new people into it! The existing population were no better off than they were before, the only difference was the general increase in house prices in the area. Unfortunately Brymbo is just one of many examples. It is impossible to regenerate an area at the same time as re-populating it. This only serves to split the community and further marginalise the local population. Those devising the plan have the misguided idea that regeneration means changing the identity of an area and promoting a middle class way of life. Yes we want regeneration but it must benefit the local communities involved. For anyone who was wondering, when the plan refers to ‘regeneration’, it means the building of non-affordable houses. There are various well known suburbanisation studies going back to the 1950’s, these were conducted across Western Europe and highlight the damage this type of social engineering does.

“The plan is sustainable.”

Quite simply, no it is not. The plan is increasing the population of North Wales and building 20,000 non-affordable houses. There is no need for these houses, the people moving into them are not homeless. Both the Welsh Assembly and our local councils have priorities of reducing carbon emissions, how can we even attempt to do this when a plan has been adopted which will do the opposite? The plan will turn North East Wales into a dormitory commuter area for the North West of England, how is commuting sustainable?

These population increases are putting an increasing amount of pressure on our road system, our water
supply and all our services, including doctors and dentists. There can be no doubt that with these population increases come increases in the amount of landfill we produce. We’re concreting over our green spaces, this is in no way ’sustainable’. Unfortunately the plan has no comprehension of other aspects of sustainability such as community cohesion and protection of our identity. Welsh people in Flintshire are already a minority, the same is also now true in several areas of Wrecsam and Denbighshire. The erosion of our identity and the splitting of our communities is not sustainable.
“Lots of Welsh people move to England, what’s the difference?”

There is just no comparison. There is not one area of England where English identity is under threat because tens of thousands of Welsh people have moved there. There are no ‘new villages’ being built in England for Welsh people. There are no commuter estates or luxury apartments being built in England and aimed at Welsh commuters. There are no examples of Welsh people moving to an English County and buying up all the businesses there. There is not one new development in England that has been given a Welsh name, yet most of the new developments in Wales are given English names.

We acknowledge the point here that those responsible for the damage being done in North East Wales are developers, planners, consultancy firms, council officers and Assembly officers. The majority of the people who move here are unaware of the effect they are having because they have no comprehension of Welsh identity, language or culture and the pressure these are under. This is because North Wales is being actively marketed to them as merely an extension of the North West of England. It is the planning system that needs to be changed, the sub-regional plan scrapped and the supposed ‘experts’ who have conceived this plan made accountable for the damage they are causing.

Since word has started to get out about this plan, many people have been asking whether or not it’s real. It does sound unbelievable that a plan of this scale with such severe implications could have been kept quiet for so long. The unfortunate truth is that this plan is indeed real. Anyone seeking further information may simply search online or if they live in North East Wales, contact their local planning department for a copy of the strategy in full.

In truth, even without the documentation it is becoming obvious to more and more people that something has been going on for quite some time. We need only to look around at the amount of development, both housing and retail that we have seen in the North East in recent years to see the results of sub-regional strategy and the thinking behind it. One of the most obvious effects of the large population increases we’ve been experiencing is the dramatic increase in the amount of traffic over the last few years.

In terms of housing, the plan is building 20,000 non-affordable houses across North East Wales, this is in addition to the thousands that have already been built over the last decade. It is vital to understand that this plan has already been adopted. On a scale of 1 – 10 we are already on stage 5 in terms of its implementation. Using Wrecsam as an example, our UDP (which is the development plan for the area over a 15 year period) has already overshot its housing figures by 40% plus. Around another 7,000 non-affordable houses currently have planning permission in Wrecsam alone with even more being planned for. All this at a time when we have a huge shortage of land supply for affordable housing.

In Denbighshire, by 2021 they intend to build 2,000 new houses on greenfield opposite Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and  another 2,000 adjoining East Rhyl.  In addition to other large developments in Prestatyn, Llanelwy, Ruthin, Corwen and smaller ones in many other settlements, even small villages such as Henllan and Rhuallt don’t escape. The larger ones literally amount to artificially created new towns. There is NO LOCAL NEED for this whatsoever.

Don’t let the economic downturn fool you, people have commented that this plan is now redundant because of the downturn in the housing market. This downturn is not permanent and future housing growth for North East Wales is currently being planned for by all the relevant local authorities.