The need for affordable housing in Monmouthshire took centre stage at a recent Senedd session, with Peter Fox MS, member for Monmouth, accusing the new Labour-controlled council and Welsh Government of lacking ambition.

Mr Fox cited a dramatic reduction in proposed affordable homes in the council's latest preferred strategy, sparking a response from Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change.

Fox highlighted his 13 years as leader of Monmouthshire council and the ambitious target of building over 8,000 houses, including 2,450 affordable homes, in the council's June 2021 replacement Local Development Plan (LDP). However, after objections from the Welsh Government, the target was significantly reduced, with the number of affordable homes now ranging between 1,580 and 1,850.

The Labour-controlled council's December 2022 preferred strategy further reduced the number of proposed affordable homes to between 1,400 and 1,600, with a total housing projection of 5,500 over 15 years. Fox questioned the government's commitment to affordable housing in Monmouthshire, given these changes.

Ms James responded with surprise, noting her close working relationship with Fox during his tenure as council leader. She emphasised that the issue was not political but rather related to the LDP policy on greenfield development. Ms James stressed that the affordable homes initially proposed relied on private development against these policies.

The Minister expressed disappointment with Fox's accusations and assured that the government works closely with every administration across Wales to ensure their LDPs are fit for purpose. The ongoing debate highlights the growing urgency around affordable housing in Monmouthshire and the need for strategic solutions.