Labour AM for the Vale of Clwyd Ann Jones has branded comments made by a property magnate as “wholly irresponsible” after it was suggested the introduction of lifesaving sprinklers in new homes would make parts of Wales “no-go areas.”

Steve Morgan, chairman of Redrow Homes today claimed the company could be “squeezed out of Wales.”

He added: “I’m really concerned that whole parts of Wales will become no-go areas for house building – because house builders will not be able to get the returns they need – and if can’t get the returns we won’t bother and actually go into England and do it there.”

Ann Jones AM said:

“Redrow’s comments threatening not to build in poorer parts of Wales are simply not based in reality and are wholly irresponsible.

“Over the last seven years I’ve tackled the myths around the costs and consequences that have been pedalled by some of the vested interest who oppose the introduction of sprinklers. They’ve been left red in the face.

“The Home Builders Federation in Wales has climbed down from their fictitious and over inflated £5,000 per plot figure – it’s now time for Redrow to do the same. Redrow should release a breakdown of the back of the fag packet calculations they’ve made or move on.

“HBF and Redrow failed to produce successful evidence based arguments when invited to take part in the law making process, so playing out threats in the press is pretty cynical.

“In fact, the committees responsible for scrutinising the law stated that:

“we believe it is unlikely that the proposed Measure will adversely affect development viability in Wales.”

“there is no evidence that they [costs] will be seen as a significant burden on house buyers or have a significant impact on the housing market.”

“I am certain that the legislation will achieve its aim; saving lives and money and I find it dangerous and saddening that someone who apparently has so much influence is still intent on threatening home buyers and the Welsh Government on safety.  

“It was only recently that I congratulated construction firm bosses from Derby who will from now on strongly recommend that customers have sprinklers fitted in their homes; It’s time that Redrow step up to the plate.

“This out-dated macho posturing has typified much of the vested interest opposition we’ve faced. Redrow had its chance to make a case against this law and fell way short of the mark – it’s time they moved on.  

“There is nothing stopping Redrow from fitting sprinklers now. So, come on Steve, fit sprinklers in your next development and see how much they really cost.”