A new threat to the woods

Cardiff Council is preparing a new Local Development Plan (LDP) to replace the existing LDP.  This is the guide used by the Council to inform planning decisions.  The current one highlights the social and environmental importance of Cardiff’s River Corridors and vows to “protect, promote and enhance” them.  A map defines the boundaries, and all the land that is subject to the current application to build 36 flats and houses between Danescourt and the River Taff is designated as River Corridor in the current plan.  This is our strongest defence against development on this land.

It is vital for us that the map is not re-drawn to exclude Danescourt Woods from the River Corridor in the new LDP.  The developers who have a current application to build on this land have taken advantage of the Council’s consultation regarding the replacement plan and proposed the woods and meadow as a candidate site to be designated for residential development, removing it from the protected River Corridor.  If this proposal is accepted, housing development across the whole area will be inevitable.

The Council is inviting comments on this proposal to be submitted before 5th October 2023

Click on the picture above to go directly to the page where you can submit your comments on this proposal.

Last push before Planning Committee decision

We’re expecting the planning application to be on the Committee’s agenda for their meeting on 5th October. There’s still time to sign the petition if you haven’t already done so. And you can send a further objection to developmentcontrol [at] cardiff [dot] gov [dot] uk right up to the eve of the committee meeting, making it clear that your objection still stands following recent amendments by the developers. Make sure you quote the planning reference number 20/00187/MJR and include your name and address.

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If you live in or around Danescourt or Radyr Court Road, you should have received our latest newsletter through your letterbox. You can view the newsletter online by clicking here. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Welsh Water to restore Danescourt Woods

I’m delighted to note that Welsh Water have backed down from their plans to make their stone track, that runs from De Braose Close down towards the river, permanent.

We were all horrified when the woodland, that ran directly into Radyr Woods ,was cut in half by the sudden appearance of a stone track. Even more so when Welsh Water announced that they would need it to be a permanent scar in the woods. And to add to the insult, it seemed to be necessary because of inadequate planning to deal with waste water from Plas Dwr.

So it is great news to hear that once the development of an underground connection below the woods across to a new pumping station on the other side of the river is complete, Welsh Water “have decided to remove the track and will fully reinstate the area to its original state once our work has been completed”. The engineering and tunnelling work has to happen first, so reinstatement won’t begin until November 2024 (click here to read the details).

It is great that Welsh Water recognise the value of this land to the local community and to the environment more generally. Perhaps the Council’s Planning Committee will realise what a folly it would be to allow a developer to build an even bigger road and houses through the same woods. I know Cllr. Sean Driscoll has worked hard behind the scenes to achieve this. Others too that I am not aware of, I’m sure. Many thanks to them all. Let’s make sure the Planning Committee know about this!

There is a Welsh Water public information event on 4th September from 4pm to 7pm at Danescourt Primary School. If you’d like to meet with the Welsh Water team, email community [at] dwrcymru [dot] com with your name and preferred time.

WalesOnline article

WalesOnline have published this article about the planning application. Click on the picture to go straight to the article:

Only part of Sean’s statement was quoted in the article. Click here to read his full statement to WalesOnline.

Original Danescourt Master Plan

Many thanks to Esme for finding a copy of the original Danescourt Master Plan, dating from 1975. Here it is, and you can see clearly that it was always intended that the land, now subject to plans to build roads and houses, would be retained as a public open space.

Any decision by Cardiff Council to approve planning permission would clearly be a betrayal of that original plan, which wisely made provision for open space for the benefit of local residents. Although this plan might not carry any legal force, it certainly adds weight to our campaign to preserve this space as intended by the original designers.

Council site visits can resume

The planning application remains “under consideration” awaiting a report and recommendation from the Council’s planning officers. Throughout the pandemic, the Planning Committee has not been permitted to organise any site visit, and our local councillors had strongly argued that the Committee should not take a decision without first visiting the site.

The Council’s health and safety experts are now permitting site visits to resume “provided they are outside, social distancing is maintained, people travel there independently if possible, if not only driver and one other person in a car with windows open and wearing masks”.

If a visit is planned, we will notify the local community, via this site, our Facebook community, and the email mailing list. We are aware that Council planning officers had requested further changes to the planning application, and it may be that this, in turn, will trigger a further round of public consultation, depending on the extent of the changes.

Public Online Meeting – Cardiff Local Development Plan

Cardiff is updating its Local Development Plan. This includes the definition of areas that the Council seeks to protect, like the River Taff Corridor. Cardiff Civic Society is holding a public meeting to discuss the process of revising Cardiff’s LDP. A strong local voice will help ensure that our woods and meadows remain within the river corridor, earmarked for protection. Join Cardiff Civic Society on Tuesday 8th June at 6pm for a Zoom meeting about the LDP, and find out what it means for Cardiff – and how you can have your say.

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or click here to go straight to Eventbrite to reserve your seat!

City Nature Challenge

Here’s an opportunity to show the council the value of our stretch of the Taff River Corridor.

Cardiff & Newport are taking part in this year’s City Nature Challenge, which starts on 30th April 2021. This is a great opportunity for us to capture the birds, animals, insects and plants that inhabit the threatened woods and meadow near Danescourt and record them in this international initiative that is being supported by Cardiff Council. More details on how to join in can be found here:

Welsh Government issues a “Holding Direction” to Cardiff Council

On 18th March I wrote to Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government, asking some detailed questions about clause 1.34 of Planning Policy Wales, and how it relates to this planning application. The government’s planning directorate has decided to consider my questions as a call-in request. The result is that the government has issued a “Holding Direction” to Cardiff Council, preventing them from issuing a planning decision until the call-in process is concluded (though they can still consider the application or refuse consent).

In some special circumstances, where a planning application raises issues of more than local importance, Ministers can “call in” a planning application and effectively take over the decision from the local planning authority. You can read more about the process here. A decision will now be taken to determine whether these special circumstances apply to this planning application. If they do, the Minister will take over the decision from Cardiff Council. If they don’t, the normal planning process will continue, and my original enquiry about clause 1.34 of Planning Policy Wales will still be relevant. I’ll provide updates here as soon as I have further news.