Design Workshop in Cardiff

The Branching Out research project aims to develop new ways of mapping, predicting, and communicating social and cultural values to support robust, evidence-based decision making and management of UK Treescapes. The project is led by Loughborough University.

Click on the picture to go to the Branching Out website and learn more about the project

Cardiff is one of three UK cities being put under the spotlight, and the project has engaged with SaveOurWoods.com to better understand the importance of trees to our campaign and our neighbourhood.

Are you interested in participating in the project’s Design Workshop? You can participate for half a day or a whole day on either 7th or 8th March at the workshops which are being hosted in Chapter Arts Centre.

“You will have the chance to find out more about the Branching Out project, discuss the challenges and opportunities of working in and with urban treescapes, and meet or catch up with similar minded people. We hope that the workshop will be a fun, collaborative learning experience for everyone.”

Andi Setiawan, Research Associate, Branching Out Project

If you’d like to attend on either of these days, please contact Andi to reserve a space. He can be reached at andi [dot] setiawan [at] york [dot] ac [dot] uk

Cardiff Council refuses planning permission

Cardiff Council has now formally refused planning permission for the development of 36 dwellings on land at De Braose Close. The planning officers presented a revised report that contained clear reasons why the application should be refused, and the Planning Committee voted unanimously to refuse the application. The decision notice was issued on the same day (11th January 2024). The applicant has a six month window in which to submit an appeal against this decision.

You can view the decision notice here.

In the meantime, there remains the proposal to designate the site for housing development in the forthcoming revised local development plan (RLDP). Consultation on this, and other proposals, is now closed, but many objections were submitted, including a strong objection from both Kevin Brennan MP and Mark Drakeford MS. You can read more about this here. As the site has now been subject to 3 planning applications, each of which has failed, we are very hopeful that the RLDP will retain the site within the River Taff Corridor, especially as the latest Council decision emphasises that this land is designated Open Space, and development on it cannot be justified.

We will report the RLDP decision here as soon as we are aware of it.

Planning Committee Meeting on 11th January

Simon Gilbert, Head of Planning at Cardiff Council, has confirmed that the planning application will be reported back to the Planning Committee at their meeting on 11th January 2024. The meeting takes place at 10.30am in room CR4 at County Hall. It is a “Multi Location Meeting”, and so will also be available to view online.

Cardiff Council implementing Woodland Trust nature recovery recommendations

Some more good news received today. Cardiff Council has endored the recommendations of the Woodland Trust to promote nature recovery in Wales. Among the five recommendations for Local Authorities is this one:

  • In urban areas, protect woods and trees and associated semi-natural habitats, and support active conservation management through rigorous application of Planning Policy Wales and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) guidance to reduce pressure on nature.

This recommendation seems particularly pertinent to the land near Danescourt that has been threatened by planning applications. This comes as a timely reminder, if needed, to the members of the Planning Committee to see through their intention to reject the planning application when they meet on 11th January.

Click here to read the full Council press release.

Planning Committee Outcome

Following presentations to the Committee by planning officers, a representative of the petitioners, the developer’s agent and the four councillors who between them represent residents in Radyr and Danescourt, the committee Chair proposed that the application be put back to planners to bring it back to committee next month with reasons for refusal (planners had recommended approval). It was seconded by the Deputy Chair, every member had the opportunity to speak to the application which they did. The Committee members voted unanimously in support of the Chair’s proposal.

Accordingly, the case will return to the Committee next month, but this time with a recommendation from Planning Officers for its refusal by the Planning Committee, which we very much hope they will confirm.

Commenting on the outcome, Cllr. Sean Driscoll said:

“I’m really pleased that the saveourwoods.org community campaign to save Danescourt Woodland has been successful. This area of natural woodland alongside Hermit Wood and Radyr Woods that is a stepping stone for wildlife, is well used by walkers from not just Danescourt & Riversdale but by the wider community of Radyr Llandaff & beyond.

Residents supported by the Danescourt Community Association and the Llandaff Society have run a fantastic campaign. Working with my ward colleague Peter Jenkins, I was pleased to play my small part in helping the community to save this wonderful space that is and continues to be, of enormous health and wellbeing benefit.

Today was very difficult for Councillors who I know like me, care passionately about housing and recognise we absolutely need more social housing.

However, as I said in my speech to the planning committee. Putting social housing in a dark damp corner of Danescourt, against a railway line, with unsafe   pedestrian access, on a former city tip is unacceptable and not fair to future occupiers. Planning committee excellently chaired by Cllr Ed Stubbs unanimously agreed.

We have plenty of land allocated for housing. Which needs to be on bus routes, close to shops, surgeries and amenities, that would be better suited.

Llandaff & Danescourt has a deficit when it comes to Public Open Space (POS) which is so important for communities and we need to continue to improve, enhance and protect it.”

We will post links to the committee report here when it becomes available. If it is formally refused next month there will remain the option for the developers to appeal against the decision (as they did on two previous occasions in 2004 and 2014). Our next step is to make sure that the land is recognised as Public Open Space by the Council and remains a part of the Taff River Corridor in the next LDP.

We look forward to next month’s committee meeting in anticipation of the application’s refusal.

Many thanks to everyone who has supported the SaveOurWoods.org campaign over the years.

Planning Committee meeting

After years of delay, Cardiff Council’s Planning Committee will meet to decide the fate of the application to build 36 dwellings on the woodlands and meadow between De Braose Close and Radyr Court Road. The meeting takes place at 10.30am on Thursday 7th December 2023 in Committee Room 4, County Hall, Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff Bay. There is a public gallery should you wish to attend in person, and the meeting will be webcast live with the recording made available for later viewing.

If the Committee decides to approve the application, the Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, will consider whether to intervene and take over the decision, potentially overriding the Council’s decision. In our view, there are very strong grounds to do this, as granting permission would clearly go against numerous policies outlined in the Council’s Local Development Plan, and the Welsh Government’s Planing Policy Wales.

If the Committee rejects the application, against the advice of their own officers, as they did in 2013, we are likely to see an appeal from the applicants, which will result in a hearing before a Planning Inspector in 2014.

Planning Committee Site Visit

The Planning Committee will visit this site at 10.30am on 4th December 2023 prior to deciding on the proposal to replace this meadow with a dense housing development and to drive a road through the peaceful woodlands behind.

If you are free at this time, perhaps you might choose to take a walk through the woods and alongside the meadow to register how much you value this area, which forms part of the public open space designated as such when Danescourt was built, and is today part of the “protected” River Corridor in the Council’s Local Development Plan.

Planning Officers’ Recommendation

The Council’s Planning Officers’ report to the members of the Planning Committee has been published. It recommends approval of the application, depsite its obvious contravention of numerous planning policies, both at Council and Government level. Let us hope that, as in 2013, the Committee recognise this contradiction and reject the recommendation and the application.

You can read the full report here.