From 6th April Welsh Water will be conducting a ground investigation in the woods between De Braose Close and the railway. All local residents have been informed, and both Welsh Water and Cardiff Council have made it clear that this investigation has nothing to do with the application to build the road and houses in these woods and neighbouring meadows.
The ground investigations have been triggered by the need to design new construction work on the main sewer network to accommodate the Plas Dwr development. The investigation will take about four weeks, but sadly involves removing the ash tree right at the end of De Braose Close, and constructing a temporary stone track through the woods. The ash tree, which is suffering already from ash dieback is the only tree that will be removed, though they will need to trim back branches along the access route for safety reasons. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the construction work itself will commence in spring 2022. Welsh Water plan to leave the stone access track in place for the duration.
We understand that there will be a barrier at the end of De Braose Close to prevent unauthorised vehicular access to the woods. You can view the letter I received from Welsh Water below:
An interesting article here in WalesOnline. It seems the population growth estimates that led to the drive to build 40,000 new houses in Cardiff have been revised to less than a quarter of the original number.
Although the time for submiting objections to the revised plans has officially ended, the Leader of Cardiff Council, Councillor Huw Thomas, has confirmed that representations can be made right up to the point that the case is discussed by the Planning Committee.
The portal is no longer open for individuals to register their comments, so we suggest that you send an email or letter to the planning officers directly. You should include your name and address and the reference number of the case. This information will be made public on the portal.
Details of how to submit an objection here.
Following recent press coverage, I wrote to the Future Generations Commissioner. The response I received makes it clear that it is down to the local planning authority to apply its policy, and the Commissioner is not empowered to intervene. You can see the letter from her department in full here:
Although this might be somewhat dissapointing, I was also sent a copy of a letter sent by the Welsh Government’s Chief Planner, Neil Hemington, to local planning authorities in Wales in October 2019. It notes that the protection and enhancement of nature and biodiversity is a material consideration for every planning application. The Commissioner’s office states that
“any planning decision should clearly set out how this has been considered and this may be judicially reviewed”.
The Chief Planner’s letter states that:
“where biodiversity enhancement is not proposed as part of an application, significant weight will be given to its absence, and unless other significant material considerations indicate otherwise it will be necessary to refuse permission”.
I’m sure many have seen this article on BBC News:
It couldn’t be more relevant to our threatened green space. How lucky we are that Danescourt already has exactly the kind of green open space that so many lack. And how ironic that the council is seriously considering a proposal to destroy it, in contradiction of its own policies, which have turned out to be more relevent to everybody than many might have imagined.
Perhaps we should all write to the Commissioner and ask her to look into this case? You can contact her here.
The developers have updated their plans and Cardiff Council has invited the local community to comment. But, given the necessary restrictions of lockdown, this is clearly not an inclusive consultation. We cannot meet together with our councillors to learn and discuss the new plans. We have a petition, but only a digital one, that requires signatories to be familiar with modern internet technology. We can only reach people by email, web and social media and a handful of public posters. We are not able to distribute leaflets to affected homes. In short, this process excludes, and discriminates against, a large section of the local community.
Our councillors, Philippa Hill John and Sean Driscoll, have highlighted their concerns about the unfair process that we are being forced to follow in a letter to the Leader of Cardiff Council. They have suggested that the consultation should be postponed “until such time as all residents have an equal opportunity to make their representation, having full access to all the means available to them to do so.”
We will let you know when they receive a response. Read their letter in full here:
The council have given a deadline of 15th March for comments on the revised planning proposal. Even if you previously sent in an objection, or signed either of the two petitions, please also send a new objection to the Council. Each one counts, and has to be reported to the Planning Committee before they reach their decision.
A personal, individual objection is best, but if you are looking for inspiration or want a shortcut, our facebook page has a Word draft ready for you to download. Just add your name and address (an anonymous objection will be ignored), and send it, either by email, post or by submitting it via the portal.
Remember, there is no appeal process – the decision of the Planning Committee is final, so it is our only chance to stop the development.