Campaigners to fight plans for 618 new homes on green space near Rudry
News | | Published: 11:00, Thursday October 27th, 2016.
Last updated: 12:41, Friday October 28th, 2016
A conservation group set up to protect green spaces from development have vowed to fight plans to build up to 618 homes near Rudry.
Developers PMG Limited and Persimmon Homes want to build on the site of Gwern y Domen in Rudry and have employed firm Asbri Planning to deal with the planning application to Caerphilly County Borough Council.
Under planning law, developers have to hold a local consultation before they submit their application and Asbri is currently carrying this out.
The plans have been met with opposition from the Gwern y Domen Conservation Group, which was set up to protect the area stretching from Rudry to Caerphilly town from development.
The group played a major part in campaigning to get Caerphilly County Borough Council’s draft Local Development Plan withdrawn – which had earmarked the land for a housing development.
Despite the council formally withdrawing the LDP at a meeting this month, developers have decided to proceed with their plans to build more than 600 homes.
The reasoning is that Caerphilly’s currently adopted LDP – a planning blueprint for developers – is out of date because it does set out a clear housing supply plan for the next five years.
In their pre-application consultation paperwork, Asbri Planning said: “It is clear that such outdated plans should be given decreasing weight by the decision maker and increased weight given to other material considerations for example national policy.”
The Gwern y Domen Conservation Group said it had anticipated such an application and vowed to fight it.
Its chair, Jayne Garland, said: “The proposed development is very clearly outside the settlement boundary and will represent an urban spread beyond the well-defined physical edge of the established built-up settlement and into open countryside – the green lungs of Caerphilly.
“This includes rare wildflower meadows of which 97% has been lost in the UK over the last 30 years to the serious detriment of the character and appearance of our rural surroundings.
“The site is ancient greenfield land greatly used by the local community for walking, riding and enjoying the natural environment – a huge health benefit to those currently using the area.
“[The development] will have a negative effect on the local ecosystem resulting in an impoverished living environment for the residents of St James ward and will have an adverse impact on the setting of local historic monuments including Gwern y Domen Castle Mound, Van Mansion and Caerphilly Castle.”
Residents of the Castle Park estate in Caerphilly town are also opposed to the scheme.
David Brown, Chairman of the estate’s neighbourhood watch committee, said: “Lots of people are concerned at what might happen.
“There is the loss of green space and the impact it will have on infrastructure and traffic levels.”
Martin Smith, managing director at Persimmon Homes East Wales, said: “In conjunction with Tristan Hobbs, development director at PMG Limited, we have entered into pre-application discussions with the public and Caerphilly Council.
“The proposal is to develop the former Gwern Y Domen Farm in the St James Ward creating more than 600 much-needed new homes in Caerphilly.
“The vision is to invest £200 million to create a sustainable and cohesive community extension to Caerphilly that will support the town’s ongoing sustainability as a commercial centre, with its associated work, shopping and leisure opportunities.
“The application features numerous open spaces including play facilities and enhanced pedestrian and cycle paths. A range of ecological and arboriculture mitigation measures have been proposed and any public rights of ways, that transverse the site, will remain intact.
“The delivery of 600 dwellings at this sustainable location will make a significant contribution towards meeting the housing need within Caerphilly.”
The public have until November 17 to make their views known in the pre-application stage.