11/29/2022

Wales News Online

Local & National News for Wales

A plan to cut down 10 mature trees on the site of a long-empty Cardiff home that campaigners claim is to make way for more car parking space has been approved.

Cardiff Council’s planning committee today approved plans to redevelop the long dilapidated property on the corner of Romilly Crescent and Llandaff Road. The proposal, on its own, was largely welcomed. However, the application also included plans to cut down 10 Sycamore trees which has sparked controversy and opposition from residents, campaign groups and politicians including First Minister Mark Drakeford.

The Cardiff Civic Society claimed that the new owner of the property in question wanted to remove the trees for car parking. Petitioner Alexandra Jordan, who was representing Cardiff Civic Society at the meeting, said: “The proposed removal of trees has been acknowledged by the proposed developer to be accommodating, not the extent of the development itself, but the parking of the owner’s car or various cars on the development.”

A petition set up by Cardiff Civic Society in opposition to the plan obtained 205 signatures. There were also 20 letters of objection in relation to the application, including representations from local councillors, Kevin Brennan MP and Mark Drakeford MS.

A letter from Mark Drakeford said: “While the planting of additional trees is welcome, this cannot be considered sufficient to replace the loss of mature trees at the site.

“Furthermore, the site’s location within the Conway Road Conservation Area means that additional caution is required with regard to the protection of trees in order to maintain the character of the area.

“A recent planning decision at Suffolk House, in very close proximity to the site of this application, was strongly opposed by both local residents and local representatives due to the associated loss of mature trees. A similar decision on this application could be provocative within the community.”

Ms Jordan said the area had suffered “significant felling in recent times”. She added: “As you can see from the photos [of the site], there aren’t really many trees left, so losing these is not justifiable in our view.

“Trees, as you know, play a role in tackling climate change and we are in a climate emergency at the moment.”

An agent representing the applicant at the meeting said: “I would like to acknowledge the petitioner’s statement that the tree loss is to accommodate car parking, which is not necessarily true.

“There is an existing access to the site, which is gated, and this will be retained and essentially renewed.

“There is a clearing in the middle of the site, which is existing, so that is where the proposed car parking is to be located.”

The application proposes the creation of a new driveway or parking area at the front of the development.

In the planning documents attached to the application, it states that the 10 trees and one small tree group have been identified for removal in order to “facilitate the construction of the proposed development”.

The developers have also proposed replacement planting in an attempt to make up for the loss of the 10 Sycamores.

Cardiff Council planning officer, Darren Connolley said the parking area is “principally in the same location”, but added that there might be a slight enhancement to allow vehicles to leave the premises safely.

He said: “Let’s not forget that this is a very busy road with limited opportunities to park on site.

“Being able to get in and out of this access point in a forward gear I think is essential to highway safety.”

The currently vacant two-storey building was divided into separate flats. The redevelopment will look to re-establish it as a single dwelling. The building is not listed but is located within one of Cardiff’s conservation areas.

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