Minister for housing and regeneration Carl Sargeant throws out Western Power Distribution's latest attempt to build homes on Cardiff's Llanishen Reservoir, in a decade-long planning battle between developers and the community
Has this really been rumbling on for 10 years?
When are WPD going to admit defeat?
I think its a shame.
The plans would have allowed for much needed new homes, in an area of the city that will have to accept a lot of new building (to the North East of this site) if the LDP is to be delivered. I worry this will give NIMBY's a pyschological boost.
Plus, I think the plans looked like a decent trade off between housing, commercial gain for the developers, and the development of a nature reserve, small boating lake, education centre etc. The residents instead want the entire site to be developed into a country park (not withstanding the fact there is a country park just to the North of Lisvane (Parc Cefn Onn) that is already under-utilised). In today's financial climate I just don't see that as financially viable, let alone a 'good investment' on the part of the council. And I don't see it as the job of a private sector firm to provide recreation space at its cost to Joe Public either. So the most likely outcome is that this land will remain unused, largely closed off and a wasted opportunity.
Would be nice now if the reservoir was now filled, let the NIMBY's have this little victory but actually open it up, improve access and advertise this facility to the wider Cardiff/South Wales public. If it's there, then it might as well be used for leisure and I guess as an oasis to the urban sprawl. That said, everything north of the reservoirs, Corpus Christi and Ty Draw Road should be fair game to development. The houses will still be built and I don't mind the idea of retaining the reservoir, providing these houses do get built.
Why was the reservoir drained in the first place? Made no sense before they had planning permission. I can only think it was done by the developers to try and force the hand of the campaigners - it's either houses or a concrete bowl. If so I can understand the angry reaction. To me you don't get rid of reservoirs, look at south west London. Still the area is pretty massive and what are they going to do with it?
With all the other new houses mooted in the area I don't think this development is any great loss.
If they sort the roads out when they build pontprennau II then maybe they'll get another shot at getting something through.
I think as the plans stood, too much of the area was taken up by houses, and even if nothing got built on there and it's mothballed for a generation then that's preferable to losing one of the few expanses of green space left within the city.
If they toned their application right down, developed access to the site, refilled the reservoir, and built a small row of boutique shops and post coffe shops and restaurants looking out over the reservoir I'd imagine the local NIMBY's would have a lot less to moan about - it could be a very nice area attracting people with disposable income from Cyncoed and Lisvane. For access they could run a road through the site, linking lisvane with cyncoed but also cleverly splitting the site in two, then once the first stage has settled in, put in another application to build houses on the area that has been sectioned away by the road and I think it'd be far more difficult to raise such a cohesive objection.
I have torn feelings on this one.
Without doubt, Western Power Distribution has behaved digracefuly. This was a previously public-owned asset that fell into their laps almost by accident. Any thought that their actions were driven by anything other than profit is a nonsense.
The partial draining of the resevoirs was clearly designed to force the council not to renew their lease on the sail-training centre and to destroy the SSSI status of the resevoir banks. The first happened. How could the council renew the lease of a sail training centre where sailing was impossible? Unfortunately for WPD the SSSI has declined but is still worthwhile.
On the other hand, the development was well designed and included 40% affordable housing. There was certainly a huge NIMBY element to the protests and their alternative use of a country park was no more that a vague aspiration.
The full decision and documentation is available here.
It takes into account all of the above and in my view gets it right.
By the way Colour Wolf said
Yeah I take your point that a road through would be controversial, but its only a rat run if it is running through a housing estate or somewhere you don't run traffic, not if its designed as a connecting road. It could even ease traffic on st mellons road and fidlas road which are both frequently awful.
Any country park would need improved access anyway in order to be viable. As it isn't easy to get there as it currently stands.
There's needs to be better public access from Lisvane/Llanishen to Pontprennau/Pentwyn. I work at Cardiff Gate and would NEVER entaintain the idea of cycling through St Mellons lane. Unfortunately the reservoir site is a at present a massive obstacle.
No doubt the land to the north of the site will be developed at some point, but a good pedestrian/cycle route linking Parc Cefn Onn and the Nant Fawr corridor down to Roath Park would be most welcome.
Thanks for the link to the decision, I had been looking for that. Cheers.
Looks like WPD are admitting defeat to a degree - the three houses they purchased by Rhyd-y-Penau Road roundabout which they were going to demolish to create an access road are going up for auction on Tuesday.
Lots 48, 49 & 50
Now that it appears that RAG have won I look forward to reading all about the plans to turn the area into a country park for the benefit of all Cardiffians for years to come.
Or will it actually just remain fenced off for a few years until WPD try again. Or even if they don't will it be the case that this country park idea will remain a long term ambition of the Council when funds allow ie. when the devil and all his minions have to buy ice skates??
I can't help feeling that a bucket load of council tax payers dosh (£800,000 as at November 2012 according to Media Wales) has been spent on ensuring that the good people of Cyncoed and Llanishen are free to continue to walk their dogs in perfect peace and solitude.
Meanwhile, across the city, Splott gets the Viridor plant and Tremorfa is slated for an anaerobic digester.
Good news for Lisvane and Llanishen - they are moving the steelworks to the site!
The sale to Celsa in an interesting development. It seems to signal a capitulation by WPD. Since it's Lisvane reservoir that interests Celsa they may well wish to dispose of Llanishen. Maybe its time for local residents to start collecting their pennies.
CARDIFFWALESMAP - FORUM