The debate about where to build for Cardiff’s future is set to be re-ignited as new plans are released.
Candidate sites, showing where new housing estates totalling up to 4,500 homes in some cases, put the city’s greenfields under-threat once again.
Developers were invited to submit proposals for where they’d like to build as part of Cardiff council’s new Local Development Plan.
A total of 112 sites have been submitted, with over 40,000 homes proposed to meet Cardiff’s growing population. In total due to overlapping sites and multiple bids from developers the real total would be closer to 17,500 residential properties.
View a map showing the 112 candidate sites across Cardiff
View Cardiff LDP: Candidate Site Submissions 2011 in a larger map
The main areas of development are the greenfield areas in the North East and West of the city, where new suburbs could be created.
Pontprennau councillor Dianne Rees whose area is populated by many candidate sites said: “There’s a huge demand for sites in the West, the land is there. The take up should be spread in the West and not the North of the city. We’ll fight this really hard as the community deserves better.
“Unfortunately it does look as if there will be greenfield development. If there are to be greenfield developments it shouldn’t be disproportionately loaded in one area, it causes problems. The infrastructure like road and rail links are not in place.”
In the West of Cardiff, deputy council leader Neil McEvoy said they were opposed to any greenfield development.
The Fairwater councillor said: “Plaid Cymru is totally opposed to developing the green field sites in the west of the city. We are campaigning vigorously against the proposals. The council is being forced to take away our green lungs and as far as I’m concerned the whole LDP process is a complete nonsense, but it is statutory nonsense.
“The LDP is not fit for purpose and the Welsh Government needs to recognise that and act, quickly. My view is that we could then look to plan housing need on a regional basis, rather than the existing and unsatisfactory process of local authority by local authority. It doesn’t work.”
His words come despite Council leader Rodney Berman admitting to in November last year the council would have to build on greenfield sites.
Coun McEvoy said: “Myself and Rodney are at one on this. We said as much yesterday. I would go as far rto saty that the Conservatives and Independents also agree with us. The Council had to change policy because we had no choice. If we had continued with our preferred course we ran the risk of losing control of all candidate sites. We would have had no control over any development.”
View a timeline of the local development plan up until now
Lyn Powell, senior director at RPS Group, who are planning to build 4,500 houses and apartments on a greenfield site in Lisvane, said that councillors have already lost the argument regarding greenfield sites:
He said: “There is quite clearly a demand for housing in Cardiff. It cannot be achieved on brownfield sites alone, inevitably they’ve got to look for greenfield sites.
“The proposed site would not only be a residential mix of houses and apartments, but the plans include community services too – including a school, doctors surgery.
“Our view is that any large scale greenfield site that can be comprehensively developed, including employment, education and community services, is the most effective way of doing so sustainably.”
Peter Cox, chair of Cardiff Civic Society, said it was too early to discuss individual sites.
He said: “We simply haven’t answered the big questions about how we want Cardiff as a city to expand. We’re not against growth but there’s no point developers being given a blank canvas to submit sites when we don’t know what the city needs.
“What should happen is once the council have identified the future for the city, which is a discussion that should include neighbouring authorities as well, then developers should submit proposals.”
Executive member for environment, councillor Margaret Jones, said: “All those involved in Cardiff’s LDP, whether developers, interest groups, or the general public, will now have the opportunity to be involved in the consideration of candidate sites.
“It is important to point out that these are not the Council’s proposals for the plan, they are simply expressions of interest from numerous landowners and the submission of sites should not be interpreted in any way as a commitment to them being included in the plan by the Council when it is subsequently produced.”
Additional reporting by Andy Halls
What do you think about where the sites are? Do you live in any of the areas where the candidate sites are? Let us know your views in the comments below