Opinion: Greenfield sites in the North need to be protected

January 20, 2011 No Comments »
Opinion: Greenfield sites in the North need to be protected

pontprennau

Of the 112 candidate sites submitted, 24 are in the ward of Pontprennau and Old St Mellons, the ward I represent along with my fellow ward Councillor Jane Rogers. Of those 24 sites, 19 are greenfield sites.

16 of the greenfield sites are presently used for agriculture. Once built on, that essential resource is gone forever.

Some of the candidate sites are green fields situated north of the M4, an area which was considered to be so important to the setting of Cardiff that it was intended to be green belt under the previous local development plan. That plan was withdrawn when Welsh Assembly Government appointed Inspectors expressed their reservations about the Council’s policy not to allocate greenfield land for development. This time, the Assembly Government must trust the council to prepare its own development plan and not interfere with the direction the city takes.

Conservatives want to protect our green fields. Along with other parties we will continue to support a strategy to encourage continued redevelopment of the city by stating that the city’s growth needs can be largely accommodated on brown field sites. There are plenty of them and more will come forward in the future as windfall sites.

Developers are not so keen on brown field sites because it is cheaper and easier to build on green fields but the Council must expect more of developers, design which reflects local building styles and materials, more variety in provision of homes.

Since the withdrawal of the previous plan, developers have viewed the critical comments of the Inspectors and unhelpful comments of some politicians, as a chink in the armour for them to submit more and more speculative greenfield sites.

The Chairman of the Cardiff Civic Society is correct when he says it is too early to discuss individual sites. The council has not yet decided what its strategy will be. What do we want Cardiff to look like in 20 years time? What sort of city do citizens want and need? Do we not have a responsibility to other neighbouring authorities outside our boundaries? These are just a few of the questions we need to answer before we discuss individual candidate sites.

I know that I want to see continued regeneration of Cardiff and the setting of the city protected from development, preserving precious green spaces which makes Cardiff such an attractive city for visitors. That cannot be achieved if greenfield development is permitted on a large scale. If there is to be any greenfield development it must be small scale and shared across the whole City and County of Cardiff.

In our ward, infrastructure is inadequate for our current needs:

– We don’t have a rail link.
– Although over 3,500 homes have been developed in Pontprennau, we still do not have a single school within its boundaries. We are waiting for positive news from the Assembly for funding for a school from a 21st Century Schools bid.
– We do not have a library.
– Eastern Avenue has been running at overcapacity for years.
– Although the Western Bay Link road was completed years ago, the Eastern Bay Link seems to have been mothballed. We simply do not have the infrastructure to support further large scale development and its no use developers telling us that a better infrastructure will be provided if we do not oppose green field development. Experience tells us otherwise.

We are totally opposed to developing greenfield sites and will be campaigning strongly against any proposals to build on green fields in the north of the city

Do you live in the area? What do you think about potential developments on greenfield sites? Let us know your views in the comments below

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