The group of local residents who successfully saved Rumney Rec from development last night declared the council’s decision as a “victory for David over Goliath”.
For Don Taylor and Mel Plenty it was the culmination of four years of tireless campaigning, which cost around £25,000 and took them all the way to a hearing at Cardiff Crown Court.
The first meeting of the Rumney Recreation and Eastern Leisure action group (Rreel) took place on August 29, 2007, in the Royal British Legion in Rumney.
Last night, an elated Mr Taylor, 64, celebrated the victory in the same venue, saying: “The people of Rumney and Llanrumney have done themselves proud.
“That we have managed to win, it’s a David and Goliath scenario where David has won against the mighty council.”
Mr Taylor did not want to criticise the council leader, Coun Rodney Berman, but he said he was pleased that the Liberal-Democrat executive of the authority had finally seen “common sense”.
“It’s a wonderful decision. It should have been made when we had our referendum and we had 96.3% of the area vote against this plan,” he said.
“We told them many years ago to build on Rumney High School, but today shows that the people of Rumney and Llanrumney will not be put down.
“This is not an affluent area of the city, but why should we put up with it? We have been able to show that we are a real community.”
Rreel action group raised £25,000 to launch a judicial review against the council’s decision not to grant the land protected village green status.
A hearing was held at Cardiff Crown last month, but the group recently abandoned the bid in the face of mounting legal costs.
Mr Plenty said Rumney Rec had been a public open space for more than 100 years and was at the heart of the community.
“This is a resounding victory for common sense and democratic perseverance. I am grateful to all those who have supported us over the past four years,” he said.
Alun Michael, Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, said: “The local residents have been unbelievable with their defence of Rumney Rec.
“It’s a real boost for the area and a demonstration of the value of a united community.
“If the council had listened to the views of the local community, they would now have a new school half-built on the right site – they are the authors of their own misfortune.”