Residents of Wales’ most expensive street are threatening to relocate over plans to build a gypsy site alongside some of the nation’s most desirable homes.
With an average house price of £685,000, Druidstone Road in Old St Mellons is home to some of Cardiff’s most successful business people.
It boasts some of the most picturesque rural landscape in South Wales, as well as being close to an exclusive golf club and transport links.
But now villagers living on the leafy road have launched a campaign to fight proposals for five gypsy pitches on a swathe of undeveloped land neighbouring large family homes.
The planning application was submitted by a Mr L Callaghan late last month and has since sparked a huge outcry among local homeowners.
They say the narrow road is unsuitable for heavy traffic use and claim a gypsy site in the area could potentially impact on life in the village.
Around 50 residents have already signed a petition stating: “It is highly likely that there would be no peaceful, integrated or meaningful co-existence between the proposed site occupants and the existing local population.”
According to the planning application, Mr Callaghan, of Broad Street Common, Wentlooge, Cardiff, wants to create one static gypsy pitch for his family’s use.
He also wants to create four touring gypsy pitches. In addition, the plan includes a warden’s office which would be operated by Mr Callaghan who will be the site manager.
It states that the layout of the gypsy facility was developed “following a full appraisal of the site and the surrounding area”.
If approved by Cardiff council’s planning committee, each pitch will comprise a concrete hard standing and amenity block, with a fenced plot for caravans. Access would be off Druidstone Road.
“Existing established hedgerows along the site boundaries will be retained and additional tree planting is proposed to further minimise the visual impact and limit views of the site, especially from adjacent residential properties,” it states.
As well as the petition, the council has already received 11 written objections. One of those was from Howard Morgan, who has lived on Druidstone Road for 37 years.
Mr Morgan said: “Just about everybody on the road with the exclusion of me is a millionaire. It’s completely rural and yet you are just a couple of miles from the city.
“This road is going to be transformed from the most desirable piece of land to the least desirable. Everybody is up in arms.”
Jane Rogers, the former Conservative councillor for Old St Mellons, said she was working with residents to hire a planning consultant to help their campaign.
“I do not feel that it would lead to a cohesive and calm environment in our village. Community relations would not be enhanced.” she said.
“There is no established need for these gypsies to be here. They have not got any strong family links here and there is no established need for them in this particular area.
“It’s the local authority who should be looking at providing sites for Gypsy Travellers, they have a duty to do that.
“I believe that everybody should have a decent place to live, but I don’t think that is Druidstone Road in Old St Mellons. I don’t believe it would be good for them.”
In an objection to the council, a resident wrote: “Without wishing to sound disrespectful and discriminatory towards the travelling community, I fear that the approval of this application will be to the extreme detriment of the local area.
“One only has to drive past the designated travelling sites on Rover Way and Shirenewtown, located an acceptable distance away from residential areas, to witness the lack of respect that is demonstrated towards the area.”
Another wrote: “If this application is accepted then I will be moving out of Old St Mellons after 38 years of living here and I’m sure many others will agree with me.”
Mr Callaghan’s planning application says the site is intended to meet in part the established requirement of gypsy traveller pitches in Cardiff. There are more than 1,500 Gypsies and Travellers living in Cardiff, according to latest estimates.
Cardiff council is without a Local Development Plan and the 1996 Cardiff Unitary Development Plan does not identify any sites to accommodate established demand for additional gypsy and traveller sites.
According to the application, the Druidstone Road site is owned by a Mr M Evans.
Mr Evans has not signed the application, but it does state that notice has been served on his solicitor, Paul Rich of Griffiths Ings Solicitors.
Attempts to contact Mr Callaghan, Mr Evans and Mr Rich were unsuccessful yesterday.
The issue was not discussed at a Pact meeting held in the community last night.