Plans to build four new houses on Wales’ most expensive street will go before Cardiff Council’s planning committee on Wednesday – just weeks after controversial proposals for a gypsy camp on the same site were shelved.
We reported in July that a planning application for five gypsy and traveller caravan pitches on land at Druidstone Road, Old St Mellons, had been withdrawn following a storm of protest from local residents. They argued that the proposals would change the nature and character of what one termed the most prestigious road in Wales.
Druidstone Road was ranked the most expensive place to live in Wales in 2011, with an average house price of £685,000, and prominent residents who objected to the gypsy camp plans included businessman Sir Stanley Thomas, former Cardiff Blues chief executive Robert Norster, and managing director of the Cardiff-based survival gear specialists BCB International Ltd, Andrew Howell.
The applicant behind the gypsy camp plans, Mr L Callaghan, withdrew his application before it reached Cardiff’s planning committee, but an application for four new houses on the same site has now been submitted to the local authority, and will be decided by councillors on Wednesday.
The new application, made by the site’s owner Michael Evans, seeks outline planning permission for four detached houses, each with at least four bedrooms.
But residents are once again opposed to development on the site, and planning officers are recommending that the application be refused.
Local councillors Georgina Phillips and Dianne Rees have lodged objections, with Councillor Phillips arguing that previous applications to build on the site have been refused at appeal, and the proposed site is not well connected to the surrounding area.
Coun Rees also highlights the “inadequate access to employment, retail or other services”, no local public transport, and says that the proposed development is not in keeping with the “semi-rural” nature of the area.
Six letters of objection have been sent in by local residents, another on behalf of the Old St Mellons residents’ group, and one from Old St Mellons Community Council.
Their objections include the lack of public transport, harm caused to the character and appearance of the area, the countryside location, and the potential harm to wildlife and protected species including the dormouse.
However, an agent for Mr Evans has also submitted six letters from Druidstone Road residents in support of the development, on the condition that the number of houses built on the site is limited to two.
Planning officers have recommended the plans for refusal on the basis that the development would conflict with national and local planning policies designed to protect the countryside. They add that the removal of the hedgerow at the front of the site to allow access would have a “harmful impact on the rural character of this part of Druidstone Road”.