Concern ‘ancient’ hedgerow could be lost as part of housing development
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
Concern has been voiced over plans to remove part of an ‘ancient’ hedgerow after proposals to build 164 homes in Blackwood were approved.
The contentious housing development on the 14.5-acre site in Cwmgelli was approved by Caerphilly council’s planning committee earlier this month.
But a planning condition that would have protected and retained a hedgerow along Cwmgelli Villas was amended, to allow for a turning point to be developed.
Councillors were told that “a small amount of the hedgerow would need to be lost”.
Objector Carys Dineen said the “ancient” hedgerow has been in place for centuries and is home to a variety of species.
“The residents are really frustrated because it’s almost been sold as we are doing a turning circle for you, but the residents do not want it,” she said. “As a result we are losing part of part of the hedgerow.
“The hedgerow dates back to the early 19th century and therefore it is an ancient hedgerow. It meets the criteria in length, in age and the amount of species.”
Ms Dineen said she has contacted Caerphilly council for assurance that work will not start during nesting season.
Ward councillor Nigel Dix is calling on developers Taylor Wimpey and Caerphilly council to withdraw the proposed turning point to save the hedgerow.
“Residents do not support the proposed turning point and are rightly angry that the proposal will result in the destruction of a historic hedgerow that has been there of centuries,” he said.
“I have written to head of planning informing them of the opposition to the turning point.
“I am fearful that the hedgerow will be ripped out before we can challenge it.”
A Taylor Wimpey spokeswoman said: “We understand the concerns raised by local residents and would like to reassure them that preserving and enhancing local wildlife is a key consideration when we plan and build new developments.
“We have amended our plans for the development of Cwmgelli Farm so that the majority of the hedgerow on Cwmgelli Villas will be retained and we are in discussion with Caerphilly council about the proposed turning point.”
A Caerphilly council spokeswoman said the original plans were amended and the proposed homes were moved to allow the retention of the hedgerow along Cwmgelli Villas.
“However a small section will need to be removed along this road to allow a turning head to be constructed,” she said.
“This was agreed as part of the formal planning process, which included a tree protection plan, a tree retention plan and a preliminary ecological assessment and all views were considered, including those of residents.”