Popular Bluebell Wood torn up by diggers to be reinstated after community outrage
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
A popular bluebell field torn up by diggers will be reinstated after protests, a council has said.
At the beginning of August, Bluebell Wood near Llanbradach, Caerphilly was destroyed without planning permission. This caused outrage in the community and on August 21, more than a hundred residents protested against further destruction.
Llanbradach councillor Gary Enright described the campaign as a “positive” one. He added: “It didn’t take long to upset the village – people have buried animals and spread ashes there, it’s an area people flock to, to see the bluebells.”
On Friday, August 26, Caerphilly Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Public Protection, Cllr Philippa Leonard, announced that following ongoing discussions with all parties the field would not be dug up further.
The Labour councillor said: “The landowner has confirmed that the works will not proceed, and follow-up works will now be undertaken to refill the excavations, regrade and landscape the area of the site that was originally considered.”
Cllr Enright said: “It’s great that the owner will re-instate instate the land, but my only concern is what will he do with it now.”
The owner of the land, believed to be businessman Karl O’Dare, wanted to clear the site to make way for five caravans.
Cllr Enright, of Plaid Cymru, said: “It’s not a politically driven issue, this is about ecology and making sure the land is kept the way it should be.”
Cllr Leonard said the political leadership of the council recognised the public concern from the outset and acted “swiftly”.
Prior to the announcement, the council had put a stop to the excavation and launched an investigation into the destruction.
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Er apart from “without planning permission” it is an offence under the Countryside and Wildlife act to destroy bluebells and bluebell habitat. They are a Schedule 8 protected species. This should not be considered resolved without a prosecution
What is in the local authorities local plan. Caerphilly is a labour lead council and thus, if this site is not yet designated as a local green site, with ‘no’ development allowed, it should be. Quite a few of us are now ‘carefully watching’ this.