Residents hit out at plans to build a sewage pumping station in a Cardiff park
Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter
Residents have hit out again over plans to build a sewage pumping station at a well-used area of parkland in Cardiff.
Residents and users of Hailey Park in Llandaff North came out to express their concerns over Welsh Water’s proposal to build a sewage pumping station in the area as councillors carried out a site visit on Monday June 27.
One of the chief concerns of residents and park users is the potential sensory impact the sewage pumping station could have on Hailey Park.
There are also concerns about the potential impact on biodiversity, the value of housing in the area and loss of green space.
Resident Pam French of the YGC Rebel Mams group said:”We are all worried about the smell and the noise that could potentially come from it.
“Hailey Park flooded really badly at the beginning of 2020. This area that they are planning to build on is heavily waterlogged at all times.”
The proposed site for the sewage pumping station is land south of the existing access road within Hailey Park just off Ty-Mawr Road.
Land at the eastern end of De Braose Close on the opposite side of the River Taff has also been proposed as the site for a 1.2 metre tall actuation valve kiosk, which would be part of the development.
Although the sewage pump station is being proposed for Hailey Park, the station itself would address the excess flow of sewage coming from the Plasdwr housing development in the Radyr area of Cardiff – a housing development that will eventually see 7,000 houses built.
Pam said the YGC Rebel Mams have already encountered issues with the River Taff that she is also worried about.
“We have spent a lot of time clearing the Taff and we see the evidence of the overflows into the river,” she added.
“We pick out endless sanitary towels, baby wipes and things like that out of the Taff.
“It is absolutely disgusting and we believe adding in 7,000 more homes worth of sewage into the system is just going to make that problem even worse.”
A decision on the planning application for the sewage pump was due to be made in April.
However, members of Cardiff Council’s planning committee decided to defer the application in order for a site visit to take place.
Steph Wilkins of the Llandaff North Residents’ Association said: “I know the park well, I know the history of the place down the family.
“For me personally, there is a conflict between what politicians say – they said there is a climate emergency – and it just doesn’t make sense that the things they are trying to do don’t correlate with what is being said.
“Our green spaces are not growing, they are shrinking. They are at risk all the time.”
Any potential impact on the park would not just be a blow to residents, according to Steph, who added that people from all over Cardiff and the surrounding area have come forward to express how much the park and its associated trails, including the Taff Trail, means to them.
Steph, who lives opposite Hailey Park, added: “I had a stall taking petitions. I was there for a couple of hours and I got talking to people.
“In that time, we had people from Pontypridd, Splott, Grangetown, Newport, Heath, Llandaff, Danescourt, Radyr. It’s not just local people.
“We get loads of people from Radyr coming over to the park and one of their comments was that they love the park because it does go on to other green areas.
“There are long walks, short walks, circular routes and it is just really popular and to put a pumping station there, it is just not the right place. We are going to fight it really hard.”
Cardiff Council ward members for Llandaff North, Cllr Dilwar Ali and Cllr Jennifer Burke-Davies were both present at the site visit on Monday.
When asked for her thoughts on park users’ and residents’ concerns in relation to the proposed pumping station, Cllr Burke-Davies said: “I understand resident and park user concerns, entirely.
“I am a park user, utilising the space with either my dog or my children daily and I am empathetic to the anxiety held by the wider community.
“Hailey Park is a well-loved, well used space not just by Llandaff North residents but also by people who come to appreciate the beauty and tranquillity of the park or utilise its amenities, it’s understandable that residents would want to protect this space and have clear communication or understanding with those who have plans to develop the site, in such a way as the pumping station.”
Cllr Dilwar Ali said he felt as though an alternative site “would be more suitable”.
He said: “Hailey Park is a unique and well used space for Llandaff North and all other users.
“Residents need clear communication from those who have plans to develop the site.
“During the site visit, we received further comments and views that will be forwarded to the planning committee.”
One of the companies behind the Plasdwr development, Redrow Homes, proposed a new separate sewerage system which would collect all domestic flows and discharge into the existing sewer network located in the Danescourt area of Cardiff.
As the existing Cog Moors Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) does not have the capacity to deal with the expected increase in waste, the new sewage is much needed.
A planning statement attached to the planning application for the pumping station argues that the proposed development would also be needed in order to discharge the excess flow of sewage.
A Welsh Water spokesperson said: “As the local water and wastewater company, we have an obligation to ensure that any new developments – such as the Plasdŵr Housing Development – do not have a detrimental effect on the services we provide to our existing customers in an area.
“We have been working closely with Cardiff Council and the developer to identify the best solution for incorporating sewage from the new housing development into the existing wastewater network.
“After careful consideration of various locations, the proposed location for the sewage pumping station was selected as the most appropriate for a number of reasons including its proximity to the existing wastewater network and that its location will cause minimal disruption during construction.
“We have also designed the station so that the vast majority of it will be located underground and kept the site as small as possible with it being no more than 24meters long and a slightly over 21meters wide.”
“We appreciate that some residents have concerns and we have been proactively engaging with the community through information events and meetings since October 2021 to reassure them that this is the best solution to accommodate the site without causing harm to the environment.
“In response to their concerns, we have also made the site smaller and provided additional information about our landscaping and planting plans which will reduce the visibility of the station.
“We will continue to keep the local community updated as the project progresses.”
A Cardiff Council spokesperson said that they anticipate a decision to be discussed in August.
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surely there’s an acceptable brownfield site, or part of the plasdwr development itself? or do those risk costing the private sector money rather than the general public?