Woodlands saved in two parts of Cardiff after campaign
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
Woodlands have been saved in two parts of Cardiff as the council stepped in to protect two sites from sale.
Protecting woodland has risen up the agenda recently with commitments to halt biodiversity loss and plant thousands of new trees across the city.
Flaxland Woods in Gabalfa, owned by Cardiff council, was earmarked for sale; while woodlands at the Hawthorns in Pentwyn, owned privately, was also for sale.
But now the council has decided to lease Flaxland Woods to the local community, instead of trying to build houses there. The council has also bought the Hawthorns woodland too.
Councillor Emma Sandrey, representing Pentwyn, first raised concerns about the Hawthorns woodland when coming across the site for sale for £5,000 on Rightmove.
She said: “We’re really pleased that the council has purchased the woodland, not least since they had already been maintaining it, and many residents were shocked to learn it was actually privately owned. Our priority going forward is that the area is taken care of, for the enjoyment of residents and the local wildlife.”
Meanwhile, Flaxland Woods had been on the council’s list of properties to sell since 2019. The council had hoped to sell the site to a developer who would build social housing there. But local residents voiced concerns about the loss of the woodland.
A local campaign group, Friends of Flaxland Woods, has campaigned to protect the woodland from development, highlighting several issues such as how the trees act as a buffer to the A48, absorbing air pollution from heavy traffic.
Now the council’s latest property list shows the status of the woodland as ‘community lease’ instead of ‘sell’.
A council spokesperson said: “The council has secured the land at the Hawthorns which consolidates the ownership of public open space in the area. There are certain adopted highway areas and rights of way at the Hawthorns which the council has maintained in the past and will continue to do, enabling the public to carry on using the area.”
The council would not comment on the latest update on Flaxland Woods.
Trees have risen up the agenda in recent months as crucial in the fight against climate change, air pollution and flooding.
The council is working on a project called Coed Caerdydd, which seeks to plant thousands of new trees across the city.
Councillors also recently declared a ‘nature emergency’, pledging to take more action to protect local biodiversity.
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