Residents unhappy with plans for 2m fence around reservoirs

Welsh Water is reinstating a permanent perimeter fence round Llanishen and Lisvane reservoirs to keep trespassers out

WELSH Water has applied for permission to build 1,640 metres of security fence around Llanishen and Lisvane reservoirs to keep out trespassers.

The plans involve removing the existing railings to build a 2m high weldmesh fence on the north and eastern boundaries (from the Rhydypennau Road entrance to the proposed visitor centre car park) and western boundary around Gwern-y-Bendy Wood.

This is the final stage in Welsh Water’s reinstatement of a permanent perimeter fence.

A map showing the proposed security fence (in red). Map: Welsh Water planning application

A Welsh Water spokesperson said: “The fence will keep youngsters safe as it will stop them breaking into the site.

“It will also protect sensitive areas of ecology in the site, particularly the waxcap fungi around the Lisvane reservoir.

“When the visitor centre is rebuilt and the reservoirs reopen, this fence will allow us to lock the site up in the evenings without having to worry about any antisocial behaviour.”

The reservoirs won’t be open for at least two more years. Photo: Adam Hart

But some residents are worried about the fence’s impact.

David Bateman, 48, said: “It’s a real shame as nobody can currently walk around these reservoirs.

“I cycle past it every working day and the barriers are a blight on the landscape and an obstacle for wildlife.”

Reports prepared for Welsh Water’s planning application have raised concerns over the potential ecological damage of the fence.

Welsh Water’s boundary habitat report said: “A key issue for the proposed fencing works will be the waxcap grassland SSSI, especially around Lisvane Reservoir, where the new fence will be installed directly adjacent to some of the most diverse fungi assemblages on the site.”

The fencing will require clearing a 1m wide strip of ground vegetation, sometimes including regenerating saplings and early-mature trees within woodland areas.

This is what the security fence will look like. Source: Welsh Water planning application

Helen Gadd, who lives near Gwern-y-Bendy woods, said: “There is already a fence around the reservoir and a stream between the reservoir and Gwern-y-Bendy Woods.

“It seems intrusive and unnecessary to further secure the area by carrying out extensive and environmentally damaging works.

“This will require machinery to be driven through this small oasis of natural woodland in North Cardiff.

However, all mature trees, of more than 350mm diameter, and sections of outgrown hedgerow will be retained, providing they don’t allow people to climb over.  

The security fence is a response to an increased number of people entering the site, particularly over summer.

Looking east over Llanishen reservoir. Photo: Adam Hart

Llanishen resident Terry Gooding, 60, said, “There were lots of kids breaking into the reservoir over the summer, so I think it’s a good idea to have continuous fencing as you don’t know what these kids are up to.”

Welsh Water said, “As the weather warmed up, we saw an increase in the number of people trespassing on the site, undertaking acts of vandalism and as well as entering the water.

“We would like to ask parents and guardians to speak to their children about the dangers of unauthorised swimming.

“The damage being caused not only affects the operation of the reservoirs but also poses a risk to the ecology and wildlife.

“The site does remain closed to the public, we have security present and we would like to thank South Wales Police for their support.”

The site is due to reopen in the spring of 2023. Welsh Water’s planning application for the fencing project can be found here, and its plans for Llanishen and Lisvane reservoirs can be found here.