Council asked to think again over plans to demolish Llanishen tax office

Air pollution, noise disturbance, harm to wildlife and traffic concerns raised

CARDIFF Council have been told to draw up more detailed plans for how they intend to protect local people and wildlife when they demolish Llanishen’s former tax offices.

Work on demolishing the Ty Glas site was due to start in September this year but now the council’s own planning committee says more information about safeguards for local residents and wildlife is needed first.

Concerns surround a variety of issues from protecting nearby residents’ cars and washing from dust to safeguarding animals such as bats, hedgehogs and peregrine falcons which have been seen at the derelict site.

Cardiff Council bought the site last year with plans to demolish the offices and build a new secondary school.

View from Parc Ty-Glas.

But the council’s initial demolition application, prepared by Asbri Planning on their behalf, was turned down by the authority’s own Planning Committee last week because it lacked detail on how the work’s impact on local people and wildlife will be mitigated.

Concerns over the management of air pollution, increased traffic, ecological damage and noise and vibration disturbance were among the issues raised.

The committee found the plans didn’t have enough detail on how dust, smoke, dirt, and other air borne pollutants like asbestos would be managed.

The plans said air quality would be monitored throughout the demolition and proposed building windbreaks to stop dust being blown out of the site and covering residents’ washing or cars.

It also proposed washing vehicles entering and leaving the site to keep the roads clean, among other measures.

The former tax offices can be seen in the background.

But the committee’s response called for more details on minimising air pollution risks.

Noise and vibration disturbance was also a concern as the Ty Glas site is surrounded by residential areas to the south, west and north, with businesses to the east.

To keep disturbance down, the initial plan proposed banning radios, shouting, swearing, idling engines, excessive revving and sitting outside the site.

But the committee took issue with the fact that several of the proposals would only be ‘potentially adopted’, meaning residents could have to listen to generators if the proposal wasn’t adopted.

The committee also raised traffic concerns as HGVs and demolition workers will be using Ty Glas Road and Ty Glas Avenue to access the site. These roads are already busy and receiving extra traffic since the recycling centre opened on site earlier this year.

The plan said traffic concerns will be mitigated by carefully choosing exit and entrance routes to minimise disruption to locals roads.

One of the potential entrances to the site on Ty Glas Road.

But the committee highlighted a lack of actual details in the report.

Ecological concerns were also raised, notably about roosting bats, hedgehogs and nesting birds including peregrine falcons which were spotted feeding on top of the buildings last year.

There are also several trees on site which, subject to future surveys, may be given protective fencing when the demolition begins.

The committee recommended further bat roost and peregrine falcon surveys be conducted and await confirmation no other birds are nesting in the buildings, including pigeons.

Seagulls often use the redundant buildings.

The plan also failed to include a system to manage complaints from the local community while the demolition happens.

The demolition application has now been sent back to Asbri Planning, based at Cardiff Gate Business Park, for them to clarify how the concerns above will be managed.

The plan is to demolish nine buildings including Gleider House, which is 11 storeys high and the 16-storey Government Building.

Mechanical methods of demolition will be used as opposed to explosives, meaning the buildings will be dismantled on a floor-by-floor basis to ground level before the foundations and four underground tanks are also removed.

Wider site clearance and preparation works will be undertaken before construction starts on the new comprehensive school.

Demand for secondary school places is increasing as more homes are built in north Cardiff.

Residents living nearby are supporting the demolition plans and look forward to the new school being built.

Mrs Tamlin said: “Providing the demolition is done safely I’m all for it and it’s time it was used for something.

“I think people’s main concern around here would be more traffic.

Mrs Aden said: “I don’t mind it as long as they build the school and not more housing. It seems like a huge site for just a school though.”

Llanishen councillor Tom Parkhill said: “I’m disappointed that the council have failed to provide enough details mitigating the impact of the demolition of the tax office site.

“This might delay the development of the secondary school on site, which is much needed in the area.”

The committee’s list of 22 recommendations can be seen below.

Source: Cardiff Council Planning Website

Asbri Planning and Cardiff Council have been approached for comment.