(Image: Ben Summer)

Pontprennau residents push back on ‘unacceptable’ footpath

The Welsh Government could call in the planning application

RESIDENTS in Pontprennau are continuing their opposition to a controversial footpath which has them living in fear of increased crime.

Cardiff Council voted in favour of building the footpath leading to a new development of affordable homes but locals say the path is unnecessary and would change the character of their street as well as increasing the risk of crime.

Chris Rawle from the West Pontprennau Action Group is leading the opposition to these plans.

“Residents feel they’ve been let down by the council,” he said.

“When we all moved in, we bought here knowing it was a cul-de-sac.

“It seems absurd to us that this idea of creating cul-de-sacs to give people safety and security is now being put at risk to build an alleyway which isn’t necessary.”

The West Pontprennau Action Group has put up banners on roads in the area (Image: Ben Summer)

While Clos Nant Glaswg is currently a cul-de-sac, the footpath would cut across it, requiring the demolition of a house. This would allow for a shared foot and cycle path to the 45 new affordable homes.

Residents have now requested that the application be called in by the Welsh Government, which would give ministers the opportunity to rule on the decision.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We have received a number of requests to call in this planning application and consideration will be given to all issues raised.

“A decision will be made in due course.”

Plans could isolate residents of the new homes

The WPAG says the development is isolated from local amenities – and that the footpath won’t help.

They claim that Edenstone Homes should have built the 45 houses on the same site as their Beaufort Gardens luxury development in neighbouring Lisvane – and that trying to connect the development to Pontprennau tacks it on to an existing community without proper access to amenities or transport.

Mr Rawle said: “The connectivity should go towards Lisvane, not Pontprennau. If they’re offsetting their executive homes in Lisvane, these homes should be in their development – not ours.”

The Cardiffian contacted Edenstone Homes for comment but has received no reply.

In the planning meeting in February, Tim Smale, planning director of Edenstone Homes, said: “We appreciate the local residents’ concern but in terms of the wider community, this proposal offers significant benefits.

The location of the planned new homes (Images: Ben Summer / Ordnance Survey)

“It’s a safe and commodious route and will encourage active travel. It will create a safe and secure environment and it incorporates the advice of the crime prevention advisor and highways officers, as it will be lit, with suitable bollards.

“The family that own our business have taken a philanthropic decision to deliver 100% affordable social-rented homes – not 30%, as would be required by policy on this site.”

The new houses could link up with planned houses to the north in the future and Mr Rawle said this would be a more sensible solution.

Active travel aims might not be realistic

The WPAG has collected data on how people from Clos Nant Glaswg and neighbouring streets travel. The survey found that 93% of journeys in one week were made by car. Only three bus journeys were logged out of a total 195 trips.

The group claims that the new homes would also be reliant on cars – resulting in the quiet Ty-Draw Road becoming the main access point, and the footpath not providing any meaningful access to public transport.

If residents in the new houses use their cars as expected, Ty-Draw Road could become busier – and pose a danger to children who play in Clos Nant Glaswg.

43 Clos Nant Glaswg, the house which will be demolished for the path (Image: Ben Summer)

Mr Rawle said: “We would be in fear of children playing in the street because they could see the footpath and run into the road, which will become busier.

“It’s quite a safe area at the moment and you can see your kids while they’re playing.”

He also voiced the worries of people who fear the path will turn the cul-de-sac into a cut-through for criminals on scrambler bikes.

“Already, the vulnerable residents – the elderly, women living on their own, and a number of autistic children – are all really upset immediately by the fear of what’s going to happen,” he said. “The concern is that this fear of increased crime will become a reality.”

There are worries that the entire nature of the area, containing several cul-de-sacs, could be changed (Image: Ben Summer)

As well as pinning their hopes on the Welsh Government, residents have worked with councillors Joel Williams and Dianne Rees, who both spoke in opposition at the planning meeting.

Coun Williams told The Cardiffian: “This planning application has a number of serious flaws and it was deeply frustrating and disappointing that the Planning Committee ignored these legitimate concerns.

“It is completely unacceptable for residents in Clos Nant Glaswg and surrounding streets, who bought into a cul-de-sac and all the benefits which come with it.

“There have been over 1500 objections to this planning application and it’s about time that decision-makers listened to the legitimate concerns of residents.”

Residents are also considering whether covenants dating back to the cul-de-sac’s construction, preventing residents from taking action to change the nature of the road, could be used to challenge the decision.