Residents torn over housing proposal for ‘wasteland’ in Caerau

The abandoned land has blighted residents with everything from fireworks to rats

RESIDENTS in Caerau are torn about a proposal for 83 new homes at the end of Narberth Road.

They are pleased that it will build over a hotspot for anti-social behaviour but worried it will aggravate the road’s trouble with traffic.

For more than 40 years, the land was home to a Territorial Army centre and civil defence building but it has been vacant since 2011.

Cardiff Council and developer Wates Residential plan to build 83 new homes behind Western Leisure Centre on Cowbridge Road West. All properties would meet “high levels of sustainability and energy efficiency” and help with community regeneration, they say.

A total of 25 of the 83 homes would be categorised as affordable housing.

Proposed area for the housing development on Narberth Road, Caerau.

Caerau councillors Peter Bradbury and Elaine Simmons are generally supportive of the plans but have concerns.

“If passed, this will increase the amount of traffic on Narberth Road and Heol Ebwy,” they said.

“We would also like a review of the traffic lights system on both Caerau Lane and Amroth Road.”

What do residents say?

Mike White, 59, lives with his family on Narberth Road. He says the road has been much busier since the introduction of traffic lights on Amroth Road.

“It’s a nightmare in the mornings. Traffic coming all the way up this road. People use it as a cut-through,” he said.

Vehicles cannot get onto Amroth Road, where drivers face a wait at the traffic light to re-join Cowbridge Road West, he added.

However, Mr White still supports the plans. In his view, as long as the land is disused it will be misused.

“It is dangerous. Fireworks are terrible over there, but it’s been better since they fenced it off. It’s a wasteland,” he said.

Residents say that people often use the Narberth Road land to set off fireworks.

Janette Thomas, 80, lives at the end of Narberth Road with her son and their dog. She says she “can’t wait” for the development to start but also anticipates the traffic getting worse.

“Since they changed the traffic lights you can’t get out. You got to rely on someone to let you out,” she said.

Ms Thomas hopes the construction will put an end to the anti-social behaviour that happens on the abandoned land outside her home.

“Being quite old, it’s quite frightening. At night, the boys come on their electric scooters and meet out there. I don’t know what they do.”

One night, she found strangers sitting on the roof of their outhouse.

Ms Thomas has also had problems with rats in weeds that spread from the abandoned land.

Jocelynn Daley, 49, says the housing development has been a long time coming. The council notified her about the plans when she bought her house at the end of Narberth Road in 2005. Because of them, she has never been granted permission to extend her property.

People use a resident’s garden as a way into the fenced-off field at Narberth Road.

Like Ms Thomas across the road, Ms Daley has also suffered from her proximity to the abandoned field.

“Kids are using my garden to get over the fence. I don’t know why they want to get in there –there’s nothing in there. I suppose they want to because they’re not allowed.”

Ms Daley says her dogs always bark when people land in her garden and one evening a stranger appeared outside her 12-year-old daughter’s bedroom window.

Councillors Bradbury and Simmons said: “On the whole this is a good development of a brownfield site that attracts a lot of anti-social behaviour and if our comments are taken on board we would be happy to support this application.”

Cardiff council’s planning committee will make a decision before the deadline of March 10.