Developer forced to change plans to save 12 historic trees

But another 15 Grade A trees will be felled as proposal to build 2,500 homes near Lisvane is approved by Cardiff’s planning committee

DEVELOPERS have been given the green light to build 2,500 homes near Lisvane but have been forced to change their plans to protect 12 historic oak trees, one of which is at least 300 years old, following concerns from the tree officer.

The initial Local Development Plan would have seen the 12 of these veteran trees chopped down but amendments were made after the council’s tree officer described the potential loss as “catastrophic”.

Despite the amendment, 15 other important trees, all of which are at least 40 years old, will be felled to make way for the homes as agreed by Cardiff Council’s planning committee on March 2.

Both councillors and residents continue to criticise the plans, as 15 category A trees, 46 category B trees and 106 category C trees will still be lost across the 135-hectare site.

Grade A trees are generally large, high-quality trees over 40 years old which the local authority want to see retained if at all possible.

Development company Taylor Wimpey say new open space will be provided, with specific details to follow.

The beige space indicates where there was formerly green space but will now become space for houses as part of these plans.
The beige areas indicate what is now green space in north east Cardiff but will be developed for houses. The white section between the two sites is currently being built on by Redrow.

The Cardiffian visited the site to hear what residents had to say about the loss of trees and fields:

Robbin and Anne Hymers in front of one of the 12 protected veteran oaks. Video credit: Tom Hicks

Sarah Williams lives in Lisvane and said: “Maybe we should take a leaf out of the protest group’s book that stopped the reservoirs from being taken away.

“It takes action from people to get things done. We’ll protect the trees at all cost.”

Leader of the Conservatives and ward councillor for Rhiwbina, Adrian Robson, said: “It sits uncomfortably with me.

“I’ve never heard an officer use the term ‘catastrophic’ before. I took that very seriously at a time of climate emergency.

“These are very mature, well-established trees, and with data suggesting Cardiff’s growth is slower than expected, we have to ask if these homes are needed.”

One of the fields to be turned into housing, near Lisvane. Video credit: Tom Hicks

Conservative councillor for Lisvane and Thornhill Emma Reid-Jones said: “I spent a lovely morning planting 400 trees in Thornhill over the weekend.

“To lose some of these trees would be a disaster and the tree officer has warned as much.”

In the tree officer’s report, they “expressed concerns over the very substantial tree losses,” before adding: “The design of development should have greater regard to the implications of climate change and the declaration of a ‘Climate Emergency’.”

Since the plans were announced, 12 concerns, 38 objection comments and 24 comments have been made against the project.
Residents at a meeting to protest against the Lisvane project in 2019. Since the plans were announced 12 concerns, 38 objection comments and 24 other comments have been made to Cardiff council.

Coun Jones went on to raise other concerns including school capacity, transport in and out of the area over the next few years, and the state of roads around Lisvane that are already in “desperate need of repair”.

In response, Taylor Wimpey said the development would be a phased approach, meaning construction equipment would not be in place at all times over the 15 years.

Each area will be completed in turn, so that the area as a whole isn't overwhelmed with new residents.
Each area on the plan will be completed in turn, so Lisvane as a whole isn’t overwhelmed with new residents.

For residents like Natasha Dexeter, the loss of grass fields will mean losing space for her horses. She said: “We haven’t even been told by the owner of the field what’s to happen next.

“I’ve been on this yard since I was born and my mother has been here since she was a teenager. We have four of our horses buried under this field.

“This is going to push us further away and make the whole thing less enjoyable. It’s a horrible situation.”

This field is part of the Lisvane/ Pontprennau area set to be turned into houses. Credit: Natasha Dexeter

Another resident, Nigel Jones, has lived near the site in Lisvane for over 40 years. He said: “Growing up there was obviously a lot more green space.

“On the one hand I think about the need for housing, but it’s still a shame. Nobody ever wants it on their doorstep I guess.

“I’m more concerned about the traffic in the area. A lot of these roads are more like country lanes.”

As well as the 2,500, 30% of which will be affordable housing, Taylor Wimpey will also be adding:

  • Two schools.
  • A range of shops including a bank and a convenience shop.
  • Retail outlets.
  • Public parks and gardens.
  • Cycle lanes.

More details will be announced over the coming months and the full planning committee decision can be watched here.