Civic Society plea to Welsh Ministers for Suffolk House trees rejected – update

UPDATE 24/03/20

As previously reported on the Save Suffolk House blog, the Welsh Government were sadly not in a position to save the mature trees on the former Children’s Centre site in Canton, Cardiff. Here we provide details of their response

N Hemington, the Chief Planner at the Welsh Government wrote to Cardiff Civic Society on 6 March to inform them of his decision to refuse their request to revoke planning consent for the Suffolk House site. Cardiff Civic Society received support from AMs representing the constituency in securing the reply before the trees were felled, in the hope the decision might have saved the trees.

In the event, the Chief Planner said “I find nothing which would cause me to judge the decision to grant planning consent to be grossly wrong.” A copy of the letter is attached below.

Nerys Lloyd-Pierce, Chair of the Cardiff Civic Society had written to the Welsh Government asking them to revoke planning consent at Suffolk House to prevent the unnecessary and environmentally damaging loss of mature lime and beech trees on the site. A copy of the letter is attached below.

Ms Lloyd-Pierce objected to the plans because the trees were important green infrastructure and made a significant contribution to the conservation area in which they were located. She said the loss of the trees would be in direct contravention to Welsh Government planning policy which recognises the contribution street trees make.

The Civic Society asked the Welsh Government to revoke planning consent because the decision by Cardiff’s planning committee failed to have regard to:

  • The environmental and social benefits these trees contribute to the community
  • The Welsh Government’s planning policy on street trees
  • Cardiff Council’s own declaration of a climate emergency

Nerys Lloyd-Pierce said:

We appreciate that the use of Welsh Government powers to revoke planning permission is limited to exceptional circumstances. But, this case is exceptional especially as experts have offered an alternative well-designed scheme for the site which can deliver benefits without unnecessary environmental and heritage harm.

The letter was drafted by Richard Buxton Solicitors and was sent on 24 January.

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