Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Council warned on Bute Park bridge

Council warned on Bute Park bridge

Jun 17 2009 by Martin Shipton, South Wales Echo

CARDIFF council has been warned it could breach its own planning permission after contractors began preparations to build a controversial bridge and road into Bute Park.

The scheme has been bitterly opposed by the campaign group Bute Park Alliance, which has accused the council of planning to “desecrate” the Grade I-listed park.

Acting on behalf of the scheme’s opponents, environmental lawyer Richard Buxton has written to the council warning it not to start work before the end of July.

One of the planning conditions for the scheme says work should not proceed during the nesting season, which lasts until July 31.

A spokeswoman for Bute Park Alliance said: “Cardiff council is disregarding its own planning conditions by starting work on the site. The noise and disruption caused by the contractors in their compound adjacent to the park will inevitably cause distress to nesting birds.

“Only on Sunday, a family of blackcaps was spotted on the site of the proposed access bridge.

“Public trust in the council is at an all-time low, particularly as the map published alongside Coun Nigel Howells’ piece in the Capital Times had been doctored to show the council’s proposed developments in a more favourable light.

“The access bridge will destroy the character of Bute Park for ever.

“The council has repeatedly neglected to inform the public that the access bridge is almost 30ft wide, What’s more, the bridge will be practically 200ft long from the point it enters the park on North Road to where it finishes.

“It may even be longer because of the gradient – 17%, or one in six. With such a gradient the 40-ton lorries using it will not be able to do so safely, so it seems likely that the bridge will have to be extended at a less fierce gradient – which will involve eating up yet more green space. Bute Park is one of Wales’ treasures. Surely it is time the Assembly Government intervened to save it?”

A council spokeswoman said: “The council has responded to Mr Buxton’s letter of May 18 and it will be responding to the points raised in his further letter of June 12. The planning condition preventing disturbance of nesting birds by felling, lopping or relocation of trees/vegetative clearance during the nesting season has been and will continue to be enforced.

“We strongly refute the claim that the new bridge will destroy the character of Bute Park.

“The map printed in Capital Times was not doctored but simplified to show readers the existing routes used by vehicles and how the new access bridge will take traffic out of the majority of the park, making it a more enjoyable and safer experience for park users.”

Write to Cllr Howells who is responsible and copy to,

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