From Wales Online
The landowner at the centre of the Druidstone Road controversy is “not party” to proposals for a Gypsy camp on his land, his architect has told WalesOnline.
The planning application for a Gypsy site was submitted by a Mr L Callaghan of Wentloog, Cardiff, but the land is owned by Michael Evans.
Mr Evans, 55, of Cyncoed, has declined requests for a comment and his secretary directed the Echo’s enquiries to Mr Evans’ architect, Keith Chichester, of Splott-based C2J.
Mr Chichester confirmed to the Echo that Mr Evans had submitted a planning application for four homes on the vacant plot of land on March 12. Mr Evans had a previous application to build one house on the site rejected in 2007.
Mr Chichester insisted neither he nor Mr Evans had any involvement in the separate planning application, submitted on March 28 by Mr Callaghan, for five Gypsy caravan pitches. Attempts to locate Mr Callaghan for a comment have been unsuccessful.
Under planning laws, anybody is free to submit a planning application even if they don’t actually own the land in question.
However, planning consultants hired by the Old St Mellons Residents’ Group have claimed the Gypsy site application is a “tactic” to improve the chances of having the bid for four homes approved.
Llanishen-based planning and development consultants Harmers have submitted objections to Cardiff council to both planning applications on behalf the residents’ group.
In the objection to the Gypsy application, Harmers managing director Andrew Muir states that the proposal for housing contravenes the city’s development plan as it is designated countryside.
“With the housing application having little prospect of being approved, it is the residents’ group’s opinion that the submission of the applications at the same time is a tactic adopted by the landowner to attempt to persuade local residents to support the application for housing in favour of the Gypsy application,” Mr Muir wrote.
“However it is an accepted principle of planning law that planning applications have to be treated on their individual merits and in adopting such a tactic the applicant has undermined any justification for the Gypsy application to be supported.”
Mr Muir states that the application should have been accompanied by a supporting statement setting out the applicant’s “special personal circumstances”. He adds: “As this information has not been submitted the application is deficient and in these circumstances the application should be seen for what it is and refused.”
Mr Muir also sights planning and logistical issues, such as inadequate vehicular access to the site and poor access to shops, services, schools and public transport. He adds: “If this application is allowed then it will have a detrimental effect on the quality of housing stock in this immediate area which presently makes an important contribution to accommodating senior managers and business executives who will look elsewhere to live.”
Mr Chichester, however, refuted the “tactic” claim, describing the allegation as “unfounded”. He said Mr Evans had been served with a notice that the gypsy planning application was being submitted.
Mr Chichester told the Echo: “He (Mr Evans) is not the applicant so we are not really party to anything more than what is in the public domain.
“All I can tell you is that we have prepared a planning application for residential development on the site which is his aim, his intention for the site and he is very keen to develop that.
“He has made previous representations to the council in respect of the Local Development Plan (LDP) for inclusion of this site within in the plan. He has no intention of developing it for anything but residential development.
“He has no control on any individual who puts an application in on the land, provided they serve a notice on him. His sole involvement is the residential application which we have prepared for him.”
Mr Chichester said Mr Evans had been “frustrated by the slow progress” on the LDP, which will be published in October and set out where future development can take place.