Worry over future of local 'gem'
THERE are concerns over the future of a "gem" of a common in Swansea.
The Open Spaces Society has voiced its disappointment that the Welsh Government has agreed that Carrington Moore Estates can dig up Picket Mead Common in Newton, in connection with planning permission for an adjoining development that will see four new homes built around the area.
When the scheme was first put forward in 2010 it prompted 196 letters and two petitions of objection.
Swansea Council originally turned it down on the grounds that the proposed homes were not in keeping with the conservation area. However the controversial development was approved following an appeal to the Welsh Government.
Carrington Moore Estates, in which the former Welsh rugby captain Andy Moore has an interest, want to bury underground services (electricity, gas, water, telecoms and drainage) and lay grasscrete on the common, in connection with their planning consent for four dwellings and associated works, and the partial demolition of Picket Mead House, adjacent to the common.
Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society said: "This is a sad day for this small gem of a common where the public has the right to walk and ride. We believe that the works will change the nature of this green lung and we hope that the landowner, Swansea Council, will be strict in ensuring that the land is restored when the works are complete."
Gower MP Martin Caton opposed the scheme and wrote to campaigners at the time saying: "This and the adjacent area constitutes an important piece of green open space in a residential area providing a valuable amenity to local people. It should be protected, not suburbanised."
Mr Moore has previously said the development would enhance the Newton Conservation Area because of its high quality design — as confirmed by the Welsh Government inspector.
He said: "We are a premier league city, so we can get premier league housing."