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Home / Latest News / Cardiff Council runs up massive bill fighting Llanishen Reservoir housing development

Cardiff Council runs up massive bill fighting Llanishen Reservoir housing development

Close to £900,000 of Cardiff taxpayers’ money has been spent defending a much-loved city beauty spot from being turned into a housing estate by a US energy company.

Cardiff council ran up the £868,136 bill fighting repeated attempts by Western Power Distribution (WPD) to build hundreds of homes at Llanishen Reservoir.

The vast majority of the public cash – £827,778 – was paid to lawyers and consultants, a Freedom of Information request by WalesOnline revealed.

Local politicians insisted it was money well spent and reiterated their calls for WPD to refill the reservoir to create a new country park.

WPD – owned by Pennsylvania-based energy firm PPL – has wanted to build more than 300 homes on the reservoir, in the city’s north, since 2002.

In early 2010 the company drained the reservoir, which was used for sailing lessons by local children, including Olympic silver medallist Hannah Mills.

Its most recent plans were thrown out by the Welsh Government in April and campaigners hope WPD has finally relented after a deadline to appeal the decision passed.

Llanishen’s Labour councillor Phil Bale said: “The Welsh Government minister’s recent decision shows the council was right to stand up to WPD and defend its own planning policies.

“WPD must now respect this outcome and start refilling the reservoir as soon as possible.”

Cardiff North AM Julie Morgan AM added: “I would urge WPD to now act quickly to rebuild relations with the council and local community.

“There’s a great opportunity here to create a new country park which I hope WPD will grasp.”

Councillor Ralph Cook, Cardiff’s cabinet member for strategic planning, said he would write to WPD in an attempt to initiate communication about the company’s future plans for the site.

“We are where we are. Money has been spent, that’s in the past.

“At the moment we have a muddy hole in Llanishen and a community who would clearly like to see something worthwhile come out of this,” Coun Cook said.

“We want to see sailing returned to Llanishen reservoir, but we need to discuss this with WPD as they are the owners.

“There is nothing we can do to force them to do it.”

Asked if the £868,136 was public money well spent, he replied: “I think many people have different views on that, but I am sure the community generally feel it’s money well spent.”

However, Coun Cook acknowledged: “I think there are also many people in Cardiff that will think spending nearly a million pounds was not money well spent.”

A WPD spokeswoman declined to comment.

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3 comments

  1. Is this one of those situations where everyone agrees it was right to fight for it, but everyone will complain about the cost ! If its principles then it is only a victory when its full of water, sailing dinghies, fish and wildlife. Fill it up NOW!

  2. I would be more worried about the £26 million being spent on keeping people quiet! http://cardifflocalguide.co.uk/cardiff-council-spends-26m-on-gagging-orders-for-former-employees/