Outraged neighbours have lost their last-chance battle to stop the demolition of their ‘perfectly good’ £300,000 home, as a cycle path will be made their instead.
The four-bedroom private home – that is less than 20 years old – will be flattened to make a new cycle route, which will extend towards a new “affordable” housing development.
A destructive order for the leafy suburban cul-de-sac was agreed this week, and is part of plans for 45 new social housing homes to be made next to their existing private houses on the leafy outskirts of Cardiff.
On Thursday, families lost the planning battle against the cycle path and footpath through their quiet road following approval by the Cardiff Council.
Six councillors on the planning committee voted in favour of granting permission for the scheme – with two voting against and two abstaining.
Vaughan and Alison Williams – both retired – have lived at their home for over 20 years but will now consider moving, saying: “We’ve got no problem with social housing and when we purchased our property it was in a quiet cul-de-sac.
“The demolition won’t make us feel secure and it’ll change the dynamic of the street. You don’t expect a perfectly good house to be demolished.
“The cycle path leads to nowhere, there’s no shops at the bottom of the road.
“If the decision wasn’t reversed eventually we would move because our dynamics would change completely.
“As a community here, we don’t object to social housing, only the cycle lane.”
The £300,000 was bought more than a a year ago by site developers, United Welsh, who are renting it out before the demolition.
A petition to “Save Number 43” was signed by nearly 300 people to call on the council to reject the pathway plans in the Pontprennau suburb.
In a desperate battle to save the home’s privacy, neighbour Joanna Fashan presented the petition to Cardiff council’s planning committee.
Speaking about her hard work, she said: “Residents deliberately purchased properties on this street as it was a closed cul-de-sac, knowing we could raise our families safely, have quiet retirements, feel safe living alone, and all the other positives that living on such a street has.
“This alleyway creates a rat run. We are therefore at risk of higher crime rates, for example from opportunist car thieves. This puts the safety and security of the whole community at risk.”
Despite petitions, Emma Fortune, a planning agent representing the developers, said: “This footpath and cycleway will provide an important strategic active travel link for residents.
“The link provides a safe and convenient alternative, so residents can walk or cycle, rather than use their cars.”
However, some neighbours complained about creating a social housing “ghetto”.
Neighbours have also been forced to deny being “not in my backyard” nimbys who are trying to block the people living in the affordable homes.
But one councillor hit back by saying people such as “lawyers and engineers” live in social housing.
Cllr Ali Ahmed said: “We’re not creating any ghetto. Most people who live in social housing, some of them are solicitors, barristers, engineers, you name it. Yes, we are destroying one house, but we are trying to provide 45 much-needed homes for Cardiff residents.”
Action group chairman Rob Lee added that: “Even if you build five-bedroom luxury houses we would oppose the plan, if it involved the demolition of one of our homes and destroying our way of life.”
Residents also raised issues of the isolated nature of the development which is “plonked “among fields with no amenities or connectivity.”
Mr Lee said: “This lets people in affordable housing down.”
Developers United Welsh said it was important for the new builds to “integrate well” with the community.
A spokesman said: “This development will provide much needed high-quality homes for affordable rent and first-time buyers.
“It is important for the proposed new homes to integrate well with the community and for pedestrians and cyclists to have adequate access to local facilities and amenities “Local residents are being consulted as part of the planning process.”
Cardiff Council has been contacted for a comment.