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Letter: Valuable wild land.

Byline: BO WILKINS

SIR - I see that once again Councillor Kevin Etheridge has taken up the baton in protest against yet another planning application to take valuable wild land for domestic and commercial building (Letters, July 16).

And he is right of course, because the land in question at Hawtin Park Fields, Gellihaf, Blackwood, is being used daily by many members of the public for recreational reasons.

Not only that, it is supposedly a site of special interest, with a host of wildlife living there, which makes it a "protected" site.

I put "protected" in inverted commas because it appears that when it suits the council, the site becomes green field, brown field, protected or not protected etc. It certainly seems that way, anyway.

Many issues need to be explored and answered before the community will even go halfway to accepting these plans.

Issues such as the infrastructure to support the proposed development.

Is there a need for extra commercial/ industrial units, or have we enough empty units around the area already?

Are the present (stretched) services, such as the schools and surgeries able to cope with the possible influx of the extra population of up to 190 more homes?

How about the road network?

Anyone who knows the area will tell you that it can almost be quicker to walk from Pontllanfraith to Ystrad Mynach in the morning and evening rush hour. (That's a joke, "rush hour" - the hour can last half of the day!) So you can imagine the impact of up to 190 houses, which could mean more than 250 more vehicles in the system.

Neither can you ignore the massive impact of the potential development on the wildlife. As Mr Etheridge has pointed out, there is so much wildlife here that nothing short of a full biodiversity study is required in order to ascertain the total list of reptiles, butterflies, birds and so on which live, and depend, on this piece of land.

The local community is united in its efforts for answers to these and other questions.

BO WILKINS Pontllanfraith
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 24, 2008
Words:345
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