The Open Spaces Society, Britain’s leading pressure-group for common land, has opposed plans by Persimmon Homes to swap an area of Mynydd Garngoch Common at Gorseinon, north-west of Swansea.
Persimmon wants to strike 0.71 hectares of common land from the register and use it for development, replacing it with 0.81 hectares of land which the Open Spaces Society and others believe to be inferior. Persimmon says that it needs the existing common to build a roundabout, providing access to the new Garden Village.
Says Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society: ‘We have objected because we believe that Persimmon should have arranged its development to avoid the common, which is a precious asset for the community.
‘Commons are an important, ancient land type, where the public has the right to walk and, on Mynydd Garngoch Common, the right to ride too.
‘The proposed replacement land is inferior to that to be taken. The current site is visible to local people as they pass it every day on the adjoining roads, whereas the replacement land is hidden away behind a row of houses.
‘The existing land is covered in trees and vegetation, attractive for its landscape qualities and its opportunities for informal recreation and children’s play. The replacement land is a boring field, lacking in interesting features. We believe that the public and the neighbourhood will be disadvantaged by the exchange.’
A local objector, Aimee Hemsley-Rice, adds: ‘The land to be deregistered is irreplaceable ancient woodland. How is that ever going to be replaced? The site has evidence of dormice which is a European protected species—how can they be moved to an open shrub-land?’
The development is also very close to the site of the battle of Gower in 1136 and some ancient earthworks which may be at risk.
The objectors hope that the Planning Inspectorate will reject the application.
For more information about The Open Spaces Society please visit: www.oss.org.uk