Sunday, April 29, 2007

April 29 Ruperra Update

As a consequence of the meeting in the Welsh Assembly in February when the Ruperra Castle Action Group was formed, the Spitalfields Trust was asked to work out a viable alternative plan for the Ruperra site, which could be presented to Caerphilly County Borough Council Planning Department. The initial balance sheet arrived at has only served to show the enormity of the task. The right solution cannot be found as quickly as we would have liked and work is now in progress to devise a satisfactory plan by studying and eliminating certain uses.

In Caerphilly County Borough Council the planning committee on which county councillors sit, meets to make decisions on planning applications every three weeks. We are told that Mr Barakat’s planning application for enabling development on the castle site will not now come before the planning committee on April 18th as expected. The reason is that there are still ‘unresolved matters.’ When the application was submitted in June 2006, it was expected to come before the committee in September. The next planning committee will meet on May 9th 2007 but we do not yet know whether Ruperra will be included. Prior notice is given of the applications to be discussed at each meeting.

From last June onwards many of you wrote in to the Assembly Minister responsible for the Environment, Planning and Countryside, to ask for the Ruperra application to be ‘called in.’ No decision about this has yet been made. After the Assembly election on May 3 there may be different ministers in post.

In the meantime we can only wait and be comforted that due to your support and hard work, questions about the future of Ruperra are now being asked by important national organisations who feel that the historic setting of the great house should be preserved.

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