Ruperra Castle

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ruperra Application still not Ready

The archaeological information needed to enable the planning application to be brought before Caerphilly Council next Wednesday 3 October is still not available. The next meeting will be Wednesday 24 October. You will be informed as usual.

In planning matters it is only the applicant who can insist on matters being speeded up. In this case the owner/applicant does not seem very concerned at the lack of progress.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

While We Wait....

While we are waiting to see if the planning application for housing at Ruperra will come before the County Borough Council's planning committee next Wednesday, 3 October, readers may be interested to look at the websites of the other two castles in Britain, built in the same period as Ruperra, whose architecture is of the same historic importance as Ruperra's, namely Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire, now taken over by the County Council as a public amenity, and Lulworth, owned by the Weld family but consolidated by English Heritage and now part of the heritage of the area.

Wollaton was burnt out in a fire at the end of the 18th century but restored soon afterwards. Its final condition when the family handed it over to the council was vastly better than either Ruperra or Lulworth, the second of which has nevertheless been consolidated by English Heritage over the last 20 years. On each site, amonst the necessary publicity, a history of the house can be found.

What contrasts - poor Ruperra.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ruperra - The case for Consolidation as an Ancient Monument

Here is a solution for Ruperra which would stop further deterioration but make restoration possible at a later date.

The case for Consolidation as an Ancient Monument

· Full restoration of the castle is simply not viable at present. The costing exercise for an enabling development carried out in March 2007 by the Spitalfields Trust, experts in this field, showed full restoration is no longer realistic. At £10M, the financial and environmental costs are just too high.

· 18 new houses could not finance the restoration of the castle. This can now be demonstrated. Over the past 5 years Caerphilly County Borough Council planners have been misled by the owner. Should he obtain planning consent - still without benefit of Listed Building Consent or Scheduled Monument Consent, his next move must be to make his profit by selling on to another developer who will face the same problems, waste more Council time and inevitably request many more houses.

· A Test for Caerphilly. This planning application tests the Welsh system for protection of our country’s greatest buildings. The councillors must show that they understand the importance of not allowing a developer to desecrate our heritage.

· The Lulworth Solution. Built at the same time, Lulworth Castle is almost identical to Ruperra. Also burnt out (in 1928) it has now been consolidated. Consolidation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument is a perfectly responsible, effective and entirely respectable approach for these great 17th century country houses. With public access to Ruperra assured, sources of funding could be Cadw, the Countryside Council for Wales, and two strands of Heritage Lottery funding. A new cost exercise was carried out in June 2007 by the quantity surveyors who worked on Lulworth Castle.

· A Low Carbon Footprint. Consolidation will mean minimal upgrading of services and access roads for Ruperra. Coed Craig Ruperra, owned by Ruperra Conservation Trust has public access and many visitors to Ruperra will walk through the woods to the castle. Compared with enabling development, the lightening of the carbon footprint will be huge. It would represent a commendably Green solution.

Monday, September 10, 2007

No planning decision on Setember 12

The Ruperra Castle planning application is NOT included on the agenda for Caerphilly County Borough Council planning committee meeting on Wednesday September 12.

Free Hit Counters
Free Counter