Horseback protest against Caerphilly housing development

Girl on a horse with a sign
Image caption The lanes around Gwern y Domen are often used by horse riders

More than 100 people, including dozens on horseback, have taken part in a protest against plans to build 600 homes on greenfield land in Caerphilly.

Persimmon and PMG have submitted a second application to build a housing development at Gwern y Domen, between Lansbury Park and Rudry.

But campaigners are concerned it could cause traffic problems and put horses and riders in danger.

Persimmon said the scheme would bring "significant economic benefits".

Tyler Pesci-Griffiths, 18, who organised the horse riders protest, said: "Luckily enough I've grown up here and I've had the chance to enjoy it and come up here with the horses, exercise them, and come up here with the dogs.

"The next generation, all they're going to see is 600 houses and maybe a park with a slide."

Image caption Tyler Pesci-Griffiths helped organise the protest

Christine Tallon, who lives near the site, said: "Everyone is deeply upset about the plans. People just love it and they can't bear the thought that it will be taken away from the local community.

"We'd have to ride on the roads far more, there'd be far more cars. Here we can ride safely."

Terrina Pesci-Griffiths, who owns the Sunnybank riding centre in Rudry, said the plans would see a bridleway rerouted which would lead to horses riding on lanes and being put in danger.

But she also said there were a number of other reasons behind the protest.

"It's about the fact that the roads and infrastructure can't cope. We're going on horseback and with walkers to show the council that there's a wider impact than just not wanting to build houses there."

Image caption Dozens of people attended the protest on horseback

Jayne Garland, who sits on the Draethen, Waterloo and Rudry Community Council, said it was a "David and Goliath fight".

"There is absolutely no need to continue this exaggerated and artificial growth that Caerphilly has experienced over the last 20 years of absorbing Cardiff's population," she said.

"All this is going to do is create commuter towns, congested areas, without the infrastructure being put in place first."

Image copyright Persimmon/PMG
Image caption Image of the Gwern Y Domen masterplan and (inset) an impression of the open space and housing around it

Persimmon said the scheme would create 355 direct jobs per year and be worth £15.1m per year to the local area.

A spokesman said: "Persimmon Homes and [joint-landowner] PMG have worked closely with the council on this strategy and the homes will be first offered to the local authority to operate its own social housing scheme, before being offered to a nominated registered social landlord.

"In particular regard to the bridleway that runs along the western boundary, there is no proposal to alter this route but rather enhance the planting along the bridleway."

Caerphilly planners will consider the application, which has been recommended for approval, on Wednesday.

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