We are delighted that the popular Canyons, near Pontypool in Torfaen, have been saved from devastation.
The Minister for Housing and Local Government in Wales, Julie James, has refused an appeal from Peakman Ltd for the extraction of aggregates and construction of an access road. This would have required the removal of part of Mynydd Llanhilleth Common from the common-land register.
Peakman wanted to deregister part of the common to create the access road and to give in exchange an area of boggy, rough, forestry land to the north. It also intended to fence part of the common. Although the public inquiry inspector, Mr Clive Nield, did not reject these applications, they fall with the planning appeal, which was refused largely because it would destroy ancient woodland.
Says Maggie Thomas, Torfaen local correspondent for the Open Spaces Society: ‘We fought this development because the Canyons is a popular beauty-spot and a green lung for those living in the nearby towns. Common land is a unique and ancient resource and the public has the right to enjoy it.
‘While we are sorry that Mr Nield did not give greater weight to the importance of the common, we are delighted that the scheme as a whole has been rejected. Local people can go on enjoying the lovely Canyons.’