Welsh Government decide not to call-in Ruperra planning applications despite a recent biodiversity commitment
Ruperra Castle Preservation Trustees were hugely disappointed that Julie James, Climate Change Minister, has decided not to call-in the Ruperra planning proposals for determination by the Welsh Government. This is despite concern for the future of protected species living on the site, including rare Greater Horseshoe bats whose maternity colony is in Ruperra’s Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This is also in spite of the Minister’s recent written statement issued in December 2022 to all local authorities in Wales committing Welsh Government to strengthen protection for all SSSIs in Wales.
Caerphilly County Borough Council can now go ahead and issue the decision by the Planning Committee on 28 September 2022 which was supportive of the proposals for conversion of outbuildings next to Ruperra Castle into a residential community with no plans for Ruperra Castle, a building of huge historical importance and at risk. We believe the proposals will impact irreparably on the setting of the scheduled monument and Grade 2* Listed Castle, and its Grade 2 Registered Garden and parkland, and damage, rather than enhance the precious biodiversity of the area.
We are saddened that it is so difficult to protect heritage assets in Wales like Ruperra Castle, the Coal Exchange and many others despite the good intentions set out in Wales’ ground-breaking Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and in the Senedd’s founding principle of sustainability. Welsh people deserve these fine words to be followed by Government action, including better protection of our historic environment. Built in Caerphilly in 1626, Ruperra Castle is significant in Welsh history, and one of only a handful of pageant castles (built for show, not defence) left in the UK. It would be a tragedy if, without necessary repair work, it deteriorates further and is lost forever…
Many eminent historians and archaeologists agree that intervention is long overdue. They include Adam Nicholson, who in his book “The Earls of Paradise” mentions the woeful state of Ruperra Castle, this “great Jacobean house… burnt out and in collapse….” built by Sir Thomas Morgan, steward to the 3rd Earl of Pembroke.
We are petitioning the Senedd to press Welsh Government to require preparation of a conservation management plan for all scheduled monuments at risk, including Ruperra Castle. If you haven’t yet had chance to sign or share the petition, please do so: