AN investigation has been launched after part of a bluebell wood has been destroyed by a developer.

Developers moved on to the land opposite the Cwm Glas estate, near Llanbradach, and began digging up the woodland - without planning permission from Caerphilly County Borough Council.

Llanbradach Community Councillor Beci Newton said: “I was born and brought up in Llanbradach and always enjoyed the bluebells as a child, visiting with friends and family. 

“I have ensured my children have the same wonderful experience I did, which helped them develop an appreciation and love for their countryside.

"This wanton destruction of an area of unmatched beauty is absolutely devastating.

“I cannot think of another field that has a blanket of bluebells like it.

“It truly is difficult to work out what sort of person would wilfully destroy something so special.”

Leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council Cllr Sean Morgan confirmed planning permission had not been granted for the work, and said the authority had launched an enforcement investigation "immediately after the issue was raised".

"All works were brought to an immediate halt, demonstrating the level of concern from ourselves," he said.

Possible destruction of much-loved bluebell wood in Caerphilly

"These un-notified works, that had begun at Bluebell Wood, without the prior knowledge of the council have now stopped.

"The owners have been told enforcement measures will be taken if they do not now follow the correct procedure that anyone has to follow for any proposed development. As a local authority, we could not have acted more decisively." 

Bluebells are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981), meaning digging up the plant or bulb in the countryside is prohibited and landowners are prohibited from removing bluebells from their land to sell. It is also illegal to sell wild bluebell bulbs and seeds.

Plaid Cymru councillor Colin Mann said he understood the land had been sold privately earlier this year - the new owner is reportedly a company called Everything Holidays - and he wants Natural Resources Wales to step in to prevent any further damage to the environment.

“This area is much loved by many in the village, and it is really sad to see the shocking destruction," he said.

Cllr Newton has also written to NRW calling for action.

More than 75 concerned locals attended a meeting last week to voice their concerns over the possible destruction.

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Toni James, resident in Llanbradach said: “The atmosphere at the meeting was incredibly emotional and angry.

"People were talking about direct action - going to the work site and lying down in front of machinery.

“Emotions are running very high."

She added: “NRW have been contacted and say that whilst bluebells are protected, there is nothing to stop a landowner digging them up and disposing of them, as long as they don't sell them."

Everything Holidays was contacted for comment.

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