Welcome to Save Kilvey Hill

A website for the protection of Kilvey Hill.

Objections

These are some of the reasons why the Skyline development of Kilvey Hill should be opposed:

  • The unique rural character of Kilvey Hill will be destroyed for existing and future generations.
  • A significant part of Kilvey Hill is a designated quiet area (see here), yet the peace and sanctity of the hill that many thousands of Swansea residents enjoy will be destroyed by this development.
  • Skyline say that the development will take up only 9% of Kilvey Hill. However, some of Kilvey Hill is not open to the public and is in private hands. When you remove that from the equation, the Skyline development will take up 37% of the public access land on Kilvey Hill.
  • The consultation process has been inadequate and was given little publicity. Many if not most people still do not know that this development is in the advanced stages and may soon go ahead. The initial proposal, a voluminous document spanning 2500 pages and with only 4 weeks of public availability, was not only daunting to navigate but also incomplete and flawed. Skyline also has recently admitted that they are still refining aspects of the project even after the consultation period has concluded. This raises concerns about transparency and the public’s ability to provide informed feedback. The public deserves a comprehensive, complete proposal to review and comment on. Therefore, the consultation needs to be revisited once the proposal is fully developed and all stakeholders have been adequately addressed.
  • When the ‘theme park’ development comes to the end of its life the concrete, buildings and pylons will all be left there. No-one is going to pay to remove them. The scenic value of the hill will be totally ruined.
  • The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 requires councils to ‘seek to maintain and enhance biodiversity in the proper exercise of their functions‘. It also requires that they ‘promote the resilience of ecosystems‘. An area the size of 11 football fields (76,000 square metres – see here) of woodland on Kilvey Hill will be completely removed by the Skyline development (according to their own figures). This is unacceptable at a time when protecting biodiversity is such an important issue and is totally at odd with the council’s duty. There is already an existing management plan for the hill which is to slowly return the hill to native broadleaf woodland, a plan that is in accord with the 2016 Act. That would also be a lasting legacy for residents of Swansea and something that could be enjoyed by future generations, as well as showing a genuine commitment to nature protection.
  • The Welsh government are spending £4 million to help fund this development despite the fact that it contravenes the National Assembly of Wales Environment Act 2016. This money is also being spent at a time when inflation is high, energy costs are high, and many people are going to food banks. There are more important things to be spending money on than this.
  • Swansea council are giving £8 million pounds to this development. They have said that this is a loan that will be repaid without giving any details. Councils elsewhere in the UK who give millions ‘on loan’ to dubious tourist developments often do not get their money back, despite giving guarantees to the public that they will (see e.g. here). This is public money and there are better and more responsible things it can be spent on than schemes like this.
  • It is not clear if the development can support itself. If the project is going to be financially successful then why aren’t the banks financing it? Instead it is requiring £12 million pounds from the council and the Welsh government, which is essentially a ‘bail out’ before it’s even got started. How many more ‘bail outs’ is this project going to need once it has begun?
  • Thousands of tonnes of concrete is to be poured onto the hill.
  • All of the profits will be going to New Zealand.
  • The peaceful woodland that has helped local people’s physical health and wellbeing will be gone.
  • The Luge track Skyline are planning to build on Kilvey Hill will be open during the day and at night and lit up with an array of multicoloured lights and music ruining the view of the hill from the ground and the experience for anyone walking up there.
  • This development, in clear cutting 11 football fields worth of the woodland on Kilvey Hill, goes directly against Future Wales Policy 14, which emphasises the importance of retaining and enhancing woodland cover to build resilience of ecosystems and achieve WG targets of increasing woodland cover by at least 2,000 ha per annum from 2020. The policy also recognises the wide range of benefits for society provided by trees and woodland, and that they are therefore an essential part of the Green Infrastructure Network and delivering placemaking objectives.  
  • This development goes directly against Planning Policy Wales (PW), specifically: 1) PW 6.4.24: “Trees, woodlands, copses and hedgerows are of great importance for biodiversity…They also play a vital role in tackling climate change by locking up carbon, and can provide shade and shelter, a sustainable energy source and building materials. The particular role, siting and design requirements of urban trees in providing health and well-being benefits to communities, now and in the future should be promoted as part of plan making and decision taking.” 2) PW 6.4.25: Planning authorities should protect trees, hedgerows or groups of trees or areas of woodland where they have ecological value, contribute to the character or amenity of a particular locality, or perform a beneficial and identified green infrastructure function.” 3) PW 6.4.27: The protection and planting of trees and hedgerows should be delivered, where appropriate, through locally specific strategies and policies, through imposing conditions when granting planning permission, and/or by making Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). They should also be incorporated into Green Infrastructure Assessments and plans. 
  • This development goes against the Swansea Local Development Plan, specifically: 1) Policy ER 11 states: Development that would adversely affect trees, woodlands and hedgerows of public amenity or natural/cultural heritage value, or that provide important ecosystem services, will not normally be permitted. Policy ER 11 is also clear that the principle of avoidance of development which affects trees should be applied in the first instance.  2) Policy ER1: Climate Change – Recognises the crucial role that trees and soils play in mitigating the effects of climate change at the local level and promotes that, “as far as practicable, trees should be retained and protected, with new trees and shrubs provided by developers wherever possible.” 
  • The woodland to be clear cut on Kilvey Hill is, according to the ecological survey carried out by Skyline, mostly of Category B.  The Swansea Local Development Plan Special Supplementary Guides specifically requires that “the design and layout of the site will be expected to respond to the information contained in the BS5837:2012 tree survey as follows: Retention of Category A and B Trees: Where a (BS5837:2012) tree survey identifies Category A (high quality) and Category B (moderate quality) trees, the Council will expect them to be retained and incorporated into a layout wherever possible. 
  • It’s unclear whether any account has been given to the Veteran trees on Kilvey Hill in the Skyline proposals.  Although it is not an old woodland, many of the trees on Kilvey Hill have the characteristics of Veteran trees.  These are trees that may not be old, but which because of their environment or life experiences, have developed the valuable features of an ancient tree. The importance of Ancient and Veteran trees is emphasized in national planning policy and guidance and reflected in the detailed criteria of LDP Policy ER11. The Policy provides specific protection to Ancient Woodland, Ancient Woodlands Sites, Ancient and Veteran Trees and clearly states that development will not normally be permitted that would result in any of the impacts specified in criteria i-x.17.   If veteran or ancient trees/woodland are identified on site they must be considered carefully in relation to a development proposal and every attempt must be made to integrate the tree into a development proposal from an early stage to secure its long-term survival and retention.
  • Section 197 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1992 places a duty on local planning authorities to ensure, wherever it is appropriate, that in granting planning permission for a development, adequate provision is made by the imposition of conditions, for the preservation or planting of trees. If it appears to a local planning authority that it is expedient in the interests of amenity to make provision for the preservation of trees or woodlands, Section 198 of the Act provides the power to make a Tree Preservation Order for that purpose. A Tree Preservation Order should be placed on the woodland on Kilvey Hill, as a local amenity enjoyed by thousands of Swansea residents, in accordance with the above act.  

Take Action! There are lots of actions you can take to help protect Kilvey Hill from development. To find out what you can do go to the Take Action page.