PARTS of one of Gwent's grandest old estates could be turned into flats under controversial new plans submitted to Caerphilly council.

The owners of Ruperra Castle, near Draethen, want to turn the castle's Grade Two-listed outbuildings - namely the former dairy, laundry, stables, and coach house - into seven homes, but a local heritage group said the "unique and precious" estate should be preserved for future generations.

The castle estate has fallen into disrepair since the mid-20th century, when it was sold by the wealthy landowning Morgan family, the lords of Tredegar.

The castle's current owners are optimistic their proposals to renovate the castle's outbuildings will be the first step on the path to rescuing the Ruperra estate. Changes to the castle building are not included in this planning application.

''We are convinced the proposals submitted offer a much needed opportunity to repair these important listed buildings associated with Ruperra Castle, and hope this first step on the long-term vision for the rescue of the entire estate will be supported," they said in a statement.

But heritage group the Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust has called for Caerphilly council to refuse the planning application, citing the presence of protected species on the site, such as the greater horseshoe bat.


The planning application includes a proposal to convert a former greenhouse store into an alternative roosting site for bats.

Pat Jones Jenkins, secretary of the trust, said: “The castle and its estate are an unique and precious part of the heritage of Wales, much valued by local people who are appalled at the level of neglect and lack of public access.

"Like Caerphilly Castle and Tredegar House, Ruperra Castle and Estate is a vital link to families who made a huge impact on the history of Wales, its industries and its people over many centuries.

"The Ruperra Castle Preservation Trust has been pivotal in recording and making available to local communities many of its stories from the distant and more recent past.

"There are more which are yet to be investigated and re-told. Allowing it to become a private gated community is not the way forward."