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Council says controversial Cardiff park plans will not lead to loss of playing field

Protestors took to Roath Recreational Ground in the style of a funeral procession on Saturday, June 22 to show their opposition to the way plans for the park are being carried out (Pic: Ted Peskett)

CONTROVERSIAL works on a much loved Cardiff park will not lead to the loss of a playing field, the city council insists.

Residents and Liberal Democrats councillor for Penylan, Cllr Rodney Berman, have for months called for clarity from the council on works to introduce a new cycle path and walkway around Roath Recreational Ground.

In a statement, Cardiff Council said plans to develop a new path on the Ty Draw Road side of the park will no longer go ahead as part of the wider scheme and the four pitches will be re-instated once works are completed.

Whilst this has been acknowledged as a positive, Cllr Berman has criticised the Labour-run council in the time taken to provide clarity on this matter and says the new path to the south will still eat into the park.

Cllr Berman said: “The way the Labour-run council has handled this project has been nothing short of shambolic.

“It is outrageous that they have felt it OK to make significant changes from the scheme that went through two consultations, and residents are rightly alarmed at the paths being moved further into the park and the impact this is having.

“The path on the Ninian Road side, which will have a cycle route alongside, has already been moved much further into the park.

“Clearly where the paths go is important as moving them in from the sides reduces the space available in the middle for the pitches.”

The Labour group at Cardiff Council called Cllr Berman’s comments disgraceful, adding that his administration tried to build a new school on fields to the east of the city.

In a statement, the group said that Cardiff Council will continue to engage with residents and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) throughout the remainder of the project.

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On top of introducing a new cycle route, the multi-million pound project for the area around Roath Recreational Ground includes improvements for bus travel, new crossings and parking and drainage work.

The work will also affect some of the junctions near the park. Right turns from from Wellfield Road on to Marlborough Road will be prohibited, as will right turns from Marlborough Road on to Penylan Road.

Cardiff Council said these restrictions are being brought in to reduce the delay to traffic at the junction.

The wider plans around Roath Recreational Ground are intended to improve and encourage active travel in the city.

In the latest update on the works, a Cardiff Council spokesperson said: “Initial designs to construct a new path on the northern side of Roath Recreation ground have been changed following discussions with Natural Resources Wales, which no longer requires an upgraded path for access.

“Consequently the council WILL NOT be proceeding with the construction of this path.

“For clarity this was the path proposed to run parallel to Roath Brook and Ty Draw Road.

“The existing path along Roath Brook will now remain in situ and unchanged.

“On the Ninian Road, south-side of the park a shared use path, including a cycleway, is currently under construction.

“Once this is completed the four sports pitches which are currently out of action, will be reinstated to the recreation ground.

“The configuration of these pitches will be reviewed – in consultation with users and residents – to ensure the best use of the space available.”

Cllr Berman said: “It has been alarming that for some time the council has failed to explain exactly what will happen to the pitches once the works are completed and whether they will have to be reduced in size or reduced in number because there will be less space available.

“I will keep pushing on this until I have a firm guarantee.

“I am delighted that the alarm I have publicly raised, together with the concerns being voiced by local residents, has prompted the council to rethink relocating the path further in on the Ty Draw side of the Rec.

“This is one victory the community can now claim.”

Protesters took to the park on Saturday, June 22 to make clear their opposition to the way the scheme is being carried out.

In the style of a funeral procession, protesters started from Alder Road Bridge at 11am and made their way around the park to the library and community centre.

The campaigners said they want protective bodies like Cadw and Fields in Trust to be statutory consultees for the remainder of the project.

A Cardiff Council Labour group spokesperson said: “When Rodney Berman was Council Leader, he tried to build a school on a one of the finest playing fields in Cardiff East.

“One of the first things Labour did after ousting him from power was to put a number of the City’s Parks into Trust, including Roath Rec, to protect them forever.

“It’s disgraceful that Rodney Berman is promoting himself as some sort of protector of playing fields, when his record in office proves him to he anything but.

“Cardiff Council will continue to engage with residents and NRW as we deliver improvements to cycling through Roath Rec that also protects the park’s trees.”