Save Cardiff's Beauty
WORDS: David Heyman (Sprout Editorial Group)
Council plans to create raised roads and a lorry access bridge though one of the corners of the idyllic Bute Park has met with stiff opposition, and justifiably so.
Cardiff Council's claims that these changes are for 'public safety' reportedly face being debunked by internal officers admitting that the project is money-driven and an attempt to sacrifice one of the few areas of peace and quiet in an otherwise heavily developing city to make even more money.
This latest plan for development is a very large and ugly eyesore, and is yet another concern for those who over the last 90 years have seen the 'green lung' of Cardiff disappear piece by piece.
Sophia Gardens is currently set to lose it's football pitch to a car park, Llandaff Fields is now being encroached upon by oversized WJEC office blocks, and Pontcanna Fields are still waiting for the council's long promised restoration.
It is no wonder that when all these other parks are facing such development there is genuine concern for our city's natural beauty, while others are left wondering exactly how long will it be until there is nothing left.
Problems that have been noted in the council's report include that the proposal would result in a significant opening into the woodland belt along North Road.
The introduction of a two-lane roadway and a single vehicle-width bridge would create noticeable noise pollution and disrupt the current use of the area for walkers and cyclists.
The Bute Parks Alliance is an organisation that was formed as a response to the proposed new access bridge and roadway in Bute Park, though they are also concerned with other developments on all of Cardiff's green areas.
While the Alliance recognises the city's need to grow to promote economic prosperity, they are calling on the council to agree to a moratorium on all development in the city's central parks until a coherent strategy has been drawn up and agreed upon that will lead to the park's protection.
The Alliance is hoping that through these actions they can effectively bring a halt to piecemeal development of parkland, something the council tends to view as just cheap land. Yet without the natural beauty of the city's parks, where else will Cardiff's busy citizens turn to unwind from everyday stress?
If you want to know more about the Alliance and for information on joining go to www.buteparksalliance.org or simply turn up at the next meeting at The Yard on St. Mary Street at 7.30pm on Monday 6 April.
TheSprout's Environment Directory is here.