Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Minister for Heritage on HLF funding

Thank you for your email of 02 December 2008 to the Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones, regarding your concerns with the position taken by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in relation to the proposals for the building of a new bridge and road in Bute Park, Cardiff. I have been asked to reply.

I understand that in June 2006, the HLF Trustees awarded a Stage One, development funding of £115,000 to Cardiff County Council for the restoration of Bute Park. This was followed in March 2008 by a Stage Two main award of £3,123,000 to enable the Council to restore the Park through conservation and interpretation work which would include a new build educational facility and an on-site horticultural training programme.

The £3.1 million grant awarded by the HLF to Cardiff County Council to restore Bute Park does not include funding for the design, planning or construction of the new access bridge and road into the Park which forms the subject of current public concern. However, HLF is conscious that the success of its grant award to the project is dependent on the successful integration of all forms of physical and intellectual access in the Park. In this respect, they have asked Cardiff County Council to provide ongoing evidence of their commitment to consult and involve the public, community and conservation groups in the project, to ensure public support for this project, and the future of the Park heritage.

HLF takes very seriously the public concerns which have arisen since the summer of 2007 and have discussed with Cardiff County Council the apparent lack of dialogue with stakeholders and park users on this issue. Direct involvement by the public in their heritage is one of HLF’s strategic priorities, so it is crucial for the proposed plans to restore the Park that there is a comprehensive programme of public consultation. As part of its monitoring of the grant to the Council, HLF continue to keep this under review.

Whilst the Welsh Assembly Government has responsibility for developing the policy framework for the HLF in Wales, it remains at arms length from the day to day regulation and operation of HLF. Should you wish to contact the HLF for further information or clarification, they can be contacted at;

The Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales

Suite 5A,

Hodge House
Guildhall Place


CF10 1DY

Tel: 029 2034 3413

Email: wales@hlf.org.uk

I hope that you find the information provided useful.

Yours Sincerely

Mark A McConkey

Department for Rural Affairs and Heritage/ Yr Adran Materion Gwledig a Threftadaeth

ffôn/tel: 029 2082 6041

ffacs/fax: 029 2082 5119

Minister for heritage e-mail: alunffred.jones@wales.gov.uk

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Monbiot and CPRE and Bute Park

comment sent to me by Les Mills
In today's Guardian comments on George Monbiot's Interview with CPRE's head re wind farms and Open cast mining. Here

Fantastic interview - nail them George. It's people like that CPRE interviewee who masquerade as defenders of the English/British landscape but who are , in actual fact simply representing the views of a small elitist minority of foxhunting nimbys. What are they all going to do when the electricity runs out or when there's a nuclear accident - will they care about the landscape at the bottom of their gardens then?
No they'll probably all be rushing out to buy windmills for their own gardens.

As George pointed out, these people should concentrate their energies and resources, against monstrosities like open cast coal mines and projects everywhere like the current ill conceived plans of Cardiff City Council to introduce roadways for 40 ton articulated lorries into one of Europe's finest , most tranquil and precious inner city parks in the centre of Cardiff. This wonderful green space benefits everybody not just a privileged moneyed few. Like the CPRE vis a vis open cast mining, CADW and the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales are not opposing these plans.
Keep it up George.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Help save bute park HLF

HLF wants the acceptance of the bridge by all users of the Park including local residents and community groups but this has not been achieved; indeed people thought the £1.4 million cost is quite out of order. It follows that their condition for the "success of the HLF project" is not met, so they should suspend progress on this until a solution agreed by the bulk of users of the Park is achieved.

The universal opposition to large lorries for the Nursery's plant business and to the new roadways (that turn out to be 4-metres wide on 3ft high embankments - creating new conflicts between pedestrians and lorries - an issue that the Council has never disclosed and consulted on).

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Capital Times Bute Park lies!

Here we go again! The road WAS NOT given the go ahead by planning as it was only the bridge was covered by that. There was no discussion of the raised road and no discussion of the HLF and the conditions they put on their grant!"

Monday, 8 December 2008

CADW on Vulcan and Bute Park

Thank you for your e-mail of 12th November to the Assembly Minister for Heritage about listing the Vulcan Hotel public house on Adam Street as a building of special architectural or historic interest. I have been asked to reply.

There is a statutory duty to list buildings which meet published listing criteria but this cannot be where they are not met. These criteria state that, because of the greater number of buildings built after about 1840 which survive, selection is needed to identify the best examples of particular types. Only buildings of definite quality and character are listed. Buildings that illustrate important aspects of Wales’ social, economic, cultural or military history may also be considered for listing on grounds of historic interest and also where there is a close historical association between a building and people or events of importance to Wales.

Cadw have considered the Vulcan for listing on a number of occasions - in 1996-97, when the area was surveyed for historic buildings and several times since 2003. Cadw’s Inspectors have visited more than once and carried out internal and external inspections. Although the pub has reputedly been in continuous use since 1853, it has the appearance of an early twentieth century building, seemingly remodelled around 1900. More recent internal alterations have further affected its original character. In this respect the Vulcan does not compare favourably to other historic pubs in Cardiff which have been listed such as the nearby Golden Cross. Cadw has also considered the case for listing of the Vulcan based on its historical interest or association but these seem not to be significant outside the immediate area. On present evidence therefore, Cadw’s assessment is that the listing criteria are not met in the case of the Vulcan but officials would be happy review the matter in the light of any new information.

Historic buildings, listed or not, are an important part of our cultural heritage and can make a significant contribution to local regeneration. Where development affecting historic assets is proposed, developers and the local planning authority should consider retaining and incorporating these into their plans so that an area continues to reflect an element of local distinctiveness and character. We understand that work on the redevelopment of Adam Street, including the site presently occupied by the Vulcan, primarily for residential apartments, is due to start late next year or early 2010. We hope that in the time that remains every opportunity is taken to consider the scope for retaining the pub as part of these development plans so that the Vulcan’s long period of association with the area can continue.

With regard to the proposals for a new bridge and access road from North Road into Bute Park, Cardiff City Council put this forward in order, primarily, to improve goods vehicle access necessary for setting up public events held in the park grounds. Cadw was consulted on the planning application for these proposals as Bute Park is included, at Grade I, on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales and had serious concerns about the original proposals presented to us in 2007 which we expressed to the council. In the light of these concerns the council made significant changes to the design of the access bridge to reduce its visual impact while still providing improved access.

Philip Hobson Designations Section/Y Gangen Ddynodiadau
Welsh Assembly Government / Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru.
Cadw,Plas Carew 5/7 Cefn Coed, Parc Nantgarw Cardiff CF15 7QQ
Direct Line/ Llinell Uniongyrchol 01443 336017
E-mail/E-bost hobsonp@wales.gsi.gov.uk

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Dan Clayton Jones HLF and historic gardens shuns public meeting

What HLF said “Accordingly Cardiff County Council will be required to demonstrate a firm commitment to the bridge and provide a construction start date as part of its Phase 2 application to The Heritage Lottery Fund. Without this HLF will not be in a position to commit its funding to the Bute Park Restoration works”.

What HLF say now ...Thank you for your emails. I have not responded about the public debate as I was waiting on further information from Professor Kevin Mason, which he supplied yesterday. As you well know the Heritage Lottery Fund is not funding the new access bridge which is the subject of the public debate - I attach our Public Statement as a reminder. As we cannot comment on those elements funded by other parties, neither I nor Mr Dan Clayton Jones will be attending the meeting.

Thank you again for your interest in the work of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Best Wishes Jennifer Stewart

Jennifer Stewart Pennaeth CDL, Cymru/Head of HLF, Wales
Llinell uniongyrchol/direct line 029 2023 4144

Date: 4th Nov 2008 Bute Park – Public Statement

A HLF spokesperson said
“The £3.1 million grant awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to Cardiff County Council to restore Bute Park is not funding the design, planning or construction of the new access bridge and road into the Park, which forms the subject of current public concern.

“However HLF is conscious that the success of its grant award to the project is dependent on the successful integration of all forms of physical and intellectual access in the Park. We have asked the Council to provide ongoing evidence of their commitment to consult and involve the public, community and conservation groups in the project, to ensure public support for this project, and the future of the Park’s priceless heritage.”


Further information:
Please contact the Heritage Lottery Fund on 029 2034 3413
or email wales@hlf.org.uk

NOTE that in June 2006 the HLF approved a Stage 1 grant of £3.1m towards the
overall cost of the project which amounts to £5.6m. The Stage 1 grant
specified that the Council needed to demonstrate a commitment to construct the new vehicular access into Bute Park and the offer excluded a contribution from HLF to the Bridge.
Page 2 of 4
6. On the 20 August 2007 the National Heritage Lottery wrote to the Council
confirming that:-
“the Heritage Lottery Fund view the position of a new bridge over the docks
feeder to provide access into the park from North Road as an essential
element of the Bute Park Restoration Project.
“Accordingly Cardiff County Council will be required to demonstrate a firm
commitment to the bridge and provide a construction start date as part of its
Phase 2 application to The Heritage Lottery Fund. Without this HLF will not
be in a position to commit its funding to the Bute Park Restoration works”.

Monday, 1 December 2008

questions and answers on BUTE PARK ROAD

Questions on Bute Park Road project

We sent a number of questions that remain unanswered to Pat Thompson who is the project lead for the Bute Park lorry road and bridge.

Q. Removal of trees early in Spring.
Apart from the diseased beech, you said another tree (or two) was taken down by the boundary fence, indicating the north end of gap. Was this from your own inspection or would you please supply a record of this tree or trees taken down by the Parks Dept?

A. Answer from Pat Thompson Cardiff Council Bute Park road project officer

- 2 young Beech trees were removed immediately behind the metal fence at the time the large diseased Beech was felled. We think these were part of an original mixed Laurel and Beech hedge planted at the top of the bank because the trees in question were planted close together. It's also clear that the trees had received no maintenance and had not been thinned to allow normal development and growth. As a result the two beech removed were poor specimens and the remaining beech and Laurel are included in the Parks Service future programme for woodland management which incidentally will include the removal of several large diseased Elm trees. The approved landscaping / planting plan for the new access bridge will result in extensive new planting within this area.

Q. Unmapped champion oaks
Have you checked the two major oaks to the NE of the Nursery missing from your chart? Does this not reflect on the reliability of the remaining mapping of trees

A. Answer from Pat Thompson Cardiff Council Bute Park road project officer

- You refer to 2 unmapped Champion Oaks situated to the North East of the Nursery. These are not "Champion Trees” although they are fine specimens and make a significant contribution to the Park landscape. All the trees affected by the proposals are detailed in the specialist Arboricultural report which formed part of the Planning application .I am satisfied that the tree survey undertaken as part of the report is accurate

Q. Covenant
You promised to let us see the covenant(s) on Bute Park

A. Answer from Pat Thompson Cardiff Council Bute Park road project officer

Please see the attached details of the Covenant. This issue was specifically raised at Planning Committee.

Note from Anne - Did he send the covenant ….there isn't a covenant in that Conveyance he sent and it's to the Council as purchaser. Is this a pre-registration deed?

Q. Memorial trees and plaques: what agreement was there by the Council and payments accepted for erecting these? And were the people involved notified by the Parks Dept. of the scheme?

A. Answer from Pat Thompson Cardiff Council Bute Park road project officer

Memorial trees are part of the Councils overall city wide tree sponsorship scheme for Parks and some people choose to sponsor a tree in memoriam. The conditions of the tree sponsorship scheme allow the Council to “maintain and nurture the tree over it's lifetime” This includes pruning and other related maintenance work .We also reserve the right, if necessary, to reposition the tree after consultation with the sponsor.

Q. Lorries in the Park at present.
How many lorry movements through on average (50-100 per week in a press report) and how many of these are concerned with the Nursery plant business (of 700 000 plants per year)?
How many are large lorries – was the figure of 36 per year stated at Committee the number of artic lorries?

A. Answer from Pat Thompson Cardiff Council Bute Park road project officer

50 - 100 vehicles per week refers to the total number of vehicles accessing the park as part of the normal management and maintenance operation for the park and nursery. The majority are Council vehicles, tractors, mowers and essential staff. Access is required 7 days per week throughout the year. The figure of 36 lorries is again an average figure for large lorries delivering to the nursery .Apart from the production of seasonal bedding plants the nursery also acts as a storage area for trees. shrubs and bulbs used throughout Cardiff's parks and highways. The nursery also provides a civic floral decoration service .The nursery has a long established historic use for the above which goes back to the former Bute estate. As part of our Bute Park regeneration proposals our aim is to make the public more aware of the activities that take place in the nursery and to make it a focus for horticultural training as well as a resource for those who want to learn more about the heritage of the park.

Vehicle movements throughout the park are influenced particularly by seasonal factors and the park event programme.

Q. "Ensuring that all new developments or changes in the service are properly assessed for sustainability prior to implementation."
You said the basis for the scheme is in the Park & Green Space Strategy; can you provide a document showing how the balance of positives and negatives in that Strategy were assessed?

You mention improving site use and increasing income generation, but in the Strategy there are also eg.
11) To adapt operations to reduce their impact on the environment.
12) To adopt appropriate and innovative ways of working to respond to climate change and improve environmental quality in parks and green spaces.

A. Answer from Pat Thompson Cardiff Council Bute Park road project officer

-The Bute Park regeneration proposals were developed involving the team who developed the Parks and Green Spaces Stategy and they embrace the principles of that strategy for example by

11 Adapt operations to reduce their impact on the environment

Where necessary special tree soil is proposed to maintain gaseous and water exchange and prevent compaction. By significantly reducing travelling distances to and from the nursery and events area the proposals will reduce carbon emissions from vehicles and reduce the use of fossil fuels

By incorporating features to enable the park to better withstand the impact that vehicles have on the park the proposals will reduce damage and the need for reinstatement (does he mean the road?)

Using smaller vehicles will increase the number of vehicles required to complete deliveries and increase the amount of double handing all of which increase the environmental impact.

12 To adopt appropriate and innovative ways of working to respond to climate change and improve environmental quality of parks and open spaces

Reducing travelling distances will improve environmental quality by reducing use of fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gasses

Removing vehicles from the busier sections of the park will improve the environmental quality (and safety) of these areas for all park users.

- The hugely reduced travelling distances resulting from the proposals will significantly improve safety by reducing the opportunity for pedestrian / cycle conflict with vehicles. The current 5mph speed limit within the park will apply to the new bridge and improved paths however because of the reduced lengths of travel it will be much easier to enforce .For information the proposals will result in less than 40 metres of two lane road and a further 22 metres of new single lane road which includes the bridge itself with a further 80 metres of new paths and 80 metres of realigned path. The rest of the work will be to upgrade existing paths on their current alignment .The important point here of course is the fact that pedestrians , cyclists and wheelchairs already have to interact with what is predominately uncontrolled vehicle movement within the park and by taking traffic away from the busiest sections of the park, providing proper control of all vehicles entering the park as part of the new bridge proposals and reducing travelling distances this interaction will be significantly reduced . You refer to 36 “ high raised paths and 1 in 5 slopes. If fact the 36 " you refer to is the very maximum height increase and in many cases the increase in height will not be as much. The landscape statement submitted with the Planning Application refers to the following

- Reinstatement and grading of levels within the park to minimise the visual impact of any level changes

- Either side of paths and access roadways reinforced grass margins will minimise the impact of accidental vehicle overruns by preventing rutting. The grass verges will be graded to blend into the existing park grass surfaces using

In short the proposals will significantly improve the existing situation. Event traffic will continue to be stewarded and managed as part of the event management plan and we can ensure priority is given to pedestrians and cyclists wherever possible. As part of the park regeneration proposals the existing docks feeder footpath which runs north / south in the park to the bottom of Coopers Field will be upgraded and this will make a significant difference. We cannot however completely remove the risk of conflict and as the proposals develop we will take every opportunity to reduce this risk even further.

Decision to allow the largest lorries in the Park
You accepted this is a decision for the Parks service and referred to the Park & Green Space Strategy, which requires you to maintain and improve environmental quality, and to conserve and improve local heritage assets. So doesn’t any past practice to allow occasional over 30-tonne and artic lorries need to be assessed on this Strategy?

Q. Assessment following the Aboriculture report

As this shows that 43 trees will have to be lopped and raised roadways will have to be constructed, will you be reassessing the project under the Park & Green Space Strategy in the light of these significant impacts?

A. Answer from Pat Thompson Cardiff Council Bute Park road project officer

The impact of the trees has been considered at all times throughout the design process to minimise the impact. This has helped determine the alignment and design of the bridge and improved paths. 24 of the 43 trees referred to require crown lifting by the removal of minor pendulous branches which is consistent with work regularly undertaken as part of the ongoing maintenance operations within the park .Only 2 sponsored trees require more intervention than this . One requires crown lifting by a metre and one will be relocated .Where crown reduction is undertaken it will be carried out by competent staff to produce a balanced crown appropriate to the species. Reference has previously been made to “lollipop trees “this will certainly not be the case.

Safety of the Lorry Road design (4m wide, 36” high, grassed 1 in 5 slopes)
You accepted that lorries passing pedestrians, wheelchairs etc. on these roadways might be intimidating and problematic. How do you propose to address this problem – does it come under the Strategy’s “involve the public.. in partnership to manage parks and green spaces”?

BUTE PARK - Critics Confront the Council

Prof Kevin Morgan, school of City and Regional Planning at Cardiff University, believes the planned roadways would desecrate one of the city’s greatest assets, a top-grade Park. He has planned a head-to-head debate between senior City Councillors, the Heritage Lottery Fund and their critics.

Friday, December 12, 2008
Time: 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Location: Glamorgan Building (old County Hall), Cathays Park, Cardiff University

This is a chance for you to question and challenge the plans to build roads to suit the largest lorries and to channel traffic through the memorial woodland in Bute Park.

Please add your comments or send questions to annegre@aol.com
Contact Prof Kevin Morgan: MorganKJ@Cardiff.ac.uk,
or Max Wallis wallismk@cf.ac.uk,

More information on facebook

Please spread the word about the public meeting