Friday, 24 April 2009

LibDems 1/10 for running Cardiff

Council leader Rodney Berman is under fire

PUBLIC anger at Cardiff’s schools reorganisation and council proposals to build on green spaces across the city erupted in the face of councillors yesterday.

Councillors faced angry residents shouting and booing as they walked into City Hall for a meeting of the full council.

Posters dubbing Liberal Democrat council leader Rodney Berman and his Plaid deputy leader Neil McEvoy “Wanted” men were handed to passing members.

And green placards awarding the pair 0 out of 10 for their running of the city were thrust in their way.

Councillor McEvoy said he was pushed and shoved as he walked into the building by protesters campaigning against plans to build a new school on Rumney Recreation ground.

He said: “I had one man pushing me and one woman struck me from behind. I told her to keep her hands to herself. As I was driving up someone kicked my car.

“I took a lot of abuse, a lot of people saw that and some of the protesters from Mary Immaculate said they were disgusted by it.”

Coun McEvoy said he would be making a formal complaint as, when he left the council chamber, his car had been scratched and dented.

Inside City Hall, the leaders of the city’s coalition executive faced further airing of public concerns through five questions from members of the public.

All of the questions focused on the schools reorganisation, plans to build a lorry bridge into Bute Park and demolish sports facilities at Sophia Gardens to make way for a car park for Sky TV, and on the city council’s general policy towards green space.

The city’s Conservative group tried to bring the issues together with a motion calling on the council to protect all green spaces across the city and immediately cease leasing or selling off either schools’ land or parklands.

The motion was backed by the Labour group, but the ruling Liberal Democrat and Plaid executive voted together on a Lib Dem amendment which “ripped the heart out of the motion”, Conservative councillor Craig Williams said.

The amendment promised to “ensure any proposals to sell off, lease or build on parks and other public open spaces continue to involve consultation with local councillors, stakeholders, residents and statutory bodies”.

Pentyrch councillor Williams, who proposed the motion, said the amendment was a “whitewash”. He was supported by colleague Craig Piper who called on councillors to listen to their constituents.

Coun Piper said: “Politicians are nothing without the people we represent. We need to respect public opinion on this issue and people across Cardiff want their green space protected.”

The Liberal Democrats and Plaid rejected the Tory calls, arguing that the motion would hinder the council in assessing proposals for open space while not providing proper protection.

Culture executive Nigel Howells said: “Isn’t it fair to consider proposals on their merits rather than by a blanket policy that could be subject to legal challenge?”

Plaid’s Gwenllian Lansdowne described it as a “simplistically-worded motion that doesn’t achieve what it sets out do to in the first place.”

Outside City Hall, Llanrumney, residents who had travelled to the meeting by bus said they just wanted their green space protected.

Joan Smith, 70, a resident of High Croft Walk, a group of eight single-bed flats for disabled and elderly residents overlooking Rumney Rec, said the schools plans were horrendous.

She said: “It will cut off our light and our privacy. It could lead to problems with vandalism and litter – we already have problems without a school there. It will be horrendous.”

Look what has happened to our beautiful park

WalesOnline - ‎Apr 23, 2009‎
CAMPAIGNERS against further development within Bute Park have accused Cardiff Council of planning to erect a horticultural building that will look like a ...

Destroying Bute Park

What they didn't tell Lib Dem Leader Nick clegg...was how Lib Dem coucnil with Plaid are destroying our listed park!

Look what has happened to our beautiful park

CAMPAIGNERS against further development within Bute Park have accused Cardiff Council of planning to erect a horticultural building that will look like a prison complex.

The claim by the Bute Parks Alliance pressure group coincides with the release of maps showing changes to the Grade I-listed park since 1942.

Thousands of people have signed a petition protesting against plans to build a new road access and bridge into the park, which the council maintains will improve safety.

Nervousness about the degree of public concern over the scheme is shown in a note by Liberal Democrat AM Jenny Randerson to one of her staff that was inadvertently sent on to the Bute Parks Alliance. The note from Mrs Randerson acknowledges that points made by the campaigners “seem very damning”, although she goes on to say that the scheme got planning permission.

Voicing fresh concerns about a planned horticultural building in the park, Nerys Lloyd-Pierce of Bute Parks Alliance said: “The plans for the nursery are grim. Apart from the fact that the nursery itself will look like a prison complex, there will be 400 square metres of paving around the Stuttgart Garden, on what is currently grass, and there is a tarmac path planned through the lawns to meet the T Junction where the bridge enters the park.

“This area of the park will be changed beyond recognition as its current seclusion and peace will be ruined.

“Comparing the two maps shows how the park given to the city by the Marquess of Bute has suffered encroachment over decades,”

The council’s executive member for Sport, Leisure & Culture, Councillor Nigel Howells, said: “The new nursery training centre, which was granted planning consent in October 2008, will provide an exciting facility to house a new education programme for both school and community use. This will support and develop current educational initiatives available at Cardiff Castle.

“The new development is sited discretely within the existing complex and will feature new landscaping improvements, including the replacement of an existing steel security fence and overgrown conifer hedgerows with rose trellised garden walls.

“The planning application was supported by CADW and was welcomed by planning officers, as it is recognised as being ‘sympathetic to the parkland setting’. Not all the additional paths on the planning application will be required now planning approval for the Bute Park access bridge has been granted.”

Outside Westminster - Hereford & Cardiff | Nick Clegg, Leader of ...
By Nick Clegg Online
Nick & Kirsty joined Cardiff Councillor Nigel Howells and Jenny Randerson AM at the RHS Cardiff Flower show in Bute Park. Nick visited the sanctuary garden, which highlights the plight of asylum seekers in Cardiff and the UK as a whole. ...
Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal... -

Film star Rhys backs fight to block bridge

Matthew Rhys

HOLLYWOOD star Matthew Rhys has backed a campaign calling an immediate halt to an “inappropriate and intrusive development” in Cardiff’s Bute Park.

The Cardiff-born actor, star of hit US show Brothers and Sisters, has spoken out against plans to build a new bridge and articulated lorry access into the Grade I listed park in the city centre.

Cardiff council says the new measures aim to improve access for lorries heading to the city’s nurseries and major events in Coopers Field. But Bute Parks Alliance, a group formed in January, strongly opposes the plans. And as well as former Ysgol Glantaf pupil Rhys, Welsh Hollywood directors Chris Monger and Sara Sugarman have also backed the campaigners.

Monger directed The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, while Sugarman directed Valleys-based comedy Very Annie Mary.

Rhys and Monger have led the Los Angeles-based thespian community in supporting Bute Parks Alliance, saying: “We are disturbed and alarmed by Cardiff council’s plans to build an access bridge and drive a two-lane roadway through one of the loveliest areas of Bute Park. Very few cities, and fewer capital cities, are endowed with parkland that allows a pedestrian to walk from their centres to their suburbs. Cardiff, however, enjoys such a fantastic luxury with almost uninterrupted parks running out from Cardiff Castle to Llandaff Cathedral. These parks are not owned just by the people of Cardiff, but by the entire Welsh population since Cardiff is, after all, the capital for all of us.

“Moreover, this parkland – an asset to the city of incomparable historic, visual and amenity value – is not owned, but entrusted to each generation to pass on to the next.”

Bute Parks Alliance is calling for a moratorium on all development in Bute Park, Llandaff Fields, Pontcanna Fields and Sophia Gardens – until a coherent strategy for their protection has been devised. Cardiff council maintains that the building of the bridge and road into Bute Park will improve safety for pedestrians and will not damage the park’s attractiveness.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

RHS Flower show picket

I have been in Bute Park most of the day with the BPA stall and leafleting and talking to visitors to the RHS flower show much to the chagrin of the Robert Corp, Special Events Manager, Cardiff Council Marketing & Tourism! He stood nearby us all day and told me it was against the bye laws to hand out leaflets by approaching folk but they may approach me for a leaflet! So I invited folk to approach me for a leaflet which made for some amusement! The events manager
then found some fancy leaflets full of spin which the council had a PR company produced and had his staff wait to be asked for a copy!

There seems to be no political opposition to anything these days! No calls for this to stop from any of the political parties in office - only the Green Party have spoken out against it!
Most people are surprised that the lib dems Cllrs Berman and Howells have such a crazy stupid policy to build a new road at our expense into a listed park!

My mobile is in for repair! so no thrilling pics for you today!

Thursday, 16 April 2009


Young people have taken over the city centre and its a nightmare -
don't let them wreck the park!!

Last year party in Bute Park 'left city parklands trashed last year.'

With a new road there will be no stopping these events.


The facebook page
boasts ....'
we have confirmed a 1000 capacity Marquee for a week Thursday, April 23rd in Sophia Gardens. We have been granted a license for a SILENT RAVE. more info to follow, if you would like to get involved get in touch here:...
If all goes well with this then it will open up the park to more events this year.'

Promoters launch bid for rave in Bute Park


Promoters launch bid for rave in Bute Park

Apr 11 2009 by David James, South Wales Echo

A PETITION calling for an outdoor rave in Cardiff has been launched by music promoters linked to a summer party that left city parklands trashed last year.

More than 1,200 people have signed up to support the call for “legalised, planned, outdoor parties that can take place safely and be enjoyed by thousands of people”.

No summer dance parties have been granted permission to be held around Cardiff’s Grade I listed Bute Park after the unauthorised party on Pontcanna Fields last May, which spiralled out of control.

At the time, the city council described the unapproved party, that followed a sunny afternoon during which students and young people set up barbecues on the fields and listened to music, as a “thoughtless and destructive event” that resulted in branches from trees ripped down and used for fires.

Previously, permission had been granted for a 1,000-capacity marquee in Sophia Gardens in April last year.

The event featured Cardiff-born drum and bass DJ High Contrast and was organised by city promoters CYNT and Tantrum.

The new petition, which appears on the social networking site Facebook, has been created from a profile in the name of CYNT promoter Steve Francis.

It reads: “Please join this group to show the powers that be that legalised, planned, outdoor parties can take place safely and be enjoyed by thousands of people who are deciding to venture outside of Cardiff in order to have a good time.

“It’s too late for this summer but by showing your support that you would attend a day of great music, we can aim high for 2010.”

Mr Francis, who played records at the unauthorised May party in Pontcanna Fields last year but has said he was not the event’s organiser, denied being the creator of the petition and said about 20 promoters had access to his Facebook account.

Save Bute Park action


Upcoming events:

18th/19th April - RHS Show

23rd April - Full council meeting - an opportunity to pose questions to the Council re. green spaces

As the RHS is supportive of the building of the bridge and road in Bute Park we have decided to set up an info stand and banners to inform visitors of our views on these developments.

Banners and a small number of placards have been made.

Please feel free to make some more!

We will be setting up near the entrance on North Road

10am - 2pm Saturday 18th April

10am - 2pm Sunday 19th April

Hopefully see you there!


At the next Full Council meeting on the 23rd April there will be a discussion on the issue of green spaces.

Members of the public can submit questions to the Council which if selected will be answered at the meeting.

A question has to be in no later than 5.00pm five working days before the meeting. It must give your name and address and say which member of the Council Executive the question is to be put to.

You can e-mail the question to Jeff Parry, Committee Services

You sit in the Council chamber to hear the reply, which you will get in writing just before the meeting, after you get your answer you can ask one supplementary question.

(see attached for more info)

We will be staging a small demo outside County Hall prior to the meeting and then as many of us as possible will sit in the meeting.

Again feel free to make more placards and banners!

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Libs Dems break rules to build road into Bute Park

Update to Bute Parks Alliance: Work at the College of Music entrance/extension 

No documents to meet the pre-conditions have been submitted - and many of these pre-conditionssay "no development" until each individually has been met.   

Substantial amounts of soil (including tarry contaminants) have been brought onto the site, to build up levels 
for the work with excavators pulling up stumps etc.  Yet one pre-condition says no 
"No excavations/groundworks shall take place until a written scheme of archaeological investigation has 
been submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority." 
Other pre-conditions cover Japanese Knotweed (detailed scheme to be submitted and approved in writing) and 
"No part of the development hereby permitted shall be commenced until a scheme detailing the measures necessary for the purposes of identifying chemical and other contaminants on the site and to ensure that the land is suitable for the proposed development has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority."

It's pretty obvious this latter condition should have been fulfilled first.   They've used some chemical on the 
Knotweed without approval.  But after the enforcement officer was called in, he just wrote (9 April) 
 I do not believe there was any deliberate intention to circumvent the conditions and I am happy with the progress made to date. 

It appears they stopped further work on 9th April because another pre-condition says 
Prior to the commencement of development, the eastern bank of the dock feeder shall be enclosed to mitigate against my potential for the pollution of that watercourse in accordance with a scheme of detail which shall first have been submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authority.

That waits on the case officer Richard Cole's return after Easter to approve the fence plans. 

The overall issue is whether the "Development" has started - unlawfully, as the pre-conditions have not been met. 
The Council's officers responsible for chasing breaches of planning permits are known as "enforcement officer". 
They replied on 9th April "we remain of the opinion that development to implement the planning permission has not commenced ." 

However, their legal officer gave the criterion as commencing "operations" and used Lord Denning’s judgement that 
        “operations” cover “activities which result in some physical alteration to the land, which has some degree of permanence”. 

Only to planning officers does cutting down mature trees not satisfy this definition.  All the soil brought in has completely changed the 
surface ecosystem as well as land levels, for those who would argue that mature trees are not part of the land (or landscape). 

Note that if the College did not go ahead with the "development" there is no condition in the Early Access Licence requiring them to remove the polluted 'soil' and replant the area.  They would have been allowed to despoil this part of the Park for nothing. 

So watch this space!  Will the enforcement officers continue to deny what's obvious to Denning's common man, 
that there has been "some physical alteration to the land, which has some degree of permanence"? 
And if they admit it's breaching planning controls, what action will they take? 

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Cllr insists on lorry ROAD

Campaigners in Cardiff say the peace and tranquillity of the city's Bute Park is in danger of disappearing because of council plans to improve access to the park. The council said the existing road to the park nursery used by council vehicles caused safety risks to cyclists and walkers.