Cardiff Council Update: 10 May 2024

Here is your Friday update, covering:

  • Proposals to protect green spaces in Cardiff
  • The 2,500 volunteers helping to grow Cardiff's urban forest
  • St Mellons Primary School officially opened
  • Art project makeover creates school's new cwtsh darllen


Proposals to protect green spaces in Cardiff

Eleven parks and green spaces in Cardiff could be permanently protected from future development if Cardiff Council plans get the go ahead.

Subject to the results of a six-week public consultation, the Council is proposing to enter into a legal agreement known as ‘deed of dedication' with Fields In Trust - an independent UK-wide charity dedicated to the protection of parks and green spaces.

Fields in Trust legally protect individual parks from development and ensure they remain publicly accessible green spaces. Ten council-owned sites are already permanently protected under these arrangements.

Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: "Cardiff wouldn't be Cardiff without its parks and green spaces - they're vital places for play and social wellbeing, they connect us with the nature on our doorsteps, support biodiversity, improve the quality of the air we all breathe and can help mitigate some of the worst effects of climate change.

"Entering into this agreement with Fields In Trust will more than double the number of Cardiff's parks which are permanently and legally protected from development, ensuring they will continue to benefit generations to come and mean that 254,000 residents - 69% of the population - live within a 10 minute walk of a protected green space."

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2,500 volunteers help Cardiff's urban forest grow 30,000 trees bigger

2,500 community volunteers braved one of the wettest winters on record to help plant 30,000 trees in just 6 months, as part of a project to create an urban forest in Cardiff.

"The wet conditions are great for the new trees," explained Project Manager, Chris Engel, "they just soak it all up, but it did mean we had some pretty muddy days. It never dampens the spirits though. Planting trees isn't just good for the planet, it's good for the soul as well and even if they went home caked in mud, I don't remember a day when our volunteers weren't wearing a smile as well."

Established in 2021 as part of Cardiff Council's One Planet Cardiff response to the climate emergency, the Coed Caerdydd (Cardiff Forest) project has resulted in 80,000 new trees being planted at 280 different sites in Cardiff, including more than 100 parks and open spaces, 17 different schools and 11 community sites as well as on privately-owned land. This season the project has increased its focus on street trees, with more than 200 large new street trees planted in streets with low or no tree canopy cover.

Recalling her volunteering with the project, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Events, Cllr Jennifer Burke, said; "I got lucky with the weather so maybe I didn't quite get the full experience, but the combination of being outdoors and doing something ‘hands-on' to help tackle climate change was a really positive experience. I can see why many of our volunteers return week after week - it's definitely something I'd encourage others to get involved with.

"What has been achieved through Coed Caerdydd in the space of three short planting seasons is a fantastic achievement - in the region of 24 hectares of land planted with new trees that as they grow will help absorb carbon emissions, reduce air pollution, support biodiversity, and importantly if we keep getting the sort of winters we've just had, help reduce the risk of flooding."

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The brand-new St Mellons Church in Wales Primary School is officially opened

St Mellons Church in Wales Primary School has celebrated the official opening of its brand new £6m school building during a special event in the presence of Cardiff Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas and Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Sarah Merry.

Guests enjoyed a performance by some of the school's pupils and a tour of the building. The new school is situated at the St Edeyrns development east of the Pontprennau link road and opened its doors to pupils for the first time in September after relocating from its former site in Llanrumney.

Delivered as part of Cardiff's Local Development Plan (LDP) by Halsall Construction on behalf of Persimmon Homes, the new school is 1 form entry, accommodating 210 pupils including a 48 place part-time nursery with the opportunity to expand to a 2 form entry (420 place) in the future. There is a community facility linked to the school with private entrance and interconnecting entrance providing benefits to the wider community.

Cardiff Council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Sarah Merry said: "I have been delighted to attend the official opening of St Mellons CiW Primary School which since the start of the new school year in September, has embarked on an exciting new chapter, establishing itself as an asset at the heart of its community.

"The school provides staff and pupils with a modern, efficient and inspiring learning environment and in addition, the community facilities at the school provides local families and residents with access a range of opportunities.

"I look forward to seeing first-hand how this lovely new school building in its new location, will grow and help meet the increase in demand for school places for children from Old St Mellons, Pontprennau, Llanrumney and those living in the St Edeyrns development."

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Local art project makeover creates school's new cwtsh darllen

A tired and shabby cloakroom area in a Cardiff primary school has been transformed into a reading haven, thanks to the joint efforts of the Council's Caretaking Services team, teachers and volunteer artists.

Year 5 and 6 pupils at Ysgol Y Berllan Deg, in Llanedeyrn now have a colourful and cosy 'Cwtsh Darllen' after Sean Thomas from the graffiti removal team in Caretaking Services teamed up with local artists, Gary and Amanda Piazzon to give the space a makeover.

The project was the idea of the children who had secured funding to buy new reading resources from Ffrindiau, the school's Parent and Teacher Association, and who wanted a safe and comfortable area in the school to enjoy reading and working.

The school approached City Art Project, an initiative set up by Sean in his own spare time to harness the talents of local volunteers artists and create attractive artwork throughout the city. The project has transformed rundown underpasses, utility cabinets, exterior walls on school buildings and now, this little corner of Ysgol Y Berllan Deg, using paint donated by Council contractors through their social value activities.

Travis Perkins provided the supplies for Sean, Amanda and Gary to get to work on the walls, while new carpet was donated and fitted by one of Sean's colleagues, Shaun Brady and his brother, Craig Brady.

Sian Ward, the Ysgol Y Berllan Deg teacher who co-ordinated the project with Sean, said: "The involvement of City Art Project has enabled us to develop the room beautifully and it is now the amazing place that the children and staff had wished for. The paintwork and art designs completed by Gary, Amanda and Sean has transformed the room using the children's ideas and suggestions as content.

"The school PTA has also supported the children further by providing furniture and bean bags in order to enhance the space. The new flooring has helped to create a comfortable, clean  environment. We are beyond excited to use our new Cwtsh Darllen!"

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