This is a community website for Grangetown in Cardiff, highlighting people, business, community activities, local news and things to do in the area and linking other websites and blogs.

We live locally; this is a voluntary project - in connection with Grangetown Community Action - free and independent. We are the online presence of the long-running Grange News community paper, which has been distributed to 6,000 local homes every four months for more than 35 years.

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Tramshed late licence allowed


Police said they have been attending in recent months at "high risk events" to prevent disorder

Tramshed is to be allowed to open until 3am for 20 events a year, despite objections from local councillors and South Wales Police.

Worries over noise and disturbance to local residents, and an increase in incidents of crime and disorder were put forward but the proposal for the late licence for limited weekend events was allowed.

The venue in Pendyris Street - ahead of a three-hour licensing committee on Friday - agreed to a meeting with residents and councillors next month to dicuss concerns.

It will be allowed to open for 20 DJ-only events - providing the bar closes at 2.30am. There are also conditions relating to police being given 21 days notice of each events and security staff having to wear eight body cameras.

Police brought video evidence alongside a list of issues they had dealt with in recent months to the committee.

It included the road having to be shut after people spilled out into the road after a gig by grime star Fredo. Other CCTV footage showed fights at two other events - including a head-butting.

Chief Inspector Joe Jones in his submission to Cardiff Council's licensing sub-committee said recently the venue has had to have more "significant police support" and attendance to prevent disorder.

"With the extension of hours, South Wales Police there will be an increase of further incidents of crime and disorder at the premises and in the immediate vicinity," he added.

He also said he believed there would be a "significant number of intoxicated customers" leaving the venue in Pendyris Street to go into the local residential area, with a likelihood of noise and disruption.

 Police said a recent event which finished after 10pm needed a temporary road closure to ensure the safety of people leaving, while they also have to collect up glass bottles left by people queuing.

Meanwhile, Councillor Ashley Lister, objecting on behalf of the three local councillors, said: "We do not feel it would be fair to expect residents to tolerate evironmental and noise pollution for 25 occasions a year until 3am when the issues are already existing at earlier closing times."

After the meeting he said: "The committee are very concerned about the impact on residents and have asked the Tramshed to do all they can to mitigate it."

Tramshed's lawyer told the committee that there had been 10 criminal incidents at the venue in the six months to the end of March - which covered 144 gigs. There had also been no issues in the 34 DJ nights so far.

"These will be different events," he said. "You might have 1,000 people through the door but you won't have 1,000 people arriving at the same time and leaving at the same time.

@grangecardiff thanks for sharing. @cardiffcouncil please don't approve this! Think about the impact upon the poor #Grangetown residents! https://t.co/71UU4nIwpQ

— Tariq Awan (@TariqAwan1757) March 26, 2018

I hope this gets rejected by councillors https://t.co/Xwwruiy06z

— Ashley Govier (@AshleyGovier) March 26, 2018

It’s a residential area and while I love the Tramshed and think it’s great for Grangetown I don’t think 3 am close would be good for the community

— Natalie (@notaylott) March 26, 2018

Police put forward more stringent security measures they want the venue to take in a submission to the licensing sub-committee.

Tramshed director of operations Ben Newby, of operators the MJR Group, had also put forward a series of steps they would take to prevent problems, including liaison with police and councillors.

But one Taff Mead resident said: "I personally think this could negatively impact the community, particularly because of the noise caused by people leaving the Tramshed - possibly loitering in the area beyond 3am, and of course cabs picking up passengers and drivers starting their cars, slamming doors, and driving off - all at 3am!"

The venue in recent months has been promoting more DJ/club night events, not just live bands on the regular programme. Events normally finish by 11pm or 1am at weekends.

Planning go ahead for £2m Pavilion revamp

A project to transform Grange Pavilion into a community venue in a corner of Grange Gardens has been given planning permission.

It follows weeks after the Big Lottery Fund awarded £1m under its Community Asset Transfer 2 programme to go towards refurbishing and extending the current building to provide a multi-purpose facility - including café, office and meeting spaces. The money will also include funding for five years for a full-time development officer and part-time green and engagement person.

It is five years since local residents started talking about using the empty 1960s bowls pavilion as a community venue.

Since then, thanks to a tie-up with the Cardiff University Community Gateway project, the work of local people and Grangetown Community Action, the building has been given a new lease of life and a £40,000 revamp.

But the existing building is still affected by damp and poor insultation. There is hope of completely transforming the site, with a development which could cost upwards of £2m. Match funding will also needed now for the £1,072,692 award but there is hope that work can start within months.

A spokeswoman for the project, led by Community Gateway, Grange Pavilion Project and Grangetown Community Action, said: "There's still plenty of input needed from the current and future users of the pavilion as we finalise the design layouts to make sure we're planning for all imagined uses of the facility in making it a welcoming and flexible space for all, so please do get in touch or keep an eye out for calls for you to join us for detailed design workshops."

Fire safety issues at Channel View block


The flats were built in the 1970s and the cladding installed in the 1990s

Extra checks on Channel View flats have uncovered fire safety issues.

 Cardiff Council had ordered additional checks on cladding in high-rise blocks in the city after last summer's Grenfell tragedy in London.

  Channel View is 14 storeys high and has 86 residents living there.

 
New cladding had been due to be fitted but plans were put on hold after the Grenfell disaster last June.

It had been due to have new cladding fitted - as part of a revamped "rustic" look for the tower - but plans for that had already been put on hold until the outcome of the tests.

  Initial inspections by independent consultants found none of the cladding made of Aluminium Composite Materials (ACM) in any of the blocks.

  But they recommended further testing on the cladding, which was installed in the 1990s, to see if it would meet today's more stringent standards. 

  Tests results have now been received and show the cladding systems are made of veneered, fibrous-hardwood, rainscreen panels that fail today's fire standards. 

  No firebreaks were built into the cladding system on the exterior of the buildings either.

  Residents were informed of the developments with letters on Monday before the council issued a statement.

  An information session for residents was also held at the flats to answer questions. 

  As well as 80 flats at Channel View, there are others in Butetown and Llandaff North, involving a total of 400 tenants.

  Additional safety measures have already been put in place in the blocks including round-the-clock fire warden patrols and increased CCTV monitoring. 

  All flats have smoke detectors fitted and these are checked annually as are gas appliances. Fire doors are already being upgraded and this process will be completed by May. All high-rise blocks will also be fitted with sprinklers. 

  Cabinet member for housing and Grangetown councillor Lynda Thorne, said tenant safety was top priority and the council had decided to go beyond the initial review.

  "Unfortunately, the results of these extra tests have established that the cladding on six blocks fail current standards," she said.

    "Naturally, everyone living in these blocks will be very concerned by this news but I want to reassure them that we are working closely with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service to ensure we follow the latest fire-safety guidance and to decide the best way forward. 

  "I believe we are the first council in the UK to carry out these additional checks on cladding, because of this and because of the results, we have informed Welsh Government and we will also be informing the UK Government's Department for Communities and Local Government."

    It is likely that the cladding on all blocks affected will need to be removed and the council is currently looking at the best way to achieve this.

  The council has also issued detailed information and a Q&A for residents on in its website.

New-look Clive Lane housing development gets go ahead

A new housing development off Clive Street lane - different from the original proposals - has been given the go-ahead by councillors.

There will now be 101 homes instead of the original 116, with Pegasus Developments now including two small open spaces after talks with planning officials.

Councillors were asked to forego more than £525,000 that the developers would normally pay towards community facilities as part of the deal because the homes will now be all social housing, with none of the houses or flats sold on the open market. It was argued that the project will not be "viable" unless the usual so-called section 106 agreement is torn up, and this was backed by an independent valuation assessment.

There will be a mix of one and two bedroom flats in three-storey blocks, as well as two to four bedroom houses on the site of the old railway embankment.


The embankment before its removal


Work going on to remove the embankment

It took eight months to move 100,000 tonnes of earth and spoil which made up the banking for the disused Victorian railway line. Altogether 6,000 lorry journeys cleared the way for the development, backing onto Ikea.

The back lane and embankment have long been a hotspot for fly-tippers, as well as being home to small traders. The site will include car parking and secure cycle parking for the flats, while the access road into Clive Street will involve the demolition of a house.

Hundreds of slow worms were transplanted to Cosmeston Lakes before any work began. But the council's ecology officer still wants to see wildflower areas and shrubs as part of the landscaping, to improve the green corridor in the area. Improved crossing points for pedestrians are also suggested.

The developers would normally be expected to make a contribution towards school places and local community and open space provisions. The so-called section 106 agreement would be worth around £525,000; this was calculated down from just over £916,000 originally.

But councillors were told because the proposal was now for "much needed affordable homes, including family housing" the project would be unviable if the developer had to make any contribution. The planning committee was told it would be a "benefit for the city" and councillors welcomed the fact it would mean 100% social housing, as they backed it unanimously.

"There is therefore a decision to be made between approving a much needed affordable housing development of 101 dwellings...or requiring that the agreed obligations be met, which would jeopardise the delivery of the development," says a report to the planning committee.

Officials say they are happy the housing is arranged to provide privacy  and the design "is considered to be acceptable and will result in an attractive and pleasant living environment."  

Weather-hit litter blitz nets 2.75 tonnes

Another Grangetown litter blitz netted 2.75 tonnes of waste - despite being curtailed by the snow.

The "deep clean" started in the area around Corporation Rd and Paget Street on Monday, bringing in three quarters of a tonne and 1.25 tonnes was recovered in the Clive Street area on Tuesday. Fly-tipping and waste hot-spots were then tackled in the shopping street of Clare Road, as well as Wedmore Road/Monmouth Street on the Wednesday, before the bad weather intervened.

The Love Where You Live campaign also held an extra community litter-pick, which litter champ Tommy took part in despite the very cold weather!

Altogether, eight different streets were tackled.

Brewery site transformation is not small beer


Artist impression of the site.

Details of a multi-million pound office, housing and leisure development across the river from Grangetown have been unveiled.

The Central Quay development would completely transform the site of Brain's brewery, which is moving across the city.

The old brewery building and distinctive chimney stack are staying as a centre-piece of the designs, which also promises a huge central water feature, and altogether at 2.5m square feet claims to be one of the UK's largest schemes.

Paul McCarthy, Rightacres chief executive said it would become "Cardiff’s focal gathering place for businesses and visitors with live music, a wide choice of bars and restaurants and a calendar of events such as food and beer festivals."

Offices in the Ledger building would include a ground floor called The Market Place, an indoor hall to showcase Welsh food and drink.

Inevitably, questions are already being asked about the potential impact of traffic on already congested local roads and whether public transport and sustainable alternatives will be be up to scratch and ready in time.

There was also scepicism whether more homes were needed and about the character of the buildings planned.

A 650-space multi-storey carpark and Metro stop are also included, alongside a new coach station at the back of the existing railway station.

Generic, bland and loses the Brains chimney completely in a sea of glass and metal. There must be more inspiring designs, surely.

— Emma Harris (@MissEmmaHarris) February 21, 2018

Dim diolch. Fi’n cerdded ar hyd yr afon pob dydd ac mae fflatiau uchel moethus yn hollol gwrthwyneb I gymeriad Grangetown.

— Catrin Jones (@CatrinJ03161598) February 21, 2018

I’ve often thought that the one thing the Bay area needs is more definitely-not-vacant apartment blocks.

— Jaymie Thomas (@jaymiethomas) February 21, 2018

As a Grangetown resident living on the other side of River Taff embankment of #brains development my main concern is additional traffic to our already connected roads it will bring. Anyone thought of this? ?? https://t.co/S2TnLbt3ds

— Tariq Awan (@TariqAwan1757) February 23, 2018

My 5 year old has asked 'Pam?'
I have to agree with her. It's not particularly exciting or pleasing to the eye.

— Carys (@carys13) February 21, 2018

I hope they keep as much of the old buildings as possible. Too many lost, such as the recent and nearbye Brickworks site. This project knocked down some charachter buildings for new shiny appartments.

— mandy attwell (@MandyAttwell) February 21, 2018

The plans involve 1,000 apartments and 50 restaurants and bars, as well as college facilities.

Mr McCarthy said they had taken on board reaction from local people.

"Overall the feedback from local businesses and residents was hugely positive," he said. "Understandably, some residents were concerned about the environmental impact a development of this scale can have and as a result, we will be setting ourselves ambitious sustainability targets including minimising the materials taken to landfill sites and maximising the recycling opportunities."

The planning process is expected to take six months and the first phase is aimed to be ready by the summer of 2020.

£1m lottery award for 'dynamic' Pavilion revamp

A project to transform Grangetown Pavilion into a community venue in a corner of Grange Gardens has been awarded £1m in lottery funding.

The money from the Big Lottery Fund's Community Asset Transfer 2 programme will go towards refurbishing and extending the current building to provide a multi-purpose facility - including café, office and meeting spaces. The money will also include funding for five years for a full-time development officer and part-time green and engagement person.

It is five years since local residents started talking about using the empty 1960s bowls pavilion as a community venue.

Since then, thanks to a tie-up with the Cardiff University Community Gateway project, the work of local people and Grangetown Community Action, the building has been given a new lease of life and a £40,000 revamp.

But the existing building is still affected by damp and poor insultation. There is hope of completely transforming the site, with a development which could cost upwards of £2m. Plans have already gone forward to Cardiff Council and now the first major funding hurdle has been overcome. Match funding will also needed now for the £1,072,692 award.

Lynne Thomas, project manager for Community Gateway, Cardiff University's engagement programme, said: "We are delighted to have received this grant, which is the culmination of much hard work from everyone involved. The funding will be used to further develop Grange Pavilion into a high quality, dynamic venue that can be used by people of all ages."

Partners in the project include residents' organisations themselves - Grange Pavilion Project (GPP), Grangetown Community Action (GCA), Grange Pavilion CIO - as well as Cardiff Council, owners of the old bowls pavilion and site.

The plans will first involve developing a new building alongside the existing pavilion, with the intention that the latter will be then either revamped or rebuilt when the initial phase has been completed, so there is a continuity and the cafe can stay operating throughout. Work is expected to start within the next few months. It has been developed with IBI Group and Dan Benham Architect, and involved consultations by students at the Welsh School of Architecture.

Ms Thomas added: "It will transform the building into a thriving centre that will benefit the people of Grangetown for many years to come. Hundreds of people have helped us get to this exciting point and we are thrilled to be able to move forward with our plans thanks to this grant."

Residents have been involved in the discussions about the designs, thanks to virtual reality technology presentations at drop-in sessions.

Councillor Ashley Lister, chair of Grangetown Community Action, said: "As a lead in Grange Pavilion, GCA is delighted with this news. We are grateful for the enormous amount of time and effort that has already gone into re-engaging the community with this popular venue.

"We would never have reached this stage without the support of the numerous volunteers who have given up their time. The Big Lottery Funding now that means that we can deliver something the community can be proud of. Our next steps will be to obtain additional match funding which will enable us to build a fully-functional community asset with on-site cafe, meeting facilities, and flourishing green space." The plans include:

 Big Lottery Fund Wales director John Rose, said the programme - which has awarded £5.4m across five projects in Wales on Thursday - was about empowering communities across Wales "to use buildings and land to suit their needs."

It would be helping groups with asset transfer projects and "improving services and facilities for communities in Wales that are sustainable."

Other projects benefiting include turning a 1920's Machine Shop at the Brymbo Steelworks site into a heritage learning centre and £1.1m towards a tourism and community facility in Llandeilo Shire Hall.

Mhairi McVicar, project lead for Community Gateway, said: “If successful, a community management board, which has started to form, will take on a 99 year lease under a community asset transfer [from Cardiff Council], with handover support from Cardiff University. “We still need your help, and the project is still very much open to anyone who would like to get involved.”

The Hideout Cafe opened in the existing pavilion last summer, offering cake, ice creams and coffee, as well as training opportunities for local youngsters. The kitchen had been refurbished with the help of Ikea.

In addition to hosting regular classes and community organisations, there are hopes of expanding its range of regular events, including a creative writing group. Recently a monthly repair cafe began. There is also potential for music, comedy and other small-scale performance. Meanwhile, the pavilion project is still looking for expertise and volunteers who can help with facilities management, landscaping, business development, legal services, finances, fund-raising, PR and marketing, as well those happy helping at pop-up events and activities. Trustees will be appointed.

The Pavilion project has already had support from Cardiff Bay Rotary Club, Ikea, Cardiff and Vale College and Cardiff Council’s neighbourhood partnership. Other partners include Garfield Weston Foundation and Cardiff and Vale College Jemma White, of the Pavilion trustrees group, said: “We are very excited to see the plans for Grange Pavilion move forward.

Not only will an upgraded Pavilion provide space for community activities for residents, it will help build a united, welcoming and resilient community, making Grangetown an even better place to live and work.”

The design statement adds that the proposal wants to "encourage and create a thriving core community hub" that is open and caters for all members of the community.

Repair cafe is on hand to help

If you're in a fix - and have something which needs mending - a monthly repair cafe has started in Grangetown.

Grangetown Repair Cafe will be meeting on the last Sunday of each month (the next one is February 25th, 12pm-4pm) at The Hideout Cafe in the Grange Pavilion in Grange Gardens.

Volunteers will try to fix things that you would otherwise throw away. This could include broken electricals, torn clothing, broken jewellery, wobbly tables, slow computers and so on.

The first was hailed as a big success with 37 items brought along. Among those helping was computer repair specialists PC Express.

"We'll try to fix anything," said Joe O'Mahoney, who is one of those behind Cardiff Repair Cafe, which started in Cathays last year. "We can't do major repairs or alterations on clothes, but will do a free MOT on your bike."

To make it work, volunteers who are handy (e.g. electrics, IT, woodwork, or generalists) or simply want to get involved in helping, are also needed. Contact: Moss 07907489346 or Joe 07868206627 if you can lend a hand.

The idea started in Amsterdam and aims to encourage recycling and up-cycling - stopping stuff being dumped that could have a longer life.

There is no charge for the repairs but people are asked to make a contribution towards the project - and you can also buy coffee, tea and cake at the cafe while you wait.


Eventually, 130 new trees will be planted. Photo: NRW

Boxing club gets go ahead for permanent home

A new permanent home for the Prince of Wales boxing club is being planned near Channel View.

The club has been looking to secure its own gym for several years - and now plans for a purpose-built facility have gone forward to Cardiff Council and have been given the go ahead under delegated powers.

It will include a 16ft boxing ring and a classroom and be built on a disused area between the leisure centre and nursery school. 

The club has members of all ages, from children to seniors in boxing, and others use it for keep fit and boxer-cise, from Grangetown and surrounding areas.

"At the moment we are having a season out to concentrate on the future of the club and the building process," said head coach Joe Feal.

"We were decanted from our original home six years ago - which we had used since 1969 - and then we had a temporary base at the Grangetown Boys and Girls Club. We then had to vacate these premises.

"We now have the breakthrough we needed to secure our own gym which have been looking for, for a very long time."

The club hopes to be up and running within a year, in good time for its 50th anniversary.

The new gym would be on a 50-year lease from Cardiff Council. 

The classroom would be available for Grangetown Nursery School as a meeting or training room, as well as for community use. 

The Prince of Wales ABC's long history includes Welsh champions and Commonwealth Games medallists.


Litter-picking library loan idea

As focus group highlights litter as biggest community issue


Keep Grangetown Tidy already holds monthly organised litter picks but this will enable residents to pick their own time to help.

Grangetown residents will be able to borrow litter-pickers from their local library - in a bid to get more volunteers to help tidy up in the area.

Litter pickers, bags, gloves and hi-vis tabards will be available to litter champions to pick up from Grangetown Hub whenever they want - and to borrow up for up to two weeks - in the Love Where I Live scheme being launched on Wednesday.

Volunteers will be given initial training - and then given a library card which will allow them to pick up the equipment. A log sheet will allow them to record their litter picks, with bags being left next to litter bins for council waste collectors to pick up afterwards.

Councillor Michael Michael, cabinet member for clean streets and recycling, said: "The Keep Grangetown Tidy group has been working hard with the council for some time.

"The idea of this new initiative is to provide the equipment directly to the volunteers so they are able to arrange their community litter picks when it is convenient for them."

Mr Michael said all they asked was for volunteers to report hazardous materials such as broken glass, needles, dog fouling or fly-tipping and not to try to attempt to collect these items.

"If the initiative is successful, we will look to expand the scheme to different areas of the city in the New Year," he said.

The event was being launched with a litter pick on Wednesday at 10am. Residents that would like to get involved are asked to emaillovewhereyoulive@cardiff.gov.uk.


The focus group findings were presented in community safety week in October.

Meanwhile, litter problems were the top complaint of residents who took part in a 13-strong focus group set up by Grangetown youngsters to help set community police priorities in the area.

Residents’ ideas to create safer communities were collected as part of Grangetown Youth Forum's data gathering exercise with the Crime and Security Research Institute at Cardiff University.

The findings were presented at the start of Grangetown's third community safety week on Monday and have been possible thanks to the data research tool Sensor, which helps to target neighbour security issues.

Most people questioned were from the Ferry Road, Clydach Street or Holmesdale Street areas. The group reported that most people felt either safe or slightly unsafe. When a mapping exercise took place, litter emerged as the top problem. Road safety and parking were also significant issues.

Litter was found in all three locations, together with dog mess, broken glass and fly-tipping. One resident taking part said there were "not enough bins, bins not big enough and not emptied enough. Litter everywhere. Shops don't keep their outside clean. People fly tip on any available space. Car drivers [have a] culture of throwing litter from their cars, also when they clean cars, leave rubbish at kerb".

The research will also be presented at the next Grangetown PACT meeting on November 7th.

The young Sensor champions aim to work with residents to agree community safety ideas that can be brought in locally, with the help of South Wales Police and Cardiff Council.

One of the young people involved, Saeed Ahmed, 17, said: "I live in Grangetown and this piece of work will be good to help keep us even more safe and secure by improving policing priorities."

Rosie Cripps, Community Gateway project manager said the work with the youth forum looked for "solutions to make Grangetown an even safer place to live and work."


Some of the partners involved in Safety Week

The safety week which runs until Friday involves road safety, youth safety and is again part of the university's ongoing Community Gateway programme in the area.

Activities include water safety talks for young people, youth engagement and free cycle safety checks. Cyclists can also benefit from useful items donated by Halfords.

In addition, there will be a talk about substance misuse from Switched On, a multi-agency team which educates children, young people and practitioners about drug and alcohol issues throughout Cardiff and the Vale. On Tuesday, nine people signed up for free first aid training by St John.

Councillor Ashley Lister, chair of Grangetown Community Action, said: “This year we will be building on our previous successes by delivering more first aid training and home safety checks, as well as information sessions with primary school pupils. I'd like to take the opportunity to thank all our partners in Cardiff Council, emergency services and third sector for their ongoing support in helping to make Grangetown a more safer and cohesive community.“

There are more details in the events section above.

Grangetown cricketer joins Young England tour


Prem and his parents meet Vaughan Gething AM. With Cardiff CCC coach Kevin Lyons.

Promising Grangetown cricketer Prem Sisodiya joined up with the England Under 19 squad to tour South Africa in November and also played in the Under 19 World Cup in New Zealand in January.

The left-arm spinner and batsman has been a regular with Cardiff Cricket Club, who have taken the South Wales Premier title and Welsh Cup twice in recent seasons, and is a Glamorgan develoment player, where he was Academy Player of the Year last season.

Prem, who lives in north Grangetown, said: "Cricket has been a really big part of my life from a young age.”

He is a former pupil at two schools known for their sporting excellence - Whitchurch High School and Clifton College and has been playing for Cardiff since the age of nine.

Cardiff club coach Kevin Lyons said: "He has worked methodically for 10 years, and been a credit to family and Cardiff CC plus all the teams in which he has played. South Africa shall be a real experience and learning process for him and may he continue to improve his all round game and remember why he first started out all those years ago, to enjoy the game."

Keen cricket fan and Cardiff South and Penarth AM Vaughan Gething welcomed Prem and his parents Pab and Lux to a reception at the Assembly to wish him well in the autumn. "As a former amateur cricketer and current cricket fan myself, I have a particular appreciation for his outstanding achievements," said Mr Gething. "He is a credit to Grangetown and Cardiff. I look forward to watching his cricketing career develop in the coming years”.

The winter tour involved a Tri-Series against South Africa and Namibia.

Flats plans rejected again


Artist impression of what the development would look like from Clive Street.

Plans to build flats on the site of a bed warehouse in Grangetown - which have been either refused or withdrawn four times in the last 12 years - have been rejected again.

Councillors had been recommended to turn down the latest proposals - just over a year after an appeal against the refusal of the previous plan was rejected.

The development put forward was for 18 mostly one-bedroom flats built on the junction with Ferry Road and South Clive Street. A auto body parts workshop next door was again one of the objectors to the plans for the Windor Buildings.

Officials say it would mean "poor quality of living environment" and "outlook" and lack of space at the front and privacy for new residents moving into the social housing complex. There are also concerns over three lime trees, which would overhang the three-storey flats.

Councillor Frank Jacobsen on the planning committee said the only thing going for it was it was close to Ikea for people carrying furniture back; but Councillor Iona Gordon called the architect's plan "commendable" for a "virtually impossible site". But others said it would cram too many flats into a small space with concern about dark corridors into the flats and privacy issues for the resident in the ground floor flat. Councillor Michael Jones-Pritchard said: "Affordable housing occupants need just as good accommodation, amenity space and suroundings as people who buy their own."

The plans came from a Cardiff property developer but Taff Housing was understood to be standing by if the development got the go ahead. The developer says it would contribute "to the provision of high-quality affordable housing" and a "high quality living environment".

Local residents also objected to the plans which went before the city's planning committee. One commented: "It appears that no material changes to this application have been made, and I am starting to find the repeated submission of the same plans vexatious to say the least."


Tariq joins Cricket Wales board to help encourage diversity

Grangetown resident, former councillor and cricket fan Tariq Awan has become the first Asian to be elected onto the board of Cricket Wales.

Mr Awan has been presented with an appreciation award by Cardiff Central Cricket Club - the club which he helped set up - in recognition of the achievement and his commitment to sharing his skills and expertise.

He will serve as an independent director for the next three years and help the organisation reach out to diverse sections of Welsh communities. The award was presented by Cricket Wales chief executive Peter Hybart.

Sohail Rauf, chairman of Cardiff Central CC added that as a club "we are very proud at the successful appointment" of Mr Awan to Cricket Wales's board and wished him all the best in his new role. Other VIP guests included Councillors Ashley Lister and Dilwar Ali.

It was part of an end of season presentation night for Cardiff Central Cricket Club (formerly called Welsh Asian CC). It was founded in 1984 by players from Grangetown, Riverside and Canton. Mr Awan, the club’s development officer, explained that from its humble beginning with two teams the Cardiff Central CC has now transformed into three senior teams and four junior teams.


Junior team members at the presentation night.

Two female volunteers have completed training as coaches and the club is now well on its way to introducing its first girls team to cater for the growing demand and promote recreational cricket among the younger female population.

Mr Awan said that two players, who started their cricket with Cardiff Central CC, are now part of the Glamorgan's cricket academy. He said the club was "well known and respected by Cricket Wales and Glamorgan County CC".


Catholic priest dies suddenly

The parish priest of St Patrick's RC church has died suddenly.

Polish-born Father Bogdan Wera had been taken ill whilst on holiday and spent a short time in hospital before returning home, where he died on Saturday 9th September.

He was also a member of the Polish Mission serving the Polish Community in South Wales.

Father David Morris of St Paul's also paid tribute. "We extend our deepest sympathy and love to our brothers and sisters at St Patrick's RC Church," he said. "Please pray for the repose of Fr Bogdan's soul and for all his parishioners at this difficult time."


Temple celebrates 35 years


The temple was lit up, while a firework display concluded the celebrations on Wednesday evening. Photo: Grangetown Plaid.

Grangetown's Hindu community has been celebrating the 35th anniversary of its temple in Merches Gardens.

The Shree Swaminarayan temple was opened in 1982, the first of its kind in Wales, and has been the focal point for spiritual, cultural and social activities for different generations since.

The celebrations also marked 10 years of the Central Shrine. An assembly was held with guests including local MP Stephen Doughty, local councillors, members of other political parties and other organisations, including police and emergency services.

A traditional Indian street food festival and fantastic firework display followed on Wednesday evening.

On Saturday, a Hindu Mela took place at the Swalec Stadium.


On-fire Dragons storm to title

The Bay Dragons cricket team - which features a large number of Grangetown players - has won its division in its first season in the South East Wales Cricket League.

Playing home matches at Blackweir, the Dragons topped Division Nine with six wins and only two defeats. A six-wicket loss at Mountain Ash 2nds was not enough to deny them the title on the final day.

Chairman and captain Syed Abbas said there were plans to run a second XI next season - and a local fitness project.

Syed said: "Following the success this year, the club is starting a community project aimed at creating sports opportunities for Grangetown residents. We call it, “Get Fit – Play Cricket”.

"Due to our growth plans, we are looking to create a 2nd XI team as well as create a youth infrastructure, so there will be plenty of opportunities for anyone who fancies playing.  We are also looking for volunteers, who just want to come and watch cricket  or help out with scoring, umpiring, match day support.

We can arrange free of cost training for them as well."

The Dragons also thanked their supporters, Grangetown News and sponsors Hussain Jewellers of Clare Road.

Oldest Grangetown resident dies, aged 103


Mary at her 100th birthday party.

Probably Grangetown's oldest resident has died peacefully at home, just a week before her 104th birthday.

Mary Desmond was a mother of 11 and a number of her children lived near her in the Merches Gardens area.


Mary with husband Charles in the 1930s and aged 99 at a family wedding.

She was born Mary Barry at 38 Chester Street in August 1913, one of 15 children. George V was king, Asquith was prime minister, it was a year before World War One and the height of the Suffragete movement. Mary went to St Patrick's School, which she left to look after her grandmother.

Mary, who also lived in Clare Road for a time, married her husband Charles Desmond in 1936.

The couple ran the Public Works Department Club in Mardy Street - later the Irish club and now the Samaj Centre - for more than 30 years. It used to attract people from all over Cardiff for dances.

Mary - who was interviewed before her 100th birthday by Grangetown Local History Society - also did bar work which she recalled as enjoying very much even though she did not drink alcohol. Mary also worked at Curran's amunitions factory near the docks, testing shells during World War Two. 

She had 11 children in 11 years but sadly lost her son David aged 23 in a hit-and-run road tragedy at the Clare Road lights in 1973 while Charles died a few months later.

Mary was a staunch member of St Patrick's Church congregation, attending Mass regularly, and had also been a cleaner at Ninian Park School.

Her grand-daughter Lisa said: "Nan had a huge family - 11 children, 24 grand children 42 great grandchildren and a number of great-greats. With such a big family and her work at the PWD she was known by a great many people from all over Cardiff." 

"St Patrick's was her church from the day it was built, receiving sacrament until the end of her long life. She was a pillar of the community, the church and her family." 


Mary (left) with Rita Spinola, who recorded her memories for the Grangetown Local History Society's oral archive, just before her 100th birthday.


Mary pictured with her surviving children. Greener Grangetown - what's the latest?

If you've travelled through Grangetown in recent months you can't fail to have noticed all the works going on on the streets next to the Taff Embankment. But what's the latest?

The Greener Grangetown project is a partnership between Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, Natural Resources Wales and the council, which aims to manage better surface and waste water from paths and roads. It will plant trees and green spaces in streets which will better absorb the water. At the moment, the excess rainwater is pumped eight miles out to sea, but soon it will be diverted into the River Taff by an underground pipe in each street after being "cleaned" by the trees, plants, soil and shrubbery above ground.

But it has led to disruption for residents, who have raised parking issues amongst other things. We asked the Greener Grangetown project team a few questions about progress.

What stage of progress are we at - what has been completed?

GG: We have completed most of the work in Blaenclydach St, Ferndale St, Coedcae St, Bargoed St and Aber St. The four new surface water outfalls have been installed in the River Taff and work has begun on the large rain gardens in Cymmer and Clydach St.  

What's to come now (from end of summer) and are you on time to finish?

  GG: The next two streets to be worked on are Llanbradach St and Abercynon St, as well as works in Taff Embankment. We shall also be starting tree and vegetation planting in the completed rain gardens this Autumn, where we hope to involve local residents in the planting. The footpaths in the project area shall be repaired/re-surfaced during the Autumn Winter period, as well as new signage and some amended street lighting. The new resident parking areas will also be phased in.

There was concern when it started from some residents about how parking would be affected - also see story below - how has this been working out?

  GG: It has been challenging managing local parking during construction, as we always want to prioritise for local residents. We have endeavoured to achieve this by giving out project car window stickers to enable the Contractor to prioritise local cars and by allowing certain streets to use the nearby ‘pay & display’ spaces for free, during construction. We’d like to thank local residents for their patience and understanding during this time.

Cyclists have also been asking about what the embankment will be like for them afterwards - are you hopeful this will slow traffic down?

GG: We believe that once the Taff Embankment works are complete, there will be less congestion and slower vehicle speeds. This will make both cycling and walking safer and more pleasurable.

 What sort of questions have residents been asking in recent weeks?

 GG: The biggest concerns relate to parking, both in terms of the increasing growth in commuter parking and the access to resident parking for the community. We continue to consult with residents on this issue, on a regular basis.

 What has been happening with trees along the embankment?

GG: The trees along the embankment are staying (along with most of the trees in the adjoining streets), with a special recycled rubber material being used around their trunks, to enhance permeability and oxygen for the roots. The footpath is also being widened and raised, to ensure that the roots are no longer a trip hazard.

 Have the designs changed at all since work has started?

GG: There have been some minor changes to rain garden locations, in order to maximise all available parking space in the streets.

Greener Grangetown: Petitions push for more residents' parking off embankment


Roads are being resurfaced and streets re-profiled.

People living in streets off the Taff Embankment have started petitions to increase the number of residents' parking places - after unhappiness at being squeezed during the ongoing Greener Grangetown work.

Around 40 residents packed into a "drop in" consultation with the project team, while in a separate room at Grangetown Hub, Councillor Lynda Thorne talked to more residents about the issues.

Disgruntled residents spoke about parking disappearing during the ongoing engineering and road works, which will bring in the new eco-friendly drainage system, as well as new plants, better cycleways and new road surfaces.

But some residents spoke of "mayhem" from parking pressures from commuters, on top of losing their own spaces; some have even received parking tickets, although there is a promise these would be rescinded.


Standing room only in the Hub cafe for the meeting

The petitions from residents in Ferndale, Coedcae and Llanbradach Streets among others formally request an increase in residents-only spaces from 50% to 75%. This is possible if the majority in each street back them and then apply for permits.

Ian Titherington of the Greener Grangetown project told residents that some streets, like Ferndale, were more dense for housing than others in the area. The project has pledged that 50% residents parking will already be guaranteed for 12 streets covered by the project.


Road resurfacing has been continuing as the project progresses and (right) how the Embankment will look.

Mr Titherington said the streets were residential, built in the 1890s and what was being designed along the Embankment was to fit in with that and not as "rat runs for commuters". One resident spoke of rows breaking out as lorries and vehicles tried to cut down Llanbradach Street off Corporation Road to avoid the work.

Council officials said anyone not a resident who parked in the area while work was being done risked being towed away.

There was also an issue with yellow lines being painted in a part of Ferndale Street (above) after resurfacing where they hadn't before; these have now been removed.

The rolling programme is expected to finish in February.

Further drop-ins will be held on the first Wednesday of the month (6pm at the Hub).

Tramshed plans four-storey flats and office block

Plans for offices and 19 apartments have been put forward by The Tramshed developers.

The block - four-storeys at its highest point - would be built on land immediately behind the existing venue off Clare Road.

The design is by Ellis Williams Architects, who were behind the original refurbishment. It would be developed so the ground floor would include an access tunnel for the venue and for the lane along the rear of the Tramshed.

The apartments on the upper floors would be "live-work" units; the same concept that already operates in the main building. The first floor would be office space for small businesses.

.No parking provision is provided and the transport plan assumes most people using the offices will use public transport or walk, while those visiting can use the pay-and-display in Pendyris Street.

It will come as a surprise to local residents, with no mention of this phase of the development coming up during consultation during the original development over 2014/15.

The idea however has been an open secret for months, certainly since the official opening of the building last year.

Because the facade of the Tramshed is Grade II listed, the architects say they have been at pains to come up with the design that is sensitive - and the building - which would back onto the exisiting building - would be a feature in its own right. "The final proposals will be developed with a separate and distinct architectural language, so as not to dilute or mimic the Tramshed, but so that the new building is read separately in it’s own right," they say in the design statement.

The building will be part part four storeys, with the height thought "appropriate" as it is along the railway line and close to buildings like the Unity student flats.

The biggest concern for neighbouring residents is likely to be parking pressures, given the lack of provision in the development and already the squeeze from commuter parking from the "creeping" city centre. One Court Road resident complained to us already this week about issues and dissatisfaction with the levels of residents' permit parking available.

The Tramshed development has been evolving. The venue has been a success over more than 18 months and residents have been won over how well run it is. The cafe-bar has just re-launched its menu again and the cinema has been open since Christmas. Tramshed Tech at the far end has been another success as a "plug-in" business space. This weekend, the dance/yoga/fitness studio in the middle is due to open its doors.

But this is for an additional building, not a refurbishment of an existing, empty one, so the local reaction is uncertain.

The plans for this latest phase have gone to Cardiff Council and will be open for comments.

Channel View tower re-cladding on hold

Plans to re-clad Channel View tower block have been put on hold - for a city-wide independent review into safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in London.

Proposals had been agreed late last year to refurbish the 16-storey 1970s tower block - with the new cladding a central feature.

According to the developers the rainscreen cladding system proposed would be made of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) but with a mineral-filled core "providing fire protection".

The planning report last autumn said it would “create a rustic look to the building, that compliments the colour scheme that was used at Windsor Quay.”

Local councillor Lynda Thorne, who is also cabinet member for housing, issued a statement to all tenants on Monday, in which she said: "Your safety is our upmost concern and in order to satisfy any doubts you may have, we will be engaging an independent firm of consultants to review the integrity of cladding systems. No new cladding will be used on high rise blocks until a full review has been completed and a further consultation has taken place."

She also outlined current safety measures and fire advice and stated that cladding work in the early 1990s on several blocks had been with fire-retardant materials, different to the ones used in London.

Mrs Thorne said although there were no particular issues with the Channel View project it would be wrong to proceed without further investigation.

The review involves nine tower blocks across Cardiff but Channel View is the only high-rise in Grangetown. There is no time scale for how long the investigation will take.

'Selfless servant' gets community award

Halimah Islam, who has been running a homework club for local children for the last 19 years, has been given the annual Joan Gallagher memorial award for her contribution to the local community.

Mrs Islam has been running the Saturday elementary school called Al-islah (meaning "guidance") for three hours per week as a volunteer. It started in portable buildings before moving to Channel View and more recently has been operating from the Grange Pavilion.

The idea behind the club was to build up the confidence of local BME community children offering them cultural studies through the medium of arts, crafts, books and social interaction in informal class settings.

As it progressed, Al-Islah organisers realised that children also needed assistance to improve their basic literacy and numeracy skills to catch up with national standards, so additional volunteers were recruited to offer children the support they needed.

At its peak, up to 85 children have attended.

The nomination for the award called her a "true community champion," who had "selflessly served" Grangetown. It added: "Mrs Islam has been an incredible asset and a symbol of inspiration for the women of the BME community who are often very difficult to engage with. She has been offering her time, skills, dedication and often paying money from her own pocket to purchase the learning materials, when certain parents find it difficult to pay the minimal fee. She has taught and inspired all my three children to gain the cultural awareness and the confidence to do well at school."

The award was presented at Grangetown Festival by Cardiff South and Penarth AM Vaughan Gething to Mrs Islam, accompanied by her sister, who also helps with the club.

It is made annually in memory of Joan Gallagher MBE, who served the local community for many decades, including as secretary of Grangetown Community Concern, the local Scouts and as a councillor.

End of long saga for school campaigners and church

Campaigners for a Welsh-medium primary school and those looking to preserve St Paul's Church are celebrating major planning landmarks.

The long-awaited new Ysgol Hamadryad will provide a first Welsh-medium school for pupils from Grangetown and Butetown.

The first intake of pupils is currently being taught in a starter class on the site of Ninian Park school. The new build behind the old Hamadryad Hospital, just over the Taff in Butetown, will take a year to build and be ready in time for the start of the school year in 2018.

Central to the application is a travel plan to encourage as many pupils, parents and staff to get to school by public transport, walking or bike. There is also £300,000 set aside for improving local junctions, crossings and for residents' parking.

The proposals include: