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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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

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 joining Young England Lions tour

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

Promising Grangetown cricketer Prem Sisodiya is joining up with the England Under 19 squad to tour South Africa next month.

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 and I am really looking forward to travelling to South Africa next month and having the honour to play for the Under 19s.”

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. "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 involves a Tri-Series against South Africa and Namibia. Ahead is the potential opportunity to be picked for the ICC Under-19s World Cup in New Zealand in the new year.

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."

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.

Aerial photos - altogether 60,000 m3 will be remmoved from the back of Clive Street. Click on images for full size.

Railway embankment removal on track

Thousands of tonnes of earth from a Victorian railway embankment have already been moved by developers - as these drone images show.

Contractors Cuddy have so far removed 40,000 cubic metres of spoil - two thirds of what will need to be removed from the site at the back of Clive Street lane to make way for a new housing development.

Developers Pegasus, who are using an entrance opposite York Place for the lorries to take the muckshift away, said it had meant minimal disruption to the local roads.

"We are on target for an August completion of the site clearance works with fencing works to secure the reduced level site starting within the next weeks," said Adrian Hancock, Pegasus director.

New pavilion cafe opens

Grange Gardens has its first cafe.

The Hideout in the refurbished Bowls Pavilion will be serving tea, coffee, ice creams, milk-shakesand cakes. It is the icing on the cake, almost literally, after the pavilion was given a £40,000 make-over last year.

The cafe is being run by local businessman and community activist Moseem Suleman, who runs Ice Cream Passion in Clare Road. The Hideout will also give experience to local young people, who will be serving there.

The pavilion is part of an ongoing project by local residents, Grangetown Community Action and Cardiff University's Community Gateway programme which is looking to take over ownership of the building, and with lottery funding is hoping for a major refurbishment.

The Hideout will be open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday; and 12pm-6pm on Sunday. Follow: @thehideout_ggp

'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: