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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Greener Grangetown into final stages

The delayed £2m Greener Grangetown project is now on track to finish next Spring, according to the project team.

It can’t come soon enough for the 500 residents in the dozen streets affected. Living there has brought inevitable disruption, but some have described it as a “nightmare” and “mayhem” in terms of loss of parking places.

The innovative engineering project will catch, clean and divert rainwater directly into the River Taff instead of pumping it over eight miles through the Vale of Glamorgan to the sea.

It will transform the local streetscape too, planting more shrubs in planters and trees for rain gardens to absorb the rainwater.

But the work has faced delays, with the project originally being scheduled to be completed by September and more recently, a finish date of February was given.

"Our contractors have been working hard to alleviate the delay, caused shortly after construction work began, by an issue with the delivery of granite from the project’s suppliers and construction work on a number of streets is now close to completion," said a Greener Grangetown spokesperson.

"That means over the next few weeks residents should start to see fencing coming down and planting of some of the 135 trees and thousands of shrubs being introduced into the area as part of the project begin."

The first 30 trees had been planted by the first week of January.

The project estimated the contractors would be out of the majority of streets by Christmas and “remain on track to complete the project by the Spring”.

A few weeks ago, the project team admitted to us it had been "challenging managing local parking during construction, as we always want to prioritise for local residents." It said it had tried to do this through a car window sticker scheme. But the “patience and understanding” has been a little thin on the ground at times, not least when some residents got parking tickets and double yellow lines appeared after a road resurfacing which had not been there before. A temporary blip.

There have been some quite heated drop-in meetings with local residents along the way too. Taff Trail cyclists have also been asking about what the embankment will be like for them afterwards. We asked project managers if the streetcape would slow traffic down?

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

Greener Grangetown point by point:

• 1,600 sq metres of green pace and 495 sq m of new paving

•135 new trees planted

• 19 different species of tree

•45 different species of shrubs and grass planted

• 26 cycle stands installed

• 12 new litter bins

•10 seats and benches

• 42,480 sq metres of surface water removed from the combined waste water network  

• Welsh Water has invested £1m. Cardiff Council £750,000, £750,000 from the Landfill Communities Fund and £50,000 from Natural Resources Wales.

But parking has dominated residents’ concerns both in terms of more commuter parking - an issue across the wider community - and access to homes.  There have been some minor changes to rain garden locations, in order to maximise all available parking space in the streets.

Local councillors have recently offered to set up meetings, with the project due to go through the council’s environmental scrutiny committee process.

In November, the contractors were finishing the rain gardens in Bargoed, Coedcae and Ferndale Streets, as well as Llanbradach Street and Abercycnon Street, while the trees and vegetation is set to be planted.

Cabinet member for clean streets, recycling and environment Coun Michael Michael told Grangetown News:  "I am aware that some local residents have raised their concerns about the Greener Grangetown construction work, and I will be meeting with local ward councillors over the coming weeks to discuss these in further detail."

The project team, meanwhile, added: "We’d like to thank residents for their continued patience and co-operation during the ongoing works."

There will certainly be lessons to learn if similar schemes are repeated elsewhere.

Part of the problem has been trying to imagine what the finished project will look like, with none of the streets completed yet.

A final - and fair - judgement can only be made when everything is in place. And there’s a real hope that despite the difficulties, it will be something for Grangetown to be proud of.

Greener Grangetown: Residents' views:

"The work seems to be everlasting in each street . The roads are still blocked off so there’s only one way into some streets. Parking access in the streets is horrendous, even with the residential permits many can not park in their own street. I’m not really impressed yet!” Christine B

"Thought that they were going to finish one street before the next one started? It’s a right mess! Plus work is faltering and doesn’t seem continuous to get anything done! And we’re only opposite these streets so I feel for the poor residents!” Pam H

"Very frustrating with parking problems. Especially with the contractors parking in resident parking bays. I escalated this a few times and nothing was ever done about it. Terrible, horrible, no parking space."

"Lack of parking near our home for the past four months and the constant dirt and dust Parking has been bad.

"We have lost parking spaces and I can't see what benefit I as a resident will get. It may look nice when fully completed but for now it's just a big mess."

There are more details about Greener Grangetown on Drop-ins for residents are held on the first Wednesday of the month at 6pm at Grangetown Hyb.

How will Greener Grangetown work?

Early on in the project, we asked the Greener Grangetown management team some questions - and here are some answers that we hope will help:

Stores urged to join litter fight

The litter pick included Grangemoor Park, above the retail park, now a nature reserve on reclaimed land on what used to ironically be one of the city's biggest landfill sites for household waste.

 Retailers on Grangetown's retail park have been urged to join the campaign to cut litter.

The Keep Grangetown Tidy group collected 16 bags of litter during a litter pick in Grangemoor Park and on the verges of the Cardiff Bay Retail Park off Ferry Road on Saturday.

Afterwards, Councillor Ashley Lister, chair of Grangetown Community Action - a regular on the litter picks - wrote a letter which he is delivering to all businesses.

"We recognise that we cannot tackle this issue alone and litter-picking is just one element of the solution to the problem," he wrote. "Which is why we need businesses like yourself to help us promote the importance of recycling and disposing waste correctly, as well as the Love Where You Live campaign."

Litter discarded on the grounds of the retail park and on the nearby trail included a fair number of plastic cups from Costa and Macdonalds, as well as burger cartons, presumably thrown from vehicles.

Councillor Lister is also hoping to spread the word to businesses across Grangetown, with Clare Road and Penarth Road suffering similar litter issues.

Details of the next Grangetown litterpicks will be announced soon. The group can be found on Facebook or @TidyGrangetown

Keep Grangetown Tidy group milestone

Keep Grangetown Tidy expected to have collected 1,000 bags of litter by the end of 2017. It is three years since the volunteer group was set up.

Already by the summer of 2017, the combined number of volunteer hours had reached 1,000, across a total of 39 events. The group has also clocked 500 volunteers since it was launched in January 2015.

This two-hour pick in 2015 was the first in a series of monthly weekend events in the area.

Since then, the group has met every three or four weeks, targeting a different area each time. Supported by the efforts of the Cardiff Rivers Group and Keep Wales Tidy, other groups have joined in such as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association Wales, community police officers, Cardiff University students and the Cardiff Bay Rotary Club.

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 Grangetown’s third community safety week and at PACT. It has 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. 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".

Council waste teams have in recent months worked more closely with Tidy Grangetown, to help with more bulky, fly-tipped items and to take away rubbish bags after litter-picks.

Grangetown residents can also now 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 are available to litter champions to pick up from Grangetown Hub.

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 waste collectors to pick up.

In the first 12 months, the group picked 360 bags of litter, identified fly tipping problems to report to the council, and disposed of items ranging from micro wave ovens to mattresses. It also recovered a mobile phone - thought to have been thrown away by a taxi driver into a bush - and reunited it with its owner.

The group when it set up discussed approaches and ideas, which include:

The problems have been highlighted regularly at Grangetown PACT meetings and on social media, with residents critical of the response by the council and worried that things will get worse as cleansing teams are cut back on.

Bins back after survey (well, three for starters)

Three litter bins have been restored to Grangetown streets - after a survey found a dozen had been removed in recent years, including from outside shops and take-aways.

Grangetown News produced this map below, after there was concern that some streets had bins taken away and not replaced.

The markers in green show where the concentration of bins are - and the red, where bins have been removed. Since the story appeared - two bins were restored, one to Jubilee Street and the other to Paget Street, while another has been put in Court Road!

A street-by- street survey, followed by a comparison of street view photos on Google Maps confirmed 12 litter bins have been removed.

After the story appeared in Grangetown News, three bins were restored - one outside the shop in Jubilee Street, a new one was put in Court Road on the junction with Compton Street and another outside shops in Paget Street. It's hoped more will follow.

Councillor Lynda Thorne has met with council officials and council leaders in recent weeks, after frustration with litter issues.

"I'm working in liaison with Grangetown Community Action to identify areas that need litter bins, places where there are none and where we believe there are problems.

"I have also asked the council to provide me with the street cleansing and bin emptying routine.quot;.

Grangetown Community Action has also been surveying the area's litter bins. If you want to get involved in the Keep Grangetown Tidy group, come along to a litter pick or contact the group via Facebook or follow @TidyGrangetown on Twitter.

Dave King from the group said fly tipping and litter was still a "real issue" although there had been improvements after a restructuring of the street cleaning teams, with a dedicated contact. He added: "One area in particular we need to address is the number and location of litter bins. We know the number has reduced and we need to reverse that but also ensure they are in the right places."

Before and after: This bin disappeared from the corner of Jubilee Street - although residents can't recall any damage to it

The council could not provide us with official numbers of bins on the streets, or how this compares with other parts of the city. A council spokesman told us it was "happy to work with Grangetown Community Action to identify areas in the ward that need additional litter bins".

"Over the years, litter bins have only been removed if they have become damaged and replacements haven't been in stock," said the spokesman.

The council meanwhile told us it was looking for a "cultural change" in attitudes to litter.

Reminders over waste days

Residents are reminded that putting out bags before the collection day – usually Tuesday for recycling and alternate Tuesdays for household waste.

Blooming lovely idea for Grangetown front yards

Residents are being asked to think about making more of their front yards in a garden project being launched this month.

The UpfrontGarden project is being rolled out in Grangetown, to encourage people to cultivate herbs, edible plants or just flowers in their front gardens, whatever the size.

Liz Court will be presenting the idea at a meeting at St Samson's church hall on Friday 8th July (5.30pm-7pm). "We have developed my garden as an UpFront Garden in Farmville Road in Splott to show what can be done with a small front garden in a terraced street," she said.

"The garden is planted with all kinds of edible plants including a small sour cherry tree, a thornless blackberry winding along the railings, rhubarb, parsley and other herbs and flowers."

Liz has developed the idea with edible gardening expert Michele Fitzsimons, who tried it out with other residents in the street.

"Everyone in the street has been invited to informal get-togethers to find out about UpFront and encourage them to develop their front gardens," said Liz. "Although not everyone has been able to change their gardens, it has improved community spirit and one neighbour now has a lovely edible front garden!"

If you can's attend the meeting but are interested in finding out more, emmail Liz and Michele on Keep Grangetown Tidy have recently had members of the council's waste teams joining their regular litter-picks.

Rubbish dumped in Sevenoaks Park this week

Sowing seeds of a better neighbourhood

By Azul Maite

A local charity has joined the Friends of Pentre Gardens group to transform a park which had "become a dog toilet" into an attractive welcoming area.

The first session was held on a crisp and sunny Saturday in March.

Local resident Inge Hanson said Pentre Gardens a few years ago was nothing more than "a dog toilet or a big trash can" strewn with rubbish and neglected. It wasn't a place anyone thought they could enjoy and use.

Inge and a group of neighbours formed Friends of Pentre Gardens and started holding children's play sessions, with help from Re-create, the play services association in Cardiff and the Vale.

The park was cleaned up and the residents took over the duties of opening and closing the park from the council.

Cardiff's parks department has taken notice of their efforts and cut all the bushes, planted extra plants and their next steps are to re-do all the benches and the paths.

For this specific project, Grow Cardiff and Cardiff University have reveived a grant to help the Friends draw up a professional plan with the help of a landscape architect. In consultation with the community, a brief has been drawn up on what people want to see there.

The grant also provides them with practical help to complete the work.

The Grow Cardiff initiative aims to encourage more people to reconnect with nature, to bring people back to their roots and bring the community together.

It also wants to reinvigorate an area that has been neglected for too long by involving the residents, promoting a sense of ownership of the place amongst the residents.

Axel and Yin, qualified self-employed gardeners under contract to Grow Cardiff, were on hand to bring the brief drawn to life.

They helped prepare the ground, dug and checked the soil, as well as planted. According to Yin they were pleasantly surprised to discover that the soil is free draining sandy loam soil as opposed to clay. Clay would have made their tools sticky and their job a lot harder. Sandy loam, on the other hand, is easier to maintain andis better for the plants.

Yin and Axel explained that the planting has to be sympathetic to the conditions of the site – there is a lot of shade present due to three tall trees around the planting area, therefore they had chosen shade loving plants such as bluebells, vinca minor, hebe, hellebore, heuchera, sarcococca and tellima.

Grow Cardiff sets up and kickstarts the projects and then encourages residents to get involved, in this case local volunteers, children from local primary schools and park rangers.

Friends of Pentre Gardens are working in conjuction with Renata Harmsworth from St Patrick's School, one of Grangetown's 4 primary schools. Year 2 children (6 and 7 year olds) from St Patricks's school planted the yellow crocuses two years ago as part of the school's lunch hour gardening club, and since then they have gone on to plant the white and purple crocuses, three new trees and the daffodils that can be seen today in the park.

Renata said: "It's great as it involves the children, gives them a sense of pride and they're giving back to the community”.

Getting children involved in this kind of project not only teaches them great values such as respect for communal property and appreciation for the work they have done, as well as teaching them practical gardening skills. It gives them a sense of belonging to the community and it is now the kids who are telling people off when they see anyone destroying the plants!

To get involved with the projects you can follow Friends of Pentre Gardens on Facebook, or contact Inge Hanson:

New green space for nursery

A new green space has been opened at Cylch Meithrin Grangetown a'r Bae for children and parents to enjoy.

Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Georgina Phillips officially opened the new space, with her husband Len Phillips also in attendance.

Materials were mainly sourced locally and there were a number of local small businesses and individuals involved in the creation of the new space, including woodwork and carvings by sculptor Brian Denman, mosaics by artist Helen Malia, workshops by Sam Holt abd eggseed and painting work by Nick Leney.

A grant from the Big Lottery of £4,138 was awarded to pay for improvements to the children's outdoor play area at St Paul's Church Hall, which had previously been just an empty concrete corridor and due to its deep drain on one side had been deemed unsafe for the children to play in by the Cylch's regulatory body CSSIW.

Since the work has now been finished, the space has been reassessed and given the go ahead for the children to play in it once more. The children and staff are looking forward to spending time outside in the new space and planting more vegetables in the new term.

ID needed to use recycling centre

People using the Bessemer Close recycling depot now have to prove they live in Cardiff to use it.

The centre has become one of only two recycling points for the city - but council leaders are worried that nearly one in five people who bring items for recycling are from outside the area.

"This is something that we’ll be cracking down,” said councillor Bob Derbyshire, cabinet member for the environment.

"In order to establish residency users will be requested to provide proof of residency such as a utility bill, library card or an active leisure card."

The centre has also been fitted with an automatic vehicle number plate recognition (ANPR) system which will periodically be used to confirm addresses for members of the public and commercial vehicles.

The site, along with the Lamby Way centre, will operate 12 hours a day in summer months and eight hours a day during the winter. The aim is that they will recycle an extra 5,000 tonnes of reusable material by 2017, as they council looks to hit a target of 80% of waste being recycled.

Community garden project launches near bowls pavilion

A sunny start to the garden project

A community garden has launched near the old bowls pavilion in Grange Gardens.

Local residents have been looking to take over the pavilion itself from ownership of the council, after the bowls club disbanded and is to be granted a temporary licence to start organising activities there in conjunction with the Community Gateway programme.

The community garden will be on land near the club but not involve the bowling green itself. To start off, flowers and vegetables are being planted in bedding areas on top of pallets.

A long list of interested groups are already looking to be involved, including Grangetown and St Patick's primary schools, Food Cardiff and the Grange Gardens Pavilion Action Group.

Residents still hope to take on the ownership of the pavilion over the next 18 months.

A community gardening day was held on Saturday 16th May to launch the project, with more than 40 residents taking part. Julian Rees from pollination consultancy Pollen8 Cymru brought along seeds to attract bees, and Sam Holt of the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, taught people how to build raised beds.

Elen Robert, a member of the pavilion project group, said: "The bowling green at Grange Gardens has always been an important site where local people can come together to participate in a communal activity that is fun and healthy. We wanted to ensure that the site continued to be a focus for community gathering in the heart of Grangetown."

Elen, who has been involved with Riverside community garden previously, said she had experienced first-hand the “benefits of working with other people in the community to grow healthy food and other useful plants.

"The site near the bowling green at Grange Gardens seemed the perfect spot to try to establish something similar, and from talking to other local residents it became clear that there was a real need in Grangetown for more activities and events that could help draw people of all ages and cultures together,” she said.

"Over the coming months we will be working with Cardiff University to establish a wider network of local people, including local schools, who are interested in using and tending the site."

Organisers say all ages are welcome to get involved and it is a chance to learn new skills, get involved in growing your own and meet new people.

More info from or call 07951 095374; Twitter: @grange_pavilion.

Target to increase food recycling by 10%

A campaign has been launched to try to increase the number of Grangetown residents recycling their food waste.

A monitoring of the kerbside food caddy system found 52.3% of households were using the system. This compared to 50% in Trowbridge and 62.3% in Fairwater.

Grangetown residents were also putting more food waste into their caddies than three other wards monitored over a three week period - an average of 4.8kg.

But there is a target to increase the food waste recycling rate by 10% in Grangetown.

Now waste teams will be knocking on doors to ask why householders are not be using the service and to offer advice or equipment if needed.

"Unfortunately some residents will not buy in to the food waste service despite the council's best intensions," says a report to councillors. "However all we can do is offer accurate information and advice which should have weight enough to persuade."

Community asked to come together to counter flood risk

The Envrionment Agency flood map, showing in blue most of Grangetown being at potential risk

A day has been organised to increase community awareness in the event of future flooding in Grangetown and Butetown.

Environment Agency Wales officials first addressed the July meeting of Grangetown PACT, looking for people interested in becoming part of a neighbourhood watch-style network of responders in the event of flooding.

A rearranged meeting has now been organised for Monday 4th March 2013 (Culture and Media Centre, @Loudon, Bute Street, 10am-2pm) for those interested in community planning, aftera drop-in session brought forward a good number of potential volunteers, as well as those interested in knowing more. The session, which will be hosted by Cardiff Council and Environment Agency Wales, will also extreme weather issues such as heatwave and snowfall.

Homes in Grangetown, Riversideand Butetown are identified as being at risk from a future flooding event - last seen severely in 1979. But officials say although flood defences have been built up since then, the area is not immune from rare events from severe downpours, as experienced recently in mid Wales.

This was a photo of flooding in Grangetown in 1979, part of an exhibition a few years ago at the Cardiff Museum on the history of flooding in the capital going back centuries.

Local environmental links - let us know and add yours....

Keep Cardiff Tidy Cardiff Rivers Group Green Up Grangetown Cardiff Freecycle/ Cultural Concerns/ Riverside Market/ The Green Emporium/ Cardiff Cycling Campaign Keeping Cardiff Moving Cardiff Digs (students) Edible Landscaping courses Blitz and Blight

Page last updated January 6th 2018