Friday, 5 December 2008

Bute Park to be defaced by the Council

Recently, I have been following the proposed plans that will change the aesthetics and beauty of Bute Park forever. I was initially allocated a Bute Park article to write for the student newspaper gair rhydd and this is what first sparked my interest. I have since written a couple more articles detailing the progress (or lack of) of the Bute Park protestors who are trying to save the park from being defaced. Below is a more detailed version of an article I have just written regarding this subject. Issue 885 December 8 2008

Cardiff's Bute Park could be getting a controversial makeover which would cover up its peaceful grassy areas with noisy traffic.

The Council has proposed to build an access gate and bridge into the park which would be 9 metres wide to enable articulated lorries to pass each other, with a new and wider road continuing over the feeder canal and down into the park.

A promotional brochure created by the Council mentions that the current pedestrian paths that go through the park will be 'widened to 4 metres to accommodate larger vehicles.'

However, with no kerbed pavement, lorries would pass uncomfortably and even dangerously close to pedestrians. This would be particularly dangerous for the many teenagers that walk through the park with headphones covering up the noise of approaching vehicles.

This proposed path width ensures damage to tree roots is avoided although cyclists and wheelchairs may have to divert onto the grassed slopes. This could become problematic and very dangerous with wet weather.

The Planning Committee report accepts that the 'degree of public opposition to the scheme cannot be ignored and appeals to the Council to consider alternative methods of managing access to the park are noted.'

However, this only covers access to the park and not the controversy surrounding the proposed roadways and opening the park up to large lorries.

The plans have been criticised as ill-conceived, being too narrow to give clearance from lorries 2.5 metres wide but wide enough for cars to pass by, though they would have to drive on the sloping verge.

Despite this, the Committee's report states that 'there no longer remains any overt technical or professional objection to the proposal,' which seems to contradict the opinions of the opposing public who have already been acknowledged in the report.

Correspondence between myself and Professor Kevin Morgan, from Cardiff University's School of City and Regional Planning, brought to my attention The Future of Bute Park debate, which he will be hosting, and to which he is encouraging all members of the public to attend.

Dr Max Wallis, who was essential in providing the information about the Bute Park road proposals, will be attending along with keynote speakers from Cardiff Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The debate will be held on Friday 12 December in Committee Room 1 of the Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, and everyone who opposes the desecration of Bute Park should attend to voice their opinion.