Love Your Park: Friends of Cemaes Park

Love Your Parks Week serves as an opportunity to appreciate the vital role that parks play in urban life.

Your Cardiff has been celebrating Love your Cardiff park.

Alister Evans, Chair of the Friends of Cemaes Park Association, has been campaigning for around three years for the regeneration of this once derelict open space. He said: “As an LEA Governor for the schools in my area it is important to me to see that ‘my children’ have the opportunity to have fun in their lives and to make memories that will help build the foundation for their future. Open spaces of all types are the lungs of our city.”

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Trowbridge Community Centre – The Inside Story

Writing exclusively for Cardiff East Trowbridge Councillor Ralph Cook gives the inside account of how the new community centre came to be built. The Labour councillor, first elected to Cardiff Council in 1999, becomes the first of east Cardiff’s politicans to write for Cardiff East.

Councillor Ralph Cook

The ongoing controversy about the new Trowbridge Community Centre is something that need never have happened. I was elected as one of three Labour Councillors for the Trowbridge Ward in Cardiff (includes the area known as New St. Mellons), in May 1999. I had several key objectives (most of which have been achieved, or are about to be) and amongst these was to have the old Trowbridge Shopping Precinct redeveloped. Built in the 1960s it was a classic concrete monstrosity that served an important role until the changes sweeping local retail aside in favour of supermarkets really took hold in the 1980s. Gradually the shopping centre entered a cycle of decline that ultimately led to the Council facing difficulties in attracting retail tenants and the yobs and vandals took over.

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Trowbridge Community Centre fit for purpose?

Trowbridge Residents Action Group (TRAG) are in dispute with Cardiff Council over the community centre built in 2007. Alistair Evans, TRAG’s managing director, hit out at the council saying

“We feel the council has disrespected the people of Trowbridge.”

The dispute centres on the fact that residents believed the new centre would be roughly the same size as the old community centre.  A shopping precinct and community centre were demolished in 2006. The new development was to have consisted of forty homes managed by the Cardiff Community Housing Association. Subsequently an extra two homes were built, due to a financial shortfall, resulting in the new community centre being smaller than planned.

Trowbridge, Labour, Councillor Ralph Cook commented

“The kitchen in the community centre is useless but I haven’t had a desperate call from people to have things changed…”

A council spokesman admitted that the original plans for the Trowbridge Community Centre had been downsized but stressed how the centre was a successful asset for the people of Trowbridge. TRAG have submitted a 360 name petition to the council voicing their objections to the new centre’s much smaller kitchen.