Following a public campaign by Green City Events to save a site at Railway Street in Splott for community use, Cardiff Council has now announced its intention to allow a community led venture to take the site forward.
Green City Events have been working to secure the land on Railway street – empty since the completion of the electrification work by Network Rail earlier this year – for local people since 2015. A community consultation held at the start of 2018 showed enormous support for the project but in October Green City Events was informed that the land would not be made available for the community due to its potential development value.
However, following an online petition signed by over 3,000 local people, and supported by local councillors and the Community Land Advisory Service Cymru, Cardiff Council have now decided to lease the land to Green City Events to develop a creative community hub and green space for the people of Adamsdown and Splott.
The site, a former public park and more recently a works yard for Carillion, runs between Railway Street and the train tracks, just a short walk from Splott Road and Clifton Street. Once the site opens it will offer affordable work spaces for local businesses, a hub for community events and celebrations, food growing and a wild play area, and a variety of other facilities and services that will be chosen and designed in partnership with local people. Suggestions offered so far include bike repair facilities, a tool library, a chicken coop, bee hives, and a community fridge.
Green City aims to create a safe place in the heart of Splott and Adamsdown for the community to come together and grow more resilient by sharing skills, creating connections, producing food, and building shared community assets. Shipping container business spaces will help develop the local economy and bring new people into the area, while the green living aspects of the site will support well-being and combat isolation and loneliness.
Local people responded to the petition to reclaim the land with passion and a clear message that this project is needed:
“Green spaces help mental health, help to counter balance structures that are detrimental to the environment and bring communities together indirectly leading to a decrease in anti social behaviour and an increase in resident area pride and involuntary active citizenship!”
“It is now more important than ever to have something like this in our communities especially poorer areas so we can bring education and awareness of greener living.”
“Splott and Adamsdown lack green spaces as it is and this would be a fantastic opportunity to not only benefit the local community but wildlife and the surrounding environments. The well-being benefits of having access to green spaces are huge along with having something that Splott and Adamsdown could be proud of.”
Rebecca Clark and Hannah Garcia, directors of Green City, are also Railway Street residents and have experienced first hand the need for this project in the area. Hannah said,
“What a perfect early Christmas present! We’re so excited to begin planning this project with the community and building something really special for Splott and Adamsdown.”
“We are very grateful to councillors Jane Henshaw, Ed Stubbs, Owen Jones and Russell Goodway, as well as council leader Huw Thomas, for their support and actions to help take this project forward. We are especially grateful to the many residents of Cardiff who have offered their time and support to this campaign.”
Green City Events and Cardiff Council will now work together in order to agree a lease and progress with planning permission. With both parties keen to get the project off the ground, the aim is to complete these agreements in early 2019 and start work on the land later in the year.
Green City events are now calling out to Cardiff locals to help get this project off the ground and share their skills. Are you a solicitor, architect, landscaper, electrician, plumber, builder or maybe you have experience in security systems or running kickstarter campaigns? If you think you might have some useful skills to offer, resources or connections that could benefit the project at these initial stages then get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
The land is alongside the railway line in Splott – it runs parallel to Railway Street and access is via the end of Adeline Street. The site was originally owned by Network Rail who gifted it to Cardiff Council in the nineties. The council used it for a small public park with play equipment but it was closed down due to anti social behaviour and sat derelict for 10 – 15 years. In 2016 Network Rail cleared the land and used it as their base of operations during the work on Splott Road Bridge. It has been left empty since July 2018.
Green City Events is a Community Interest Company based in Cardiff. It was founded by Rebecca Clark in 2012 to help Cardiff residents engage with sustainability topics and create a greener, healthier city. As a social enterprise, Green City’s work aims to benefit the surrounding communities, and any profit created by the business is used to achieve this.
The Railway Street land is situated off Railway Street with the entrance opposite the end of Adeline Street. Please visit https://greencityevents.wixsite.com/saveourland to find out more.
The original petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/stop-cardiff-council-from-selling-public-park-for-profit