Cardiff Council Update: 27 February 2024
Here is your Tuesday update, covering:
- Planned protest around the Senedd tomorrow – Wednesday February 28
- Construction work has begun to build Roath Park Cycleway
- Portrait of Cardiff retail legend unveiled in Mansion House
- Cardiff Education: Collaboration and Federation Strategy
Planned protest around the Senedd tomorrow – Wednesday February 28
The council has been made aware of a planned protest being held in Cardiff Bay tomorrow – Wednesday February 28.
The protest is expected to start at 12.30pm and due to the large number of people that may attend, there will be some disruption on routes to Cardiff Bay, as well as the wider South Wales road network.
Council officers will be in attendance to support South Wales Police while the protest takes place. The extent of the disruption is not known, but roads around the Senedd will be closed to ensure public safety.
The South Wales Police has issued the following statement:
“South Wales Police respects the right to peaceful protest, and we are in discussions with the organisers to ensure that the protest takes place safely, lawfully with minimum disruption to the wider public.
“While there is an agreement to facilitate protest activity outside the Senedd, I would urge protestors not to bring tractors or other agricultural vehicles to the protest. There are concerns that they pose a risk to the safety of other road users and restrict the movement of emergency services in a busy city environment.
“We will monitor the situation across the day and motorists should check for any disruption on the road network and plan their journeys accordingly. We will advise the public of any delays or disruption throughout the course of the day.”
Construction work has begun to build Roath Park Cycleway
Building work has started on the first phase of Cardiff’s Roath Park Cycleway.
As well as delivering a new cycleway within Roath Park Recreational Ground and improving the footpaths, the work will also see improvements to footways, highway junctions, and bus travel, as well as significantly increasing the capacity of the drainage system around Penylan Library and Community Centre which was prone to surface water flooding.
The new footpaths in the playing field will also include drainage measures which will address some of the existing issues where some footpaths flood and are impassable when it rains.
When completed the wider cycle route will run from the north of Roath Park, near Cardiff High School, to Newport Road, where it will connect with another cycleway (Cycleway 2) that will run to Rumney, Llanrumney, and then on to St Mellon Business Park.
The first phase of the new Roath Park cycleway scheme includes:
- A new segregated cycleway between Wellfield Road and Alder Road and improved footpaths in the playing field
- Improvements to Penylan Library and Community Centre car park
- Significant improvements to the drainage system around the community centre using sustainable drainage techniques and new collection chambers.
- Improvements to the junction of Wellfield Road, Marlborough Road, Penylan Road and Ninian Road to improve pedestrian waiting areas, junction capacity and bus travel
- A new cycleway crossing across this junction that will connect the existing Wellfield Road pop-up cycleway with the new Roath Park cycleway
- Replacing the priority narrowings on Ty-Draw Road with four ramped up pedestrian crossing points
- Improvements to bus travel, including a new bus stop travelling northbound on Ninian Road and building out some of the existing stops to improve access
- Improving the zebra crossing on Ninian Road at Pen-Y-Wain Road and building a shared footway for cyclists and pedestrians towards Roath Park Primary School.
Portrait of Cardiff retail legend unveiled in Mansion House
For more than 150 years, James Howell’s department store on St Mary Street was synonymous with the best retail experience Cardiff could offer.
The ambitious Pembrokeshire-born draper established his business in the city in 1865, building it up into a sprawling family-run concern based in a magnificent building that could rival anything London had to offer.
But did you know that Howell made his mark on Cardiff in another way? He built a magnificent double-fronted house on Richmond Road as a family home, for his wife and children. Originally called The Grove, it was bought by the old Cardiff Corporation in 1912 and a year later was officially opened as the Mansion House – the official residence of the Lord Mayors of the city.
While the Mansion House today is used by the Lord Mayor to host civic functions, James Howell’s link to the Grade II-listed property has now been officially recognised thanks to the donation of his portrait.
The painting, by noted Victorian artist Parker Hagarty, once hung in the offices of Howell’s store but when the store – by then rebranded as House of Fraser – closed in March 2023 it was given to the council in the hope it would be hung in his old home.
Cardiff Education: Collaboration and Federation Strategy
A new approach to delivering education in Cardiff could see more schools working together through formal collaboration and federation, to deliver a highly effective and sustainable education system.
If agreed by Cardiff Council’s Cabinet, the Collaboration and Federation Strategy would provide a framework to encourage more schools to come together through collaborative working, building on the achievements and success of partnership arrangements and formal federations already operating effectively across the city.
Research and practice has demonstrated the benefits of collaborations, federations, and other arrangements where schools are brought together to deliver education. This has included the Estyn thematic review (2019) and the Federation Process of Maintained Schools Guidance for Local Authorities and Schools (2023) which critically considered the research and concluded the following key benefits:
- Strong strategic leadership, governance and management structures to focus on teaching, learning and raising standards
- Broader learning and social experiences for learners
- Attractive recruitment opportunities and retention of staff
- New opportunities for staff to work together, increasing motivation, reducing workload through shared planning and activities
- The sharing of resources
- Shared responsibilities and accountabilities for children across communities
- Extended services across schools and a variety of activities, childcare, parent support and community access supporting community cohesion and helping to sustain education provision
The Collaboration and Federation Strategy would build on this evidence using the experience and knowledge of Cardiff Council and Central South Consortium (CSC) professionals, and headteachers who are skilled in collaborative working and that have a demonstrable ability to lead high-quality teaching and learning organisations. It recognises the role of strong leadership and governance in advancing educational outcomes for children and families, harnessing the skills and experience of Cardiff’s most talented education leaders and highly capable governors.
Cardiff Council Update: 23 February 2024
Here is your Friday update, covering:
- Cardiff Council’s Budget proposals revealed as authority looks to bridge £30.3m gap
- Coed Glas Primary School Pupils gear up for adventure during demolition site visit at Tŷ Glas
- City Primary School Praised for ‘Calm and Happy Environment’
Cardiff Council’s Budget proposals revealed as authority looks to bridge £30.3m gap
A budget which safeguards schools and education, supports social services, and protects the most vulnerable – has been revealed by Cardiff Council – as it faces up to a ‘public sector funding crisis’ affecting local authorities across the UK.
Rising costs and demand for services like social care has left the council with ‘extremely difficult decisions to make’ if it is to bridge a £30.3m gap in its budget.
Earlier in the year the council consulted citywide with residents who were asked for their views on several cost-saving proposals and money-generating ideas.
More than 9,000 people – a record amount – took part in the four-week consultation on the difficult choices ahead.
Now, following that consultation, the council is bringing forward proposals to safeguard key services while bridging the budget gap.
The proposals include setting any Council Tax rise at 6% – around £1.60 a week for a Band D household. This would be among the lowest council tax increases seen in Wales this year and will play a key part in maintaining some of the services residents asked to be protected or saved from cuts. These include:
Giving schools a 4.3% uplift of £12.8m a year to help deal with rising costs matching Welsh Government’s funding increase to the council and removing any budget requirement for efficiency savings. Adults and Childrens Social Services will also receive an extra £26.3m in the coming financial year.
Other key proposals in the budget include:
- No cuts to youth services
- Spending £6.7m on the city’s parks, improving and protecting our Green Flag parks
- Spending £7.1m on highways repairs
- £308m for school delegated budgets next year
Some services will see increased charges, including:
- Increasing the cost of hiring sports pitches – 10% increase
- Increasing the price of burials (+10.6%) and the cremation service (+6.1%)
- Increasing the cost of school meals by 10p, although this service will continue to be subsidised
- Increasing some parking charges.
Several factors including inflation, energy prices, demand pressures, and expected pay increases for teachers, carers, and other public sector workers, mean the council’s budget for delivering day-to-day services like education, social care, refuse collection, parks and libraries is set to cost over £57m more in the next financial year (April 2024-March 2025) than it has this year.
Welsh Government’s 4.3% grant uplift for Cardiff – less than half of what the council received in the current financial year, will bring in an additional £27m, leaving the council with £30.3m to find. Doing so will require cuts to services, efficiency savings, and increases in charges.
Coed Glas Primary School Pupils gear up for adventure during demolition site visit at Tŷ Glas
Pupils from Coed Glas Primary School in Llanishen have enjoyed a unique opportunity to visit the demolition site at the former HMRC office building at Tŷ Glas.
Equipped with child size hard hats and hi-viz vests, around 120 children visited the site including pupils from Reception, Year five classes and the school’s Deaf and Hearing Loss Resource Base
Hosted by Erith, the demolition contractor chosen to undertake the works, the visit saw the children escorted to a safe zone where the children were given the opportunity to sit in the cab of a tipper truck and learn about the safety aspects of the vehicles. They also watched the high reach demolition process of Gleider House from a safe area and were able to ask senior project personnel, questions before being given a goodie bag. When asked what they thought of the visit, Reception pupils Jude and Theo exclaimed; “Its super-duper.”
Coed Glas Primary Headteacher, Sophie Notley, said: “The children have been fascinated with the demolition site and they loved their visit. One parent commented that it was her son’s favourite trip so far! Having local and relevant experiences for the children is really important. We are very grateful to Erith for the generous donation of Chromebooks which have made a real difference to the children in their classrooms.”
The visit is part of Erith’s social value commitments associated with the scheme worth around £200,000 investment. 22 Chromebooks and licences have been donated to Coed Glas and Erith are also looking to work with other local schools including Llanishen High School and Cardiff & Vale College.
City Primary School Praised for ‘Calm and Happy Environment’
A calm, purposeful and happy primary school in Cardiff has earned praise from Estyn inspectors for its inclusive, nurturing learning environment where pupils make good progress.
Gabalfa Primary School, in Colwill Road, had 252 pupils on roll at the time of inspection with 43.8% eligible for free school meals and 16.8% with English as an additional language.
The school has earned praise for its ethos, its curriculum, the quality of its teaching staff and the effectiveness of its governing body.
Inspectors praised the school for providing an ‘inclusive, nurturing environment’ for its pupils, where they feel ‘safe and valued.’ They noted that pupils make ‘good overall progress within a calm, purposeful and happy environment,’ and that staff have ‘high expectations of themselves and their pupils.’
The report noted that “staff and pupils celebrate the different cultures, languages and faiths represented in the school community well.” Pupils also develop strong digital skills, while older pupils begin to use coding. They also develop their physical and creative skills well.
Pupils’ behaviour is a strength of the school said the report, and most understand the school’s expectation of their behaviour in school and are keen to do their best. (The school’s motto is ‘Only Our Best is Good Enough’)
The school’s nurturing and caring ethos extends to encouraging pupils to take on roles and responsibilities. The School Ladder Groups (School Council) works closely with school leaders and governors to share the impact of pupil participation on school improvement.
Cardiff Council Update: 16 February 2024
Here is your Friday update, covering:
- Renting out dangerous properties in Cardiff has cost two landlords thousands of pounds.
- First Homes Cardiff – Shared equity scheme for first time buyers
- New exhibition by acclaimed Wales-based artists to help re-establish independent gallery
Two landlords hit with combined £23,000 fines for renting dangerous properties in Cardiff
Renting out dangerous properties in Cardiff has cost two landlords thousands of pounds.
Last Friday (February 9), Rowshanara Begum, of Clive Street, Grangetown, was fined £20,000 at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court for failing to comply with five Improvement Notices for work to a house she rents out in Blaenclydach Street, Grangetown.
The previous day, on Thursday February 8, Lawford Cunningham, from Edgbaston, Birmingham, was fined £3,000 for failing to comply with legislation relating to the licensing and management of a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) he owns in Ferry Road, Grangetown.
19 Blaenclydach Street, Grangetown, Cardiff
This case came to light when a tenant living at the two-storey Victorian property, which has been converted into four self-contained flats, complained to the council that the property wasn’t to the required standards.
Following an inspection, housing officers were shocked to find significant defects which were deemed to be a danger to tenants living in the property, including:
- No fire alarms and defective fire doors
- No escape route for the inner rooms in the building
- Unsafe kitchens, dirty carpets, and penetrative damp
- Unprotected electricity meters, unsafe electrical installations, and unsafe windows.
43 Ferry Road, Grangetown, Cardiff
This case also came to light when a tenant living in a self-contained flat in the property complained to the council that the accommodation was in breach of the standards as an HMO.
A Housing Inspector visited the four-storey Victorian property, which has been converted into four flats, to assess whether the landlord was renting out the property in breach of the regulations. The inspector once again found a catalogue of failings, including:
- A defective fire alarm, incomplete fire doors and dangerous electrics throughout the flats
- Lack of fire protection for the electrical meters and lack of sufficient heating
- Poorly maintained communal escape route and accumulation of waste in the front and rear yards
- Damaged kitchen worktops and defective and damaged floor coverings.
First Homes Cardiff
First Homes Cardiff is a Shared Equity Home Ownership Scheme offered by Cardiff Council. If you are looking to buy your first home, we can help make it easier for you.
A Shared Equity scheme is where you buy a percentage share of a property, but you will be the legal property owner on completion of the sale. This percentage is typically 70%. The remaining equity share (30%) is a charge against the property, which you can buy later. You won’t pay rent on the 30% and you do not have to repay it back to the council while you own the property.
We have modern properties available across Cardiff, ranging from one-bedroom apartments to three-bedroom houses. Most of the properties are on new build sites with private housebuilders or with the Council itself.
You can also buy previously owned properties. We resell homes that have been bought through our scheme if the owner decides to sell it on.
If you are interested in purchasing a property through this scheme, you will first need to be registered.
New exhibition by acclaimed Wales-based artists to help re-establish independent gallery
A new exhibition of work by two critically acclaimed Wales-based artists opens this weekend at one of Cardiff’s most important independent artist spaces, Bay Art.
Supported by Cardiff Council, Silent Revolution features work by Sue Williams, a leading voice in contemporary British Art whose raw and powerful paintings stretch across vast canvases and reference Renaissance portraiture, 20th century expressionism, art brut, pop art, and the feminist art movement. Through a combination of reappropriated mass media imagery and bold, urgent expressionism Williams offers up a searing social commentary that leaves no option but to reconsider our prejudices and preconceived ideas about the world we live in.
Accompanying Williams paintings is a complex soundscape, developed by the artist in collaboration with Dr David Bird and Dr Marilyn Allen with support from Swansea College of Art UWTSD. Bird’s sonic composition merges with Allen’s dynamic classical vocals, and dialogue between Williams and Allen as they contemplate experiences of contemporary womanhood, creating a multiplicity of converging voices.
Fellow exhibitor Geraint Ross Evans’ work draws on the power of grassroots politics and the grand, all-embracing visions of humanity placed within nature and history, that inspired artists like Diego Rivera and Stanley Spencer, transplanted to everyday 21st century life in South Wales. Through precise charcoal pencil work, Evans’ work playfully stacks up ideas around ‘doughnut economics’, capitalist excess and ecological collapse and transforms them into fairgrounds of invention, before moving on to create something akin to a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ novel through a clinical world of care home monitors, drip stands, and sharps bins – an adventure that, despite the sobriety of its setting manages to reacquaint the viewer with its fundamental humanity.
Cardiff Council Update: 13 February 2024
Here is your Tuesday update, covering:
- ‘Replica firearm’ toting Cowboy Builder jailed at Cardiff Crown Court
- St Mary’s R.C. Primary School praised by Estyn for being warm, caring and inclusive
- What’s on in Cardiff this February half term
- Do you know a talented young athlete who could benefit from financial support?
‘Replica firearm’ toting Cowboy Builder jailed at Cardiff Crown Court
A ‘replica gun’ toting, cowboy builder has been sentenced to four years and five months in prison at Cardiff Crown Court for defrauding four victims out of £113,000, after carrying out shoddy and dangerous building work to their Cardiff homes, and for possession of an imitation firearm in an unrelated case.
Daniele Roche, 47, from Porth claimed to a be a qualified bricklayer and capable tradesman who carried out a range of home improvements and building work through his companies – DRJ Builders and DWK Builders.
The court heard last Friday (February 9) that the claims made by Mr Roche were simply untrue. Not only was the defendant not qualified to carry out the work, but he significantly over charged for work he claimed to have taken place, and used pressure tactics and threatening behaviour on his victims when they asked for a refund.
Roche’s criminal behaviour took place between November 2021 until July 2022 and involved four different properties in Cardiff. Subsequent independent evaluations of Roche’s work resulted in two of the properties being deemed unsafe, with value only added to one of the properties when the second elevation of the property was re-rendered.
Mr Roche pleaded guilty to one count of fraud on October 27th, 2023, and guilty to possession of an imitation firearm when he was on bail for this offence on January 24th, 2024.
St Mary’s R.C. Primary School praised by Estyn for being warm, caring and inclusive
St Mary’s R.C. Primary School in Canton has received praise from Estyn for its warm, caring, and inclusive environment.
During a recent visit by Estyn the Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales, inspectors shone light on the positive work taking place at the school, with highlights including:
- A Vision of Excellence
- Academic Progress and Support for all
- Broad and Balanced Curriculum
- Leadership and Community Engagement
Overall a positive report, the school will now address three recommendations from Estyn through the school’s action plan:
- Ensure that teaching challenges all pupils, including the more able, to develop their independent learning skills.
- Improve provision for pupils to develop and apply their numeracy and digital skills.
- Provide opportunities for pupils to make choices in their learning to develop a more engaging curriculum.
What’s on in Cardiff this February half term
Whether you are looking for something for the little ones, teens, or something for all the family – the capital is ready to deliver exciting half-term memories this February.
We have many free and low-cost activities going on in and around the city that will keep the kids busy this school holiday.
Do you know a talented young athlete who could benefit from financial support?
GLL Sport Foundation invites talented athletes to apply for 2024 Sports Awards.
Applications for Britain’s largest independent athlete support programme, the GLL Sport Foundation are open until 20th February.
Eligible athletes can benefit from award packages that include:
- Financial grants of up to £1,250
- Free training memberships to use Cardiff leisure centres’ facilities (and GLL and partner operated sporting venues).
- Access to sports science, medical support, and employment opportunities.
Find out more and apply here: www.gllsportfoundation.org