Residents' anger about derelict graveyard

People in Morganstown are outraged at the state of a chapel and graveyard where their relatives are buried.

Bethel Calvinistic Methodist Chapel is a Grade II listed building in Morganstown. Built in 1817 and rebuilt in 1905, it was bought around 12 years ago by someone from the local community but has since been left to decay.

The wonky gate of the graveyard

Jane Woodward says her parents, grandmother, aunt and other friends are buried there. “It’s awful. I’ve lived in the village the whole of my life, you want to go there to remember them and perhaps have a little chat or whatever you want to do, but it just makes you so upset, annoyed and angry that it’s come to this, that there’s no respect for these people. And a lot of them have done so much for the community and they’ve just been forgotten.” 

In May 2019 resident Gareth Woodward contacted the First Minister for Wales Mark Drakeford saying the site was hazardous. Five years ago planning permission was granted by Cardiff Council, which stated that the owner was obliged to maintain the churchyard. But when the First minister visited he wrote a letter to the council concluding that “it is clear to anybody visiting that those obligations have not been properly discharged. The state of the burial ground is overgrown, inaccessible, and more worryingly, shows signs of considerable disrepair.”

Falling and overgrown gravestones at Bethel Chapel

The council replied to the First Minister’s letter saying an officer had visited the site in February 2019. The officer agreed with the Conservation Team that certain measures would have to be taken to secure the buildings and protect the lands. The owner agreed and carried out some renovations, including fitting a new roof. The council went on to claim that the area was not dangerous enough for any further action to take place.

Cracked wall at the gate which residents fear is a hazard to pedestrians

Residents fear that there isn’t a solution. Kieran Webster Chair of the Road Safety Working group for Radyr and Morganstown Community Council will be tabling the issue for discussion at the next community council meeting.