Cardiff Council spent £625,000 improving parks in 2020 amid Coronavirus lockdowns

Cardiff Council spent £625,000 on improvements to parks in 2020 as Coronavirus lockdowns and social distancing forced changes to the way we live.

The investment is £314,000 more than what was spent on developments in the previous year (£311,000), but significantly less than the £827,000 spent in 2018.

Despite the increased investment, Jennifer Burke-Davies, the Welsh Labour Councilor for Llandaff North, wants similar or greater financing of green spaces over the coming years.

She said that parks had become “places of refuge and solace for people” during the COVID-19 pandemic and that everyone has come to realise “how vitally important our parks and green spaces are for our health and well-being.”

The Council is responsible for the management of parks and green spaces in excess of 1,500 hectares.

One parks project which could be completed in 2021 is the widening of the Taff Trail, which runs through Hailey Park between Bridge Road and Ty Mawr Road.

Plans to widen the path from it’s current width of 1.5 metres to five metres were first proposed in January 2018. Work was meant to start last year, but did not take place.

Penny Bowers, the Chair of the Friends of Hailey Park says that the path needs to be widened as soon as possible because people are concerned “about the speed of cyclists going through the park”.

She also noted that the park has a large number of users and that parts of the current trail “do not consider the elderly and vulnerable.”

Cardiff Council was unable to confirm whether footfall in parks and green spaces increased in 2020, but did reveal that footfall on the Cardiff Bay Barrage had increased by 23% when compared with the footfall from 2019.

The parks department budget for 2021/2022 will be confirmed at a full council meeting next month.

Net expenditure – the total amount the council spends – increased from £5,020,000 in 2019 to £5,764,000 in 2020.

This is attributed to the loss of pitch hire income as sports and leisure facilities were forced to close, as well as less parks-based concessions sales and fewer visitors to the Roath Park Conservatory.