Big Sweep lives up to its name in Pontcanna and Riverside

Residents and the council unite to clear streets of leaves to prevent flooding and pavement slips

THE annual Big Sweep has commenced for its seventh consecutive year in Pontcanna and Riverside.

The initiative designed to clear the leaves that gather in the area’s tree-lined streets is a collaborative event between Cardiff Council and residents to combat drain blockages and general slipping hazards for pedestrians.

Residents gathered at the weekend to sweep the fallen leaves into piles which were later collected by the council using mechanical sweepers and a large truck.

Local Councillor for Riverside and Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, Caro Wild, said: “The respect between the council staff and the residents is a really nice thing. The people are able to see how hard the council work and really appreciate them, and they also thank the residents.”

Cardiff Council workers collecting piles of leaves created by local street residents. Photo by Cerys Jones.

The Big Sweep is an initiative comprised of five events including:

Sunday 7 November – Conwy Road and Tuberville Place

Saturday 13th November – Talbot Street, Ryder Street, and Pitman Street

Sunday 21st November – Severn Grove

Saturday 27th November – Pontcanna Street, Plastutron Gardens, Plasturton Avenue and Plasturton Place

Saturday 4th December – S.Riverside, Neville Street, Despenser Street, S.Morgan / Wellington Street corner and Wyndham Street

The communal aspect of the event was emphasised by both residents and council staff present at Saturday’s sweep on Talbot Street, Ryder Street and Pitman Street.

Pitman Street Resident, Joseph Foster, 76 said: “The Big Sweep brings people together, making the community more of a community. People come out and meet each other and talk to each other. Sometimes, you only meet new people through events like this.”

Labour councillor for Riverside, Kanaya Singh, echoed Mr Foster’s comment: “It’s a fantastic community event. Everyone gets involved. A lot of families and residents come out to make a difference, making the streets safer and cleaner.”

Council worker shovelling leaves into the truck. Photo by Cerys Jones.

Some members of the community felt the event should occur later in the year, when more leaves have fallen.

Ryder Street Resident, Finn Carolan, 52 said: I think it would be better if the council scheduled it at a later date because the leaves are still on the trees at the moment.”

Another resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said the council had been forced into the sweeps after a notice was pinned to a tree in Severn Grove which read “Shame on Cardiff Council for ignoring their road sweeping duties”, which led to 75 people cleaning the street one week later.

Coun Wild said: “The Big Sweep started on Talbot Street by residents who were concerned about flash flooding. Residents have been doing it since then and really enjoy the helping and socialising.”

The next sweep will occur on Sunday, November 21 at Severn Grove.

Pontcanna and Riverside residents can report hazardous fallen leaves through the Cardiff GOV App.