Image: Tegid Roberts.

Children’s playground set to reopen its gates after being ‘left to rot’ for nearly three years

Drover’s Way Park has been shut since before the pandemic due to flooding

FAMILIES in Radyr will soon have access to a refurbished playground if Cardiff Council’s plans go ahead.

Drover’s Way Park has been empty and disused since February 2020 when the equipment was removed due to flooding, leaving frustrated residents without a local playground for their children.

Now, the council hopes to resolve the drainage issues and alleviate the flood risk, bringing the playground back to life with new equipment by April 2023.

Children have not had access to the park on Drover’s Way for several years. Image: Radha Nair-Roberts.

Dr Radha Nair-Roberts, a former scientist and mother of two who lives near the park, said her children, aged 15 and 11, have been without a local playground since before the pandemic as Drover’s Way had been “left to rot”.

Dr Nair-Roberts, 46, told The Cardiffian that “If it were true that they found funding to fix it”, she would be “so happy”.

“There’s something magic when you put children together somewhere safe where they can play,” she added.

Dr Nair-Roberts has secured a £3,700 grant from Comic Relief, which will be used to host circus activities at the park in 2023.

In supporting her application, Catherine, a mother of two, said: “The small cost of providing outdoor play for children is vastly outweighed by the benefits to them and to everyone in the surrounding area”.

Deeanne, a mother of three who has lived in Radyr for 16 years, also supported the bid.

“I would be delighted to see something positive be provided for the children here. I think it would be a much-needed boost to local children and indeed the whole community,” she said.

The work on Drover’s Way is scheduled to start before the end of the year. Calum Davies, the Welsh Conservative councillor for Radyr and Morganstown, said in a Tweet that the council hoped the drainage works would be sorted by April. The council hopes work to improve the play area will begin straight after.

Chris Donovan from the water, flood and coal tip safety division of the Welsh government, said the work was being carried out as part of the Welsh government flood and coastal erosion risk management small scale works programme.

It has been scheduled for the past three financial years, but construction only started this year.

A spokesperson for Cardiff Council told The Cardiffian the latest delay was because no local contractors had the resources available to complete the work.

The original grant was £85,000 but the costs have now risen to £179,000 and Cardiff council is paying the shortfall.

One reason why Dr Nair-Roberts and her husband Tegid, 50, moved to Clos Parc Radur in 2006 was that the park was only a five to 10-minute walk away.

Her children learned to walk, swing, climb and cycle at the park.

“Sadly, as the years passed signs of neglect of our park emerged,” she said in an article for Nation Cymru. “Not just with playground equipment but also with basic park amenities. Erosion made the paths a dangerous slipping hazard.”

Dr Nair-Roberts said the path connecting the park to Plymouth Drive was a hazard to disabled people.

“The paths remain treacherous in the pitch black to this day.”  

She added that she would not allow her teenage daughter to walk home from the station that way in the dark, as it is “an isolated public place” with a lack of lighting.

A map of Drover’s Way park. Image: Cardiff Council.

“They could have just put playground equipment up and the children would have been happy with that,” she said. “It’s a crying shame and I’m very angry. I just don’t want my community and parents of young children to miss out.”

Coun Davies said he was delighted that the park would be refurbished and would put pressure on the council to improve lighting. However, the drainage must be completed before refurbishment can begin.

Councillor Calum Davies announced the plans to refurbish the park via Twitter.

Coun Davies also plans to ask Royal Mail to add a King Charles postbox to the park.

A spokesperson for Cardiff Council told The Cardiffian: “It remains the council’s intention to bring this play area back into use and a limited amount of Welsh government funding has been secured to rectify the drainage issue.”