Cathays cycle lane has forced one hairdresser to relocate after 30 years

Businesses on Cathays Terrace complain they are struggling to stay afloat after two years of roadworks and parking problems

WORK to open cycle lanes in Cathays has left well-established businesses struggling to stay afloat or having to move elsewhere.

Johnson’s hairdressers have been on Cathays Terrace since 1999. Owner Kate Baker took over the salon 10 years ago but says changes to parking have forced her to relocate to Canton.

Expansion on the road began in 2021 and businesses on the road have been hit by changes to parking, roadworks, and dangerous junctions.  

Johnsons Hairdressers, Cathays Terrace. (Image credit: Johnsons hairdressers and barbers Facebook)

“We’re moving. We’ve been here for over 30 years, and we are moving because our clients can’t park.

“We’ve lost clients because of it and nearly every single client will come in stressed because they can’t park,” she said.

Parking was limited while the council was working on the lane and then permanently changed to limit commuter parking thereby helping residents find spaces. The scheme is to encourage greener travel.

Ms Baker also described the lane as unsafe as cars driving in that direction often confuse the cycle lane for a road.

“It is very dangerous. On a daily basis, you see at least four cars go down there.

“The other day I saw someone try to get into the community centre in a wheelchair, and there was nowhere for them to stop, to get out of the car to get the wheelchair out safely,” said Ms Baker.

John Barry, secretary of Cathays Sport and Social Club, said the club had been “struggling” since the road was regenerated.

John Barry, secretary of Cathays Sport and Social Club

“It hurt us cash-wise. We are still going through a hard time now just trying to claw back,” he said.

Mr Barry, who has worked at the club for 13 years, said the changes to the road “took away 50 to 60 parking spaces from the club”.

Ongoing roadworks while the cycle lane was being installed meant that the space the club outside was near blocked off, and at one point, shut completely.

“For about six to seven months, they had it all fenced off so to get across this road you had to go up to Tesco then come down.

“We had nine months without people walking past,” he said.

Cathays Sport and Social Club is home to a concert room which hosts a variety of events. Mr Barry said this revenue was lost straight away because of parking and that even regulars would no longer hold funerals and wakes there.

Cathays Sports & Social Club was established in 1889.

Cathays’ local brass band used to use the room for practice however accessibility issues created by the roadworks meant they had to move elsewhere.

“The brass band used to practise upstairs. There was one member in a wheelchair, and they couldn’t get around. Some days it was cornered off and some days it wasn’t. The work went on for nine months. I got a letter to say thanks for letting us use the room then they left us,” said Mr Barry.

Cathays is a densely populated student area, and Mr Barry said students are his lifeline as the club hosts social nights for different university societies every Wednesday.

“The only way we recover is because we have a student night on a Wednesday. If they went somewhere else then what the council have done would have put us through in months,” he said.

Residents too are witnessing the dangers of the changes to the road.

Antoinette Samuel lives on Flora Street, located just off Cathay’s Terrace, and regularly walks down the road. Due to the expansion, the turn-in into Ms Samuel’s road is a lot narrower.

She said: “The opening to Flora Street from Cathays Terrace is too tight to get out. I don’t know what they have done. It’s waiting for an accident.”

Ms Samuel lives by Moe’s barbers who is also struggling due to the road changes and parking.

“We’ve got an issue with the parking. It’s affected a lot on business as well,” he said.

Speaking on the matter Councillor Norma Mackie said: “We had to do something about the parking because it was horrendous, we’d constantly get complaints from residents.”

“The changes were mostly for environmental reasons to limit the cars in Cathays and encourage active travel, either walking or cycling. It is proving worthy, so many people are now cycling,” she said.