Tudor Street shopkeeper wants ‘failed rain gardens’ paved over for parking

A £5 million facelift saw environmentally-friendly flowerbeds built into the pavement but some have become flooded mud baths

A FRUSTRATED shop owner has started a petition because a ‘rain garden’ outside his business has turned into a muddy bog.

Cardiff Council completed a £5 million Tudor Street regeneration project last year, unveiling new cycle lanes, more street lighting and 14 rain gardens – flowerbeds dug into the pavement.

Qasim Din, 37, who owns convenience store Eight till Late, has a rain garden directly outside his shop and says that not only is it muddy, it also restricts customer parking which has affected his trade.

Cardiff Council says the rain garden outside Eight til Late has been damaged by people parking vehicles on the beds and plans to fix the damage caused.

A van driving over one of the rain gardens on Tudor Street (Credit: Cardiff Council)

Mr Din, who wants the rain gardens paved over to provide more parking, said: “It was sold to us as something really good for us, and it’s quite the opposite.

“This rain garden is extremely unsightly and the lack of maintenance is apparent.

“There are more than 20 shops on this side of Tudor Street but we have a loading bay for four cars. I don’t understand. Before, the entire street had parking on it.

“I sell big bags of rice and flour. People can’t carry that even a single block. It’s affected business big time.

“My father has had the shop for 42 years and he says he has never seen trade this bad.”

The rain garden outside Eight till Late and Mr Kebab & Pizza (Credit: Zoe Glascow)

Councillor Kanaya Singh supports the businesses who are petitioning for more parking spaces and will be proposing the one outside Eight ’til Late is converted back to parking at a council meeting next month.

“The businesses are struggling,” he said.

“This is one area of the project that needs to be reviewed. It’s not an anti-rain garden thing, more of a small business-enabler thing.”

A Cardiff Council spokesperson said the rain gardens – which are a requirement set out by Welsh Government – play a critical role in managing surface water drainage.

“The rain garden in question has been severely damaged by people parking their car and delivery vans on top of it, so is not working correctly,” said a spokesperson.

“The council is taking steps to fix the damaged engineering, put in new plants and install signs so people understand what rain gardens do. New bollards will be put in place to stop people parking in these areas.

“All rain gardens in Cardiff are designed to absorb water through specific soil and planting, which removes pollutants, so the water can be discharged away from the main sewer and treatment station, saving time and money.”

However, businesses owners up and down Tudor Street say they are also fed up with the impact on their businesses of the rain gardens, which vary in size.

Salek Miah, 41, who works at PC Express said: “They’re just a waste of space. It is a nuisance. It would be much better as car parking spaces.

“We have got 20 or 30 shops here and they give us four parking spaces for four cars, I just can’t see the logic behind it really.”

Phalan Nwab, 45, owner of Mr Kebab and Pizza, said:“If I could park my car here outside my shop, it would be much better.”

Mr Din plans to present the petition, which currently has 79 signatures, to Cardiff Council in March.