The Ongoing Saga of Bute Park

Recently a wooden fence appeared around the Council Nursery in Bute Park, clearly erected to hide what’s going on inside from prying eyes. Walking into work the other day I noticed that one of the gates was open so I went and had a look. I was shocked by the scale of the building work I saw inside. Foundations are being laid for an enormous new building, mysteriously entitled the Nursery Education and Training Centre.

There’s a helpful sign on the fence to explain what’s going on:

You probably can’t read the text but, amongst other things, it states that a new wall will be built “along the line of the existing conifer hedge, which will be felled by the Council’s arborists in advance of the construction” (my emphasis). Nasty pesky hedges. Nearly as bad as trees. Get in the way of our nice new brick wall. Get rid of them. Still, at least the brick wall might hide some of the horrors lurking inside…


It will allow people an insight into the council’s impressive horticultural operation which supplies the city with its colourful displays of flowers and shrubs. For example, there will be a special area for teaching demonstrations by horticultural staff and large windows situated at the back of the centre will allow people to look out over the working part of the nursery.

The facility will also boast excellent learning assets including a classroom and an IT and archive room which will house a variety of resources on park heritage, natural history and environmental themes.

The centre will be available for hire by community and corporate groups and additional facilities will include a catering kiosk and public toilets.

Excellent. People can go inside and see what plants and trees look like on the internet, rather than actually having to walk around in the outside in the fresh air and see the real thing. Mind you, before long so much of Bute Park will have been covered in tarmac that’s the only way people will be able to see foliage of any sort.

I’ve nothing against the idea of encouraging more people into the Park, but not by ploughing it up and building things in it! Do people really want to go into Bute Park to look at greenhouses rather than simply enjoy its serene natural beauty out in the open?

Even more disturbingly, take a look at the artist’s impression to the right of the map. It shows a path wide enough to be considered a road. There are even pedestrians on it. They’re taking a bit of a risk, as the Council clearly intends this to be used by motor vehicles driving into and out of the Nursery. All the speed limit signs in the park have been removed to allow the new influx of road vehicles to drive around at high speed, so this new path will no doubt be just as dangerous as the rest of the park has become.

But wait a minute. Look where the path goes. It doesn’t stop at the planned new entrance to the Nursery. It carries on towards the River Taff, which is just a few yards away. I wonder why?

Let’s take a look across the River from the Nursery gate:

That’s one of the stands of the SWALEC Stadium (the cricket ground) to the right, and part of the Wales Institute of Sport to the left. In between these two is a road which runs from Sophia Gardens towards the River Taff where it comes to a dead end exactly opposite the new Nursery Road.

Let’s have a sweepstake on when the Council starts building its new bridge…

There’s a Council byelection in my ward next month. There’s only one party standing to have stated its opposition to the rapacious exploitation of this beautiful park, and that’s the Green Party.  They’ve got my vote.

3 Responses to “The Ongoing Saga of Bute Park”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    How nice to see councils economising at a time of financial stringency.

  2. Oh dear – what depressing news. I used to live in Cardiff and Bute Park was a favourite place to walk and just escape for a while (although this was over a quarter of a century ago, so I guess I should be grateful that it hasn’t been coverted into Bute Car Park since then). And it had a wonderful selection of flowering trees – I hope they’ve remained untouched at least.

    I can’t believe that the currrent council seems so determined to vandalise the place.

  3. Rhodri Evans Says:

    The tarmacing/concreting over of Bute Park is very disturbing, and seems to show no sign of abating.

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