Parks and Prizes

It being a nice day I took myself off for a stroll through Bute Park this afternoon. It was actually a bit warmer than I’d expected so I confined myself to the shady tree-lined bits. It was nice to see so many people enjoying the open air, sitting on the grass, picnicking, playing sports and even just strolling around like me. Walking along by the river bank I saw this guy practising a tightrope walk.

That’s something you don’t see every day. Well done, that man.

Anyway, when I got home I checked my email and found an angry message complaining about Cardiff City Council’s ongoing campaign to win itself an award for what is known as the Bute Park Restoration Project. The link invites people to “vote” for the project, but gives no option to vote against it. One wonders how many Cardiff City Council employees have been busy hitting the vote button over the last few weeks.

I’ve added a few comments to the page, pointing out that the Bute Park Restoration Project has not involved restoration as much as over-development and exploitation. The loveliest parts of the Park, those I wandered around today, haven’t been touched by the Restoration and are all the better for it. What has happened elsewhere are new buildings and roads that are both unnecessary and damaging. I accept that the restoration of the animal wall is a positive move, but the damage to the rest of the park, especially Coopers’ Fields, caused by excessive deployment of heavy vehicles and temporary buildings far outweighs the benefit.

For much of the summer large parts of the park have been inaccessible to the general public, and the paths overrun with heavy vehicles:

Bute Park is beautiful, but it’s beautiful despite the Restoration Project and not because of it. It will be scandalous if it wins an award.

Still, at least it’s not as bad as London. A couple of weeks ago I travelled to London to participate in an event at the Royal Society. It was a nice day so I decided to walk from Paddington, an easy route through Hyde Park and down past Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately, I found Hyde Park almost entirely blocked by temporary buildings and maximum security fences owing to something to do with the Olympics. Later on, after negotiating a way through the resulting maze, I discovered that The Mall was also closed off to make way – believe it or not – for the beach volleyball. Whatever that is. Finding a route around all that added almost an hour to my journey. I wonder how long it will take them to reopen everything after the Olympics?

I wonder if next year the Hyde Park Restoration Project will be in line for an award?

One Response to “Parks and Prizes”

  1. Reblogged this on eyeonwales and commented:
    Very interesting views on the impacts of awards.

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