I was proud to stand on the Rumney Recreation Ground with the former Cardiff City footballer Christian Roberts as he gave his support to the save the Rec campaign. Christian is a Llanrumney boy who went on to enjoy a professional football career.
It was on the Rumney Recreation Ground that Christian would play for hours with his friends, learning the skills that would make him a star. He took those skills and honed them and later went on to become a Bluebird, a wonderful achievement for a Cardiff boy. That opportunity should be open to all future sportsmen and women from East Cardiff.
Take away the Rec and you take away a community space where children have played for nearly a century. A century of friends meeting and using coats for goalposts. A century of bat striking ball. A century of friends racing friends. A century of recreational opportunity all at risk because of a few councillors in 2010.
It is a squalid spectacle seeing Cardiff Council spending thousands of pounds of tax-payers money to defeat the wishes of some of the poorest communities in Cardiff.
Cardiff Council has revealed that Leslie Blohm QC, the top lawyer they have appointed for the Rumney Rec Public Inquiry will be paid £9,000 to £9,500 plus VAT. The council has still to disclose the fee that Harriet Townsend, a top London barrister, will earn from tax-payers money to run their case.
What makes it even more unedifying is that this Liberal Democrat-Plaid Cymru run Council continues to leaflet Cardiff citizens with the message that they are the defenders of green space.
Councillor Lisa Ford is quoted in a current Plaid Cymru leaflet in Fairwater and Pentrebane “We do not want to build on the green fields on the edge of Cardiff…Save our fields.” It is insulting for the people of Cardiff to be told that Plaid Cymru value green space in Cardiff when they champion concreting over the Rec.
Deputy Council leader Neil McEvoy signed his coalition deal with Rodney Berman in 2008 with a promise “Flourishing Communities – Upgrade sport pitches across Cardiff Council.”
Yet the Council is the sole objector to the village green application. The sporting pitches that Plaid and the Lib-Dems claimed they would upgrade will be lost forever.
Only Plaid and the Lib-Dems believe that East Cardiff must sacrifice the best used piece of local green space to receive a new school. They want to force this through but won’t face the people. No Councillor from the Executive has agreed to attend the public inquiry to tell our communities why the Rec should not be a village green.
Neil McEvoy says he wants to keep open space in West Cardiff but tells East Cardiff their green space will be concrete. The hypocrisy is obvious. He should come to the Public Inquiry being held at Llanrumney Library from 21st September and face his critics. He should explain why he told RREEL that he’d support the fight to keep the Rec but then changed his mind. It’s not too late to change your mind again Neil.