Rumney Rec among Cardiff green spaces nominated for Royal protection

March 20, 2012 No Comments »

CAMPAIGNERS who battled for years to save Rumney Recreation Ground from development for a new school say they are “delighted” the playing fields will be nominated for Royal protection.

Cardiff council is planning to nominate four of the city’s recreational spaces –Rumney Recreation Ground, Roath Recreation Ground, Pontcanna Fields and Wilson Road Recreation Ground in Ely – in the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge, organised by Fields in Trust (FIT) to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

The council said it will enter a deed of dedication with FIT which would hold the sites in trust status for at least 100 years. FIT would protect the sites by placing covenants on the land.

 

All four sites would be safeguarded for the future, but the nomination of Rumney Recreation Ground has “stunned” campaigners who fought council proposals to build a 1,500 place secondary school on the site for more than four years.The campaign included a community referendum, protests, petitions containing thousands of signatures, and a judicial review over village green status, before Cardiff council eventually scrapped its plans for the £31 million school scheme in September last year.At the time, council leader Rodney Berman said increases to the amount of cash local authorities had to contribute to the Welsh Government’s school modernisation programme was behind the decision.

But it was also revealed the council had spent £500,000 on developing the school plans and fighting the Rumney Recreation and Eastern Leisure (Rreel) action group in the courts.

Rreel chairman Don Taylor said today he was “absolutely delighted” the site was going to be nominated, but also surprised as it was something campaigners had previously requested unsuccessfully.

He said: “It was a surprise, but it was a pleasant surprise. We are really delighted.

“It’s got 500 trees, three football pitches, a leisure centre, space for five-a-side football, two rugby pitches – it’s the heart of Rumney and Llanrumney. It goes back a hundred years. It has a very special meaning for the people of East Cardiff.”

Llanrumney ward member Heather Joyce said she too welcomed the move, adding that if it were not for the campaigners the much-loved Rec would already be being dug up.

She said: “It’s a piece of land that connects Llanrumney and Rumney and it has the capacity to connect the two communities.”

However, Cardiff South and Penarth AM Vaughan Gething, who acted as solicitor for the Rreel campaign prior to his election, said this was not a time for campaigners to let their guard drop.

He said: “A paper promise six weeks before an election does not guarantee the protection for Rumney Rec that we want to see. However, the council announcement speaks volumes for the force and success of the community campaign to save the Rec.”

He added: “We have worked through a village green inquiry, a judicial review and the final collapse of plans to build on the Rec. We want a final definite outcome that makes real the promise to protect the Rec for future generations. We cannot let our guard drop.”

Deputy leader of the council Neil McEvoy said the FIT scheme was a “wonderful opportunity” to safeguard community facilities for future generations, while executive member for sport, leisure and culture Nigel Howells said access to outdoor space was essential for communities.

What do you think of the four sites that will be nominated by the council for the Fields in Trust scheme? Why do they deserve Royal protection? What other sites would you like to have seen nominated? E-mail jessica.best@trinitymirror.com


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