Bute Park remains “one of the jewels in Cardiff’s crown” – but a survey has shown there is work to be done as a £5.6m restoration project continues.
Cardiff council’s most recent poll of Bute Park users indicates a general improvement in how people view the park.
But problems highlighted include disrespectful behaviour from a minority of cyclists and dog walkers, plus complaints about an increase in traffic since the new bridge from North Road was built.
The consultation, which took place last summer, forms part of the council’s ongoing restoration work in Bute Park, which is supported by a £3.1m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
In total, there were 398 responses to the survey, which was made up of 150 face-to-face interviews and 248 completed questionnaires.
Fewer than half of those asked were aware of the multi-million-pound restoration project.
The project includes the work currently being done on Blackfriars Friary and the recent opening of an education centre, as well as new natural play features in the park.
A clear success story in the restoration process to date is the traditional Pettigrew Tea Rooms, which opened in the park’s West Lodge in March last year.
Out of all respondents, 80% said they were aware of the team rooms and 60% of those who had visited called them “excellent”.
David Le Masurier, the tearooms’ founder and operator, said he was thrilled with how the community had embraced Pettigrew.
He said: “The spirit of the tearooms complement the style of the building and it works really well for us.
“It seems so right that we’re here and I feel so lucky this is where my dream ended up.”
However, while new additions such as the tearooms have proved popular, the survey also shed light on certain problems people have experienced in the park.
One comment said: “I’m fed up of nearly getting run over by cyclists.
“Also some cyclists do not understand the phrase ‘cyclists must dismount’ while crossing bridges in the park.”
Another addressed frustrations with dog owners, saying: “Dog-owners let their dogs off their leads and can’t control them.
“As a cyclist and a jogger in Bute Park, it’s particularly frustrating and, at times, dangerous. Plus, they don’t seem to care.”
Others felt the park had declined in the past 12 months because of new access roads, including the bridge from North Road.
A Cardiff council spokesman said: “Bute Park is one of the jewels in Cardiff’s crown and we are pleased it is clearly so well regarded, not only by the people who use it regularly but also by the many visitors to the city.
“We endeavour to react to responses and suggestions from members of the public.
“For example, the new natural play features and additional seating have recently been installed and more are planned for later this year as a result of comments we have received.
“The temporary disruption and increase in vehicles during developments is regrettable, but based on the survey findings, we are encouraged that the vast majority of responses received are supportive and delighted with the end results.”
Consultation will continue until the final reporting in March 2014.