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Greener Grangetown finally opens

The delayed £2m Greener Grangetown project finally opened in Spring 2018.

It couldn’t come soon enough for the 500 residents in the dozen streets affected. Living there has brought inevitable disruption, but some have described it as a “nightmare” and “mayhem” in terms of loss of parking places.

The innovative engineering project will catch, clean and divert rainwater directly into the River Taff instead of pumping it over eight miles through the Vale of Glamorgan to the sea.

It has transformed the local streetscape too, with shrubs in planters and trees for rain gardens to absorb the rainwater.

But the work faced delays, with the project originally being scheduled to be completed by September 2017 and more recently, a finish date of February 2018 was given.

The first 30 trees had been planted by the first week of January. Photos: NRW

The project team had admitted to us it had been "challenging managing local parking during construction, as we always want to prioritise for local residents." It said it had tried to do this through a car window sticker scheme. But the “patience and understanding” has been a little thin on the ground at times, not least when some residents got parking tickets and double yellow lines appeared after a road resurfacing which had not been there before. A temporary blip.

There have been some quite heated drop-in meetings with local residents along the way too. Taff Trail cyclists have also been asking about what the embankment will be like for them afterwards. We asked project managers if the streetcape would slow traffic down?

"We believe that once the Taff Embankment works are complete, there will be less congestion and slower vehicle speeds,” they said. “This will make both cycling and walking safer and more pleasurable."

Greener Grangetown point by point:

• 1,600 sq metres of green pace and 495 sq m of new paving

•135 new trees planted

• 19 different species of tree

•45 different species of shrubs and grass planted

• 26 cycle stands installed

• 12 new litter bins

•10 seats and benches

• 42,480 sq metres of surface water removed from the combined waste water network  

• Welsh Water has invested £1m. Cardiff Council £750,000, £750,000 from the Landfill Communities Fund and £50,000 from Natural Resources Wales.

But parking has dominated residents’ concerns both in terms of more commuter parking - an issue across the wider community - and access to homes.  There have been some minor changes to rain garden locations, in order to maximise all available parking space in the streets.

Local councillors offered to set up meetings, with the project due to go through the council’s environmental scrutiny committee process.

In November 2017, the contractors finished the rain gardens in Bargoed, Coedcae and Ferndale Streets, as well as Llanbradach Street and Abercycnon Street, while the trees and vegetation is set to be planted.

A final - and fair - judgement can only be made when everything is in place. And there’s a real hope that despite the difficulties, it will be something for Grangetown to be proud of.

Greener Grangetown: Residents' views during the delays:

"The work seems to be everlasting in each street . The roads are still blocked off so there’s only one way into some streets. Parking access in the streets is horrendous, even with the residential permits many can not park in their own street. I’m not really impressed yet!” Christine B

"Thought that they were going to finish one street before the next one started? It’s a right mess! Plus work is faltering and doesn’t seem continuous to get anything done! And we’re only opposite these streets so I feel for the poor residents!” Pam H

"Very frustrating with parking problems. Especially with the contractors parking in resident parking bays. I escalated this a few times and nothing was ever done about it. Terrible, horrible, no parking space."

"Lack of parking near our home for the past four months and the constant dirt and dust Parking has been bad.

"We have lost parking spaces and I can't see what benefit I as a resident will get. It may look nice when fully completed but for now it's just a big mess."

How will Greener Grangetown work?

Early on in the project, we asked the Greener Grangetown management team some questions - and here are some answers that we hope will help: