The Museum of Military Medicine proposal fits well with the Council’s aspirations for Britannia Park, says leader
Leader refuses to answer how plans to remove and relocate playground accord with Cardiff’s child friendly city policy and its duty to provide sufficient play opportunities to children
Leader seems to dismiss claims that children from deprived areas make use of playground
Cllr Huw Thomas, the leader of Cardiff council has ignored questions about the rights of the children of Cardiff to play areas.
He claims that the Britannia park playground will be relocated but no funding and no firm plans actually exist for this.
In an angry letter to chair of the Civic Society he refuses to answer questions on the subject of children’s rights.
Cllr Huw Thomas letter is published below together with the letter to which it responds from Nerys Lloyd Pierce, the chair of Cardiff Civic Society.
Date: Wednesday, 16 December 2020 at 10:47
Subject: CM44916 Children’s play area in Britannia Park
Before responding to your specific points, I would like to clarify that the proposed museum will showcase medicine rather than the military as you intimate. It is the Museum of Military Medicine. For example, I understand it will showcase the archives of Florence Nightingale, among others, and will highlight the evolution of a sub-branch of medical research that has played a crucial role in developing knowledge and understanding in areas such as trauma and surgery, which have been applied across the medical profession more broadly. The trustees are also seeking to develop the facility as a centre of excellence for medical leadership and have been working with Cardiff University and the University Health Board towards that end.
In terms of the location of the Museum, the Council is committed to securing the long-term use of Britannia Park for public enjoyment. It was for this reason the Council decided to acquire the land that previously accommodated the Cardiff Bay Visitor Tube following proposals for high-rise residential development on the site. Whilst the Council is not the promoter of the Museum of Military Medicine, the proposal fits well with the Council’s aspirations for Britannia Park, and our strategy for the wider Cardiff Bay area.
The Council is not disposing of the Children’s Play area. However, I understand that to provide a suitable frontage to the proposed museum building the Children’s Play area will need to be relocated. A new enhanced Children’s Play area will be re-provided within Britannia Park as part of a detailed landscaping scheme that will be brought forward in due course.
You will appreciate that the obligations on a private developer in bringing forward such a development are determined by the Planning Committee, having regard to all relevant factors. As has been made abundantly clear to you in recent weeks, Cabinet Members are not party to discussions about planning, and I would be grateful if any future correspondence at least acknowledged this fundamental feature of the local planning process and that you direct such enquiries to the Chair of Planning.
Finally, I would highlight that contrary to the misinformation put about by some, Britannia Park is not the only green space or play provision in the Bay. There is the Green Flag-awarded park on the Barrage itself with extensive play provision, as well as the extensive Cardiff Bay Wetlands, Silurian Park, Hamadrayd Park, and Canal Park – which is about to receive a significant upgrade to its facilities thanks to Cardiff Council, Cardiff and the Vale College, and Welsh Government. It should be noted that the latter 4 green areas are considerably closer to the areas of higher deprivation to which you refer, and all the parks are a 10-15 minute walk from Britannia Park. Given this, you will see that Butetown and Cardiff Bay are actually extremely well served in terms of outside play opportunities.
I trust that this, alongside the clarification that the play facilities at Britannia Park will in fact be upgraded, reassures you on your concerns, but I would reiterate that in the first instance, this is a matter for the Planning Committee.
CYNGHORYDD / COUNCILLOR HUW THOMAS
ARWEINYDD / LEADER
CYNGOR CAERDYDD / CARDIFF COUNCIL
From: Nerys Lloyd Pierce
Sent: 14 December 2020 16:34
To: Bradbury, Peter (Cllr); Hinchey, Graham (Cllr) Thomas, Huw (Cllr)
Subject: Children’s play area in Britannia Park
Plans for a military museum at Britannia Park will almost certainly force the neighbouring playground to close. There are no plans in place to replace it. Furthermore the plans entail significant loss of green space which is popular with children and families.
Cardiff Civic Society would like to ask you:
• How do these plans accord with goal five of Cardiff’s Child Friendly Strategy that ‘Children have good physical, mental and emotional health and know how to stay healthy [and that in order to support this] children, young people and partner organisations work together to ensure access to safe outdoor environments for formal and informal play’?
• How do these plans accord with section 11 of the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010 that places a duty on local authorities to assess and secure sufficient play opportunities for children in their area? We remind you that the Play Sufficiency Duty comes as part of the Welsh Government’s anti-poverty agenda and that Britannia Park is located in Butetown, an area of multiple deprivation?
• What steps have you taken to ensure that children have been consulted as part of the cabinet’s plan to sell off this play area and threaten the viability of the children’s playground? We remind you that the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010 states in Part 1 Chapter 2 states that a local authority must make such arrangements as it considers suitable to promote and facilitate participation by children in decisions of the authority which might affect them?
Chair, Cardiff Civic Society