Letter from Cardiff Civic Society.
Dear Councillor Thomas,
I attended the Eisteddfod drop-in session last night, in the company of concerned residents and park users.
We understand that the Council offered the Pontcanna Fields site to the Eisteddfod organisation, without any consultation with residents.
While the Eisteddfod is a fantastic cultural event, we however strongly object to the use of this listed park for camping at the peak of summertime, when Cardiff residents and their children need unlimited access to their green space.
Furthermore, the traffic on the Lime Tree Avenue (the spine road), with Stage Coach shuttles going back and forth from 7am to 3am is wholly inappropriate and dangerous.
The Eisteddfod representatives in no way allayed our fears about potential damage to our listed parkland. Newspaper reports relating to the 2017 Eisteddfod on Anglesey illustrate very clearly the damage which could be caused (https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/heavy-rain-forces-national-eisteddfod-13439790
As you are aware, the last Eisteddfod which took place on Pontcanna Fields saw the green space out of action for sportspeople and all other park users for two years, which was totally unacceptable.
We know that the main event will take place in Cardiff Bay this year, but the caravans alone make up some 650-800 vehicles, with up to two cars per caravan permitted.
It is easy to visualise the damage to the fields when caravans and cars drive to their pitches, even in decent weather.
In the case of rain, the damage could be immense, and no Plan B has been considered.
We would also like to ask why the Eisteddfod organisers have not invested in high quality material to protect the grassland used for their event. Their documents illustrate that such material will not be used. The Eisteddfod team claimed that their insurance will cover the cost of reinstating the park to its original condition. However, it is essential to ask: Have they claimed successfully in the past? Can this statement be validated?
If the organisation does not have the resources to protect parkland, it and the Council should seriously consider alternatives.
*Cardiff Metropolitan University – where camping, parking and access are readily available on an enclosed site. The site will not be used by students during the summer, and is therefore convenient.
*Leckwith Park and Ride, with easy access to the Bay; the East A48 Park and Ride ;
*Fitzalan High School – again there is a vast area of green space available, and easy access to the link road. This area will not be used by students during the summer, and will not be inconvenienced by caravans.
Pontcanna Fields is a green space for the entire city, it is invaluable to the health and well-being of the people of Cardiff and not to be used for short-term financial gain.
Chair, Cardiff Civic Society