Street cleansing team sprucing up Cardiff city centre before shops reopen on Monday
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
A street cleansing team has been out and about sprucing up Cardiff’s city centre before shops finally reopen on Monday.
Non-essential shops have been shut since December due to the level four lockdown and the second wave of coronavirus.
Now that infection rates in the Welsh capital are at the lowest levels since September, Covid-19 restrictions lifting means bookshops, clothes shops and more can reopen on Monday, April 12.
This week, FOR Cardiff’s street cleansing team have been jet washing streets in the city centre, removing rubbish, washing away graffiti and repainting signs.
James Palmer, one of FOR Cardiff’s cleansing team, said: “Getting trade back up and running when the shops open on Monday is so important, and the work we do will really support this.
“We pride ourselves on making the streets look fresh and appealing for people coming into the city centre. Most of the work I do is when everyone is in bed. Then when people are in the centre and they see us, they often stop and say: ‘What a brilliant job you’ve done.’”
The street cleansing team work seven days a week, starting at 5am, cleaning the areas of the city centre which see the most footfall like Queen Street, the Hayes, and Hills Street.
Since 2018, the team has jet washed 441,000 square metres of the city centre, removed 3,076 graffiti tags and almost 58,000 pieces of gum.
More than 750 businesses in the city centre fund FOR Cardiff, a business improvement district organisation. Business improvement districts are funded by levies charged to businesses in their area. They also host Christmas events and provide night marshals.
Adrian Field, executive director of FOR Cardiff, said: “Nobody can deny how hard retailers have been hit over the last year. Even before the pandemic, high streets across the nation were facing challenges.
“Being able to offer this service to city centre businesses is an essential part of the FOR Cardiff offering. Clean and tidy streets play a huge part in the high street experience for shoppers, making it more enjoyable and comfortable.
“Our aim is to give visitors the best impression of the vibrant city centre and ensure Cardiff continues to build a positive reputation as a clean city.”
Local businesses vote in these groups for five-year terms. FOR Cardiff began its first five-year term in December 2016 — and is currently consulting businesses in Cardiff city centre about their priorities for the next five years, ahead of a second vote this June.