More than just a playground: What the Drover’s Way Park means to me, my family, friends and the local community
Dr Radha Nair-Roberts
When my husband and I moved to Clos Parc Radur in 2006, part of the reason we chose our new home was the lovely park and playground (Drover’s Way), practically at the bottom of our drive.
As newly-weds we hoped to start a family in the coming years, and having a playground nestled within a gorgeous green public space within a short walking distance felt ideal!
And so it proved to be for the next 12 years.
We welcomed our 2 beloved children, a girl and a boy, and soon a daily trip to the park/playground was essential – they learned to walk, swing, climb and cycle there.
Friends and neighbours
Equally important to acquiring motor skills, was the social aspect – meeting neighbours and new friends of all ages (and their dogs) was a chance to boost language and cognition.
On snow days, the park was the very best place to build a snowman and go sledding (if you dared).
Through all these healthy outdoor activities, we soon plugged in to a vibrant community that had sprung up around our park: children of all ages and their parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and so on.
Sadly, as the years passed signs of neglect of our park emerged. Not just with playground equipment but also with basic park amenities.
Erosion made the paths a dangerous slipping hazard, especially in the pitch dark at the entrance from Plymouth Drive.
This was an accident waiting to happen, and in Sept 2018, it did happen, to me. ( see photo above)
Despite our best efforts, nothing effective was done. The paths remain treacherous in the pitch black to this day.
This is dangerous not only to people with mobility issues but to everyone who might be fearful of walking in pitch darkness on their own in an isolated public space.
I definitely wouldn’t want my teenage daughter to walk home from the station that way.
Clos Parc Radur residents have been seriously let down by Cardiff Council on this important Health and Safety issue.
Even worse was to ensue with our playground.
Despite promises of refurbishment and a list of new equipment being shown to us at a meeting with Cardiff Council’s Park and Playground department in 2018 (my husband and I, and a fellow resident) our playground has been dismantled piece by piece and eventually chained up. Shamefully it now stands empty and derelict.
There is nowhere for children to play, even at a time when kids needed outdoor play more than ever before, during lock-down and post-pandemic.
It has been nearly five years since our children had a fully functioning playground, but at the same time hundreds of houses have been built on green fields in our area with no playgrounds or public green spaces.
We now have two new Radyr councilors, Helen Jones and Calum Davies.
Congratulations to you both!
I, and fellow residents beseech you to urgently address the problems with our park: lighting issues, the state of paths and refurbish our playground. Don’t let our children face another no-play summer in 2022.
You can contact Dr Nair-Roberts at [email protected] if you are interested in free play sessions at Drover’s Way Park over Summer 22, as part of the Welsh Government’s “Summer of Fun” initiative.
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