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<< Back Posted on 27th April 2022

By Emily Cotterill


Earlier this month FOR Cardiff published our city centre manifesto, laying out what we think should be priorities for the next Cardiff Council administration. Now we’re looking over the manifestos of the major parties to see how far their plans fit with our ambitions and whether they line up with our recommendations of prioritising setting, culture, and transport.

First up, here’s what we found interesting from the Common Ground alliance between Plaid Cymru and the Wales Green Party.

  • ‘Work to end the edge of city retail development schemes often built on green belt, biodiverse spaces and which encourage car journeys…’

This commitment ties in with our plea to Welsh Government to prioritise town and city centre development over edge/out of town. The retail argument is key here, but we’d suggest this commitment should extend to business parks and office space – all of these amenities should be in multi-functional accessible places.

  • Lobby for a land fund for Wales to make community ownership easier, enabling our communities to buy unloved spaces to make them amazing again.

People in Wales have the weakest rights in the UK when it comes to community ownership and this can have an adverse impact on our places including Cardiff city centre. We’ve asked Welsh Government to empower communities to take over neglected and mismanaged assets and we would like to see this come to fruition in Cardiff and across Wales – powers need to come with access to funding and we’d be interested to see this proposal develop.

  • Ensure our creative heritage is front and centre of developments. Cardiff’s changing, creative character is reflected in the planning decisions made, and new developments are inspiring spaces.

This sounds great and we consistently advocate for centring Cardiff’s essential ‘Cardiff-ness’ in developments to the city. It’s great that Common Ground have recognised this conceptually and we’d love to see a more fleshed out idea of how they’d describe that particular Cardiff quality.

  • Commit unequivocally to supporting independent music venues and working with musicians and businesses to ensure Cardiff is the city for live music and nights out for years to come.

A great statement but we’d like to know more about what this means in practice. We’d like to see the Common Ground stand up for the Agent of Change principle and, while they work for community purchase powers to be progressed, explore what can be done to protect cultural venues that are not in owner occupied spaces.

  • Recognis[e] the value of urban sports such as skateboarding, BMX, and parkour

We’re clear that the city centre should welcome young people and uses that are not specifically linked to spending money. Urban sports belong in urban centres and as long as they are not creating health and safety hazards we’d like to see them nurtured.

  • Establish a properly funded, adequately enforced plan for getting to grips with the issues in the local environment like littering, dog fouling, and waste disposal.

Getting the basics right is vital – it’s good to see this included alongside more strategic concerns – waste disposal in particular is a blight in the city centre. Let’s get a real grip on this commercial bin issue.

  • Investigate how we can reopen public toilets and bring them back to local high streets

Yes! It’s not a headline grabber but this is an absolutely vital issue and, we think, Common Ground are the only people to touch on this. Public amenities are one of the key elements in making a town or city centre a welcoming place to spend time.

Setting  ✔️

Community ✔️

Transport ✔️ (we’ve not pulled out many points on public transport from the Common Ground manifesto because there’s lots of other stuff to talk about but their general commitment to high quality public and active travel infrastructure is there)

You can read the full Common Ground manifesto here.

FOR Cardiff’s Council Manifesto is also available to read here.