Cardiff is described as a city of opportunities and inequalities in new report
A CITY where people love to live, with a growing economy, but huge inequality – that’s the true picture of Cardiff.
A report detailing the city’s strengths and weaknesses has been released.
A first look of Cardiff’s Liveable City report is out today, and has months of consultation ahead of it.
In it, the council’s leader says Cardiff has a “good story to tell” but that there are “weaknesses and the threats we face in the future”.
The document draws upon reports from a number of bodies and covers everything from health to the economy and safety.
The report is a requirement of the Future Generations Act and has been drawn up by the Public Safety Board – made up of members of the council, emergency services, health boards and charities.
Positives include the growth of the city, which is projected to be one of the fastest growing in the UK. But it says that the city’s economy is not becoming more productive. The report found that people across the city “love living in Cardiff” but that to keep it that way, “high levels of citizen satisfaction” need to be maintained.
While Cardiff is performing well economically, and is higher than other places in Wales, it is relatively low compared to other UK cities.
The report reads: “These figures suggest that while jobs are being created, the city’s economy is not becoming more productive.
“Despite the jobs created and the investment in the city centre, many of the poorest communities in Wales can be found in its capital city. The large disparities in levels of unemployment, household poverty and workless households closely align with health, crime and educational inequalities across the city,” it reads.
When it comes to crime, the report says that Cardiff is a “comparatively safe city” and there has been a fall in crime over the past decade.
“There has not been an equivalent fall in fear of crime.”
Healthwise, the city is “healthier than ever” but there is a “significant and growing” gap in life expectancy.
Regarding education, school standards are on the up, and the three universities welcome 60,000 students.
Transport is an issue, with high levels of car use and more than 60% of residents saying transport in the city is a “serious or very serious” problem.
We asked people on the streets of Cardiff their thoughts on key areas and put their concerns directly to council leader Phil Bale.
Nana Pokuwaah, 59, is a train user: “The train service is good, much better than the bus. The bus takes a lot longer as it goes around the city. The train staff are always informative and very helpful. The trains are normally on time, only when they were doing engineering works have I experienced them being late.” Coun Bale responded: “Transport in Cardiff has been deprived for a long time. We know there is a projection for passenger growth. Central Government needs to provide a lot of investment in the central station otherwise the congestion and problems will only get worse. Even though we don’t own the station, we can be strong and advance that view on behalf of rail users, residents and businesses to lobby for investment.”
Peter Walsh, 35, is a cyclist: “Cycling in Cardiff is an occupational hazard. There’s no infrastructure; there are potholes everywhere and cycle lanes are often full of cars. It’s a nightmare. In the town centre there is no infrastrucutre for cyclists either, look at Queen Street; there’s nothing for cyclists. They need to make it more accessible. Drivers in Cardiff are also very aggressive, but I have also seen bad cyclists as well. Considering we all pay road tax they should improve the roads for all users; improve cycle lanes around the city. It really needs a rethink, cycling in Cardiff doesn’t compare to Holland and other European countries.” Coun Bale responded: “We have been very ambitious in terms of a cycling strategy. We have set a target to be the UK’s leading cycling city and it’s a strategy that’s going to be covering a range of things. It is about recognising there are problems with the council sometimes and its budget that frustrate cyclists.
“It’s about how we can allocate dedicated funding pots to keep repairing potholes, how we ensure people who are passionate about cycling work better together to collectively ensure that we are one of the best cycling cities in the UK”.
James Wilson, 26, drives in Cardiff: “Driving in Cardiff is shocking, there’s so much traffic. The roads are only clear at about 3am, and there are roadworks everywhere. I
have to cycle, although sometimes there is glass in the gutter which should be cleaned. I used to have to park in Grangetown and walk, parking in the city centre is too expensive as it’s about £30 a week.” Coun Bale responded:
“The answer is that we need to persuade more people onto other types of transport. Cardiff is a very small city compared to others and we don’t have the road space to expand our roads to accommodate the increased traffic. We need to make sure we work with Government.”
Lewis James, 23, uses the city’s sports fields: “They are absolute garbage, all in all just pretty awful, and especially at this time of the year. 90% of my football games at the moment are called off because of the pitches, it’s pretty appalling. It can be quite dangerous at times with rocks on the pitch.”
Coun Bale responded:
“We have tried to work creatively in partnership with GLL [Greenwich Leisure Limited, which manages the city’s leisure centres] and with Cardiff Met on sports development.
“As the council has to reduce its costs, in order to continue to provide services we need to work with others. But 10 of our parks were awarded green flags in 2010”.
Coun Bale on the report:
“This report tells a story about Cardiff in 2017. It sets out our city’s strengths and opportunities – and there are many – and is honest about the weaknesses and the threats we face in the future.
“When I took the role as city leader I set out a vision to make Cardiff Europe’s most liveable capital city. I believed that we needed to take a broad approach to thinking about and developing the city, not simply a narrow focus on GVA and economic growth at all costs.
“A strong economy and a fairer society have for too long been presented as being in conflict with one another. In truth, you cannot have one without the other. And so, first and foremost, economic growth is only good if the benefits are felt by all our citizens. It’s fair to say that this hasn’t always been the case, leading to the entrenched and growing inequalities across all aspects of life that, for me, are the most powerful findings of this report. This needs to change.”
Cardiff’s Liveable City report has found that residents love living in the city but say there is still work to be done