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  • Hannah Garcia

The site plans are here!



Wow! It was standing room only as an incredible ONE HUNDRED AND TWO people came along to last Saturday's community coffee morning in the Old Library in Splott to see the final plans for the site.


We feel incredibly moved and excited by this level of support - thank you so much to everyone who came along to chat, ask questions, eat cake, and help shape the way forward for this project. Thank you also for tolerating our iffy projector and the spooky ceiling tile shenanigans.


We know that many people who wanted to come weren't able to so here's a recap:


The site plan is now complete

Click on the arrows to cycle through the images


How was this plan created? Following the consultations we carried out in 2018 and 2019 we took all of your amazing ideas for the land to ALT Architecture and said 'can we fit all of this onto this site?'


The site turned out to be a bit more complicated than expected. Sandwiched between the railway and people's back gardens, there are many restrictions on what we can build, where can place it, and how we build or install it. This is made more complicated by the discovery of a huuuuuuge district sewer beneath the centre of the site - we can't build on top of that - and the positioning of power and water coming onto the site. Luckily Amanda and Rhian of ALT Architecture - who came along to the coffee morning to present the plans - were not deterred by these challenges!


There's also a little something called SuDs. Not heard of SuDs? We hadn't either until we started working on this project. SuDs are Sustainable Drainage Systems designed to mimic natural drainage and prevent flooding by managing surface water run-off as close to source as possible. All new developments (that includes us) are now required to include drainage systems which comply with National Statutory SuDS Standards. Working out our SuDs calculations and building these systems into the design took expert help and we've been really lucky to receive support from Arup in this respect.


It's fair to say it's been a process of surprises and unexpected obstacles! However, now you've seen the plans above we hope you'll agree that architects Amanda and Rhian have cracked it.


What's included in the plan?


  • A community hub - more on this below.

  • 8 small business pods - those are the colourful shipping containers on the left of the picture above. These will be installed and managed by The Bone Yard who have bring their extensive experience of creating and running these kind of flexible business spaces to the project. The plan is to prioritise social, ethical, and sustainable businesses on this site.

  • A mini allotment - this includes accessible raised beds, greenhouses and potting sheds

  • Beehives - in a screened apiary area so they can be observed without worrying about low flying bees!

  • An outdoor events space - perfect for school visits, markets, play and lots more.

  • Toilets including an accessible toilet with baby changing

  • A play structure - more details coming soon. There will also be plenty of opportunities for play activities across the site

  • A biodiversity corridor - planting along the length of the site will support biodiversity and help with sustainable drainage. If you're familiar with Greener Grangetown then it's a bit like a mini version of that.

  • Plenty of places to sit and relax - including a roof terrace on the hub


What will the hub look like?


Click on the arrows to cycle through the pictures


The community hub building has been designed by local company Kitsch and Sink. It's made from recycled shipping containers and all other materials will be salvaged and repurposed wherever possible. Like the rest of the site, it's been designed to be as flexible as possible so many different groups can use it in different ways. Downstairs is a workshop/ classroom/ meeting/ social space with a small kitchen and a serving hatch to the outdoor seating area. The front of the building can open up to connect what's going on inside with what's happening in the events space directly opposite.


Stairs on the outside of the building lead to a roof terrace overlooking the site and a smaller, cosier indoor space, perfect for small meetings, groups, or just playing a board game and drinking a cup of tea. Beneath the stairs are outdoor sinks for anyone getting their hands dirty in the allotment.


P.S. The colours in the images and exterior look of the building are not fixed! What colours do you think it should be?


What happens next?


We will submit the planning application in the first week or February. This will take around eight weeks for us to receive a decision. We will share the planning reference once we have it so that you can submit a supporting comment to the application if you wish.


Once planning permission has been granted then this fulfils the conditions needed for our lease to be granted. We will then have access to the land and we're planning a celebration event to mark this amazing occasion!


We have currently raised £60,000 for this project. This should be enough to get the initial ground works completed on the site. It doesn't cover the cost of the hub building or other site structures, onsite events and activities, or the two paid staff roles we're planning to create. In spring 2020 we'll continue to apply for grant funding to move the project forward and we welcome any and all suggestions for how we can raise money in addition to grant funding - please do get in touch if you can suggest an avenue of funding or you'd like to fundraise for the project.


How can I get involved?


As the project moves forward we'll have many more volunteering opportunities. If you'd like to get involved then email hannah@green-squirrel.co.uk to join the volunteer mailing list. If you could let us know what kind of things you're most interested in - admin, helping at events, fundraising, DIY, social media for example - that would be really helpful.


Help name the project - watch this space, voting on the project name will be happening soon!


Spread the word. Please do share this website and social media posts about the project, tell your neighbours, and share the news with any community groups or schools you're involved with.


Let us know if your group is interested in using the site once it's open, or if you're interested in finding out more about a business space. No commitment at this stage obviously but it would be good to have a chat and find out more about what you do!


Stay in touch! Please do drop us an email at any time if you've got questions, comments, feedback or anything you'd like to share, we'd love to hear from you.


Thanks again and we'll keep you updated!


- Becca and Hannah


PS. We'd like to say an extra thank you to Ali for being a coffee hero at Saturday's event, Jane for introducing the presentation, and to Lynne, Fiona, Mandy, Harriet, Bren, Sophie, Emir, Erica, Julianne, Ruth, Anna and Gareth for flyering. Diolch pawb!


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