Parents have concerns about safety at building site near Cardiff school

Parents have concerns about safety at building site near Cardiff school

Cardiff parents who drive their children to school near a soon-to-be-completed BMX track are furious at what they say is a lack of health and safety measures. Manon Fischer-Jenkins, whose children attend Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Eirwg in Llanrumney, said parents were sharing a public car park near where the new BMX track is being built with lorries, pickup trucks and huge piles of aggregate.

The mother-of-two who lives in Llanrumney said the situation has been “very stressful”, claiming there have been occasions where parents and their children have had to pass nearby HGVs at work with no cordon separating them. She also claimed a Tarmac roller was once reversing close to her and her four-year-old son without anyone guiding it from outside.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said its inspectors had recently attended the site and were taking appropriate enforcement action against the relevant duty holders. Welsh Cycling, which leases the land on which the project is taking place from Cardiff BMX Club, apologised for any inconvenience caused but insisted the construction was carried out correctly and in accordance with health and safety requirements. For more Cardiff news, sign up to our newsletter here.

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Manon, 43, said: “It’s been a constant worry that our kids are going to get hurt. I parked there the other day… and this guy was on his phone and then he started reversing into one of those big asphalt rollers.

“At that point I was literally walking across the parking lot and he was backing up towards us, so I was just standing there in horror, thinking, ‘Did he see us?'” Manon said she spoke to the manager of the location about the issue, adding: “I said, ‘Can’t you stop for half an hour at the drop-off and pick-up at the school?’ It’s not too much to ask.”

Plans for a national standard BMX racing track at Riverside Park, near Cardiff University Sports Fields, were approved by Cardiff Council in August 2021. Work on the site has been ongoing for years, but health and safety concerns have heightened in recent months.

There are two access points to the construction site, according to Manon. One is the entrance to the parking lot, and the other is on the side of a small building on the other side of the lot. Parents can either use the narrow road to the parking lot or choose to take their children on the trail that runs from Ridgeway Road to the back of the lot.

Parents whose children attend Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Eirwg have to share their car park with construction vehicles – Credit: Manon Fischer-Jenkins

Manon said construction vehicles have been seen on this trail. “The entrance we have to use anyway is a single-lane road,” she added. “Last week, there were huge trucks going up and down. It’s really stressful.”

“When you’re pushing your four-year-old daughter past a huge steamroller that’s going in reverse with no one to guide it, it’s unbelievable that he’s doing that. I’m not the only one who feels that way.”

A Welsh Cycling spokesman said on Friday: “Construction on site was carried out correctly and in accordance with all necessary health and safety requirements. We engaged with the school regarding traffic and HGVs that had to be on site due to the nature of the construction. The drainage that was included on the Cardiff Council site was the system they approved and the H&S risks were assessed.

“Tomorrow is the last day that heavy vehicles will be on site as the site is almost complete, apart from some minor works currently underway. We apologise for any inconvenience caused during construction, however, as you can see, the facility that has been developed is incredibly positive and we hope the school and surrounding communities will benefit from it in the months and years to come.”

Cardiff BMX Club chairman Hugh Chopping said: “Construction at the site is coming to an end but that does not excuse the disruption. I will be on site tomorrow afternoon and will raise the issue of the ditches outside the track.

“I hope by then they will have cleared the area off the track they were using for their caravans and made the area good again.” A HSE spokesman said: “We are aware of the situation. Our inspectors have attended the scene and are taking appropriate enforcement action against the relevant duty holders.”