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Pontcanna neighbours join together to clear slippery streets


MORE than 100 Cardiff neighbours got out their brooms to clear their streets of autumn leaves – but some were left feeling the council should do more.

Residents of Severn Grove and Tuberville Place, took part in The Big Pontcanna Sweep on Saturday. The event, to clear leaves from the tree-lined streets, was organised by the community with support from the council.

It is the second year that people in Pontcanna have taken part in The Big Sweep. Residents gave up their Saturday to clear the leaves while the council provided bags and sent trucks to collect the rubbish. 

Severn Grove residents Iwan Davies and Sarah Thomas were happy to get involved.

Mr Davies said: “There’s all this mess and someone needs to clean it up. It’s also nice to speak to the neighbours. It’s a good community thing.”

“We all get to know each other and we love it,” said Ms Thomas.


Severn Grove residents Iwan Davies and Sarah Thomas.

Younger resident Ela Seaman, 4, spent all morning walking from door to door, handing out flyers about the event.

Paul Seaman, Ela’s father, said: “We handed out leaflets to almost 130 houses. Last year they [the leaves] were horrendous. To be fair to the council, they are more aware than they were last year. There are trying to help.”


The Seaman family (pictured from left) Ela, Paul and Siwan with baby Greta.

Some residents also earned time credits through the Cardiff Neighbourhood Partnership Community Time Credit Scheme, which can be spent on leisure and cultural activities around Cardiff.

Rochelle Brown is the owner of Pontcanna Co-op, who supported the event.

“We took part last year, which was a massive success. Last year, it was trying to prove a point to the council.  This year they are more involved,” said Ms Brown.

“There are a few people on this street who are a bit frustrated with the council because they pay their taxes. Even though the council cannot do it, it’s great to see people getting involved. Some people slip on the leaves, so it’s the community spirit,” she said.


Rochelle Brown, owner of the Pontcanna Co-op.

Karyn Thompson, 44, from Sully in the Vale of Glamorgan, said she was pleased to see the event after she had nearly slipped on leaves when visiting nearby Plasturton Gardens.

“I am still in treatment for cancer so I was feeling fragile. The amount of leaves was quite surprising. It was starting to rain and I slipped, but luckily I didn’t fall because I was being supported by my daughter.”” she said.

She added that she welcomed the community taking the lead in solving the problem.

“We can’t always expect the council to do things for us. I think we should all take a bit more responsibility and do more as communities,” she said.

But Shane, a Severn Grove resident who did not want to give his last name, said: “It’s a bit disappointing when we pay our council taxes. If it was swept regularly we would not have to do it. We appreciate the difficulties the authorities are under but the wet leaves are a danger on the pavement.”

Iona Gordon, Labour councillor for Riverside, said that while she recognised people’s views, it was difficult for the council to provide a more frequent service due to funding cuts.

“If that’s their view that’s okay but it’s quite clear the street cleansing team just cannot do it. The amount they can come out is greatly reduced. So if people want the streets clean, this is what we have to do,” she said.

Coun Gordon, who helped organise the event, said: “I think the residents and local businesses that joined in were wonderful. Everyone showed great community spirit, so it just shows what can be done when everyone works together.”

Caro Wild, Labour councillor for Riverside, said: “Most people understand the council is experiencing huge cuts to its budget and some services will be stretched. But also people like improving their community and helping.”

A council spokesman said: “The City Council takes a lead in cleaning up the streets across the city, but by working with volunteers, we hope that the people that live in these communities start to take pride in the communities in which they live so they remain clean and tidy.”

The next Big Sweep events in Pontcanna are:

  • Pontcanna Street and the Plasturton Avenue  on November 19
  • Conway Road and Llanfair Road on November 26
  • Talbot Street, Ryder Street and Pitman Street on December 3
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