Parents have safety concerns over a building site near a Cardiff school

A woman and child walking in close proximity to a construction vehicle near Cardiff's new BMX track
-Credit: (Image: Manon Fischer-Jenkins)

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

The mother-of-two who lives in Llanrumney said the situation has been "really stressful", claiming that there have been occasions when parents and their children have had to pass nearby heavy vehicles at work without any cordons separating them. She also claimed that a Tarmac roller was once reversing near her and her four-year-old child without someone guiding it from the outside.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said their inspectors attended the site recently and are taking appropriate enforcement action on the relevant duty holders. Welsh Cycling, who lease the land where the project is taking place along with Cardiff BMX Club, has apologised for any inconvenience caused, but insists construction has been properly run and in accordance with health and safety requirements. For more Cardiff news, sign up to our newsletter here.

READ MORE: 'Controversial Cardiff high school project more than doubles in cost'

READ MORE: 'Taxi drivers protest against big change in Cardiff city centre'

Manon, 43, said: "It has been a constant worry that our children are going to get hurt. I parked there the other day... and this guy was on his mobile phone and then he started reversing out one of those big Tarmac rollers.

"At that point I was literally walking across the car park and it was just reversing back towards us and so I was just standing there in horror, thinking 'has he seen us?'" Manon said she spoke to the site manager about the issue, adding: "I said 'can't you just stop for half an hour at school drop-off and school pick-up?' It is not asking much."

Plans for a national standard BMX race track at Riverside Park, near Cardiff University Sports Fields, were approved by Cardiff Council in August 2021. Work on the site has been going on for years, but concerns over health and safety have grown over the past couple of months.

There are two access points to the construction site, according to Manon. One of these is the entrance to the car park and the other is to the side of a small building at the other side of the car park. Parents either use the narrow road down to the car park or they choose to walk their children along the trail that runs from Ridgeway Road to the back of the car park.

Construction vehicles at the car park near Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Eirwg in Llanrumney
Parents whose children go to Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Eirwg have to share the car park they use with construction vehicles -Credit:Manon Fischer-Jenkins

Manon said construction vehicles have been seen on this trail. "The entrance that we have to use anyway is a single-track road," she added. "Last week it was huge lorries coming up and down. It is really stressful.

"When you are walking your four-year-old daughter past a massive roller which is reversing with noone to guide it, it is just beggars belief that it's carrying on. I am not the only one who feels like this."

A Welsh Cycling spokesperson said on Friday: "Construction on the site has been properly run and in accordance with all necessary health and safety requirements. We have engaged with the school around traffic and the heavy vehicles that have had to be on site due to the nature of the construction. The drainage that has been included on Cardiff Council land was the system that they approved and H&S risks have been assessed.

"Tomorrow is the final day where heavy vehicles will be on site, as the site is very nearly completed apart from some ongoing smaller work. We apologise for inconvenience caused during construction, however as hopefully you can see the facility that has been developed is incredibly positive and we hope the school and neighbouring communities will benefit form it over the coming months and years."

The chairperson of Cardiff BMX Club, Hugh Chopping said: "Construction on site is coming to an end, but that doesn't excuse the issues. I will be on site tomorrow afternoon and will raise the issue of the ditches outside the track.

"Hopefully by then they have cleared the area outside the track that they were using for their caravans and made the area good again." A HSE spokesperson said: “We are aware of the situation. Our inspectors have attended site and are taking appropriate enforcement action against the relevant duty holders.”