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How our letter to the Echo may have helped campaign to save Rumney Rec; Yousay IN YOUR OPINION...

We would like to set the record straight on why the Liberal Democrat/Plaid-led Cardiff council has haS d a change of heart on nominating parklands for 100 years of royal protection.

So elections are looming and local Labour politicians and Plaid councillors are lining up to take the credit for Cardiff council's change of heart over protecting Rumney Recreation Ground, which was nominated for QEII status along with three other sites in the city in a council news flash on March 19.

On March 10 we wrote a joint letter to the Echo headed "Special status plea for parks".

We had already written to Councillor Nigel Howells, executive member for sports and culture, and to the chief executive of Cardiff council on March 7, when we discovered that Cardiff council was one of only four councils in Wales that had decided not to nominate any of its many parks, open spaces, bridle and cycle paths and children's play areas for the QEII Fields Trust Challenge.

We believed that this was a shameful position for the capital city of Wales and, as local Conservative councillors, we decided to try to persuade the council that it should reconsider its decision and urgently nominate open spaces for QEII protected status.

Our letter to the Echo urged everyone to write to their local councillors and MP, asking for a Queen Elizabeth II Field in their area. We asked people to visit www.qe2fields.com and complete its online Call to Action card asking Cardiff council to get involved.

We also asked our constituents to visit our website www.reesandrogers.co.uk and sign up to our petition to support our nomination of Pontprennau and Old St Mellons open spaces for Queen Elizabeth II Fields Status.

Disappointingly, the council has not included a site in our ward, even though we have been campaigning for it. However, we are hopeful that the Old St Mellons Community Council nomination of Ty'r Winch Road playing fields will be successful.

This is a very special year. It is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics. We believed that it would have been very disappointing if the Queen visited Cardiff as part of her Jubilee Tour of the United Kingdom when Cardiff was not participating in the first Jubilee project to get her approval.

Indeed the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, who is patron of the Challenge, has said that he could not think of a more fitting tribute to his grandmother's 60 years on the throne than a project to save green spaces for future generations.

Determined that Cardiff people should not lose out by its council's decision not to participate in this wonderful scheme, we arranged a meeting with the QEII Fields Trust (Wales) and learned that there was still time for Cardiff council to change its mind and nominate open spaces for protection, as the Trust required still another 20 to meet its quota of 100.

Having been advised late on Thursday, March 20, that we need not do any more work on this matter, as it looked like the Liberal Democrat/Plaid council was having a change of heart, we were as surprised as RREEL members and the Fields Trust when Cardiff council sent out a news flash announcing that it was nominating four parks across the city - Wilson Road Playing Fields (Ely), Pontcanna Fields, Roath Park and Rumney Rec. This was completely unexpected as we were aware that the Fields Trust had had no contact with any officials or executive group members.

The way that this administration has conducted itself over this matter is very strange. The majority of participating councils have asked their councillors and residents to nominate fields for consideration before they submitted open spaces, but Cardiff's Liberal Democrat/Plaid administration has not consulted with councillors and local people - nor, even more surprisingly, with the organisers of the Fields Trust itself.

We like to think that our efforts have helped achieved this result.

This is fantastic news for the communities which will benefit from QEII status fields and we are delighted for them. It's not a matter of who takes the credit for the result and not about how it has been achieved. What is important is the result.

Many people have been campaigning hard to protect their open spaces and we are genuinely pleased for the people of Rumney, Ely, Roath and Pontcanna. We hope they will add their support to the people of Pontprennau and Old St Mellons by going online or writing in to persuade Cardiff council to include our nomination among the other four.

Ultimately, it's not been politics that has achieved these nominations but diplomacy, a remarkable year of events and the Diamond 60-year reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

* Councillors Dianne Rees and Jane Rogers Conservative councillors for Pontprennau and Old St Mellons

CAPTION(S):

* Rumney Recreation Ground has been nominated for royal protection * Campaigners at the bus stop in Trowbridge - Doreen Moorcraft is in the middle
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 23, 2012
Words:833
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