Long derelict wasteland in Splott set to be transformed by the team behind the Bone Yard

The formerly derelict area of ​​Cardiff is being transformed by residents into a community space with shipping containers and gardens.

Local residents have come together to create a space in the heart of Splott where people can grow vegetables, run a business, join an outdoor group, and more.

The site has replaced a previously overgrown patch of land off Railway Street that was once a park but had been shut down to anti-social behavior, standing empty for years.

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After Cardiff council said they wanted to sell the site in 2018, residents launched a successful campaign to transform the site into a community space.

“What started out as asking, ‘Can we grow a few tomatoes on the site?’ has turned into a big community project, “Hannah Garcia, of Green Squirrel, a local non-profit group behind the project, said.

The shipping containers in place at Railway Gardens

An artist’s impression of how Railway Gardens will look once finished

Green Squirrel revealed plans back in 2020 of how they wanted the space to look, with proposals to include eight small businesses in shipping containers.

The group started looking for a site back in 2015, when the site was overgrown and full of fly-tipping and, in 2018, they were told the council were selling off the land for development.

In the most recent development, shipping containers for small businesses have been placed at the site to be transformed by the team behind The Bone Yard in Canton.

“Another big moment – all of the shipping containers for the studios are now on site and ready to be transformed by the @BoneYardCardiff team into beautiful workspaces,” Railway Gardens wrote in a tweet on Tuesday, with a picture of the shipping containers in place .

The Bone Yard, on Paper Mill Road, has shipping container studio spaces with independent retailers including a plant shop, handmade jewelery studios, and pottery painting.

The first shipping container being lifted onto the site

A plan for the site’s layout

They will be running the shipping containers on the site. While Green Squirrel is unable to say what businesses will be on the site as of yet, Hannah Garcia, from the charity, confirmed that the Benthyg Library of Things will be on the site.

“They offer affordable hire of garden and kitchen equipment,” Hannah told WalesOnline.

“It’s literally anything that you would use all the time and don’t want to buy it. You can hire from them. You can just borrow them for £ 1 or £ 2.”

Hannah added: “The aim is to get social businesses moving in.”

The shipping containers will need to be fitted out to become workspaces with power between now and April.

The community hub, also made out of shipping containers, is being built off-site and will feature a community room and a “cwtch” upstairs. It’s set to come to the site in March.

“The next step is to get community members in to build, plant, and paint murals,” Hannah said.

“It’s very much up to the community how [the site] will be used. “

Hannah added that Green Squirrel will be running sustainable workshops at the site and that co-working spaces will also be available.

Hannah Garcia (left) Becca Clark (right) and with a check from the National Lottery Community Fund

“We’re getting some really exciting things that people are starting to propose,” Hannah said.

“We want it to be run by the community, for the community. We’ll have drop-in sessions where people can come in and have a coffee and enjoy the garden.”

Spaces will also be available for different organizations to hire.

“It’s a really exciting multi-purpose site,” Hannah added.

Railway Gardens is supported by the National Lottery Community Fund, which provided over £ 460,000 of funding, as well as the Co-op Foundation. The Welsh Government Community Facilities Program also provided £ 250,000 of funding for the project.

The project has also been supported by donations from members of the local community as businesses, such as Davids Homes and Ripple Living.

“There’s going to be loads of opportunities for volunteering,” Hannah added.

“People can get in touch with us if they want to help out.”

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