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Cathays: What are the big issues?

Bike theft, homelessness and night safety are issues that residents feel disturb the peace and routine of the area.

A victim of cycle theftOften described as the student heart of Cardiff, Cathays is one of the most social and activity-filled wards of the city. Aside from the residential areas, attractions of this area include the busy city centre, the Principality Stadium, Bute Park, Cardiff Castle, and the National Museum.

Like any suburban area, there are things that need to change. 

We took to the streets of Cardiff and asked people which issues in Cathays matter the most.

Astrid den Hartog, Director of View properties:

“Rubbish. That’s the main problem around here. I don’t know how many times we’ve opened and there’s ben half a bottle of vodka lying on the windowsill. It’s disgusting. You kind of think to yourself ‘oh for God’s sake these bloody students.’ And then you realise ‘I was like that when I was younger.’ There are so many fast food places they should have bins outside. It’s not the students’ fault, if there were bins people would use them.”

Norma Mackie, Cathays Councillor for Labour:

“It’s trying to get that mix of right of residents and students. Cathays was a family-oriented community. Now you only have one or two families in a street and the rest are students. The majority of students are fine but some don’t understand the consequences of things like taking up residences’ parking. We had an 83 year old who had to walk home from streets away. She had a really nasty fall because she’d had to walk too far. It’s things like that. All students see the residents being angry, if they join in they’ll see them in a different light because they’ll see them enjoying themselves.”

Florence Davis, 19, student:

“It’s quite dirty and unclean. There’s a lot of littering around. That’s one of the biggest issues. If I don’t go out at night and if there’s a student night, it does keep me up. The homeless people here as well, they’re very different from where I come from. They come up to you and stuff here and ask for money, the homeless people where I come from mostly just keep to themselves.”

Sangeeta, 22, student:

“When I come out in the night, I sometimes don’t feel safe. Maybe it is because of the lights, they’re quite dim in the evenings and the traffic on these small roads as well. I was walking through here (student union/Sherman theatre street) last week and there were no signal lights or street lights and cars were just zooming past me and I couldn’t cross the road.”

Mark, 55:

“A lot of empty shops. Awful lot of empty shops. There’s a lot of homeless people though. That’s it really. I’ve also seen a lot of bikers riding on the pavement. And as I was walking around the arcades, I felt really lost when I came out so I think there aren’t enough signs to show you where you’re headed.”

Tim, 45:

“Homelessness. They’re not doing anything about it. There’s not enough being done. They’re just sweeping it under the carpet instead of dealing with it. It’s almost as if they don’t want the homeless to be re-housed. A lot of cycle theft as well.”

Ajay Singh, Manager:

“The residents here can get frustrated at the party scene in Cathays. We get complaints about people shouting and the music. I understand but that is Cathays! I received a letter from the council about our music being too loud. If the loud music won’t be here, where should it be? But they’re also just doing their duty.”