People in Bute Park could soon get a coffee from three new catering pitches proposed for the northern part of the park.
One of the pitches would be by the ambulance station overlooking the playing fields at Blackweir.
The second would overlook the River Taff by the Blackweir bridge, which is currently closed off because of Covid-19 but is normally a busy route for walkers and cyclists coming up and down the Taff trail and those crossing over into Pontcanna Fields.
The third is further up the Taff Trail, again overlooking the River Taff, close to the path that leads up to Talybont student halls.
Cardiff council is advertising the ‘mobile catering opportunities’ and inviting businesses to tender for the pitches.
David Jones, a council surveyor, said: “The strategic estates department would like to invite interested operators to tender for the opportunity to trade at three designated catering pitches from a mobile catering unit within the northern part of Bute Park.
“Users of the central and southern areas of Bute Park have the choice of three cafes, but a significant number of users pass only through the northern areas so a potential gap in the market has been identified."
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That part of the park is well used by people playing rugby, football and cricket, as well as runners and cyclists.
Mr Jones said: “Northern Bute Park is well used by the sporting fraternity as it contains sports pitches at Blackweir, fitness equipment, popular routes for running, walking and cycling.
“It is also very well used by the student population housed in residences along the park’s eastern boundary. The Welsh Ambulance Service Trust are based at a unit behind Blackweir Changing Rooms and staff may also wish to access the opportunity.”
But the plans have drawn criticism from campaigners who raised concerns about litter.
Nerys Lloyd-Pierce, chair of the Cardiff Civic Society, said: “Three such pitches are wholly inappropriate for our glorious listed parkland, particularly as the Covid-19 tragedy has underlined how important informal green space is for the well-being of the population.
“It is also inevitable that takeaway food will be consumed on the move and the packaging discarded. Therefore the problem of litter will increase hugely within the park.
“Mobile units will also contribute to noise pollution and increased use of plastic, and are not a sustainable option for our green heartland.
“The council is the custodian of Bute Park, and has a moral obligation to preserve the integrity, tranquility and biodiversity of this irreplaceable public open space. Bute Park deserves better than to be exploited for short-sighted, short-term commercial gain.”
People interested in tendering for the pitches should contact Cardiff council by November 27. The council will consider each application based on the proposed menu, experience and qualifications, trading schedule and business plan.
Applicants are also asked to explain how the business will minimise waste and operate in an environmentally conscious way. Whoever takes on the pitches will be responsible for clearing up litter within 20 metres of the site.