Tomorrow, Cardiff Council’s Planning Committee will consider an application to demolish the Paddle Steamer, a historic establishment in Butetown, for social housing. Campaigners have made a simple ask to engage with them to find a way to keep space for the cafe on the site as part of the development. 

We’re calling on Council Leader Huw Thomas to pull the application from the agenda until the community has been properly consulted. You can email him using a draft letter here.

Below is the letter sent by community members to the South Wales Echo:

Dear Editor,

The Paddle Steamer has been an iconic establishment in Loudoun square for generations. It now faces demolition, but council leader Huw Thomas has the power to save this long-established meeting place for some of Cardiff’s oldest black communities.

We welcome plans for council housing on the site, in an age where councils across Wales have failed miserably to house people on ever-growing waiting lists. But in an area constantly deprived of the amenities taken for granted in other parts of the city, there has been no recognition of what it means to build these units without any space for a business such as the Paddle Steamer.

With a long and colorful history, the Paddle has most recently been an important meeting place for Cardiff’s long-established Somali and Yemeni communities. It serves halal and culturally appropriate foods in an alcohol-free environment. Community leaders and solicitors regularly use the cafe to meet vulnerable residents to support them with their complex needs, from state benefits advice to immigration and asylum guidance.

Closing it is also going to deny young people an age-appropriate space to meet with friends and play pool, inevitably forcing them to spend more free time on the streets. Without the cafe, many elderly people living nearby would lose both regular hot food and the opportunity to socialise and meet other people. The cafe has also supported charity and disaster relief and has supplied free food during Ramadan.
Local residents are asking the Council to add space for the cafe to its redevelopment plans. This request was presented at the Pre-Consultation Application phase, but to no avail, and has been supported by hundreds of objections since the plans were finalised. All the council needs to do as the client is instruct the developer to include the cafe as part of the development – it’s a win-win situation. We get brand new housing for the community and retain the Paddle Steamer cafe too.

After celebrating the removal of Thomas Picton’s statue from City Hall, and creating a BAME taskforce, will the Council now take real action to support Cardiff’s black communities?

Huw Thomas and the member for housing, Lynda Thorne, can treat people with respect, engage with them and ensure the development is adjusted to meet the needs of all concerned, or they can continue the historic pattern of neglect and antipathy from the city’s authorities towards the communities of Butetown.

The choice is theirs.

Yours faithfully

Amanda Khaireh

Abdirahman Adam

Abdihalim Jama

Mahamed Mahamoud

Ahmed Abdi

Alex Wilson

Amber Thomas

Andrea Lockwood

Ashai Hassan

Barrie Phillips

Rebecca Colclough

Brian Camilleri

Daoud Salaman

Zaid Djerdi

Douglas Proctor

Eduardo Estrada

Elbashir Idris

Elias Ahmed

Fatima ingram

Filsan Nur

Gweni Llwyd

Haneefa Hassan

Hassan Yousuf

Halima Yousuf

Mustafa Abdi

Ian Ernest

Ismail Hussain

Jami Abramson

Kadija Hassan

Kay Denyer

Chris Kearns

Steve Khaireh

Mark Stevens

Lala Hassan

Larry Georges

Ambreena Manji

Marwa Yousuf

Mayla Hassan

Dylan Mears

Mohamed Yusef

Moseem Suleman

Musa Hassan

Nadia Nur

Nadifa Mohamed

Naomi Ernest

Neil Evans

Nirushan Sudarsan

Sarah Bowen

Owain Lewis

Owain Elidir

Mair Jones

Rooda Ahmed

Safa Yousuf

Ms. Sara Robinson

Save the Northern Meadows

Sophie D

Sharmarkeh Aman

Mike Webb

Jo Selman

Wasif Raza

Mohamud Yousuf

Yahgub Hassan

Yahye Hassan

Yasmin Begum

Yosuf Yousuf

Zoe Rogers

One reply on “Save the Paddle Steamer – letter to the press”

  1. I support the campaign to save this iconic building it is also vitally important to save a community facility as the area is devoid of facilities for the community and if it’s lost It will have a detrimental effect on the community and in years to come the council will say it was a mistake band in hindsight they wouldn’t have done it.

Comments are closed.

The content of these articles does not necessarily convey the standpoints of Undod as a movement. We have chosen to publish a variety of items by people who support our principles as a movement in order to inspire and spur conversation.