Crumlin Navigation Community Trust
Following the difficulties during the pandemic no general meetings were held of Trustees or Committee Members of the “Friends”. It was decided that a special meeting would be held on the 21st November 2021 mainly as an AGM for the Trust but with “Friends” in attendance. It is felt necessary to provide an overview of the content of the meeting as it gives a flavour of activities on the site since the start of the pandemic and what is happening at the present time.
The key events which have involved the Trust since the start of the pandemic:
22nd February 2020 - Following the heavy rainfall associated with Storms Clara and Dennis there was a major collapse of the culvert at the northern end with the river undercutting a section of culvert retaining wall, which collapsed, bringing down a section of the culvert roof. The resulting ‘hole’ severed the access roads to the Bath House area and the top level of the site. See link to Archived page
The Trust took immediate action to make the site safe, closing it to all visitors, fencing off the collapsed area and other precautions, notifying South Wales Building Preservation Trust, Caerphilly Council and National Resources Wales of the event. The latter organisations sent representatives to view the ‘hole’ and confirmed that it was one of many such incidents in the area and that as there was no immediate flooding risk to property they would be taking no action. SWBPT, as site owner, was responsible for repairs but such work would need to approved by them before any works commenced.
April 2020 - The Trust commissioned EDS contractors to carry out a full inspection of the inside of the culvert with a qualified confined spaces diving team. Their report, which confirmed that the storm damage was limited to the collapsed section of the culvert, was forwarded to SWBPT for action. The site reopened for limited activities and essential access purposes only.
May 2020 - Prior to the collapse agreement had been reached with ARC Training for parts of the site to be used for training construction apprentices. ARC and their trainees would carry out works around the site with the Trust providing the materials used. The Trust had made a successful application to the Gildemeister Community Benefit Fund for a £2000 grant to support this activity.
June/July 2020 - Site closed due to Covid lockdown during which significant vandalism damage was done to the recently completed electrical supply connections to the containers.
August 2020 - ARC advised that they had been successful in their application for support for the apprentice scheme and were commencing a recruitment process for the first batch of apprentices.
September 2020 – The Network Rail contract for the replacement rail over river bridge at Crumlin was coming to an end and the Trust successfully negotiated with their contractor Amco-Giffon for them to deposit the 700T + of graded aggregate used to provide the crane support platform on site for our use, together with 40T of gabion stone and a range of other building materials, including a substantial amount of galvanised tubing and fittings. See link to Archived page
October 2020 - Some of the Gildemeister grant was used to acquire a 20ft container for storage of the higher value items donated by Amco-Giffon.
December 2020 - Amco-Giffon vacated the site with site clearance and making good works.
February 2021 - ARC training brought their first apprentices to site, the Trust provided site induction, welfare and secure storage facilities and used the balance of the Gildemeister funding to purchase essential tools and materials for their training programme.
May 2021 – ARC moved some construction plant onto the site and commenced establishment of a permanent presence on site with mobile class room and welfare facilities. They confirmed to the Trust that they would in future be carrying out a range of training activities, including basic plant driving skills and that they were in the process of getting the site approved for formal training certification.
July 2021 - Cardiff Metropolitan University advised they had succeeded to the second round for funding to erect polytunnels on the site to be used to support the training activities organised between ARC and the Pupil Referral Units in the area.
August 2021 - The University confirmed the applications had been successful with a grant of £7000 being available for this activity.
September 2021 - The Trust was advised that ARC had negotiated an agreement with SWBPT to allow them to use all of the site for training purposes in return for which they would carry out improvement works throughout the site using the plant and labour available to them. They would also take over responsibility for the services used on the site (currently Electricity and Water) and were seeking to provide a land line to their mobile class room with the future provision of security CCTV planned.
The Trust was delighted that ARC’s activities on site were expanding (they now have a presence on site most weekdays) and welcomed the return of CCTV coverage which had been lost in 2019. Concern was raised, however, that the scale of the agreement between ARC and SWBPT could cut across and effectively replace the agreement in place between CNCT and SWBPT for the day to day management of the site.
October 2021 – A site meeting with ARC, Cardiff Met and a Pupil Referral Unit agreed that the best location to put the poly tunnels was in the area over the old boiler house. ARC agreed to clear and level the area in question and Cardiff Met would investigate the most suitable type of unit.
December 2021 - The future of the Trust was extensively discussed at the meeting as it had been felt for a long time that the organisation was not easy to understand and operations needed streamlining. As a result the Trustees unanimously agreed to close down the Trust in early 2022 subject to satisfactory arrangements having been agreed with SWBPT for the representation of local community interest in the future development of the site and support for the continuation of “Friends” current and future activities.