Cardiff Bay: What has 30 years of growth achieved?

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Media captionWhat has been achieved in 30 years of redevelopment in Cardiff Bay?

Future growth of Cardiff Bay wants a extra coordinated strategy to make sure its success, the person behind its reinvention 30 years in the past has stated.

Lord Crickhowell has hailed the general regeneration of the previous derelict docklands as a significant success.

However he’s fiercely against the most recent plans to redevelop land for residences, together with a 24-story constructing.

Three a long time after he sparked plans for one of many greatest overhauls town has seen, what has been achieved?


Cardiff Bay waterfront in 1977 – derelict earlier than regeneration

As soon as the epicentre of Wales’ booming coal and export industries, by the 1980s, Cardiff Bay had change into an deserted wasteland of derelict docks and mudflats.

A sufferer of a dramatic fall in commerce following World Conflict Two and competitors from different ports noticed its decline and a plan was put in place to convey it again to life and reconnect it to town centre.

The Cardiff Bay Growth Company (CBDC) was arrange in April 1987 to regenerate the 1,100 hectares (2,700 acres) of dockland between Cardiff and Penarth.

A part of the British authorities’s City Growth Programme – to regenerate disadvantaged areas of inside cities – its intention was to “put Cardiff on the worldwide map” and enhance the picture and financial wellbeing of the realm.

Is most important targets have been to:

  • promote growth and supply an atmosphere the place individuals wish to stay, work and play
  • reunite town centre with its waterfront
  • construct a blended growth to create jobs
  • obtain the very best normal of design and high quality in its growth and funding
  • set up the realm as a recognised centre of excellence in city regeneration


Cardiff Bay in 1987

The primary catalyst for regeneration got here with proposals for a barrage.

The construction was wanted to entice water from the extraordinarily tidal Severn estuary, with out which the bay could be with out water for a lot of the day at low tide.

Nevertheless it was not with out controversy.

Many residents, politicians and conservationists have been towards the plan with worries together with the potential flood danger to houses and the lack of habitat for wading birds and migrating wildlife.

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David Dixon/Geograph


The barrage is now a giant draw for guests

Others have been involved about its £220m price – together with then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who claimed plans for it “simply hasn’t been labored out sufficient”, and Labour MPs equivalent to future First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

However after 4 years of political battles, 5 failed parliamentary payments and a resignation menace from then-Welsh Secretary Nicholas Edwards, now Lord Crickhowell, work started in 1994.

It was accomplished in 1999 and was one of many greatest engineering tasks in Europe, making a everlasting 200-hectare freshwater lake.

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The barrage is 1.1km lengthy and extends from Cardiff docks within the north to Penarth

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Robin Drayton/Geograph


Mermaid Quay is dwelling to retailers, eating places and bars

Together with it got here the retailers, bars and eating places of Mermaid Quay that overlook it and later the development of Lloyd George Avenue linking the waterfront with town centre.

Recalling the chilly, moist day when he first went to asses what might be finished to revitalise the realm, Lord Crickhowell remembers a “huge space of dereliction”.

He stated regardless of the then-South Glamorgan Council exhibiting confidence within the bay by constructing its County Corridor headquarters at Atlantic Wharf in 1981, the vast majority of the realm was not in use.

He stated: “I out of the blue realised that what we wish to be doing was bringing individuals again to stay and work and play within the space.

“I feel it [Cardiff Bay] has been an immense success. There’s an entire technology who has no concept what it was like earlier than.

“We can not ponder Cardiff with out the bay. It is the centre of town – it is extremely profitable.

“And all of the critics… issues about floor water and potential flooding and anxieties – all that was fairly unjustified.

“The barrage has protected Cardiff from flooding and tidal surges. It is offered safety and never a menace.”

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Wales Millennium Centre changed earlier plans for a Cardiff Bay Opera Home

Additional growth got here within the years that adopted, specifically within the type of 1000’s of flats – a pattern that continues in earnest at this time – together with a mass of workplace house.

However its skyline was to vary additional in 2004 and 2006 with the opening of what might now be argued are two of its most iconic buildings.

The primary was Wales Millennium Centre – a devoted opera and humanities home – which opened following a 20-year marketing campaign.

However very similar to the barrage earlier than it, it too was dogged with issues.

It started in 1995 when a world contest was launched to search out an architect for what was then known as the Cardiff Bay Opera Home.

Iraqi-born Dame Zaha Hadid gained however her mission was later thought of too huge and dangerous, and it was rejected.

Additional issues in regards to the subsequent constructing’s price noticed its measurement reduce however it will definitely opened in 2004.

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The Senedd was opened by the Queen in 2006

On the identical time plans for a new dwelling for meeting members have been being developed following the formation of the Nationwide Meeting for Wales in 1999.

In addition to being designed with the intention of making essentially the most distinctive constructing within the nation, the Senedd has gained quite a few design awards and achieved the very best sustainability award for a new-build in Wales.

Designed by architects Lord Richard Rogers and Ivan Harbour, who wished to create an accessible constructing that appeared to rise on a plinth of Welsh slate from Cardiff Bay, it opened in 2006.

Each buildings have been finally accomplished after the CBDC was wound up in 2000, however supporters consider the organisation paved the best way for the bay’s growth which continues at this time.

  • 16,750 new jobs

  • four,800 new flats and homes

  • 327 hectares reclaimed land

  • 79 hectares of open areas

  • 26 miles of latest/upgraded roads

Hywel Williams/Geograph

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Debbie J/Geograph


Cardiff Bay now hosts many occasions together with a seaside at Roald Dahl Plass through the summer season

Roger Thomas, former chairman of Cooke and Arkwright chartered surveyors, which helped advise on the feasibility of the early redevelopment, stated the CBDC had left a legacy to be pleased with.

“I hate to assume what Cardiff could be like if it hadn’t been finished,” he stated.

“There was a variety of political opposition to the barrage and through the subsequent 20 years of its life it [the bay]went by means of financial recessions, that does not assist anybody, however it has put Cardiff on the European and world map.”

He stated whereas early concepts to construct double the 4 billion sq. ft of workplace house finally developed have been rightly stood down, some individuals’s fears that too many flats have been constructed too shortly have been unfounded.

He stated the “utterly disregarded” space round Mount Stuart Sq. had been “vastly improved” however admitted one “lacking hyperlink” was the deliberate extension of the M4 to the bay by way of St Mellons which by no means got here to fruition.

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Signature Dwelling


The Coal Trade, the place the primary £1m cheque was signed, has reopened as a lodge in Mount Stuart Sq.

However Cardiff Bay’s revamp has not been with out its critics.

In 2012, award-winning planning marketing consultant Adrian Jones said it was a contender for the “worst instance of waterside regeneration in Britain”.

Writing within the Bevan Basis Assessment, he stated its regeneration was a “dumb plan” which…


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