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How Ongoing Development has Transformed Cardiff Bay

Lord Crickhowell has stated that future Cardiff Bay development requires a more coordinated approach if it is to succeed.

Although he has proclaimed the regeneration of the former docklands to be a major success, he opposes the latest plan to redevelop the area for flats.

The current situation traces its roots to April 1987, when the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation was set up to regenerate the stretch of dockland between Penarth and Cardiff. Its purpose was to improve the image and economic well-being of the local area and put Cardiff on the international map.

After four years of controversy and a threat by Welsh Secretary Nicholas Edwards (Lord Crickhowell) to resign, work on Cardiff Bay development started in 1994. It was completed in 1999 and earned a distinction as one of the largest engineering projects in Europe.

More expansion came in the ensuing years, primarily in the form of thousands of apartments and volumes of office space. The skyline changed further when the Wales Millennium Centre and the Senedd, two of Cardiff’s most iconic buildings, were opened in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Cardiff Bay now plays hosts to many popular events, including a popular beach at Roald Dahl Plass.

Chartered surveyors Cooke and Arkwright were advisors during the early stages of the overall redevelopment. Former chairman Roger Thomas recently said that the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation left a legacy worthy of pride.


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The Cardiff Bay development has drawn criticism from some quarters. In 2012 Adrian Jones, the award-winning planning consultant, called it a contender for the worst example of waterside generation in the country.

Building housing in the bay area has drawn its own share of criticism, with questions being raised about the actual need for the high number of flats being built. Estate agent Mick Jones expressed concern that the area has been overdeveloped, pointing out that supply has been exceeding demand for years.

Housing is the focal point of the most recent controversy, with the public being opposed to Associated British Ports' intention to build a 24-storey apartment complex. Lord Crickhowell and other campaigners expressed concern that parkland will be lost as a result and the area aesthetics would be destroyed.

Associated British Ports South Wales property manager Rhys Morgan said that the development was in accord with the council’s goal of high quality waterfront regeneration. He explained that the scheme would also unite other key areas currently in the process of regeneration.

Campaigners expressed concern that the Norwegian Church would be dwarfed by Dolffin Quay and cause parkland to be lost.

The Cardiff city council is presently in the process of drawing up a masterplan which will identify potential areas of development. It stated that the plan’s goal would be to make the most of regeneration opportunities, balancing the needs of the community while maintaining the city’s heritage, historic character, and maritime history.

Developers have already put forward some proposals, which include offices, hotel apartments, and food venues constructed from shipping containers.


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