RADICAL and wide-ranging plans to transform Cardiff Bay into one of the UK’s leading visitor and tourism destinations will be reviewed this week.
On Thursday, Cardiff Council’s Cabinet is to examine a detailed report that outlines the progress of existing projects and unveils exciting new possibilities which could help transform the Bay area, including:
The latest news on the Cardiff Indoor Arena, which will now have a capacity of 17,000 up from earlier projections of 15,000;
Proposals to ‘green’ Lloyd George Avenue creating an urban park, replacing the underused current dual carriageway road system with a standard single carriageway, removing traffic lights and introducing new landscaping. Community engagement on this is set to take place in the coming months;
Replacing the Red Dragon Centre on Atlantic Wharf with a larger leisure complex; and
Expanding the International Sports Village to add a new velodrome and a moto-cross venue to the existing ice rink, international pool and white water complex, and.
Major upgrades of the transport network, to include safe cycle and walking routes from the city centre to the Bay, a Metro extension including a new station north of Loudoun Square, and the potential for a transport hub at Pierhead Street and connections to Cardiff’s proposed Crossrail project and the new Cardiff Parkway station near St Mellons
Backing the plans, Cllr Russell Goodway, the Cabinet Member for Investment and Development, said the moves would rejuvenate and ‘reignite’ Cardiff Bay.
“It’s our intention to transform this historic part of Cardiff into a leading UK destination for leisure, culture and tourism, increasing visitors and, just as importantly, creating more jobs and opportunities for people who live nearby, not just in the construction phase but in helping to run all these initiatives when they are completed.”
Some of the other proposals, which would need Government funding and private sector partnerships to progress, include:
A new lido-style pool at Mermaid Quay, close to Techniquest, that will enable outdoor swimming in a heated pool and access to ‘wild’ swimming in Cardiff Bay
A 450,000sq ft event site and waterfront park at Alexandra Head, plus other family attractions and an urban beach
The creation of an ‘academy-type’ cultural venue for performance arts linked to the Wales Millennium Centre, and a virtual-reality ‘flight over Wales’ experience, based on an existing attraction in Amsterdam, with both located near the arena and the WMC.
“While we are looking to introduce world-class venues and attractions here to rival anything outside of London,” said Cllr Goodway, “the real key is improving the means of getting into and out of Cardiff Bay and the revitalised Atlantic Wharf, where the new indoor arena will be based.”
While some of the schemes have already been proposed, progress over the past two years has been held up by the pandemic. But the Council is hopeful that those already in the planning stage will now move forward and potential schemes can be further investigated. Many are interdependent, with the creation of the new arena – planned to open in early 2025 – most crucial of all to unlocking private sector confidence and funds to develop future projects.
Officers are currently establishing sites for the projects, acquiring land where necessary and discussing proposals from building companies, venue operators and bodies that are key to their success, such as Transport for Wales.
To help fund the regeneration, Cardiff Council is planning to bid for a share of the UK Government’s £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund and secure match-funding from the Welsh Government.
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