Construction of an 800-home waterfront community in Cardiff Bay is set to begin in the new year after the plans were given the go-ahead last night.
Considered the missing piece in the International Sports Village (ISV) jigsaw, the £250m Cardiff Pointe will be one of the biggest developments to rise up in the city in recent years.
Cardiff Council’s planning committee approved four linked applications to build 798 homes on vacant land off Ferry Road, Watkiss Way and Empire Way.
The largest scheme is for 561 homes – including 392 apartments and 169 houses – on the peninsular of land between Cardiff Bay Yacht Club and the International Swimming Pool.
Councillors were told Cardiff Pointe will be built in six phases, with early construction focusing on town houses and maisonettes.
Later phases will include 18 five-bedroom waterside “executive” houses and finally two landmark towers, standing 23 and 27 storeys high, that will “cantilever” over the water.
At the foot of the zinc-clad towers will be shops and community facilities, with the local health board already indicating it would be interested in opening a “satellite surgery”.
Committee chairman Councillor Michael Michael said: “Overall, I welcome this scheme – hopefully it’s a sign that the city is moving forward.”
The second site, currently used as a temporary car park for the swimming pool, will see 79 homes built, including 43 apartments and 36 houses.
The third application is for 63 apartments on land behind the Morrisons supermarket on Ferry Road, while the fourth is for 95 apartments on land off Watkiss Way.
These sites will also be a mixture of private and social housing.
Riverside’s Labour councillor Iona Gordon, the only councillor not to back the main scheme, was concerned it did not offer a continuous cycle path around the peninsular’s coastline.
“This Bay is our coast – we are denying access to views of the sea for the whole of the Cardiff’s citizens to enjoy,” she said, but planning officers insisted the proposed route was a “big improvement”.
As part of a deal to reduce the social housing element from 40% to 12.5%, developer Greenbank Partnerships Ltd must pay £7.9m towards a new ice arena.
Greenbank has separate plans for a 3,000-seat, dual-pad ice arena, real-snow indoor ski slope and what would be Wales’ tallest building for land neighbouring Cardiff Pointe.
It is hoped the ice arena, the new home of the Cardiff Devils, will be ready for the start of the 2014-15 ice hockey season. That application is expected to go before the planning committee in March.
The developer must also pay a contribution of almost £2m towards improving local primary and secondary schools, £118,500 per year for three years on boosting bus services and £106,050 on upgrading cycle routes.
Jonathan Smith, director of Figurehead Homes who will be delivering the scheme for Greenbank Partnerships Ltd, said: “We are delighted that Cardiff Council has resolved to approve the development and the regeneration of this part of Cardiff.
“We hope Cardiff Pointe will provide an exemplar residential development; not only one that reflects Cardiff’s current status as a capital city and a capital of culture, but also one that will hopefully set a blueprint for future development in the city.
“We believe that Cardiff should aspire to world-class and environmentally friendly residential design, and that high quality design and living accommodation should be readily accessible. Cardiff Pointe will provide a sustainable community offering a broad range of accommodation to suit all.”