A new masterplan proposing the expansion of the city centre southwards and the completion of Cardiff Bay is to be unveiled tomorrow.
Cardiff council will present its vision for growing the capital’s economy over the next 20 to 30 years to business leaders.
However, yourCardiff has obtained a leaked copy of the Labour-run authority’s draft green paper, entitled Rebuilding Momentum.
The report proposes high density Scandinavian-style living, more public squares and a light rail transport system connecting the city centre and Bay.
It also confirms previously reported ambitions, such as a convention centre and indoor arena, more high spec office space and an integrated transport hub.
There is no new detail, however, on the cost of the schemes, how they would be funded or any indication of the timescale in which they could be delivered.
In his foreword, Councillor Russell Goodway, cabinet member for finance, says it is over a decade since the last major investment was secured and the city’s performance has dipped as a consequence.
The former council leader says “some deep-rooted problems persist”, adding: “Cardiff needs to deliver a step-change in economic performance.
“The need to reinvigorate the city’s ambition and to position the city for its next phase of development is now long overdue.
“However, a vision alone is not enough. We need to identify the projects and initiatives that will deliver the city’s ambition and ensure they translate into jobs and opportunities for the people that need them.”
Key infrastructure projects, the paper says, will “stimulate and shape the next phase of Cardiff’s growth”. These include:
The pedestrianisation of St Mary Street could be extended south under the railway line and Callaghan Square which will also undergo “comprehensive reconfiguration”.
New public squares are suggested for north and south of Cardiff Central station, as well as a “significant public square” next to the new Admiral HQ.
Mount Stuart Square is also proposed for reconfiguration as part of a refurbished Coal Exchange, while the public realm at Oval Basin could be extended to Atlantic Wharf.
County Hall – the council’s own HQ – is proposed as the site for a convention centre, primarily as it could also accommodate an indoor arena.
As reported in January, the paper confirms other potential sites under consideration are Callaghan Square, Brains brewery and the Red Dragon Centre.
The arena – previously reported to have a capacity of up to 11,000 people – will provide “easy access to top-tier entertainment”.
If built separately from the convention centre, the arena could boost the Bay’s leisure offer or anchor a new leisure destination, for example at the Brains brewery site.
The masterplan sets out a new form of “modern high-density urban living” prevalent in Scandinavian cities.
It says there is room for 6,000 new houses through the regeneration of the Dumballs Road area, expansion of Atlantic Wharf and the creation of a “two-sided street in Lloyd George Avenue”.
Grade A office district
The areas north and south of Cardiff Central station, Callaghan Square, Capital Quarter, Roath Basin and Cardiff Waterside are identified for new office space.
Land at the rear of St David’s shopping centre could be “freed up” by the new indoor arena development, it says. The report does not name the Motorpoint Arena but says the land – referred to as St David’s Square – is adjacent to insurance firm Admiral’s new HQ.
Integrated transport hub
The hub would provide “one enhanced and joined-up station facility instead of separate facilities for buses and trains”.
The intention, the paper says, is to remodel the area around Cardiff Central and make provision for a new Light Rapid Transit system as part of the proposed “Cardiff Metro”.
The Labour administration recently admitted it won’t deliver its election promise to deliver a new bus station by the polls in 2017 and was instead focusing on the hub idea.
A new Light Rapid Transit (LRT) system linking the city centre to the Bay will “enable the expansion of the city centre southwards towards the Bay and the Bay northwards towards the city centre”.
There is no detail about the type of technology to be used or the specific route, but the paper says connections to other areas in the city centre, such as Queen Street station, and further expansion north need to be considered.
The green paper goes on to describe how the masterplan will manage the development of a new “district” that “will fill the gap” between the city centre and Bay.
This includes the creation of an “Atlantic Quarter” which, it says, will be a new mixed-use, leisure-led destination and the “key development in the south”.
Plaid Cymru councillor Neil McEvoy, a former cabinet member for economic development, said: “I have no idea why it was marked ‘strictly confidential’, there was nothing new in it.
“It just seems like a frustrated ex-wannabe Westminster politician indulging in a bit of fantasy ministerial politics.
“The paper itself is trite and needlessly bitter about the last two administrations. Instead of criticising the past, where is the vision for the future?”
The paper is open for a six-week public consultation from Friday. Views can be submitted from Friday here.