Council criticised over Cardiff Bay barrage closure
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
The barrage at Cardiff Bay will be mostly shut to cyclists and walkers next week for four days of concerts.
The key route from the Bay to Penarth will be closed from 4.30pm until midnight on Thursday, September 16, from midday to 12.30am on Friday and Saturday, September 17 and 18, and from midday to midnight on Sunday, September 19.
The closures are due to four concerts at Alexandra Head: rock band Biffy Clyro on Thursday, a drum’n’bass night on Friday, a house night on Saturday, and disco band Nile Rodgers and Chic on Sunday.
But the decision to close the whole barrage from cyclists and walkers has drawn criticism from Cardiff councillors.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Joe Carter said: “It’s really surprising to see a major walking and cycle route closed over the weekend to allow a concert to take place. The weekend is the busiest time for the barrage, particularly for the last weekend of the Aqua Park.
“It is hard to imagine a major road being closed, and yet the needs of pedestrians and cyclists are ignored. The barrage and access road should be wide enough to allow everyone to use it. We hope the council can reconsider and find a way of keeping it open to everyone.”
Conservative Cllr Mike Phillips said: “We cannot compromise active travel for a concert. Disenfranchising walkers and cyclists suggests we are not serious about embedding healthier forms of transport into our systems.”
The barrage will be closed from the Porth Teigr roundabout to the Penarth end of the barrage. People going to the concerts can only enter and exit the events at the Porth Teigr roundabout.
Cardiff council said the closure to walkers was needed to prevent crowds from blocking access to walkers, and also to reduce the risk of similar scenes at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium, when crowds stormed the entrance and forced their way in.
Councillor Peter Bradbury, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “The barrage will be open to everyone until 4:30pm on Thursday and until midday on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“From these times until midnight on Thursday and Sunday and until 12:30am after the Titan Festivals on the weekend, the site will be open to ticket holders only.
“If you’re travelling from Penarth, please make sure you’re on the Cardiff side of the barrage before the site closes. All access to the gigs will be on the Cardiff side of the barrage where security, soft ticket checks and Covid checks will be set up by the event organisers.
“If you’re a ticket holder, the entrance and exit for the events will be near the Porth Teigr roundabout, the Bay end of the barrage walkway. Up to 11,000 ticket holders will be at these events each day so it would be difficult, if not impossible, for commuters or cyclists to cross the barrage safely.
“Such high-profile acts attract a lot of interest and if the barrage remained open, potentially large crowds could gather.
“Closing the site will reduce the risks associated with the gathering of large crowds in the area, including blocked access for people commuting or walking, preventing emergency vehicles accessing the area if required, risk of overcrowding and congestion on entry and exit to the events and the potential for non-ticket holders to get into the event, which could lead to a similar situation seen at the recent European Championships at Wembley.
“This is the first time events have been held at Alexandra Head since before the pandemic and we want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable return to outdoor events at this venue.”
Signs on the closures will be in place in the area early next week, further information can be found on the Harbour Authority website.