Plans unveiled for tram down to Cardiff Bay as part of £100m project
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
A plan to replace the railway to Cardiff Bay with a tramline could see many more links from Bute Street to Lloyd George Avenue.
A huge wall and railway separates the working class community of Butetown from the more affluent flats on Atlantic Wharf.
But the tramline plan would see several “holes punched in the wall”, with much better access through or over the wall.
A new park would be created running along the tramline using some of the space currently taken up by the railway, and part of the road on Lloyd George Avenue.
Council leader Huw Thomas described the plans to a recent meeting of the economy and culture scrutiny committee.
He said: “[We would] take a chunk of the road space from Lloyd George Avenue and the current land designated as railway land, recognising that for a tram-train solution you won’t need that width of land allocated just for the railway.
“[We could] create an urban park within that space, creating better through-links from that area into Butetown, and punching holes in the wall along Bute Street.”
Cardiff council is bidding for £50 million from the UK government’s Levelling Up Fund for the project. Other funding sources would be needed as it could cost at least £100 million in total. Details of the tramline and park project were revealed this week as part of that bid.
The tram forms a key part of the Cardiff Crossrail project, which could run from Creigaiu in the northwest, through Plasdŵr, to the south of Cardiff Central, down to the Bay, and then east to Splott and Tremorfa.
The park surrounding the tramline along Bute Street and Lloyd George Avenue would be modelled on the High Line park in New York—a narrow, mile-and-half long park along the west side of Manhattan—and the similar Promenade plantée in Paris.
These plans are at the early stages, however, and are reliant on securing funding. The Levelling Up Fund totals £4.8 billion, but many other councils are also vying for that money.
Cardiff council has also previously mooted other major changes to Lloyd George Avenue, yet to have been realised. In April a plan was announced to turn much of the road into a car park, but council bosses are still reportedly analysing the consultation responses.
In spring 2019, the council also consulted on building a new cycleway on Lloyd George Avenue, but options for this “are still being looked at”.
However, removing some of the barriers of the wall at Bute Street would likely be welcomed by many in the local area—as some have deemed it the ‘Berlin Wall’ of Cardiff, symbolising the division between the richer parts of the Bay and the more deprived parts of Butetown.