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The wasteland in Cardiff Bay that has been starved of development for years

02 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Bute Dry Dock in Cardiff Bay which was proposed to be tuned into a mixed use retail and commercial development as part of the Roath Basin masterplan. Photo Ted Peskett.

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

There are still no set plans to progress the development a patch of wasteland bordering one of Cardiff biggest areas of dockland.

A masterplan for the regeneration of Roath Basin in Cardiff Bay was lodged decades ago, but large parts of it have remained derelict.

Rusting relics of the basin and its associated locks ,which formed an integral part of Cardiff’s once lucrative coal trade, are now surrounded by weeds, moss and mud.

Some residents have also pointed out that one section nearby that has been developed in recent years, the Origami Bridge, has become filthy and that the lock next to it is a dumping ground for general litter.

The Welsh Government, which owns the land to the south of Roath Basin said it is not responsible for the maintenance of the bridge or dock.

Litter picks

Associated British Ports (ABP) said it is responsible for the management of the water in Roath Basin, but does not hold ownership of any land to the south of Roath Basin, including Bute Dry Dock.

It said ABP regularly conducts litter picks, but as the Origami Bridge and its surrounding water are accessible to the public this “presents challenges in preventing litter entirely”.

Residents have criticised the lack of upkeep at the Origami Bridge and nearby lock in Cardiff Bay. Photo Ted Peskett

The Roath Lock BBC Studios were developed in the area in 2011 as part of plans to regenerate Porth Teigr, or Tiger Bay.

Three years later, Gloworks, a five-storey high production building opened and the Welsh Government said not long afterwards that it was set to look at more options for space at Porth Teigr to allow further development.

There are other signs of development nearby, like Tiger Yard, Cardiff Bay View Point, a cafe and the restored lock keeper’s cottage opposite.

The Cardiff Capital Region website states that “full use is to be made of the location which fronts the Roath Basin with a proposed new working waterfront”, but options are still being considered.

A regeneration masterplan for Roath Basin was put forward in 2003 and approved by Cardiff council in 2008.

Igloo, a regeneration fund managed by Aviva, was tasked with a phased redevelopment of the area.

It was originally proposed that the first phase of development would involve the regeneration of the site for residential and commercial use and that a media development would follow.

However, with the opportunity to develop the BBC studios on site – labelled a “once in a generation” opportunity by Igloo at the time – the masterplan was amended to prioritise this as part of the first phase of development.

The masterplan proposed the delivery of public access around Roath Basin, a cycle path and new bridge – all of which was delivered.

he Gloworks building at Roath Basin in Cardiff Bay. Photo Ted Peskett.

Other aspects proposed in the masterplan include 1,010 homes, a mixed use commercial and retail development around Bute Dry Dock, a residential community around Channel Dry Dock, a residential area facing into the bay and a commercial waterfront development.

There is still no progress on this part of the masterplan and Igloo’s development agreement with the Welsh Government terminated in 2018, meaning it has not been in a position to develop the site from that date.

Under review

When approached about what the future holds for the derelict land south of Roath Basin, a Welsh Government spokesperson said development options for the site are currently under review.

The spokesperson added that any development for the site will be subject to the normal planning process and that there is no set timescale for submission of a planning application.

When approached about the management of Roath Basin and the Origami Bridge, an ABP spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring a safe and clean environment around our ports.

“As part of our efforts, we regularly conduct litter picks to ensure the cleanliness of the areas under our management.

“However, it’s important to note that the Origami Bridge and its surrounding water area are accessible to the public, which presents challenges in preventing littering entirely.

“ABP remains dedicated to promoting cleanliness and sustainability in the areas we manage.”


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Mr Williams
Mr Williams
7 days ago

The amount of litter in central Cardiff is disgraceful. If you walk down the riverside, opposite the Principality Stadium, you will see so much litter all over the embankment and in the streets. Canton and Roath are filthy with litter. What on earth has happened to our lovely capital city?

Mr Ben
Mr Ben
7 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Years of austerity taking their toll. All aspects of the public realm in towns and cities up and down Britain are in tatters.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 days ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

Cardiff has always been a bit grubby despite the odd bit of new gloss here and there which soon fades into the general grime. Cleansing is all well and good but segments of the public seem duty bound to dump their litter indiscriminately as soon as an opportunity presents itself. No wonder the rats are thriving.

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