BBC HQ Photo credit: Central Square
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What will Cardiff look like in 20 years?

Gair Rhydd investigates Cardiff’s imminent development plans

By Harry Webster

Cardiff is set to undergo mass regeneration during the next 20 years, with billion pound plans being made to rejuvenate the cities currently dilapidated public spaces and services, while also creating thousands of new homes in and around the city centre.

One of the cities largest projects is the regeneration of Central Square, which upon completion will include a new BBC headquarters, a new bus station, and a brand new home for Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, amongst other office space.

It has now been announced that the second phase of the five-phase Central Square development project will include a brand new public square to the north of Central Station, with the St. David’s House building on Wood Street being set to make way for further development.

Speaking of the Central Square development programme City of Cardiff Council Leader, Phil Bale, said: “The Central Square regeneration is a fantastic example of Cardiff’s recent economic success. The project is well on-track to deliver over 1 million sq. ft. of high-quality development with the potential to bring 10,000 jobs into the city centre.”

Building work on the Central Square development began in 2014, while work on the fifth, and final phase of the project is set to begin in 2018.

Plans were also recently revealed to further develop the Capitol Shopping Centre on Queen Street, which owners NewRiver claim has suffered since the opening of the nearby St. David’s Centre.

New River acquired the shopping centre – which currently has a number of empty retail spaces – in 2015 as part of a portfolio of various centres for around £92 million.

The company has said that they “plan to revive the centre as a mixed-use retail and leisure destination,” while also adding that they plan to build 100 new apartments in the air space above the complex.

Further developments have also been confirmed for new residential projects on the outskirts of the city, with plans for a new £2 billion ‘garden village’ to be built near St. Fagans recently being granted planning permission.

The project, which is being carried out by construction company Redrow Homes, will include four schools, shops, health and sports facilities, alongside a planned 630 new homes.

Work on the first 126 homes is expected to begin within the next few months, with the rest of the development being carried out over much longer 20 year period.

These homes will be the first to be built on the 900 acre Plasdŵr site, with construction work on a further 290 homes being planned for the end of the year.

With so many new homes being built in, and around the city centre, investments have also been made to ensure Wales has a green future.

One such investment was revealed last week with the opening of a new 20 acre solar farm in St. Georges.

The farm is expected to be able to provide renewable energy for around 800 homes across a 25 year period, and cost Bridgend based company Cenin Renewables around £3 million pounds to build.

Speaking of the farm which consists of 11,500 solar panels, Martyn Popham, managing director of Cenin Renewables, said: “The new investment allows us to expand our clustering strategy to deliver sustainable jobs and local economic prosperity.

“We all live on an increasingly crowed planet. Over the next 50 years there will be increasing competition for work, and possibly even for food and water.

“We currently use around three times more resources than the planet can sustain, so we need to better use materials harness nature resources and create less waste.”

This comes after Gair Rhydd recently reported on plans to invest £8 billion on a tidal lagoon in Cardiff Bay, large enough to provide electricity for the whole of Wales.

The proposed lagoon would consist of 60-90 turbines, spread across an area of 70 square kilometres. The supposed output of the lagoon would be between 4-6 terawatt hours.

Along with the environmental benefits, it has been proposed that the lagoon would also create over 1,000 permanent jobs.

Council leader, Phil Bale said that if plans for the lagoon were to go through, it would be a project “of international significance”, while fellow councillor, Ramesh Patel said: “it could totally transform the city and put us on the world map in terms of clean energy.”

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