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Britain’s first ‘floating village’ planned for Atlantic Wharf

Artist impression of floating village
Floating village: the proposals include accommodation, offices and retail space. Photo via McGregor Coxall.
Developers are planning to build a ‘floating village’ on an obsolete dock in Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff – the first of its kind in the UK.

By Sam Portillo | News Editor

Developers are planning to build a ‘floating village’ on an obsolete dock in Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff – the first of its kind in the UK.

The 150-year old industrial dock was closed in 1970, and is now surrounded by apartments. Construction company Float8, however, which leads the way in ‘blue space’ development, wants to build homes, office blocks and retail space over the water.

“We can confirm Float8 is in ongoing exploratory discussions with the owners of a redundant dock in Cardiff regarding a first of its kind in the UK floating artisan village proposal at the Bute East Dock,” a spokesperson for the company said. “We are not [yet] in a position to disclose detailed information, other than our proposal includes a mixed-use floating scheme combining public realm space, floating homes, floating offices and retail space.”

Despite being optimistic about the project, the company is still in talks with the current owner of the port, and so far has not applied for planning permission.

The area first opened for business in the 1850s to facilitate exporting of coal and other commodities from the resource-rich South Wales Valleys, but now, it presents an opportunity to cater to a different kind of demand: places to live.

It would be the latest development in Atlantic Wharf and the surrounding areas of Cardiff, which have recently benefited from investments in an entertainment complex, high-rise apartments, and retail parks. Cardiff Council has plans to facilitate more residential living in the area as the housing market struggles to keep pace with growing demand. The Council plans to permit over 1,000 new homes, a 15,000-capacity indoor arena, hotels and a public square, providing future residents not just with accommodation but also a vibrant local community.

A spokesperson for Associated British Ports said the company is working with Cardiff Council to assess the options for developments on and around the Bute East Dock.

The Council has also released long-term plans that, if realised, could see County Hall demolished, as well as the popular Red Dragon entertainment complex which contains a cinema, a bowling and arcade complex, and multiple restaurants. Private sector developers would be responsible for building the proposed replacements, with a separate bidding process for each site.

The 15,000-capacity arena will be among the first proposals to be realised, and will become the sixth largest in Wales when it opens in early 2024.

The Red Dragon Centre would make way for a new complex which would feature a multi-storey car park, additional restaurants and bars, and a virtual reality tourist attraction, preliminarily titled ‘This is Wales’.

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