By Charlotte King
Former plans to install a zip wire across Cardiff Bay, running from the top of an apartment block, Voco St. Davids, to the Norweigan Church across the water in Mermaid Quay, have recently been cancelled after City Zip Company Ltd, the firm co-ordinating the plans, withdrew.
In July 2019, it was originally announced that the zip wire would be postponed until 2020, but would be going ahead, following Cardiff Council taking more time to decide on whether it would grant planning permission for the experience or not. In the original plans, City Zip Company Ltd requested permission for the zip wire to be operational between July 9, 2019, and January 5, 2020. Following this delay, the company hoped that the attraction would be up and running by March 24, 2020.
The attraction planned to see people jumping from almost 150ft from the apartment complex and travel at speeds of up to 59km per hour down a 1,180ft-long zip wire to the waterfront by the Norweigan Church. However, it has now come to light that the entire proposal has been scrapped.
The proposal has been deemed controversial by residents of Cardiff Bay from the get go, with 62 objections being lodged against the idea. The Labour candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth in the upcoming general election, Stephen Doughty, was an individual who publicly voiced concerns with the scheme, insisting that the plans be scrapped following “significant opposition” from Cardiff Bay residents, as did Labour AM Vaughan Gething and Labour Party Councillor Saeed Ebrahim who were concerned about the experience disturbing nearby residents of Mermaid Quay.
Moreover, Doctor Who and Years & Years writer, Russell T Davies, and House of Cards writer Andrew Davies, who have apartments in the complex from which the proposed zip wire was supposed to run, also objected publicly to the plans.
Speaking about the proposals, Russell T Davies said: “I write for a living. I’m a television scriptwriter; I brought Doctor Who to Cardiff in 2005…but now you’re suggesting that I sit, in my Cardiff home, and write, with 48 people an hour flying past, screaming, for six months of the year.” He continued, “That equates to 64,512 people. Whizzing past my flat. Screaming.” Additionally, Andrew Davies suggested that the scheme was a “reckless” idea and as a screenwriter, he needs “peace and quiet” for his work.
The firm behind the attraction also faced controversy earlier this year when their advertising allegedly misled customers and they sold tickets, at the cost of £30 each, for the original launch date which then did not go ahead. What’s more, it is reported that City Zip Company Ltd also began selling tickets for the attraction’s opening date in 2020, despite never having been granted permission, Wales Online reports.
However, some thought the attraction was a good idea. Notably, Waterfront Partners, which is a network of businesses in the Bay, supported the scheme because they thought that the unique attraction would increase the number of visitors to the area and in turn would be beneficial to the Bay itself. Waterfront Partners are a not for profit organisation which sees over 30 public, private and non-voluntary businesses in the Bay pay a yearly fee to invest money into events for the area.
The zip wire project was expected to create 60 new jobs, it is reported. However, Chief Executive of City Zip Company Ltd, Barry Shaverin, has expressed that the company still intends to resubmit its plans for the attraction “as soon as possible” and rather than the company simply pulling out of the proposals, they withdrew the plans because saw an opportunity to improve them.
In light of this recent development, Stephen Doughty has further commented, saying, “I am delighted to hear that this ill-thought-out application has been withdrawn.
“I had serious concerns about this scheme ever since speaking to its proponents and have been very happy to stand on the side of local residents in opposing it.
“This company have serious questions to answer about why they continued to sell tickets – for both last summer and next year – for a proposal they did not have planning or other relevant petitions for.”