5th August 2020

The £120m train station for South Wales at the heart of a new business district for 6,000 workers

Plans for a new £120m mainline train station between Cardiff and Newport, at the heart of a 900,000 sq ft business district supporting up to 6,000 jobs, will be submitted later this year.

It comes as a pre-planning five week statutory public consultation exercise starts today on the Cardiff Parkway station project and its adjoining Cardiff Hendre Lakes commercial development at a 200 acre site in the St Mellons area of the capital.

The ambitious project, on former farmland, is being driven by Cardiff Parkway Developments Ltd, a joint venture between financial services giant Investec, the Welsh Government and entrepreneurs Nigel and Andrew Roberts. Subject to consent, construction work will start in 2021 with the Cardiff Parkway station opening to passengers in 2024.

As the result of an initial public engagement exercise with local residents and stakeholders last year the scheme will also focus on enhancing the area’s natural environment, including retaining the existing reen network and creating Main Park — a new public space connecting St Mellons to the new development.

Artist impression of the Main Park at the Cardiff Hendre Lakes/Cardiff Parkway development.

Following the statutory public consultation, that runs to September 9th, an application, covering both the train station and business district, will be submitted for outline planning consent with reserve matters with Cardiff Council and some smaller applications to Newport County Council.

The site has been designated as a key strategic employment site in Cardiff Council’s local development plan. In an important milestone for Cardiff Parkway it has now secured the Governance for Railway Investment Projects 3 (GRIP 3) certificate from Network Rail, a process which ensures projects go through rigorous quality control.

Artist impression inside the proposed Cardiff Parkway train station at St Mellons. Architects Wilkinson Eyre.

The Cardiff Parkway team is continuing to work in partnership with the rail industry and all key stakeholders to finalise the station design and is now working towards GRIP 4 status.

The station, which is expected to be operated by the Welsh Government’s transport body, Transport for Wales, will be located on the existing South Wales to London Great Western Mainline that runs through the site. It is aiming to secure 12 train services an hour (24 in and out) including London and Temple Meads services, although this would require approval from the Department of Transport. Its design will allow it to accommodate at least 800,000 passengers annually.

With turn-up-and-go rail services to Cardiff Central and Newport train stations of just seven minutes, it would be marketed not only as an extension of South Wales’ major business districts, but a major destination in its own right.

Chairman of Cardiff Parkway Developments, Nigel Roberts, said: “We are thrilled that the project has moved one step closer to becoming a reality for the people of South Wales. We will now continue to refine the detailed designs to create a railway station and wider business district which will better connect and serve those in the east of Cardiff and beyond.

“Positive engagement with key stakeholders, including the Department for Transport and rail operators, is already under way and we are working as part of a wider industry group to review timetables and routes from December 2022.

“Despite the challenges of the last few months, behind the scenes we have been working hard to continue developing our proposals. As we gear up to submit our outline planning application, we are holding a formal, pre-application statutory consultation to provide stakeholders and local people with an opportunity to share their views.”

On the commercial make-up of the new business district, which will feature a public square leading to the train station, he said: “Like the existing St Mellons Business Park there could be a focus on the tech and life sciences sectors in terms of occupancy. However, the bottomline is that we will be very flexible and driven by what occupiers require.”

The business district could take up to 10 years to develop.

Left to right Nigel Roberts and his son Andrew.

Mr Roberts also said the project will help support the growth ambitions of the Cardiff Capital Region and could also play a key role in helping to realise the recently announced Western Gateway initiative of fostering greater cross-border collaboration, and act as a pivotal strategic location in bringing the Cardiff Capital Region and the Western Gateway initiatives together.

He added: “This is a tangible example of how Wales can help pull this strategy together. Our objective is to have regular rail services, via Cardiff Parkway, to Bristol. Improved cross-border rail connectivity has to be at the heart of the Western Gateway project and we can act very much as the glue in bringing us closer together.”

Artist impression of the Main Park at the Cardiff Parkway and Cardiff Hendre Lakes development

Drawing on feedback from the local community during the initial period of public engagement activity in 2019, other key features of the proposals include:

  • Retaining the primary reen network — Faendre Reen, Ty Ffynnon Reen and Green Lane Reen.
  • Creating Main Park — a new public space connecting St Mellons with new development;Public realm, including Station Square and a spine running through the development for people to meet and socialise.
  • Providing access from the dual carriageway section of Cypress Drive direct to the station, keeping the main traffic flow away from both residents and the heart of the development.
  • New connections for walkers and cyclists from neighbouring communities to get to and from the development and station.
  • A green wildlife corridor and green fingers running across the site to create a ‘green grid’ integrated within the development, linking key habitat areas, managing water and defining new streets and public areas.
  •  A transport interchange next to Cardiff Parkway station, with facilities for local bus services, a taxi rank, cycle parking a car park with 600 spaces, including for blue badge holders. It will also provide electric vehicle charging points and a dedicated pick-up/drop-off facility.

https://www.business-live.co.uk/

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