Progressive transport plans for South East Wales gain pace

12 September 2019
  • Cardiff Metro Plan Cooke & Arkwright

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A range of measures have been announced in recent months aimed at creating a progressive transport system for South East Wales. The Cardiff Capital Region Transport Authority (RTA) has ratified a Common Assessment Framework (CAF) in which the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and Welsh Government will work together to secure the £50m South Wales Metro programme.

This will supplement the Transport for Wales (TfW) core £734m South Wales Metro scheme which is already underway. The CAF will include private sector contributions and will ensure that the 10 proposed Metro Plus Phase 1 schemes are developed in a fully integrated manner that delivers region-wide benefits for local communities. Phase 1 will see each Local Authority in South East Wales receive £3m towards implementing schemes in their area.

This follows earlier announcements in which the green light was given to the new Cardiff Bus Station, and Cardiff Council published a £1bn green ‘vision’ to transform transport in the Cardiff capital region. The new Central Square transport interchange is set to go ahead after a deal was struck between Welsh Government, Legal & General and Rightacres Property. Additional funding for this is being provided by the UK Government, City Deal partners and Transport for Wales.

Announcing its ‘green vision’, Cardiff Council said that urgent investment was needed to ensure free-flowing routes into and around the city and with seamless access to the motorway network. Capital sums previously earmarked for the new M4 should be invested in South East Wales to avoid unmanageable congestion and improve air quality. The council fully recognised that it would have to work effectively with Welsh Government and other partners, and have a serious conversation about how this vision could be funded.

Proposed measures include Cardiff Cross Rail, a new light rail/tram line connecting major population centres and new suburbs in the west with Cardiff Central; this would run from Creigiau, with two stations at Plasdŵr, ending at the new Cardiff Parkway development in the east. Additionally, a complete orbital light rail/tram line, Cardiff Circle Line, would link large residential areas to the transport network.

TfW has also announced a £194 million ‘Improvement Vision’, which will invest in improvements to all 247 railway stations across Wales over the next fifteen years.

Michael Lawley, Chairman of Cooke & Arkwright, is also development advisor to the landowner on the 900 acre Plasdŵr scheme bordering Fairwater, St Fagans, Danescourt and Radyr. Commenting on the announcements he said, “Cooke & Arkwright is very supportive of the raft of measures aimed at creating a an advanced transport system that is fit for the future.

“Given Cardiff’s role as economic driver for the region, with a residential population approaching half-a-million and 80,000 daily commuters, it is now widely accepted that there is an urgent need for radical change to the transport network. Reducing congestion and making public transport a viable, attractive and environmentally-friendly alternative is the top priority. Similar joined-up transport systems have worked very well in other cities.

“We welcome the commitment to the new Cardiff Central transport interchange, which is key to aligning current and proposed networks with the much needed South Wales Metro. It will complete the huge investment of private and public money that has led to the transformation of Central Square to deliver the transport hub, Grade A office space, rental apartments and retail units, and will build on the imminent completion in early 2020 of the Cardiff – Paddington main line electrification.

“The wider proposals deserve the full support of the Welsh and UK Governments, both of which have made climate emergency declarations. Further serious funding will need to be committed to make sure that each one of these transport proposals becomes reality.

“It will be a game changer for Cardiff’s and the region’s future health and prosperity.”