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Huge new project planned for Cardiff that could create 15,000 jobs
Ambitious plans to create a major new international business park in Cardiff have been revealed.
It would have its own train station and could attract 15,000 new jobs to South Wales.
Cardiff Parkway Business Park has been earmarked for a 176-acre site at St Mellons as part of Cardiff’s Local Development Plan (LDP).
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The site is located between Cardiff and Newport and is divided by the existing Great Western Mainline.
If agreed, and subject to planning approval, Cardiff Parkway Business Park would see:
- Cardiff Parkway Station operational by February 2020 - by 2026 it could handle more than 600,000 passengers a year.
- Nearly one million square feet of new grade A office space built around the station targeting major inward investment projects from research and development focused tech firms through to financial and professionals services firms.
- An eventual 15,000 highly skilled workers
- 1,600 car parking spaces to create a major park and ride location for South Wales
- Journey times from St Mellons to the centre of Cardiff of just seven minutes - currently the only public transport option for the 32,000-plus residents of the Cardiff suburb is by bus. With increasing road congestion, this can take nearly a hour.
The joint equity venture partners behind Cardiff Parkway Business Park are serial entrepreneur Nigel Roberts and his son Andrew, who is managing director of Paramount Office Interiors, and global specialist bank and asset management firm Investec - through a special purpose vehicle called Cardiff Parkway Developments Ltd.
It has submitted a funding bid for the station – Cardiff Parkway - to the Department for Transport and Network Rail’s New Stations Fund 2.
The undeveloped site is immediately south of the existing St Mellons Business Park and just yards from thousands of homes at St Mellons.
A decision on which new stations will be funded - for which Cardiff Parkway Developments is seeking around 75% towards its projected £25m station costs - will be made next spring.
Other bids in Wales include proposed news stations at Bow Street at Aberystwyth and Magor/Undy.
The station’s design and length has been future proofed so it could one day be designated as a new station on the main South Wales to London rail route - as well also benefiting from the planned spur from Reading Station to Heathrow Airport.
With the Wales and Borders rail franchise being devolved to Wales from October 2018 the current potential provision of four trains (one way) an hour - which include two from Ebbw Vale and one each from Cheltenham and Portsmouth - is expected to be significantly increased if a turn up and go new station at St Mellons is realised.
The Welsh Government’s arm’s length transport body, Transport for Wales, has put out for tender the contract to run the next franchise as well as the design and building of the next phase of the Metro project with electrification of the Valley Lines. The new station could fulfil the St Mellons stop as shown on the current indicative map for the Metro.
The land site at St Mellons has already been designated as a major future employment zone for the city in the council’s LDP.
Nigel Roberts, having working on the land assembly for the scheme for a number of years, has secured long-term development options for site. He said the ambitious project would be a “game-changer” not just for Cardiff but the wider city region - providing a new transport hub and business park that would target inward investment projects.
Mr Roberts added: “I am confident that it will be a Great Western Mainline station in the future for services from South Wales to Paddington. And with a new
runway at Heathrow there is a huge opportunity for passengers to park at Cardiff Parkway and travel by train to Heathrow via the planned rail spur from Reading to the airport. It could also provide a car and ride solution for Cardiff Airport.
“It will also provide a huge boost to the community of St Mellons itself by adding another, quicker, mode of public transport and creating job opportunities.
“As a major park and ride location it has huge potential too for shoppers travelling to both the centres of Newport and Cardiff, as well as assisting match travel to the Principality, Swalec and Cardiff City stadiums.
“The population of Cardiff is growing by 90 people a week and is projected to increase by 91,000 over the next 20 years. There is a huge allocation for new houses in the north of the city. The capital desperately needs new infrastructure and major job opportunities to satisfy this huge rise, which is why Cardiff Parkway Business Park is such a compelling solution.”
Mr Roberts said that the business park, which would initially focus on developments north of the Great Western Mainline, would aim to attract four anchor tenants in its first phase.
“We have identified a number of inward investors who have said if we can get certainty on the train station they are going to have serious conversations with us.
“There will also be a huge emphasis on renewable energy at the park and there is no reason why it cannot be one of the first locations in the UK for the rollout of 5G broadband. The park will be an architectural exemplar for hi-tech and blue chip organisations and could easily be home to 15,000 high-skilled workers.”
He said that work on the business park would start at the same time as the train station.
“The site is an expansion of the existing St Mellons Business Park where there are already major and industry-leading businesses, such as IQE, Dwr Cymru, Quantum Advisory, Paramount, Adapt and Excelerate Technology,” said Mr Roberts.
“With a new station and easy access to the M4, Cardiff Parkway Business Park will build on this by creating a new employment and head office powerhouse for the Welsh economy.
“We are delighted to have received such valued support rom Ken Skates [Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport] and his officials along with Transport for Wales, MPs Stephen Doughty and Craig Williams Cardiff Council and local councillors in Michael Michael and Ralph Cook.
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“The Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns has also been extremely welcoming of our ambitions for the Cardiff Parkway development and the benefits it will bring to Wales."
Commenting on the project, David Van Der Walt, chief executive of Investec Bank plc, said: “We are delighted to be a major equity partner in Cardiff Parkway Developments Ltd and to play our part in delivering this transformational project for South Wales."
Andrew Roberts said the joint venture with Investec provided the best of both worlds.
He added: “This is a great partnership as we know this part of the world and the sort of businesses that will thrive here, while Investec has the global strategic experience delivering major infrastructure projects.”
And he said that the transport hub - which would also have a bus station - was also about re-positioning the perception of public transport so that it is seen as the “transport of choice.”
He added: “The project ticks all the right boxes in being in the LDP as a major employment site, the Metro, infrastructure investment, reducing car journeys and on the environment as it is about joining up existing infrastructure.
“However, we are under no illusions that the rail station is key to unlocking the development potential of the whole site and is the USP for both major tenants and future investors.”
Cardiff Parkway Developments appointed Arup as its consultant for the New Stations Fund 2 application.The exciting new developments coming to Cardiff
Category: Business park