Expert raises concerns over Cardiff's £180m interchange plans


A proposed £180m “Metro Central” transport interchange in Cardiff requires urgent coordination with land-use planning, according to a leading Welsh academic.

Stuart Cole, emeritus professor of transport at the University of South Wales, told Transport Network a masterplan was urgently needed for the whole area, This would protect the required land from unrelated development. The Brains brewery, south-west of the railway station, is due to relocate to Cardiff Bay in June, and Prof Cole said the site should be included in the masterplan.

 Artist's impression of Cardiff Central Station

He also expressed concern that a building recently demolished near the opposite corner of the railway station could soon be replaced with a new building, which would preclude construction of an additional track for trains departing towards Newport and London.

The coach station should be built in parallel with the bus station, or soon afterwards, said Prof Cole. He suggested this could be funded by a developer creating a building above a ground-level coach station. North-south pedestrian routes across the railway required rapid improvement, especially the “dirty” walkway alongside Penarth Road underbridge.

This month the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) cabinet agreed in principle to earmark £40m of City Deal funding for the reconfiguration of Cardiff Central railway station and surrounding land.

The funding is subject to further due diligence work and is conditional on the remaining £140m being provided by the Welsh and UK governments and the private sector. The cabinet made the provisional award in order to assist with raising match-funding.

The price tag does not include Cardiff’s new bus station, north-east of the railway station, which Cardiff council is already procuring. The bus station forms part of the proposed interchange, which also features a coach station south of the railway. Since Cardiff Central bus station closed in 2015 to enable property development on the site, scheduled coaches have been banished to Sophia Gardens, remote from the rail network and most local bus routes.

CCR cabinet chair Andrew Morgan, who leads Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC, said Cardiff’s population was expected to grow faster than any other UK Core City over the next 20 years, but 85% of Cardiff’s recent job growth had arisen from an increase in net commuting into the city from adjacent communities.

'It is critical this continued growth is supported with the appropriate infrastructure,' he said.

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