According to its website, the vision for Plasdŵr is to be Cardiff’s “garden city for the 21st Century, combining the very best of town and country”. It’s well underway but, as the biggest project in Wales, set to create a whole new community the size of Cowbridge, it will be another 20 years in the making.
We asked project director, Wayne Rees, of lead developer, Redrow, the Flintshire-based premium housebuilder, to tell us more.
Can you give us some background?
“Plasdŵr is taking shape across 900 acres of countryside in north west Cardiff. It will comprise around 7000 homes – up to 30% affordable – four primary schools, a secondary school, and retail, health, leisure and community facilities set across five distinct neighbourhoods. It will also have a main town centre.”
Who is responsible for delivering Plasdŵr?
“We at Redrow lead the masterplanning and will create up to half of the homes. The landowner, the Earl of Plymouth Estate, is also leading the project via its agents, Cooke & Arkwright, testament to its desire to leave a legacy to be proud of.
“We work closely with Cardiff Council, as Plasdŵr is an important part of its vision, on a key strategic site allocated in its Local Development Plan to support the city’s housing needs and future growth.
“Our expert, multidisciplinary project team works on the planning and design. Given that this is, unusually, an entirely greenfield site, that includes investing tens of millions into entirely new strategic infrastructure – the road, utilities and drainage networks and so on.”
So what is it going to be like? What’s the vision?
“Above all, Plasdŵr is going to be a great place to live. It’s been planned entirely around the idea that where you live can enormously enhance your health and wellbeing.
“It takes its inspiration from the original garden city principles of ‘fresh air, sunlight, breathing room and playing room’. Nature is an incredibly important part of that and up to 40% of its area will be green space for residents and visitors to enjoy, including heritage woodland, recreational parks, a nature park, a dedicated wildlife greenway, and playing fields.
“Walking and cycling will be the easiest and safest ways to get around, followed by public transport, so it really will support a healthier lifestyle and a cleaner, greener way of life. Every child will be able to walk or cycle safely to their local school, for example. And the comprehensive network of footpaths and cycle paths, plus natural places to meet as well as the neighbourhood centres, will help create a genuinely cohesive community.
“It will be interesting and offer something for everyone, with five neighbourhoods of different characters, reflecting their individual landscape. Different tenures and types of homes, from apartments to detached, luxury family houses, will create a well-rounded, sustainable community where people can move around according to their changing requirements.”
What progress has been made in the past four years or so since work started?
“Work is well underway on homes. Redrow has three sites currently, where over 300 people have already moved in; three further housebuilders have sites at various stages.
“We’ve also transformed part of Llantrisant Road, with new traffic infrastructure designed to prioritise public transport, as required by the local authority in all new developments.”
When will work start on the community facilities?
“The next phases of development will increasingly focus on bringing community facilities and new infrastructure alongside homes, with Plasdŵr progressively becoming a place with its own distinct identity. The first primary school is expected to open in 2023.”
How important is Plasdŵr for Redrow?
“It’s a flagship development – and our biggest to date. We’re well-known for our beautifully designed homes, but that’s just part of the story. Our unwavering focus is on creating thriving communities – and leading the team of expert professionals on the Plasdŵr project team is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do that at scale and create a true exemplar.
“And, of course, being headquartered here, it gives us an enormous sense of pride to be able to do that in Wales – and be part of creating 5000 jobs along the way.”