Cardiff Bay (Bae Caerdydd) is the area created by the Cardiff Barrage in South Cardiff, Wales. The regeneration of Cardiff Bay is now widely regarded as one of the most successful regeneration projects in the UK. The Bay is supplied by two rivers (Taff and Ely) to form a freshwater lake round the former dockland area south of the city centre. The Bay was formerly tidal, with access to the sea limited to a couple of hours each side of high water but now provides 24 hour access through three locks.
As Cardiff exports grew, so did its population; dockworkers and sailors from across the world settled in neighbourhoods close to the docks, known as Tiger Bay, and communities from up to 45 different nationalities, including Norwegian, Somali, Yemeni, Spanish, Italian, Caribbean and Irish helped create the unique multicultural character of the area.
After the Second World War most of the industry closed down and became derelict. But, in 1999, new life was injected into the area by the building of the Cardiff Bay Barrage, one of the most controversial building projects of the day but also one of the most successful.
When the Development Corporation was wound up in on March 31, 2000, it had achieved many of its objectives. The whole area was unrecognisable from ten years before. Much private land was now open to the public, particularly around the inner harbour and the north side of Roath basin. Work is progressing to complete a 13 kilometre walkway around the Bay and the Barrage has created a world-class environment. In addition the development has enabled land in the city centre to be redeveloped for higher-value uses.
The development of "something like 1,250 apartments a year however might cause future problems, as currently (2008) up to one third are not occupied. Critics such as Lorraine Barrett (AM Labour, Cardiff South and Penarth) say, the flat complexes will not help to build up a community and too few attention has been paid to develop affordable housing. With the recent falls in property values, sales in the area have become problematic. Therefore landlords might be more willing to rent their places out to "people who may not be suited to that type of living. There is an overview of one of the latest developments in Cardiff Bay, Victoria Wharf which may be of interest to those reading about the continued development of this area: Cardiff Bay, Victoria Wharf
Connecting the Bay area to the centre of Cardiff was a primary goal when plans to develop the docklands were first mooted. Original plans included a grand boulevard (similar to where Lloyd George Avenue is located now) with high density commercial and residential units straddling both sides. This would have created significant demand for quality public transport provisions facilitating connections to the new Bay area but public transport was often of poor quality and, despite much improved connections through the Cardiff Bus BayCar service, the most efficient way of reaching the Bay area is by car.
Cardiff Bay was used as the high-tech urban setting for the Ninth Doctor Doctor Who episode Boom Town and for the Torchwood spinoff, whose makers deliberately avoided stereotypical portrayals of Wales to portray Cardiff as a modern urban centre. In the fictional land of torchwood there is a Giant Basement style base, secretly under-neath the bay named the "Hub" from here the torchwood team work. There is also apprantlly a lift from the hub into the Plaza with a perception filter making anyone who stands on the spot "Not noticed".. Roald Dahl Plass features prominently.
Cardiff Bus operates the following services to the Bay:
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