South East Wales

700 homes set for Cardiff at Ely Bridge paper mill site

Ely Bridge paper mill, in 1998
Image caption The paper mill at Ely Bridge closed in 1999 and the buildings were demolished

More than 700 homes could be built on a former paper mill site in Cardiff.

A not-for-profit company, set up in a deal by the Welsh government and Principality Building Society, wants to spend £100 million developing the site at Ely Bridge.

The project over 53-acres will include a riverside park and new school and create hundreds of construction jobs over five years.

If plans are approved, work could start in October.

The development will include affordable homes, offered at rents at or below local housing allowance rates.

Some homes may also be offered for assisted home ownership to help younger families to get on to the housing ladder.

The company is called Ely Bridge Development Company and it will have a chief executive as well as a full board. Welsh ministers will be founding members.

David Ward, head of planning and urban design at consultancy firm Arup, has been appointed as interim chief executive.

"This is a truly innovative project that places Wales at the cutting edge of housing delivery," he said.

"Good quality, well managed, affordable housing is a key component of our economy's infrastructure, providing direct jobs through construction and the conditions for stable labour markets that are so critical in supporting growth."


He said the developers were committed to working with the local community in the project's design and implementation.

Huw Lewis, Housing Minister, said using public sector land to increase affordable housing wa key to meeting increasing need.

"I am delighted that Welsh government has been able to work with the Principality in achieving this innovative model, which not only will provide much needed housing, but huge community benefits too."

Principality Group chief executive Peter Griffiths said: "We firmly believe that the successful delivery of this type of institutional rental model could be replicated on sites elsewhere in Wales to help address some of the dysfunctional aspects of the current housing market."

The new company has secured a £6m loan from Welsh government to progress the development as well as a conditional land purchase agreement to secure the site.

The first plans for an urban village for the site were unveiled by the old Welsh Development Agency in 2004, after the former Arjo Wiggins paper mill closed with the loss of 460 jobs and the buildings were later demolished.

Work could start on the site by October, subject to planning permission from Cardiff Council.

House building is scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2013 with the entire development being complete by 2017.

The plans include a new riverside park, the completion of the Ely Trail cycle path, and the decontamination of a large vacant site in central Cardiff.

The affordable housing will be managed by a community-based housing association.

Open-market homes will be developed by selling sites to house builders.

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