South Cardiff was once dependent on the export of coal and the production of steel, but these activities had faded by the 1970s, creating economic stagnation and physical dereliction. However, the area was rechristened ‘Cardiff Bay’ in the mid-1980s and was the focus of an ambitious and contested state-funded regeneration. This article argues that regeneration was broadly successful, although not without failures, and that government remained willing to intervene heavily in some small areas. The main contribution is to identify and analyse how local authorities retained influence over regeneration, in contrast to approaches taken elsewhere by central government.
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