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The state and post-industrial urban regeneration: the reinvention of south Cardiff

  • LEON GOOBERMAN (a1)
Abstract:

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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1 Interview with Lord Crickhowell (Nicholas Edwards), Conservative MP for Pembroke (1970–87), secretary of state for Wales (1979–87), 14 Dec. 2011.

2 Quoted in Johnes, M., ‘Cardiff: the making and development of the capital city of Wales’, Contemporary British History, 26 (2012), 509–28, at 521.

3 Punter, J., ‘Cardiff Bay: an exemplar of design-led regeneration?’, in Hooper, A. and Punter, J. (eds.), Capital Cardiff 1975–2020: Regeneration, Competitiveness and the Urban Environment (Cardiff, 2006), 149–78; Thomas, H. and Imrie, R., ‘Urban policy, modernisation and the regeneration of Cardiff Bay’, in Imrie, R. and Thomas, H. (eds.), British Urban Policy: An Evaluation of the Urban Development Corporations, 2nd edn (London, 1999), 106–27.

4 Loughlin, M., Gelfand, M.D. and Young, K., Half a Century of Municipal Decline (London, 1985), xii.

5 As examples, see Brownill, S. and O'Hara, G., ‘From planning to opportunism? Re-examining the creation of the London Docklands Development Corporation’, Planning Perspectives, 30 (2015), 537–70; Wetherell, S., ‘Freedom planned: Enterprise Zones and urban non-planning in post-war Britain’, Twentieth Century British History, 27 (2016), 266–89; Lever, W. and Moore, C., The City in Transition: Policies and Agencies for the Economic Regeneration of Clydeside (Oxford, 1986).

6 Thomas, B., ‘The growth of population’, in Rees, F. et al. (eds.), The Cardiff Region (Cardiff, 1960), 111–17, at 111.

7 Davies, J., Cardiff (Cardiff, 2002), 64.

8 Davies, J., A History of Wales (London, 1994), 470.

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10 Thomas, ‘The growth of population’, 111.

11 Quoted in Davies, J., Cardiff and the Marquesses of Bute (Cardiff, 1981), 266.

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13 Morgan, R., Cardiff: Half and Half a Capital (Llandysul, 1994), 33.

14 Interview with Ken Poole, economic development officer at South Glamorgan County Council (1980s), 19 Oct. 2011.

15 Interview with Lord Crickhowell.

16 Best, S., A Whim Set in Concrete: The Campaign to Stop the Cardiff Bay Barrage (Bridgend, 2004), 13.

17 A. Hooper, ‘Introduction’, in Hooper and Punter (eds.), Capital Cardiff 1975–2020, 1–16, at 12.

18 E. Parkinson, ‘Making places: the story of a civil engineer and town planner’ (unpublished autobiography), 37.

19 Cardiff City Council, East Moors Plan (Cardiff, 1979).

20 Welsh Development Agency, Annual Report 1978–1979, 15.

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23 Interview with Ewart Parkinson, director of environment and planning, South Glamorgan County Council (1974–85), 17 Apr. 2012.

24 Interview with Roger Beaumont, director of economic development, South Glamorgan County Council (until 1993), 30 Nov. 2011.

25 Parkinson, ‘Making places’, 37.

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27 Johnes, ‘Cardiff: the making and development of the capital city of Wales’, 523.

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29 Imrie and Thomas (eds.), British Urban Policy, vii.

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31 After Joel Barnett, chief secretary to the treasury in the previous Labour government.

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33 The National Archives, PREM, 19/1921, personal note from Nicholas Edwards to Margaret Thatcher, 28 Nov. 1986.

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36 Ungersma, M., Cardiff: Celebration for a City (Tonypandy, 2000), 118.

37 Interview with Paddy Kitson, chair of the South Glamorgan County Council Economic Development Committee (1980s), CBDC board member (late 1980s), 30 Nov. 2011.

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39 Imrie and Thomas (eds.), British Urban Policy, 14.

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46 GRO, D350, 30, speech by secretary of state, Dec. 1986.

47 Interview with Sir Geoffrey Inkin, CBDC chairman (1987–2000), 1 Jul. 2012.

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53 GRO, D/D CBDC box 91/92, A Strategy for Public Relations, board papers, 6 May 1988.

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55 Best, A Whim Set in Concrete, 50.

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58 GRO, D350/26, Canton residents against the barrage, minutes, 5 Jun. 1989.

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61 Ungersma, Cardiff, 121.

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63 Best, A Whim Set in Concrete, 256.

64 Western Mail (WM), 18 Apr. 1991.

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72 ESYS Consulting, ‘Evaluation of regeneration in Cardiff Bay’ (unpublished report for the Welsh Assembly Government, 2004), 62.

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74 WM, 13 Dec. 1994.

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78 Punter, ‘Cardiff Bay’, 164.

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80 House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee, The Closure of the Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum (London, 1999), ix.

81 Crickhowell, Nicholas, Opera House Lottery: Zaha Hadid and the Cardiff Bay Project (Cardiff, 1997), 153.

82 Auditor General for Wales, Continuing the Regeneration of Cardiff Bay (Cardiff, 2002), 5.

83 WM, 1 Mar. 2016.

84 National Assembly for Wales, Audit Committee, Thursday 5 Jul. 2001, Q. 2.

85 ESYS Consulting, ‘Evaluation of regeneration’, 20, 28, 54.

86 Interview with Rhodri Morgan, Labour MP for Cardiff West (1987–2001), front bench spokesman on Welsh affairs (1992–97), first minister (2001–09), 13 Dec. 2011.

87 Interview with Sir Geoffrey Inkin.

88 WM, 22 May 1991.

89 CBDC, Sustaining Success, 1996, 5.

90 Interview with Rhodri Morgan.

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Urban History
  • ISSN: 0963-9268
  • EISSN: 1469-8706
  • URL: /core/journals/urban-history
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