Name of the case study
Millennium Coastal Park
Description of context
• The National Assembly for Wales has a legal duty to pursue sustainable development in all it does. This is built into its constitution through section 121 of the Government of Wales Act.
• Carmarthenshire County Council has a number of programmes working to improve sustainable development within the council, including the Local Agenda (LA) 21 process which has been the primary vehicle for promoting sustainable development in Carmarthenshire and the County's approach to LA21 is set out in the document ´Helping to Shape our Future´ (April 2001). Launched at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, LA21 aims to make sustainable development a reality in communities around the world. This involves the environment, but also people and their entitlement to a reasonable quality of life.
• The Local Government Act 2000 required municipalities to produce a community strategy. In Carmarthenshire the document is being produced by the ´Carmarthenshire Forum´. The forum have made Sustainable Development one of 4 guiding themes for the community planning process.
Description of project - background
The Millennium Coastal Park project involves the development of a unique recreational and wildlife area stretching along 22km of estuarine coastline in South Wales. More than 1,500 acres of industrial wasteland have been transformed to regenerate the local economy and provide a nationally important resource. The area focuses on a continuous off road cycle track which runs the entire length of the park linking national cycle routes. The area includes a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Ramsar site together with several listed buildings.
Aerial photograph of the Millennium Coastal Park
In the early 1990s a joint venture was established between the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) and Llanelli County Council in order to redevelop an area of high industrial dereliction in South Wales. Inadequate sewage disposal operations and poor water quality were a problem in the area together with contaminated land. The area is close to Llanelli town and has beautiful views across to the Gower Peninsula which, combined with the natural habitats of local estuaries, provided a potentially pleasant environment in which to live and work.
The park comprises 14 separate elements developed by different companies at different times. The entire development is managed by collaboration between Carmarthenshire County Council and the WDA and is linked by an off road cycle route.
Cycle path running the full length of the Park
The Park contains areas of both intensive recreation and quiet zones where association with nature is important. The 14 areas (described from east to west) are as follows:
1 Bynea Gateway – the eastern gateway entrance to the coastal park.
2 Millennium Wetlands – marshland covering approximately 250 acres that have been developed into a National Wetlands Centre by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. The Centre opened in 1990 and is now a nationally important site for a number of breeds such as Lapwings, Voles and Little Egrets. The centre incorporates Dwr Cymru Welsh Water´s (national water company) requirement to improve quality of discharge from one of its waste water treatment plants. This resulted in the design and construction of an innovative wetland area fed entirely by treated sewage. This involves UV radiation and a series of locks and weirs to treat sewage via a reedbed system forming a key part of the newly created wetlands.
3 Loughor Estuary
4 Machynys Peninsula Golf Course – a reclaimed island that was historically the most industrial developed area along the coastline. The site is due to open in summer 2004 as a Jack Nicklaus golf course with associated leisure facilities and a hotel. The lakes and water which are part of the course will assist with the management of the natural wetland area.
Breakwaters/fishtail groins have been added to the area to help preserve the coastline by diffusing wave energy. These were added in the late 1980´s by the Llanelli County Council/WDA venture at a cost of £3 million and are made up of factory slag that was left on site. It is anticipated that the golf course and associated facilities together with the visitor centre will attract many more visitors.
5 Lliedi Haven – a sand dune/salt marsh environment that is a local nature reserve with wildlife habitats. These marshlands have been restored to the form of 35 years ago. This incorporates a boating lake and associated walks.
6 North Dock (Millennium Quay) Watersports Centre – the most modern dock in the area, opened in 1905. The dock experienced severe silting problems that prevented long term industrial use. During restoration 2.5 million tonnes of silt was removed and a pond liner put in place providing a marine lake with a water depth of maximum 2.5m. This has created a popular local amenity for use for watersports such as canoeing which it is hoped will be developed as a regional centre.
7 Millennium Park Visitor Centre – a new Visitor Centre is being built that will house a café, cycle hire, exhibition hall, information point and the Millennium Coastal Park Offices. Two land bridges have been constructed over the London to Carmarthen train route to allow access to the park which have been carefully landscaped into the environment. This is where all forms of transport converge including the railway, cycleway, road and footpaths.
8 Sandy Water Park –previously occupied by Dupont Steel works which closed in 1981. The site was taken over by the LCC/WDA venture who have developed the area into a local amenity park with a housing development.
Sandy Water Park at the Millennium Coastal Park
9 Eisteddfod Fields - events fields were developed for the 2000 Eisteddfod (National Welsh Festival) and contain the necessary permanent infrastructure including electricity and drainage, to provide an events arena for the county.
10 Coarse fishing - this coarse fishing facility has been developed in the Lakelands area. Lakes were stocked for coarse fishing and in 2002 were the site of the world disabled fishing championships.
11 Carmarthenshire woodlands – previously Burry Port Power station this site was capped to prevent migrating contamination and now contains a giant earth sculpture, skateboard park and picnic and barbeque facilities.
12 Burry Port Harbour –one of the last working harbours in Carmarthenshire. The area consists of landscaped gardens and a tidal harbour where a fully serviced marina will be in operation from next summer.
13 Pembrey Harbour – this harbour ceased working due to the high silting levels. The Breakwater near Pembrey Harbour was restored due to its listing as a scheduled ancient monument.
14 Pembrey Saltings - the Saltings is a local nature reserve which is a sand dune environment. The cycle route runs through the area linking the entire Coastal Park to Pembrey Country Park.
Different areas of the Park are managed by different organisations, for example the Millennium Wetlands by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust who pay rent to Carmarthenshire County Council.
The Park employs four office staff and there are eight wardens working on the park.
Future of the Park - Carmarthenshire County Council has agreed to support the park for 75 years and will give £0.75 million a year to maintain and promote the park. The project is considered to be a continuing development.
It is hoped that the Park will play a significant part in the regeneration of Llanelli creating an area where people like to live and work for companies attracted into the area. A large number of houses have already been built within the vicinity of the park with a further 35 sites identified for development adjacent to the park. This would have been inconceivable if the area had remained in its previous derelict state. Some nearby areas have seen property prices increase by 100% as a result of the improvement.
The economic strategy has included the development of an improved road infrastructure for the whole area and the development of Llanelli town centre. Industry has shifted from the coast to the nearby inland towns along the M4 corridor.
The Millennium Coastal Park has won ´The National Lottery Helping Hand Amazing Space Award´ a prestigious UK wide award given to projects funded by the Lottery that have helped to transform a public place. This is to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the UK National Lottery.
Description of project - objectives/aims
The aim of the project is to regenerate an area of industrial dereliction along the Llanelli coastline and ‘give the coast back to the people’. It is hoped that the regeneration of the coastline will encourage people to move to the area to live and work. Further aims are to enhance the existing environmental quality of degraded areas along the coast, safeguard designated sites of international nature conservation and provide new educational and information facilities.
Description of project - time interval and stages
In the early 1990s a joint venture was established between the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) and Llanelli County Council in order to redevelop an area of high industrial dereliction. Initial proposals were drawn up and submitted to the Millennium Commission in April 1995. Submissions were invited from consultancies to take on development of the concept and prepare a more detailed Master Plan and Development Strategy.
The project received funding from the Millennium Commission totalling £13.5 million in December 1995, following the submission of a ´Design concept with Masterplan´, ´Technical Report´ and ´Development Strategy and Business Plan Report´. In 1996 an Environmental Statement was conducted by consultants. Outline planning applications were submitted on 30th May 1996 for five areas within the project boundary.
In 2004, Carmarthenshire County Council agreed to support the park for 75 years.
Description of project - financing
The project received funding totalling £27.5 million at the end of 1995. Half of this (£13.75 million) was provided by the National Lottery Millennium Commission, the rest from the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) (£5 million), Carmarthenshire County Council, Welsh Water, European Commission (£1.5million funding supported visitor and interpretation centres, the development of a wetland habitat and the creation of lakes), the Welsh Assembly, Forest Commission and CADW (Welsh historic agency).
Description of project - other sectors involved
What tools were used to assess sustainability?
Design Guidance Strategy
Environmental Statement and Environmental Impact Assessment
Visitor movement studies
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