Welsh Water is set to begin work on the highly anticipated construction of its visitor attraction hub at Lisvane and Llanishen reservoirs.
The work by the not-for-profit water company will begin at the end of January 2022 and will be carried out at the northern end of the site. It will create a two-storey visitor hub with spectacular views across both reservoirs, and will feature changing rooms, showers and toilets for watersports, training rooms for local community use, as well as a café with spectacular views across both reservoirs.
Once completed, the Welsh Water site would bring back sailing to the reservoir, along with an array of watersports including windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, and electric picnic boats.
It would also turn the site into an education hub – creating a Learning Zone with an outdoor classroom and Welsh roundhouse ranger-led education activities, volunteering and work experience opportunities.
As part of the company’s environmental plans, the design of the visitor centre incorporates features to improve its green credentials and reduce its carbon footprint. This includes a large solar photovoltaic (PV) installation on the roof, the use of ‘green’ gas which will be generated from Welsh Water’s sewerage treatment, a sustainable drainage system with underground drainage space and a rain garden to attenuate and filter rainwaters. It will also have a heat recovery ventilation system within the changing rooms and waste water heat recovery shower trays.
During the consultation period and in the build up to the construction work getting underway, the company have engaged with local community groups and schools. Members of the local community were invited to register an expression of interest to join a ‘Friends of’ group that would work with Welsh Water to create volunteering events such as helping with conservation management activities. The newly formed group will be supported with a supervised training programme and help with the restoration of the woodlands area, enhancing the biodiversity and protecting the most ecologically sensitive parts of the site.
The company have appointed Cardiff-based firm BECT Building Contractors to deliver the building work for the project. Established in 1985, BECT have delivered a range of high profile projects across south Wales and are set to begin work at the end of January 2022.
Pete Perry, Welsh Water Chief Executive, said: “The start of this work is a major development in our efforts to bring this cherished community asset back to its former glory and make it more accessible for everyone. It will give people the opportunity to reconnect with water and our beautiful environment, providing opportunities for people to enjoy an array of watersports and enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits that getting outside can bring.”
Leader of Cardiff Council, Councillor Huw Thomas, said: “This is an exciting milestone in the journey to bring two of Cardiff’s iconic reservoirs back to life. Returning public access to the site has long been an ambition of this Council, and we will continue to support Welsh Water in making that happen.
“The development of a brand new visitor hub will not only provide an area in our vibrant capital where the community can enjoy the wonderful nature around them, but a place for people to improve their own health and well-being and engage with the site through activities and volunteering opportunities.”