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    Cardiff Council





    This public realm and highways improvement project involved the uncovering of the dock feeder canal running beneath Churchill Way, in central Cardiff.

    The dock feeder runs beneath the city centre to Cardiff Docks. Having been constructed in the 1830s to provide a supply of fresh water to the docks, it was culverted in 1949 to allow the construction of Churchill Way.

    Following the uncovering of the canal, Knights Brown carried out public realm and highway improvements to create a new green space.

    The works involved:

    • Removing sections of precast concrete slabs that covered the canal and undertaking remedial work to the remaining walls to improve their appearance.
    • Landscaping to tie in the feature to Churchill Way’s public realm, including tiered seating areas, planting and water features.
    • Upgrading the drainage system to comply with sustainable drainage legislation by installing bespoke rain gardens.
    • Constructing a cantilevered performance stage area on the east side and a sunken tiered seating area on the opposite bank.
    • A feature pergola providing covered seating.
    • Two access bridges crossing the canal.

    The project also included highway improvements to the roads surrounding Churchill Way and Queen Street Station, comprising speed restrictions and improvements to signalised junctions and pedestrian facilities.

    This was our third project in the city centre for Cardiff Council, following on from Central Square and Tudor Street. As with those projects, this one involved significant public liaison efforts to manage the busy city centre environment.

    We delivered a set of social value targets in line with the council’s objectives, including:

    • Trainee and apprenticeship opportunities; across all the Cardiff projects we sustained eight apprentice placements and provided six year in industry placements.
    • Site visits for students and CPD events in conjunction with ICE Wales.
    • Local schools engagement providing STEM events developing a bespoke educational programme about the role the canal played in Cardiff’s history, its construction, and how its reopening would impact the city’s future.
    • Sponsorship of Cardiff Demons RLFC.
    • Fundraising for Shelter in line with the council’s aim of reducing homelessness in the city; across all Cardiff projects raising over £1,500.

    our sectors

    This complex and challenging project was a collaborative undertaking from the outset. Combining two projects was inspirational, saving not only money but diverting 22,000m3 from landfill. Some extremely innovative tools and methods were used to demolish the pier, recover material and to achieve the lowest environmental impact on one of the most environmentally designated places in the UK.

    - London and South East Constructing Excellence Awards judging panel on Phase 2 of the North Portsea Island CFERM

    Knights Brown was a great client to deal with. We felt from the very outset that they worked with us rather than for us, demonstrating real collaboration in order to minimise disruption to the port. The works were also delivered through a very challenging time, with the latter stages coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic. Their approach to this was thoroughly professional, with health and safety the primary consideration. Working practices were strictly amended and monitored, with the project completed to the satisfaction of all involved.

    - Anisa Koci Port Master Plan Project Manager at Portsmouth International Port

    Knights Brown performed very well on this project in terms of quality, cost and time. The team worked very well as part of an integrated delivery team with the Employer to the benefit of the project

    - Marc Bryan, Portsmouth City Council