Plans revealed for iconic Cardiff reservoirs

20 July 2020

Exciting plans for watersports, outdoor activities and a brand-new visitor hub at a Cardiff reservoir site have been revealed for the first time.

  • Visitor hub and exciting plans for watersports and outdoor activities revealed in pre-planning application
  • Other activities include education provision, meeting facilities, protection and enhancement of ecology

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, the only not-for-profit water company in England and Wales, announced plans for the new facilities at Lisvane and Llanishen reservoirs in the north of Cardiff which it took over responsibility for in 2016.

The plans – published as part of the pre-planning application they are submitting to Cardiff Council – follows three years of input and engagement with local residents and the Reservoir Action Group, Natural Resources Wales and local stakeholders as the company worked towards restoring the reservoirs.

The plans for the site include:

  • A visitor hub featuring a café with panoramic views over the reservoirs
  • A watersports centre offering activities like sailing and paddle-boarding along with showers and a changing area
  • Meeting areas which can be used by schools and community groups
  • Walking routes and a nature trail with interpretation to highlight features of interest,
  • bird hides
  • conservation areas
  • a learning zone with an outdoor classroom and Welsh round house.

The planned facility forms part of Welsh Water’s plans to promote and expand access to its reservoir site, and realises its commitment to restore the Victorian-era reservoirs to their former glory. The offering will also help the company realise its vision for the site as being a hub for recreation, health and wellbeing – and provide an area in the vibrant capital where people can reconnect with water and the environment.

After a period of uncertainty about the reservoirs’ future, the company committed to ensuring the site’s future would be secure so that people could enjoy them for decades to come.

Over the past three years the company has also been working hard to restore the structures of the reservoirs to ensure safety and also repairing and restoring much of the equipment needed to operate the reservoirs.

As the site is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for waxcap fungi and overwintering birds, the company has also worked closely with experts in the field to ensure that the remediation work carried out and the future plans for the site are delivered while protecting plant and wildlife on the site.

The new visitor centre hub, parking area and access route are subject to planning permission and the pre-planning application has now been submitted to the local authority.

Pete Perry, Welsh Water Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce plans for the new activities and visitor hub at Lisvane and Llanishen. As a not-for-profit company owned on behalf of our customers, we recognise the wellbeing benefits that come from being able to visit reservoir sites. “Our plans for Lisvane and Llanishen, for the visitor centre and the activities that will be on offer, reflect this and offer an inclusive visitor experience to those that visit.

“In developing our plans, as well as taking on board the views of the community about what they would like to see there, we have also been very careful to protect and enhance the unique ecology of the site”.

All of the pre-planning documents which provide full details about the plans along with the findings of all studies carried out. All of the documents can be viewed at where people can also provide their comments on the proposal. Comments need to be submitted to Welsh Water by 5pm on Monday, 17 August 2020. People can also access a virtual information room the company has created which is again available at the company’s website - The room outlines the plans, and a “live chat” function will be available where members of the project team will be on hand to answer any questions people may have.

These sessions will be held on:

  • Tuesday 21st July – 3pm to 5pm
  • Thursday 23rd July – 1pm to 3pm
  • Monday 27th – 10am to 12pm
  • Friday 31st July – 2pm to 4pm
  • Tuesday 4th August – 3pm to 5pm
  • Thursday 6th August – 1pm to 3pm
  • Monday 10th August - 10am to 12pm
  • Wednesday 12th August – 2pm to 4pm

Pete Perry added: “We’re keen to ensure that communities in the area are aware of the plans and also have the opportunity to engage in the planning process.

“We’re making the information available online and through the virtual information room so that people have the opportunity to get involved and can come to an informed decision about the project.

“We look forward to working with the local community about the project during the planning process”.