Architect concerned about landscaping as development agency prepares to disband.
A row has broken out on the £200m Cardiff Bay Barrage scheme after architect Alsop & Störmer claimed that plans to landscape the area have been shelved.

After delays and cost overruns on the scheme, the Welsh Assembly earmarked £2.5m to complete the landscaping. This exceeds the £900 000 that the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation, the agency created to oversee the project, had set aside for the work.

Despite the cash injection, Alsop & Störmer partner Stephen Pimbley said he doubted that the work would go ahead. He said: "This should have been sorted out by now. We designed four landscaping schemes during our time on the project. I don't believe this is going to happen." Alsop & Störmer designed a control tower, which was completed in 1998, as part of the redevelopment of Cardiff Bay.

The architect is also concerned that the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation is to be wound up at the end of this month, leaving Cardiff County Council to take on the scheme. Alsop & Störmer believes that the corporation should see the project through to completion.

The practice also thinks that it has not been properly consulted about the transfer of responsibility from the corporation to the council. Pimbley said: "This lets the CBDC off the hook. No one has talked to us about the new plans – we have been kept in the dark."

Pimbley added: "The way this thing was being set up, it was going to be extraordinary infrastructure. The CBDC was due to deliver this.

It has not achieved this, and has fallen short of the original content."

Pimbley said his main concern was that a 800 m sand embankment, which is awaiting landscaping, would become eroded. He also said: "The landscape was going to be responsive and would have been broken into a number of gardens with different colours and textures."

Pimbley's concerns are shared by the Welsh RICS, which planned to build an observation deck on the completed landscaping in conjunction with the Welsh School of Architecture.

RICS planning and development spokesman Bob Croydon said: "The CBDC needs to finish the job. You do not spend £200m on something, then not finish it. The CBDC has been wound up too early. It should have spent two more years completing this."

A CBDC statement said: "The Welsh Assembly has given Cardiff County Council £2.5m to landscape the barrage. This far outstrips the money the corporation had for the purposes." Cardiff County Council was unavailable for comment.

The scheme is also facing a National Audit Office inquiry, launched in 1998, that is due to be published this summer.