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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 February 2008, 10:51 GMT
Wales' tallest building approved
Sir Terence Conran Design Group are behind two towers at the development's centrepiece

A 33-storey apartment block will become the tallest building in Wales after planners in Cardiff approved a new development on the waterfront.

The 500m Bay Pointe development will be 403ft (122.8m) and consist of 10 residential buildings with 1,800 flats.

One of the towers will provide 360-degree views of Cardiff and beyond.

But residents have complained that the towers will be overbearing and a major letting agent said there were already hundreds of empty flats in Cardiff Bay.

The development is one of a number of skyscrapers planned for Wales.

A 29-storey building is under construction in Swansea, and work on another high-rise in Cardiff city centre, called the Glass Needle, is due to begin later this year.

Bay Pointe will be around two and a half times taller than Nelson's Column in London
World's tallest building: Burj Dubai, Dubai, 159 storeys, 604.9m (1984.6ft)
World's tallest until 2007: Taipei 101 in Taiwan, 101 storeys, 508m (1,666.7ft)
UK's tallest building: Canary Wharf Tower, London, 235m (770ft)
World's tallest freestanding structure: CN Tower, Toronto, Canada, 553m (1,815.3ft)

The Bay Pointe development will be built at the International Sports Village site near Penarth and will include a waterfront park with cycle paths and a pedestrian "green route" through the area.

But Plaid Cymru AM Chris Franks criticised the scheme, which he said contained too little affordable housing, and could become "an enormous white elephant dominating Cardiff Bay".

"Building more penthouses for multi-millionaries in high-rise flats is not going to tackle the affordable housing crisis," he said.

"It is also going to put even more pressure on an already over-congested local traffic infrastructure.

"It is a shame that we have not been able to rely on the local authority to block unsustainable developments like Bay Pointe's. The housing market is facing a downturn because of speculators."

Chris Hamilton, managing director of Bay Pointe Ltd, said the towers would be a "stunning landmark".

Cardiff Bay (Pic: Bob Millard)
We've overdeveloped certain areas and built the wrong type of properties
Michael Jones, estate agent

"Bay Pointe will give the people of Cardiff easier access to the 14km of waterfront that has been created by the construction of the barrage," he said.

"Together with the other leisure and retail elements planned for the Sports Village, Bay Pointe will transform what was previously a piece of derelict land into a dynamic, inspiring space, breathing fresh life into the already thriving and expanding Welsh capital."

The project should be completed between 2014 and 2016.

However, Michael Jones, from Michael Jones Estate Agents in Cardiff said the housing market in the city was slowing down.

"With the development of the Bay, there have been a lot of people buying and speculating, and that bubble does appear to have burst," he told BBC Wales.

"I'm aware of some huge investments by national and international companies and they are struggling to reach their targets.

"We've overdeveloped certain areas and built the wrong type of properties."

Architect Malcolm Parry said while the buildings were not particularly pretty, they were "quite exciting."

He said: "I like the idea of having tall buildings in Cardiff. It seems to me quite strange that we haven't wished for tall buildings for some time but it is one of the signifiers of a really terrific city."

Hear a debate on the new development

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