HMS Cambria – the “concrete warship” that’s been based on dry land at Sully, just south of Penarth since 1947 – is to move to Cardiff Bay.
The Royal Navy, in partnership with the Reserve Forces’ & Cadets’ Association for Wales and Associated British Ports (who own Cardiff Docks) have unveiled plans for a new £11m HMS Cambria to be built in the Bay for naval reservists.
The proposed new building will be located on land next to the main security entrance to Cardiff Docks and will replace the existing base in Sully.
As tradition dictates, the new centre – like the old one – will still be regarded by the Navy as a “ship” even though it (or “she”) is on on dry land and will continue to bear the well-established name . The new building (illustrated above) will include state-of-the-art training and classroom suites, accommodation and fitness facilities – and a bar.
The site has also been chosen because it will provide waterfront access and docking facilities for warships. The Royal Navy says the new centre will “meet the aspirations of the UK’s reserves forces for the next 50 years”.
The new building will replace the current HMS Cambria building in Sully which has been the naval volunteers’ base since 1947. (Before that date it had been the Service Married Quarters) .
Vice Adm Jonathan Woodcock, the Second Sea Lord, said: “I am delighted to announce the development of a reserve hub in Cardiff Bay. The Royal Navy has a strong connection to south Wales and this investment reflects the Royal Navy’s continued commitment to the area.”
The new site will provide accommodation for three naval units – the RNR Unit HMS Cambria, The Royal Marine Reserves Cardiff Detachment and the Wales URNU.
Cdr Steve Fry, commanding officer of the local RNR unit HMS Cambria, said: “We are very excited about this project. This significant investment by the Royal Navy in Wales will provide great opportunities for our reservists and for anyone wishing to be part of the reserve forces.”
Planning permission for the new building has not yet been applied for – a formal application will be submitted in the New Year – and, if successful, building work will begin next year with completion scheduled for 2019.