Calls for public consultation on the future of Cardiff’s St David’s Hall
Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter
A councillor has called on Cardiff Council to commit to a public consultation on the future of a St David’s Hall.
Cllr Jon Shimmin raised the question at a full council meeting last week, and asked why a business plan was yet to be seen on the rationale behind a change of ownership at the popular concert hall..
Academy Music Group (AMG) recently made a proposal to take over the operation of the concert hall, which is owned by Cardiff Council.
Many who work and regularly attend the concert fear the change in ownership could mean the loss of the hall’s status as a venue for classical music in the city.
Cardiff Council has said that safeguarding jobs at St David’s Hall and retaining the venue’s status as the National Concert Hall of Wales is an “absolute imperative” under any proposal.
Cllr Shimmin asked the cabinet member for culture, parks and events, Cllr Jennifer Burke-Davies: “We are yet to see a proper business plan for the rationale for a change of ownership or management of St David’s Hall, so can we see this and how the potential monopoly of AMG over the major live indoor venues of Cardiff is beneficial to the people of Cardiff before any decision is taken?”
Cllr Burke-Davies said: “The reason you haven’t seen the report yet is because it hasn’t come to cabinet, but it is coming to cabinet next month and we will be able to fully consider all the options on the table from that and then we will be able to bring those to you and consider the future operation of the national concert hall.”
At the time of reporting, a petition calling for the protection of St David’s Hall’s status as a venue for classical music in Cardiff reached more than 14,500 signatures.
Cllr Shimmin responded to Cllr Burke-Davies’ answer, adding: “”I did ask for a business plan, not the report from external consultants.
“The business plan from the council for that report. Given that the current suggestion of days for the council to hire St David’s Hall back for classical and community concerts are nowhere near enough to cover what is currently offered, if there is to be a change to the acoustics, staffing or offer for a change in management or ownership of St David’s Hall can the cabinet commit now to a full and open tendering process which includes a full and comprehensive public consultation?”
Cllr Burke-Davies said: “That is going to be covered by the cabinet report, but at the moment until we have that, I am not in a position to commit to anything, but we will be consulting with our stakeholders.”
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