‘From a mistake to disaster’: Plans approved for 30-storey tower on Cardiff’s Guildford Crescent
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
Plans have been approved for a 30-storey apartment tower on Guildford Crescent in Cardiff on the site of a former music venue.
Cardiff council’s planning committee voted to grant permission for the tower today.
The giant tower will be built on the site of popular music venue Gwdihŵ, which was knocked down in September 2019 despite a fierce campaign opposing the demolition plans.
Councillors on the planning committee raised concerns about the height of the building, lack of disabled parking, and architectural design.
Another issue is the lack of money going towards affordable housing. The council asked developers to pay £4,181,800 for affordable housing, but accepted just £500,000 to improve the public realm on the street outside the building. Developers GallifordTry said they would not make enough profit on the building if obliged to pay towards affordable housing in Cardiff.
Councillor Iona Gordon said: “I have grave concerns about this height, and this kind of development. Is this the way we want our city to be looking, with flats at such a height?”
Cllr Lyn Hudson said: “It’s ridiculous. I can’t understand how this is acceptable in a heritage area. It’s compounding a mistake into a disaster.
“No car parking directly compromises the disabled and their ability to live in this area.”
The 272 apartments, comprising 140 one-bed flats and 132 two-bed flats, will be classed as ‘build-to-rent’, meaning none will be available to buy individually. Instead, the flats will be sold to an institutional investor and rented out to future tenants.
The tower includes zero car parking spaces and 272 cycle parking spaces. At 30 storeys, the building will be four storeys taller than the nearby Bridge Street Exchange student flats.
Simon Gilbert, head of planning, said one reason why no money could be found for affordable housing was due to the “abnormal costs” surrounding the development, such as building near a railway, and retaining the facade of the former 19th Century buildings which were knocked down in 2019.
The council was previously keen to keep this facade, in order to protect the cultural heritage of the area. Most of the facade will be included in the apartment tower, apart from the section which used to be the frontage of the Gwdihŵ music venue.
Seven councillors voted in favour of granting permission while three voted against.
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