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St David’s Hall to be closed until 2025 after RAAC discovery

18 Oct 2023 5 minute read
St David’s Hall. Photo by ell brown is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

St David’s Hall in Cardiff will be closed until 2025 for the roof to be completely replaced, after an inspection found that concrete panels in the ceiling could collapse.

Experts who have been carrying out checks on the classical music venue which contains reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in its ceiling said several panels in the roof are ‘red-critical’ and others are ‘red-high risk’.

The findings of a Cardiff Council report on the inspection suggests St David’s Hall could be closed for about 18 months whilst the installation of a new roof and refurbishment work is carried out.

Major venue operator Academy Music Group (AMG) told the council it remains committed to investing in St David’s Hall and wishes to proceed with a transaction that will see it take on the running of the building.

A Cardiff Council spokesperson said: “A building management and health and safety strategy has been implemented at the venue for the past 18 months.

“This included regular inspections by independent structural engineers with specific RAAC expertise.

“Throughout this time no issues were raised about the condition of RAAC in the building and there was no evidence of deterioration.

“However, following a change to HSE advice RAAC experts were brought in to carry out an ‘intrusive’ survey.

“This has resulted in a recommendation to Cabinet to keep the venue closed until the roof is replaced by AMG.

“Cardiff Council has cancelled all upcoming concerts and events at the Hall until the New Year.

“Following Cabinet’s decision on next steps we will release more information on what will happen to concert dates after the New Year.”

Sudden failure

RAAC is a type of lightweight concrete, which is prone to sudden failure as it ages, and is found to have a limited lifespan.

When Cardiff Council made its initial announcement about the temporary closure of St David’s Hall in September, it expected the building to be closed for at least four weeks.

An announcement made on October 13 stated that it would not open until the New Year.

A Cardiff Council spokesperson added: “We know this will cause a lot of inconvenience and disappointment for our customers, but we hope they will understand that the safety of audiences, staff, artists, volunteers, and everyone at the venue is paramount.

“We will be in contact with promoters and hirers to discuss the potential for moving performances to other venues.

“There is no need for customers to contact St David’s Hall, we will be in touch with all ticket holders about options available to you once we have spoken with each affected show’s promoter.

“We would be grateful if customers could give us the space to undertake this work so that we can come back to you as quickly as possible about your ticket purchase/cancelled event.”

Although AMG remains committed to taking on the running of St David’s Hall, the company has asked the council to consider the lease being conditional for a period.

This would mean that AMG would not take on the full lease to run the venue until a planning approval and listed building consent for the works is acquired.

If this is acquired, AMG will pay for the roof replacement and refurbishment works.

Cardiff Council said all other conditions of the lease, including protecting the classical music calendar when the venue reopens, would still be adhered to.

July 2025

AMG is targeting a reopening St David’s Hall in advance of the next BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in July 2025.

By having the operation of St David’s Hall taken off its hands, the council could save up to £1m at a time when it is facing a budget gap of £24m.

However, there are some concerns that the change in operation and proposed alterations to the building itself could affect its world-class acoustics and status as a leading classical music venue.

Concerns have also been raised about the future of employees at the venue whilst it is temporarily closed.

UNISON, which represents staff at St David’s Hall, said it was told in a meeting with Cardiff Council last week that there would be no immediate job losses as a result of the ongoing investigations into RAAC in the building.

Cardiff Council’s cabinet members will meet on Thursday October 26 to discuss the latest inspection report and decide the next steps that the council should take.

The council’s economy and culture scrutiny committee will take the report ahead of this on Tuesday October 24.

You will be able to watch that committee meeting on a live stream at 5.15pm by visiting

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