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Takeover contract reveals new St David’s Hall operator will take on £38m repair bill

27 May 2023 3 minute read
St David’s Hall. Image via Google

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

A draft notice for the takeover of St David’s Hall shows that hopeful operators would be obliged to take on a repairs bill of about £38 million.

Cardiff Council has for the first time published the draft voluntary ex-ante (VEAT) notice of intent for the classical music venue, which reveals the figure.

The document, which shows further details of the proposed agreement between the council and Academy Music Group (AMG) for the takeover of St David’s Hall, is intended to allow competitors to come forward with a challenge to the bid.

It also states that the proposed arrangement will involve the grant of a 45-year lease and requires AMG to make the venue available to third parties to book for up to 90 days a year.

The council isn’t expected to consider a final lease agreement with AMG until July, provided that no challenges to AMG’s offer have been made on the conclusion of the VEAT process.

A description of the procurement on the VEAT states: “The lease contains (amongst other common requirements) an obligation on AMG to keep the Venue open (except in limited circumstances set out in the lease) and in a state and condition as to be safe and operational in line with industry standards and as required by all statutory and licensing requirements.

“The lease will involve the council placing a legally enforceable obligation on AMG to rectify “defects” (estimated value of £38m) during the term of the lease.

“The lease will also require AMG to make the Venue available to third parties to book for up to 90 days per annum.

“Where required the council will place a legally enforceable obligation on AMG to make the Venue available which will also involve AMG providing the associated staff and accommodation/venue services to support the events.

“The council will not be required to pay AMG for these accommodation/venue services.”

Budget gap

Cardiff Council currently faces a budget gap of £24m and freeing itself from the running of St David’s Hall and the building’s maintenance bill could save it a significant amount of money.

The local authority recently revealed that it had received no new expression of interest in taking over the running of St David’s Hall after the soft marketing process for the venue came to an end on Friday, May 19.

A procurement process would be triggered if another potential operator comes forward to challenge AMG’s proposal. The VEAT notice will run for a period of 28 days.

Cardiff Council’s economy and culture scrutiny committee is set to meet at 4.30pm on Wednesday, May 31, to discuss the draft VEAT notice and the next steps for St David’s Hall.

You can view the live meeting and draft VEAT document here……..

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