Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Towers and tombstones

Incredible - and profoundly depressing. No sooner do I post about grassroots music venues being obliterated to make way for accommodation than I have to do so again.

Here in Cardiff, the Rapport family and the Draycott Group appear to be duking it out to see who can be the most dastardly. The former bulldozed Gwdihw and the rest of Guildford Crescent and are hoping to erect a 29-storey tower on the land, while the latter are proposing to demolish Harlech Court, home to Porter's, and replace it with what would be the tallest building in Wales.

Aware of the outcry, Cardiff City Council leader Huw Thomas has offered a defensive response, claiming that because the building is privately owned, the council's hands are tied. In a sense, yes - but they'll have the power to accept or reject the plans when those are formally submitted, and previous form suggests that the developers will ultimately win out once again.

What the council can do, he argues, is to answer the venue's call for help "to find a suitable empty building that does not sit under the cloud of possible demolition or redevelopment". But how many of those are there left?

The bottom line is that Cardiff now has too many blocks of flats and too few gig venues. What's the point of providing yet more apartments when it comes at the cost of the very spaces that make the city centre an attractive place to live?

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