Phil Bale newly elected leader of Cardiff council now boasts of exciting plans for the regeneration of Central Square following the announcement that BBC Cymru Wales will be relocating their headquarters to the site of our bus station by June 2015. No ifs or buts, despite no planning application, still less planning approval.
He says they are now seeking public views ... wait for it... on the location of the new bus interchange next to Cardiff Central train station, which will be located either to the north or south of the station. The public consultation survey was launched online on Friday 8th August at: http://www.surveys.cardiff.gov.uk/busstation2014/ It simply asks: would you prefer the new facilities to be north (city side) or south (bay side) of Central Station?
This lousy consultation doesn't ask about the actual options that are listed in the AECOM Scoping report (Cabinet meeting 17 July, Item 3: www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/Your-Council/Councillors-and-meetings/CouncilMeetings. We are not asked if we want to sell off the bus station site, nor if we'd give priority to the BBC and manage in an unspecified way without a bus station for over 18 months whatever the damage to public transport policies. There is no longer any mention of the promised INTEGRATED TRANSPORT HUB nor any mention of space required for a Metro station and no mention of coach stands.
• Like for like replacement of Bus Station somewhere north of the Station;
• 22 stands north of the station;
• Reduced provision north of the station (18-22 stands) with some provision to the south
• All provision on the south side;
• Satellite bus-bays around the city centre on a) a temporary basis; and, b) a permanent basis.
The present 34 bus stands on the site would be much reduced, perhaps even to 18, ignoring the public transport objectives and 50:50 modal split of the LDP
The above scenarios for the potential bus station relocation options will be assessed as part of the Transport and Traffic Chapter of the ES says the Central Square, Cardiff : EIA Scoping Report from AECOM dated August 2014 (so no-one could see it in advance of the July Cabinet decision)
It says this Scoping Report is on behalf of Rightacres Limited, who have agreed that EIA will be undertaken, to allow the necessary survey and technical assessment work to be undertaken in advance of the submission of a planning application in October 2014. This surely makes it the fastest EIA ever undertaken, a travesty of the EIA Directive and Regulations - however much work AECOM have done in advance - and no site surveys are cited - the Regulations require genuine public consultation and revision of the ES to complete it.
When Phil Bale took over as leader, he promised a new bus station on Central Square, real public consultation and priority to making Cardiff a "liveable city". What a betrayal!
At least the document gives no grounds for moving the bus station to the south of Central Station - an option previously judged to depend on a costly new river bridge and dropped in the face of public votes.
No mention of closing accesses for the BBC on match-day closures. Another exception to get round that sticky problem, despite the "safety" excuse??
The BBC will be renting the building from Rightacres (or whoever they sell it on to), so the building itself, which I think will cost £50 million, will be funded by the developers getting a commercial loan and/or selling the asset to a big pension fund, insurer etc.
The fitting out costs could also be close to £50 million. The BBC probably won't get anything like that from their land. I'd guess they may get £25 million at a price of around £1.5 million per acre... although £2 million an acre would raise that to about £32 million.
I guess they are hoping that the move will save money in the long term by avoiding the need to upgrade their existing facilities. It should also be cheaper to run and to staff. And if they are privatised, leasing will be more tax efficient than owning their building outright (although I guess they could have mortgaged it to leverage up too).
Really? Please explain...
And even if so, the enterprise zone status is pretty short term... less than 20 years, no?
No comments on this topic for a year.
The BBC's preferred site is the bus station site in Central Square. Cardiff leaders have promised to deliver this, despite no planning consent nor even a planning application. They have accepted it needs EIA, but being cosy with AECOM expect them to do a rushed job (fastest ever) to submit in October.
See the Central Square thread for up-to-date comments and links.
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