South East Wales

Cardiff Council handling of bus station development 'an embarrassment'

How the new Interchange building in Central Square was due to look Image copyright Rightacres Property
Image caption How Cardiff's new bus station was due to look

Cardiff Council has been called an "embarrassment" to the capital over its handling of the city centre bus station development, by an AM.

Russell Goodway, the council's cabinet member for investment, has asked developer Rightacres to submit a new planning application before Christmas.

The bus station had originally been scheduled to open in December, but it will not now open before 2020.

South Wales Central AM Andrew RT Davies said: "It is simply not good enough."

Councillor Goodway told Thursday's meeting of the full council he expected work to begin on the bus station and transport interchange early in the new year.

He said he had asked Rightacres to deal with some amendments to the commercial space that will sit above the bus station.

This, he said, would allow the council to consider "a mixed use development involving a small-scale speculative office element, private rented and student accommodation and potentially a hotel."

The plans, approved by the council in March, initially included private flats, shops, a car park and office space.

Image copyright Rightacres
Image caption The bus station had originally been due to open in December 2017

But in July, Rightacres said it wanted to change the private flats to student accommodation, and replace offices with student flats, if sufficient tenants could not be found for them.

Councillor Goodway said he would bring a report to Cabinet in December to get permission to enter into a contract to deliver the new scheme.

The former station was closed and demolished in 2015 to make way for BBC Wales' new home at Central Square.

Mr Davies, a Conservative AM, said: "It is frankly embarrassing that Cardiff - the capital city of Wales - is set to go at least five years without a central bus station - all down to the incompetence of the Labour administration.

"We have seen the plans continually change - and it has been to the detriment of both residents and visitors to our great city."

The bus station is part of the £20m Central Square redevelopment, next to Cardiff Central railway station.

The leader of Cardiff Council, Huw Thomas, said: "We've always been clear on our commitment to deliver a bus station on the north side of the railway station and this announcement that work could begin early in the new year demonstrates to everyone that progress is being made.

"Central Square is the biggest redevelopment site in Wales and the council has played a major role in making it happen."

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