South East Wales

Cardiff conservation group says 'call in BBC HQ plan'

Artist's impression of the new site in Cardiff
Image caption Cardiff planners recommend the plans go ahead, saying concerns have been addressed

Permission for a new BBC Wales headquarters in Cardiff city centre should not be granted until plans for a new bus station are in place, a conservation group says.

Cardiff Civic Society has asked Planning Minster Carl Sargeant to "call in" a planning application for part of the Cardiff Central Square development.

Cardiff councillors are due to vote on the plans on Wednesday.

The Welsh government said it had yet to make a decision.

Cardiff planners have recommended the plans go ahead, saying concerns have been addressed.

BBC Wales plans to take the tenancy of the planned new media centre building in Central Square - where the current bus station is situated - from developers Rightacres Property Ltd.

Rightacres is also applying to demolish the nearby ageing Marland House office and retail building, build basement car parks and landscape the square.

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Media captionThe Civic Society says a new bus station should be built before the old one is removed

A council report to the committee said the application seeks to "demonstrate that the development does not compromise the delivery of a new bus station on the Marland House/ NCP car park site, and that the environmental impact of relocating the bus station is acceptable".

However, the application does not include any plans for the permanent replacement of the bus station.

In its letter to ministers, the civic society said the application failed to address the need for a transport hub close to the railway station and asked for the decision to be taken out of the hands of councillors.

It claims the development will "destroy the central bus station with no replacement provided for at least two and a half years".

Paul McCarthy, chief executive of Rightacres Property, said although the current application did not include the transport plan, details of a new hub would be revealed in the near future.

A Cardiff council spokesperson said: "Any mention of the bus station in the current planning documentation for the demolition of Marland House and the BBC headquarters is incidental and lacks significant detail, as it isn't part of this application."

Network Rail has also raised concerns about the loss of current taxi parking and passenger pick-up and drop-off points, as a civic square could be built between the planned development and Cardiff Central rail station.

In a statement to planners, it said: "This proposed development will remove a key rail customer facility on the northern side of the rail station and will necessitate its relocation away from the station's main entrance."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Cardiff Central station as it is now

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