Guildford Crescent: 'Special' architecture could be demolished

Gwdihŵ Image copyright Google
Image caption The businesses are in colourful buildings on Guildford Crescent

A crescent earmarked to become a protected conservation area could instead be knocked down after its owner put in a demolition notice.

Cardiff council announced plans in June to preserve the "special architectural interest" of Guildford Crescent.

But its tenants - the Gwdihŵ music venue, Madeira and Thai House restaurants - have all been told their leases will end in January.

Denstream Ltd has now applied to knock down the premises, numbers one to six.

An application on its behalf read: "Our client is currently in advanced discussions with a nationally respected developer with a first-class reputation for building quality developments.

"The proposed demolition work is to clear the site ready for redevelopment to commence, subject to the appropriate planning permissions being obtained."

It is one of the only areas of central Cardiff to remain undeveloped since 1950, and includes the Masonic Hall.

Image copyright Google
Image caption None of the buildings are listed unlike the Grade II Masonic Hall

The move to preserve it by the local authority would mean landscaping and "resisting inappropriate development or alterations" in the area, a council report read.

But on Wednesday, owners of Gwdihŵ announced they would be closing the 10-year-old venue on 30 January.

"It is with a heavy heart we announce that we'll be closing our doors on Guildford Crescent at the end of January," the owners said in a statement.

"Our landlords have taken the decision not to renew our lease - despite, or perhaps because, of the Cardiff council proposal to grant Guildford Crescent protected conservation area status."

The adjoining Thai House and Madeira, that have been open for 33 and 20 years, will also have to leave their premises.

More than 2,000 people have signed a petition, which read: "We cannot stress to you how vital it is that we act now and urge the landlord of Guildford Crescent to recognise and understand the cultural and artistic significance of these spaces over any other monetary gain to be had in other business ventures.

"We ask the landlord, to grant these existing businesses new leases and avoid the loss of 70+ jobs."

Cardiff council leader Huw Thomas said it was "committed to supporting live music in the city" and would help Gwdihŵ officials find a new venue in the city.

He added: "The decision to end the leases on Guildford Crescent has been taken by the landlord.

"We do not have any powers to stop this, but I will be seeking a meeting with the landlord to see what can be done."

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