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Cardiff's Guildford Crescent landlord denies 'destroying' businesses

Guildford Crescent, Cardiff Image copyright Google
Image caption Guildford Crescent is one of the last remaining 19th Century streets in Cardiff city centre

The landlord at the centre of a row over the future of a Victorian street denies "destroying" businesses there.

Demolition of Guildford Crescent, one of the last remaining 19th Century streets in Cardiff city centre, has been put on hold following protests.

One restaurant has moved and another has closed while music venue Gwdihw is looking for a new home.

Matthew Rapport, whose family owns the street, said the firms had been aware of his demolition plans for years.

More than 20,000 people signed a petition to save the buildings and the businesses, and 2,000 joined a protest march earlier this month.

Mr Rapport told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the occupants had been given "more than enough notice" of his plans when they approached him for talks about the future in 2013.

"Some tenants indicated they did not feel it was appropriate for them to undertake or pay for extensive repairs to buildings that had no long-term future, notwithstanding their contractual liabilities," he said.

Image caption Campaigners want the street to be granted conservation area status

Mr Rapport said that tenants negotiating short-term leases in summer 2017 were warned that no leases would be renewed at the end of 2018, although they were eventually allowed a one-month extension to cover the Christmas and New Year trade.

The landlord pointed out that one tenant - the Madeira Restaurant - had taken "full advantage" of the notice to relocate.

"There is no reason why the other businesses - Thai House and Gwdihw - could not have done the same," he said.

"It was their choice not to do so, but to decide to bring the businesses to an end."

Demolition has been put on hold for three months while Cardiff Council considers giving the buildings conservation area status.

Mr Rapport did not reply to questions seeking to clarify whether he still intended to demolish the street.

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