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Cardiff canal quarter plan 'protects' Guildford Crescent

Building frontages on Guildford Crescent Image copyright Google
Image caption Building frontages on Guildford Crescent are set to be preserved, but other parts of the buildings could be demolished

The future of Cardiff's Guildford Crescent has been made more secure with plans to preserve the frontages as part of a "canal quarter".

Landowner Marcol Estate wanted to knock down the properties, but the plan was withdrawn after more than 20,000 people signed a petition against the idea.

The rears of the buildings could one day be demolished, but that would be subject to planning permission.

Cardiff architects The Urbanists have been commissioned for the project.

It will stretch from Queen Street Station to St David's Shopping Centre and encompass Churchill Way, Charles Street, Bridge Street, Guildford Crescent and the site of the existing Motorpoint Arena.

The idea is to uncover the dock feeder canal buried under Churchill Way and create a public square fronting Admiral's headquarters.

The news comes too late for the street's businesses which have already closed.

Council leader Huw Thomas insisted the announcement was "good news".

"We know what the crescent means to the people of Cardiff and now it will be protected and preserved for future generations," he said.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The frontages will be incorporated into the new canal quarter

"Increasingly, developers are seeking to invest where there is good access to public transport and this area of the city centre on the doorstep of Queen Street station is as good as it gets.

"I am delighted that we will now receive new plans for Guildford Crescent, leading to the potential for an even bigger reminder of the past by opening up the canal," said Mr Thomas.

Marcol Estate chairman Derek Rapport said: "Top class architects have been appointed to produce a scheme which embraces the council's vision for a canal quarter that brings water back into the public realm in Churchill Way."

The Save Guildford Crescent group tweeted a response to the news, saying they were "very disappointed but not surprised" with the planning development.

"In recent times, shops have been left empty with business owners stating rental and rates were too high," it said.

"Why offer more commercial opportunities when businesses can barely mange to stay in their current lets?"

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