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Guildford Crescent

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Guildford Crescent

PostThu Jan 17, 2019 12:04 pm

I think this deserves its own thread. It may just be me and my circle but a fair few people seem animated about the loss of Gwidhw etc. I'm not so sure. Does it make sense for there to be lots of these establishments in the centre of town which caters for hen parties/stag do/nights out for everyone in South Wales. Won't the kind of things a Gwidhw do simply gravitate elsewhere - Whitchurch/Canton/Roath?


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Re: Guildford Crescent

PostThu Jan 17, 2019 1:32 pm

I think there are three issues in play here:

1. The first is the buildings themselves and their historic nature. Whilst individually none of the buildings concerned of are ever likely to gain Grade 1 listed status, I think there is a strong argument that they are collectively important as they represent one of the few remaining parts of the old Cardiff's town centre. This is important both in and of itself, to preserve some of our history (hence the moves to make the street a Conservation area) but also in terms of the fact that the character and scale of the buildings are perfectly suited to exactly the sort of interesting small businesses that currently occupy them.

2. The second issue is that three thriving businesses are quite probably going to be destroyed at the will of a land owner with little to no track record of delivering high quality development.

Just look at the state of each of the sites owned by the Rapports and you can see how much they (don’t) care about contributing to the character and vibrancy of Cardiff. The Rapport building itself is in pretty poor condition and the surface car park next to it (which I believe they also own) actively detracts from the character of both Churchill Way and David Street. The same is true of the NCP car park that they own on Adam Street, which plays a key role in creating a windswept and depressing entry point to the city centre. It should also be noted that they wilfully destroyed a historic and characterful pub (The Vulcan), on Adam Street, to facilitate another development (that never actually materialised) a few years ago.

Madeira, the Thai House and Gwdihw are all much loved local businesses which bring something unique to the area and I’m deeply saddened by the idea of all three of them being bulldozed into oblivion.

In terms of Gwdihw, Frank, I think it needs to be stressed that this is not at all the sort of venue that caters for stag and hen parties and neither is it something that could ever be recreated in Whitchurch or any other suburb. It is a quirky, interesting venue that supports live music and up and coming local artists of various genres. They also sell local beer, brewed at Pipes Brewery. Sure it might be possible for them to find another venue in the city centre but it just seems a real shame that they are being forced to do so.

3. The third issue is the question of what is likely to be built, if the site is redeveloped? Answer: probably something that is architecturally inferior, of a character that does not reflect the surrounding buildings and will contribute nothing or very little in terms of active street level uses. Seriously, given the nature of the area, what is the best that we can hope for from Rapports here? Probably a mid-rise private student flats development built from cheap materials, that will have next to zero engagement with the street. Great! Just great!

The more I think about it the more I hope that the Council gets of its backside and introduces a conservation area policy for the street, immediately, to put a stop to this.
Last edited by HalRobsonKanu on Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Guildford Crescent

PostThu Jan 17, 2019 4:12 pm

There's a protest march planned for Saturday afternoon starting at Womanby Street at 2.30pm and heading through town to Guildford Crescent. It probably won't do much good in the grand scheme of things, but a big turnout is expected and it at least shows that the people of Cardiff care about these issues and are willing to make some defiant noise to protest against the injustice of it all. If it's anything like the Save Womanby Street march a couple of years ago it should also be a lot of fun.


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Re: Guildford Crescent

PostFri Jan 18, 2019 2:27 pm

My twopennies worth.

My mind's really not made up on this.

Of course, it's a shame to kick out existing businesses, especially if they then close down (and people lose their jobs) instead of relocate - although that can of course mean more opportunity/custom for competitors, so there can be winners too.

But at the same time, this is privately owned land and property. I think theres a strong case to be said that property owners should be able to do as they see fit with their property. Lease it to who they want to. Demolish it if they want. If, as society, we want property owners to do differently there needs to be very strong reasons to overrule their own preferences. Or we should pay them to do as we want.

So I don't really see the loss of these businesses as a legitimate reason to try to prevent demolish and redevelopment of this site. If the owner of the property is able to get more value by redevelopment, that is their wont. We need a good reason to deny that. And not just about loss of business because the whole process of competition between business invovles loss of business. Gwdihw's existence may have contributed to other closures or prevented other businesses opening up for instance.

So to me, I think I have to be persuaded on the architectural issues. Would demolition see the loss of something important, and its replacement by something bland? Is the street really worthy of conservation area status?

It certainly is quite nice looking but I'm sure it looks rather different to the original terrace - not least the garish colours of the Thai House and Gwdihw. Has it already been changed so much that to say its being conserved as an example of historic Cardiff actually a bit of a lie?

You'll see I'm probably edging towards saying there isn't really a strong case to deny this demolition. Certainly nothing to stop people opposing it either.

I think what stops me going down that route whole-heartedly is that the Masonic Hall is listed and the demolition of the terrace and construction of something else would make that look very much out of place. And that hall is worth saving as that really does have architectural and heritage value.


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Re: Guildford Crescent

PostFri Jan 18, 2019 4:45 pm

What RandomComment said!


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Re: Guildford Crescent

PostFri Jan 18, 2019 11:36 pm

The demolition has been delayed for at least three months following discussions between the council and rapports.
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paul cardiffwalesmap

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Re: Guildford Crescent

PostSat Jan 19, 2019 12:58 am

elgdav wrote:The demolition has been delayed for at least three months following discussions between the council and rapports.

Well that's good news, but I wonder if that means that the 3 businesses involved will now have another 3 months trading? I mean if they're all out of there at the end of this month then that 3month delay becomes 'less personal' as the businesses that are thriving will no longer be there. Then with these buildings not containing successful independent businesses the argument for non-demolition changes somewhat :?:


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Re: Guildford Crescent

PostSat Jan 19, 2019 9:36 am

elgdav wrote:The demolition has been delayed for at least three months following discussions between the council and rapports.

The only possible reason I can think of for the delay is that the council are considering making an offer for the site. Does this mean the planning application has been delayed or merely the physical demolition?


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Re: Guildford Crescent

PostSat Jan 19, 2019 11:09 am

They must be intending to make an offer, perhaps it's all reliant on the Motorpoint Arena re-development inconjunction with the NCP and Rapport site (both of which they own). Its going to be a few years at least until the Motorpoint is demolished as the new arena will have to be done in 3 long phases. Are they prepared to wait that long? Unless the cash strapped council can offer an immediate incentive I can't see the family budging. Interesting to see what happens here.

Mr Blue Sky

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Re: Guildford Crescent

PostSat Jan 19, 2019 1:23 pm

The map on page 4 of this link shows that the only “old” buildings in the city centre (west and north of the railway lines) not to be part of a conservation area are those on Guildford Street and Guildford Terrace plus the Golden Cross. ... reet-A.pdf

I understand the argument that RC is making and I would add that the Madeira and Thai House could easily relocate. However a great deal of Gwdihw’s success and charm is down to the fact that it’s a bit of a trek from the fleshpots of St. Mary St and Greyfriars Rd and hasn’t succumbed to the Stag/Hen culture. People who go to Gwdihw would have been going to Toucan 20 years ago; losing Toucan was a blow and if Gwdihw were to relocate it would inevitably have a different vibe, attract a slightly different crowd and lose its distinctiveness.

When Buffalo started out it had a similar vibe to that of Gwdihw but by 2010 had been colonised by coked-up wannabe gangsters, which left an opening for Gwdihw to flourish.

It would be very easy (I assume) for the Charles St Conservation Area to be extended south to protest this oasis of culture. Rapports are sitting on two large surface car parks plus a number of ramshackle buildings that are eyesores. Yes, they should be free to develop but it would improve their PR if they could provide a rationale for why they haven’t developed Adam St or the car park by their HQ.

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