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Saving the city centre

if it's about Cardiff.. Sport, Entertainment, Transportation, Business, Development Projects, Leisure, Eating, Drinking, Nightlife, Shopping, Train Spotting! etc.. then we want it here!
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Frank

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Saving the city centre

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 10:32 am

Most obviously coronavirus casts a shadow over everything at the moment and one of those quandries is the plight of city centres. There has been quite a lot of talk about London, the effect of no commuters on sandwich shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. We all know the scheme that has been launched. But how far should we be going to save (or prop up) city centres be it London Cardiff or anywhere else.

If there are fewer people commuting and less food/retail spending in central Cardiff is that the worst thing in the world? I was walking around yesterday and the pubs in Pontcanna seemed to be doing a fair trade. I imagine that is true of many other suburbs. If more economic activity is taking place in the local high street (or online) why should we worry?

I'll go further. Many of the major businesses in the city centre are huge multinationals with interesting tax arrangements. Now I know the 'local pub' can often be owned by similar such entities but it strikes me that a declining city centre might have benefits for smaller businesses who are more likely to be based elsewhere.

If economic activity moves away from central London towards the suburbs and home counties, why would this be a bad thing. Likewise for Cardiff. Prices in central London are crazy anyway, it might actually lead to less inequality. Now much of the spend in central Cardiff is not from people in Heath/Rhiwbina but Pontypridd and Hengoed. You can see why the elites might want to row against the tide like King Canute but I hope they don't.

Finally should we be trying to prop up the restaurant business? If people wish to use more of their discretionary spending on other things - like for instance home improvements if they are going to be working from home (energy efficiency, extensions, loft conversions) are we honestly saying we'd rather they were spending money in restaurants instead? Other pats of the economy would have the chance to thrive.
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AlwaysBeBlue

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Re: Saving the city centre

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 9:33 pm

Places like New York for example wont struggle as much because they have a lot of people that live in the City Centre.
I believe that cities should always be the focal point of any area, one because it keeps outer areas greener and untouched.
If there is eventually no real City Centres, I believe this will be a bad thing.

If anything, cities should grow and become more like New York and have good quality high rises. These will then feed the City Centre when it is not being used as much by people outside Cardiff and Cardiff suburbs.

The death of the City Centre would be tragic and I hope it never happens
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Cardiff

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Re: Saving the city centre

PostSun Aug 09, 2020 10:42 pm

There is a lot of empty space above a lot of city center buildings that would make wonderful accommodation, its just a lot to renovate historic buildings and land prices are too high for small time developers. Also anti social behaviour and noise is a big factor.
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redragon

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Re: Saving the city centre

PostThu Aug 13, 2020 3:33 pm

I'm hopeful that the city centre won't die but it will evolve and it will take time.

Just look how busy the castle street cafe area is, the bars and cafes on St Mary street and the arcades... this is great stuff.

I know that A LOT of chains will go, but maybe that will result in a shift of retail offer, to more experience based shopping? There will need to be less retail floorspace in my view but better quality and more affordable.

The conversion of upper floors needs to happen quickly - so long as the quality is there. For example if and when Topshop goes, keep something at ground floor but the rest has to be residential or hotel use?
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Frank

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Re: Saving the city centre

PostFri Aug 14, 2020 8:04 pm

To be clear I'm not suggesting city centres will disintegrate! I just worry that if an element of decentralisation is the consequence of Covid 19 people might attempt to stop it. It's obviously a lot more salient for somewhere like London but there are certain parallels here too.
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redragon

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Re: Saving the city centre

PostFri Aug 21, 2020 12:02 pm

Yes, it could be a great time for neighbourhoods like Wellfield Road/Albany Road...Whitchurch etc.

Is there any type of retail that you think will come out on top? Or that is missing right now Cardiff-wise?

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