Campaigners win in bid to protect live music street
CAMPAIGNERS have scored a victory in their bid to protect Cardiff’s best known live music street.
Developers yesterday withdrew controversial plans to build flats on Cardiff’s Womanby Street.
The flats would have been built next door to much-loved venue Clwb Ifor Bach.
Music fans, venue owners and politicians had joined together to oppose plans for the flats and a separate application for a hotel to be built above Wetherspoon’s. They feared the future of the street as the home to several live music venues was at risk if planners allowed residential dwellings.
The concern was that if flats were built, residents would be affected by loud music and complain, which could result in licences being revoked if any complaints were upheld – despite the venues being long established.
Campaigners called on the council and Welsh Government to offer protection to music venues.
The application, by Afzal Khan and agent DLP Architecture, was for an existing commercial unit at 9 Womanby Street to be knocked down and flats to be built in its place. The currently four-storey building is mainly built of brick but has a missing roof. The developer said it would improve the appearance of the street by introducing a new building.
No reason was given in the letter for the withdrawal.
The Wetherspoon’s hotel application was submitted first, followed by the plans for flats. Objections were received from politicians including Cardiff Central MP Jo Stevens and a number of different petitions were started which were signed by thousands of people. One said they feared the creation of the flats would “represent an outright risk to the continuing operations of existing operations on Womanby Street”.
Clwb Ifor Bach chief executive Guto Brychan said the withdrawal of the application was “great news”.
He said the objection on behalf of the club was because they felt there was insufficient detail about plans to soundproof the new building, which would have shared a wall with his venue.
“It’s been very heartwarming and great to see the amount of support we have had and to know how crucial Womanby Street is to the cultural life of people in the city,” he added.
“Womanby Street is a hub for live music, new artists and local music. It’s an area people hold very close to their hearts.”
A huge march took place with supporters heading to City Hall to call for support from the council.
In light of the campaign, the Welsh Government said it planned to revise planning policy.
Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, said she wanted an explicit reference to the “Agent of Change” principle to be included in Wales’ national planning policy.
Under the principle, if new developments or uses are to be introduced near an existing business, such as a live music venue, it is the developer’s responsibility to ensure solutions to address and mitigate the noise are put forward.
Speaking after the flats application was withdrawn, Ms Stevens said: “I’m really pleased that, following a huge and fantastic community campaign, this planning application has been withdrawn.”
A Save Womanby Street march earlier this year