Friday, 12 February 2010

Wales needs law to save 'cultural' buildings


From the BBC website - full article here:

Buildings in Wales with a "social or cultural significance" should have new laws to help campaigners protect them, say Assembly Members.

The assembly's petitions committee cited the campaign to save Victorian-era Cardiff pub The Vulcan Hotel as an example of why new powers were needed.

A 5,000-name petition helped the Vulcan land a three-year demolition reprieve.

AMs said heritage body Cadw showed willing to protect it but could not do more without risk of legal challenges.

...

Christine Chapman, chair of the assembly's petitions committee, said: "It is clear that Cadw showed willing in trying to protect the Vulcan, even asking the campaigners to find out more information and resubmit an application after the first attempt was turned down.

"But it is also clear that Cadw reached the end of its remit and simply couldn't do any more without running the risk of legal challenges on the grounds of the building not meeting specific criteria.

"The committee was told that there is some new heritage protection legislation which would tighten up laws in England and Wales but that that legislation, at the time, had not been allocated a slot for debate in Parliament."


Below is our reaction to the Assembly report:

Today, the National Assembly for Wales’ Petitions Committee released the report ‘Save the Vulcan: Protection of historic buildings’.

The report is a response to a petition of 5,000 signatures calling to save the historic Vulcan Hotel from demolition.

Save the Vulcan campaigner Rachel Thomas said, “We are pleased the Assembly’s Petitions Committee took time to examine our petition. However, this is by no means the end. This is just the beginning of the Vulcan campaign, and our aim is to see the Vulcan thrive for another 157 years.

“The fate of the Vulcan now lies in the hands of the developer Derek Rapport, and we strongly urge Mr Rapport to comment immediately on the future of this Victorian watering hole.

“According to the BBC, pubs in Wales are closing at the rate of five a week. The Vulcan should not be allowed to become a statistic.

“We strongly urge the Welsh Government to act on the report’s recommendations as soon as possible”.

Save the Vulcan campaigner Graham Craig is keen to see strengthened powers for Cardiff Council to prevent the demolition of buildings that meet local listing criteria. Graham said, “The Vulcan must be protected, and listing the building is the best way to do this. We understand why the Vulcan cannot be listed under Cadw’s current criteria, but the Welsh Government and the WLGA must now move swiftly to introduce legislation to protect buildings which are socially and/or culturally important”.

Local architect Jonathan Adams said he could see no reason why the Vulcan could not be incorporated into a future redevelopment of the site, and that it would pose an exciting architectural opportunity.

Save the Vulcan campaigner David Wilton added, “Don’t forget to visit the Vulcan during the 6 Nations. The atmosphere is unrivalled, and the beer’s pretty good too!”

The Vulcan is the only building to survive from the area formally known as Newtown.

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It really is sad to be losing Cardiff local pubs in this way... The Cow and Snuffers in Llandaff North has I believe just been sold to a property developer, and The Railway here is also up for let.

The Lansdowne pub in Canton has just been sold and boarded up, but there are good proposals to re-open the ground floor as a gastro pub, and to convert the redundant (almost derelict) upper floors into apartments. If the main function of htese buildings can be retained then perhaps there is light at the end of the tunnel?

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