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Bus station deal unlocks key Cardiff development site

Words: Roger Milne
New stations for Cardiff's buses / Shutterstock_716864656

A new deal for Cardiff's bus station site has been agreed between the city council, developer Rightacres Property Ltd and the Welsh Government.

The deal secures offices as part of the mixed-use scheme and will enable the development to move forward without having to wait for an office tenant.

The council's cabinet approved the new arrangements on Wednesday afternoon (28 March). These involve the transfer of the leasehold interest in land owned by the council at Central Square and set aside for the bus station development to the Welsh Government. This will enable the full site to be assembled before the development is ready to be sold to an institutional investment firm on the same terms.

The deal will also see government-run Transport for Wales take a lease to operate the bus station part of the new development.

Transport for Wales views the bus station as a core element of a new integrated transport hub that will be realised through the Metro Central project. This project recently secured a £40 million in-principle commitment from the city deal.

In prospect is a partnership agreement between the City of Cardiff Council, the devolved administration and the developer, which will oversee the whole Metro Central project and enable work to begin very soon.

The bus station scheme has been reviewed, but will still deliver the same 14-stand bus station with 930 square metres of retail space on the ground floor. The car park will now be built over two levels – significantly reducing the build cost – and there are plans for 300 flats facing Wood Street and 7,900 square metres of grade A office space, facing Saunders Road, on the top level of the new building.

Although a new planning application will be required for the changes that are being made to the building, the development does have planning permission, so work can start on the foundations of the development once a contractor has been appointed.

Russell Goodway, cabinet member for development, said: "Through the arrangements that have been put in place since May, the new bus station will now be built on a commercial basis.

“Cardiff will have a new bus station and the council will recover the lion’s share of the money spent on the scheme to date. Bringing the government and Transport for Wales in as partners has enabled the council and the developer to get to a position where the construction will now be delivered on a fully commercially basis without any further need for council investment.”

Image credit | Shutterstock