Conservationists fired up over Cardiff Coal Exchange redevelopment

THE fate of the crumbling Cardiff Coal Exchange building is under question as conservationists attempt to repeal the government’s decision to turn into a block of flats.

Sadie Davidson

During Wales’ industrial golden era, the Coal Exchange was a hive of activity where deals were made and was the focal point of the UK’s growing fortune during the early 20th century.

Activists fear the proposed development to turn the landmark into flats, offices and a hotel will rip the heart of out the area’s rich industrial history.

It is where the world's first million-pound deal was struck in 1907 and for that reason conservationists argue the building should be maintained to uphold the area’s industrial and economical heritage.

The exchange closed after World War II as the British coal industry began its painful decline and in more recent years was revived as a music venue, hosting local and international artists.

A spokesman for the local council told The Gaurdian: "The council doesn't own the Coal Exchange and never has. We have acted in the interests of public safety and incurred a cost of £900,000, which includes putting up scaffolding to hold up part of the structure.

“The council, as a planning authority, will have to consider any application from the owner by reference to material planning matters”

The Welsh assembly's petitions committee agreed to write to the city council and ask what the plans are for the Coal Exchange and to question it over its use of powers under section 78 of the Building Act on emergency measures for dangerous buildings.

Cardiff council replied to the petitions committee saying it was right to use the emergency powers, adding that it believed the building could be an anchor development for the next phase of the development of the Cardiff Bay area.