Cardiff Council have been unable to secure funding for the cities proposed new bus station, it has been revealed, just nine months before it is scheduled to open. Negotiations between the council and property developers Rightacres have led to planning permission being granted for the ‘Interchange Building’ which will be one of many buildings constructed as part of an overall regeneration project around Central Square. However, a council report last week exposed that a ‘financial envelope’ was still required before any works on the new bus station could begin, originally scheduled for July this year.
The regeneration project is intended to be a mixed-use development with companies such as Hugh James law firm as well as Cardiff University’s School of Journalism Media and Cultural Studies already confirmed to move to 2 Central Square in 2018.
The news has sparked anger by many residents who believe that the council neglected obtaining financial commitment in order to secure more lucrative deals with the private sector. The exclusion of any assurances for the station have been described by Liberal Democrat Councillor Elizabeth Clark as “outrageous”, and is likely to have a significant impact on voter’s perceptions of the Labour dominated council, only two months before voters go to the polls.
Commenting on the setback Ramesh Patel, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability has moved to assure Cardiffians that he’s confident the work will take place stating “as far as I am concerned is it full speed ahead”. The council has also reinforced that the timeline for demolition and construction are “purely a guide and wasn’t definitive”.
Alongside financial doubt there are worries that the new station will lack capacity containing less stands than the previous station which was demolished in 2015. The funding dilemma is likely to push back the new projects opening date, leaving passengers unable to connect as easily between bus routes and Cardiff Central train station as journeys can now terminate on a variety of different streets. Both issues are likely to dissuade potential car users from switching to public transport, which is a key target for the council.
Furthermore, both Network Rail and Arriva Trains have raised concerns surrounding a lack of parking, which is crucial in many train users’ journeys. Additional warnings from Public Health Wales concerning deterioration of air quality and Natural Resources Wales around flooding implications mean the developments rocky path is likely to continue.