Jo Stevens’ letter of objection to Womanby Street development.

Our favourite Labour MP has shared a letter that she sent opposing the planned development next door to Clwb Ifor Bach on Womanby Street.  

Dear Sir/Madam,

17/00361/MJR | DEMOLITION OF EXISTING COMMERCIAL UNIT & ERECTION OF NEW BUILD DEVELOPMENT TO FORM A3 COMMERCIAL TO GROUND & LOWER GROUND & 6 FLATS OVER | 9 WOMANBY STREET, CITY CENTRE, CARDIFF, CF10 1BR

I write to object to the above planning application on behalf of a significant number of constituents who have contacted me directly, raising their concerns.

Womanby Street has established itself over many years as a place of significant cultural diversity and importance. It is right at the heart of the thriving music scene of our capital city and the venues there have supported grassroots musicians in Cardiff for decades.

The proposed site is directly next to Clwb Ifor Bach, one of our city’s most famous live music venues, which has served as a hub for the Welsh language community in Cardiff since its inception. Womanby Street is well known for live music and the staging of events and festivals throughout the year and this application, if granted, could cause irreparable damage to the diverse music scene many people from Cardiff and beyond, currently enjoy every week.

The Council needs to be mindful of development which does not adversely affect amenity and does not compromise the city centre’s economic role.  City centre living should not be detrimental to the function of the city centre for economic and commercial activity. It is vital that live music venues, pubs and clubs are not subject to intrusive measures which will damage their operation and may lead to closure.

The Council should undertake a strategic review of its policies covering planning, licensing and economic development including a review of best practice in other cities with a significant reputation for, and presence of, music venues, for this cultural quarter of our city. There is a large economic value to the city’s night time economy that has previously been recognised and carefully managed by the Council. The Womanby Street area is a key example of cultural regeneration.

The Council should issue new supplementary planning guidance to the Local Development Plan for the Womanby Street and Westgate Street area which requires any residential development to be supported only where future residents and existing uses can co-exist and function.

Additional planning guidance is needed which explores the housing potential of this area of the city centre through mixed use intensification, whilst supporting a strategic and coordinated approach to development, rather than piecemeal incremental change.

Cardiff has already lost many excellent small music venues over the previous decade and the venues on Womanby Street are viable, popular and successful both as businesses and contributors to our local economy. It would be wrong to put these venues at risk by approving an application for residential dwellings in an area such as this.

Yours faithfully,

Jo Stevens MP

Member of Parliament for Cardiff Central

Despite yesterday’s development with the Full Moon Club, the objection and support of a local MP is invaluable to the campaign to save the street from inappropriate residential development.