Entertainment arena objects to new Admiral offices

June 7, 2011 15 Comments »
Entertainment arena objects to new Admiral offices

admiral artists impressionWales’ biggest entertainment arena has objected to plans by one of the country’s largest companies to build its new headquarters on neighbouring land.

Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, on Mary Ann Street, has objected to a planning application submitted by the motor insurance giant Admiral.

The firm wants the 12-storey office block, which will feature ground floor shops and restaurants, to rise up on vacant land at Bridge Street, opposite Cineworld.

The site was formerly the NCP car park and is currently used as a temporary landscaped park that leads to the St Davids shopping centre entrance.

If approved by Cardiff council’s planning committee on Wednesday, the new 220,000 sq ft HQ – able to accommodate 3,000 staff – will open in early 2014.

Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, formerly the CIA, will be one of Admiral’s nearest neighbours.

It has objected on the grounds that the massive office development will increase congestion, lead to a loss of open space and overshadow the arena’s administrative offices.

A report prepared for councillors states more representations would be made once details of the application are known.

Attempts to contact the arena for a comment yesterday were unsuccessful.

Another objector is Cardiff property developer Ivor Holdings Limited, which wants to build an 18-storey block of flats on the site of the Traders Tavern at the corner of Churchill Way and Bridge  Street.

Ivor Holdings Limited objects on the grounds that the proposed Admiral HQ will be an “overbearing building” with no public realm.

The firm claims it will compromise its own development, “overshadowing and overlooking” future residents. It also states outline consent was limited to a five-storey building.

Derek Rapport, of Ivor Holdings Limited, did not respond to requests for a comment yesterday.

Despite the objections, the council’s planning officers have recommended the  scheme for approval, subject to the signing of a Section 106 funding agreement.

Officers said it would create jobs and bring significant economy benefits to the city centre. They also said its design and impact on the skyline – as well the impact on neighbouring developments –  was “acceptable”.

What do you think about the application? Let us know your views in the comments below

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  1. Ian June 7, 2011 at 10:04 am - Reply

    both developments could be better placed. The open space where the Admiral building is being proposed is a lovely green space in a developing area of the city centre. Given the number of vacant offices, and the developments and empty land around Callaghan Square and Dumballs Road/Tresillian Terrace, is there not somewhere better for the Admiral offices?

    Putting apartments on top of the Trader's Tavern is a bad idea also – that pub is one of the few remianing in the city centre with some real Cardiffian history.

  2. Ross June 7, 2011 at 10:29 am - Reply

    I totally agree with them. It's a terrible place to drop yet another tower. The current area of green space is well needed where it is I reckon.

    Given the council's plans for the new 'financial district', which I believe include Callaghan Square, surely it'd make sense, as Ian said, to look around there?

  3. David June 7, 2011 at 11:53 am - Reply

    I'll admit the green square is nice – however, it was always planned as temporary as it forms a core part of the St David's development area. Initially it was going to be a development of retail units and cafes on the ground floor, with residential above. However, when the housing market plunged in 2008, these plans were scrapped. Rather than leave a large ugly area fenced off, Land Securities agreed to landscape the area temporarily to prevent it being an eyesore. However, it remains privately owned land which has always been planned for development.

    Admiral considered Callaghan Square, Dumballs Road, Capital Quarter (Tyndall Street), the Rapport site, and Eastside Square. The latter was chosen based on its location (very convenient for staff who can quickly nip to the shops or cafes) and on the attractive financial package. Its not the council's job to decide where Admiral locates – its Admiral's, subject to obtaining planning permission. And planning permission cannot be refused because the council would prefer them to locate in some imagined financial district.

    • Gerald Peake June 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      David, it is the Planning Committees job to decide if proposed new buildings fit into the overall city plan… assuming, of course, there is one?
      How about a mobile green space? One that can be shuffled around when anyone comes up with a proposal for a new building, just like the turf at the Millennium Stadium?

  4. David June 7, 2011 at 11:54 am - Reply

    There isn't really a loss of green space – it was just a temporary "holding measure". It was a car park for christs sake. And that had lots more traffic associated with it than a building with around 1/4 of the parking spaces which will be utilised for 8 hours at a time rather than 1 or 2.

    It looks like a case of sour grapes on the one hand, and NIMBYism on the other. This building should be approved, no questions.

    • IanP June 25, 2011 at 8:42 pm - Reply


      Hope you enjoy your "in the box" thinking… This kind of thinking is why so many projects are built that are soon seen as "mistakes".

  5. Nathan Collins June 8, 2011 at 9:39 am - Reply

    Why don't we just start building on top of other buildings? I mean, evidently, we don't have any space left anywhere in the city so we have to fill up every available plot of land, this being the last one – so after this we'll have to start extending the height of existing buildings, starting with Capital Tower which will have another 14 storey building built on top of it.

    Now that's clever use of space!

  6. peoplefirst June 8, 2011 at 10:26 am - Reply

    How about using the public Section 106 Money from BOTH developments, the 12 & 18 storey buildings and recreating the public open space of "Pembroke Terrace" aka Churchill Way from the junction of Queen Street – North Edward Street. Create a Green [old fashioned stuff called grass] rather than a paved area, open up the feeder ["river under the roadway"] into a feature: a 2012 "Mill Lane"

  7. Rob June 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Oh go on then, build a new housing estate in Bute Park too while your at it. What a completely stupid idea. The area outside cineworld currently looks like an attractive area to meet and socialise, a proper contemporary city image combining functionality with a green hub in the centre to keep us grounded and maintain at least a minimal sense of health and environmental concern. Proceeding with these plans will destroy this image and the area, turning it into yet another concrete square. I am so disappointed

  8. James June 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    It think it’s an absolutely stupid place to put a skyscraper. It’s not a massive area ad there Is already massive congestion going into St David’s 2 car park around there.

    Also, I love that bit open space. It’s always packed on a sunny day with people have their lunch. The council would be stupid to accept this application, I’m sure there’s loads of other sites around the the city centre for this and do we really need more shops.

  9. Nat H June 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    There's plenty of other space to build tower blocks in Cardiff. Just not right there – there's not much space as it is and the green park area that is currently there is a lovely spot for sitting in the sunshine – just the other day I thought what a wonderful addition it was to the city centre – somewhere close to the centre that people can sit and enjoy their lunch.

    I think it would be an absolute travesty to build there.

  10. Gerald Peake June 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Further to my comments on the other page, if this marvelous building does go ahead, could the NCP car park next to the Motopoint (branded) CIA;) become a green space? I can't see why Admiral rejected the Rapport site, it's only a stones throw away and would be much more suitable. Destruction of the highly successful 'green space' will be a headache for Admiral's PR Department!

  11. Magali Nougarede June 9, 2011 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    I agree with previous comments. The green space is most welcome and its loss would create a real imbalance, as well as make this part of the shopping district clostrophobic and off putting. I had assumed that the green space had been put there as part as a well designed strategy by Cardiff Council and I am disappointed (but not surprised) to hear that this has only happenned by default. Being a relatively new comer to Wales and Cardiff I am shocked by the lack of vision and coherence in the urban planning of this town.

  12. Paul Kemble January 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    Given the interest in this matter since I wrote to the Echo in August 2010 (see http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/letters-to-the-… ) perhaps it might be an idea to consolidate opposition to the proposed development. A conversation with one of the site's workers indicated that thought had been given, as an alternative, to preparing the land as a permanent park. It is understood that Ivor Holdings wish to see an 18-storey block of apartments on the site of Ivor House and the adjacent car park. Perhaps this land too could be incorporated into parkland.

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