to Janet McNicholas Janet.McNicholas@audit.wales
Wales Audit Office, 24 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9LJ
Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004, S.22 and 32. Cardiff City and County Council
Notice of Question on the Accounts
Questions about the accounts in respect of the loss of public land in Central Square and other interests owned by Cardiff Council, principally land used for the old Bus Station, which has in effect been exchanged for a much smaller area of land for a new bus station, but badly constrained, such that the new Bus Station will be unable to use the Saunders Road access and thus unable to function during ‘match day’ closures of Wood Street.
- it appears the ‘joint developer’ deal signed by the Council with Rightacres was used to transfer the Bus Station land without recompense.
- as part of the deal with the BBC, the Council or the ‘joint developer’ promised the BBC some 240-250 parking spaces in the NBC car park.
- the Council bought the NBC car park for a price of about £9 million; was such a high price justified with a lease very few years left?
- the BBC parking spaces, being part of the carpark asset, were transferred to the ‘joint developer’, possibly at zero recompense.
- the Council’s Major Projects Unit agreed that the parking spaces would be re-provided in an underground carpark after the NBC car park is demolished and the site combined with the Marland House site.
- the site plans developed by Rightacres with the Major Projects Unit of the Council put the car park access from Saunders Road (alone) with Bus access only from Wood Street, contrary to the Council/Cabinet decision that there be access to the new Bus Station during match-day road closures (ie. access via Saunders Road).
- the value of the Saunders Road access, in terms of efficiency of Bus Station operation and for match-day access, was given away by the Council with no recompense.
- overall, in return for the Council giving over the large old Bus Station site, the Marland House site and the NCP car park, it appears the public is only getting a pokey site under offices/hotel, with new Bus bays. The actual Bus Station (‘Transport Interchange’) facilities are still uncertain and the financial arrangements (site purchase and construction) unknown, but costs like £12-15million have been heard.