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Cardiff venue to stay closed for another 18 months

St David's Hall must remain shut while its roof is replaced and the building refurbished following recommendations by RAAC experts

By James Hanley on 20 Oct 2023

St David's Hall


image © Jklo286

Cardiff’s St David’s Hall is to remain shut for around 18 months while its roof is replaced and the building refurbished.

The 2,000-cap Welsh concert hall closed for an initial four weeks in September to allow the checks to be completed, but now faces a much lengthier spell on the sidelines after Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) experts noted that a significant number of the venue’s 900-plus roof panels were “red-critical” and others “red-high risk”, meaning they could fail and collapse.

Cardiff Council commissioned the report following changes to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice on Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete RAAC in public buildings. At least 10 concert venues and theatres shut their doors last month after inspectors flagged RAAC – a building material which the HSE said was now past its intended lifespan and is liable to fail without warning.

The council has cancelled all shows at St David’s Hall for the rest of the year, including gigs by the likes of Lindisfarne, Dexys, Graham Nash, Alfie Boe, Europe, Gabrielle, Daniel O’Donnell, Beverley Knight, Howard Jones and Level 42.

“We know this will cause a lot of inconvenience and disappointment for our customers, but we hope they will understand that the safety of audiences, staff, artists, volunteers, and everyone at the venue is paramount,” says a council spokesperson. “We will be in contact with promoters and hirers to discuss the potential for moving performances to other venues.”

“We continue to work to progress the transfer of the hall to Academy Music Group”

St David’s Hall was in the process of being leased to the Academy Music Group (AMG), which had committed to refurbishing the venue and dealing with the roof issues as part of the original lease agreement. The council’s Cabinet will now meet this Thursday (26 October) to decide next steps and whether it should still go ahead with plans to enter a new lease agreement with AMG.

The authority says that AMG had planned to keep St David’s Hall open with only short closures while repairs took place. But “the findings of this new report now point towards a complete closure to enable a new roof to be installed and a refurbishment of the venue to take place”, which “could take around 18 months to deliver”.

“Work is continuing to progress the transfer of the hall to AMG,” adds the spokesperson. “Ahead of taking over the operation of St David’s Hall, AMG had already undertaken its own inspections and while it did have plans to undertake remedial work and to keep the venue open, the latest report into the condition of RAAC in the building indicates clearly it would be better to keep the venue closed until it is completely refurbished, and a new roof has been installed.

“We continue to work to progress the transfer of the hall to Academy Music Group. We are keeping them appraised of the actions we are taking, and we are in constant dialogue with staff at St David’s Hall to keep them updated too.”

 


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