New laws needed to save the Vulcan Hotel
15 February 2010
New legislation is needed to protect a Cardiff pub and other buildings like it with social significance, according to a report from the National Assembly for Wales’s Petitions Committee.
Five thousand people signed a petition calling for the 19th century building to be protected with the potential threat of redevelopment hanging over it.
The Vulcan Hotel is the only building left standing on Adam Street in Cardiff that has connections to the former Newtown area of the city, but campaigners are concerned it will be demolished.
An application to the Welsh Government’s historical organisation Cadw to protect the Vulcan was turned down on the conclusion that it didn’t meet necessary criteria for a building of national importance.
Chair of the Petitions Committee Christine Chapman AM said: “It is clear that Cadw showed willing in trying to protect the Vulcan, even asking the campaigners to find out more information and resubmit an application after the first attempt was turned down.
“But it is also clear that Cadw reached the end of its remit and simply couldn’t do any more without running the risk of legal challenges on the grounds of the building not meeting specific criteria.
“The Committee was told that there is some new heritage protection legislation which would tighten up laws in England and Wales but that that legislation, at the time, had not been allocated a slot for debate in Parliament.
“We therefore recommend the Welsh Government consider new guidelines or legislation to protect buildings which are important for social and cultural reasons.”
The Committee also investigated whether local authorities had the power to protect buildings of significance to the local community. It found that while authorities could list a building as one which needed protecting, it was merely a wish-list and had no basis in law to stop demolition or redevelopment.
It also emerged that Cardiff County Council had previously lobbied both the Wales Office and National Assembly for Wales to strengthen powers available to local authorities on the protection of buildings but to no avail.