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Plans revealed for restoration of Cardiff Market

How Cardiff Market could look following the restoration works, including essential roof repairs.

Proposals for a significant restoration of Cardiff’s historic Grade II* Listed Central Market, which would reveal original design features, restore the traditional entrances and original stalls, repair the roof, and make improvements to the Victorian drainage system, as well as introducing a new seating area, could see more than £6 million of investment to secure the long-term future of the building.

The restoration works, which according to a recently published report, will help to “maintain the functioning of the market” and “prevent further deterioration” of the heritage building, could be funded by a combination of external grants and loans, as well as direct investment from Cardiff Council. Funding ‘in principle’ has already been agreed from Welsh Government and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: “This is about the restoration of one of our most iconic city centre buildings. There are 130 years of history under the roof of Cardiff Market, history that these proposals aim to protect, preserve and futureproof, so that the Market remains the bustling heart of the city centre for years to come.”

Subject to funding being secured, the works will include:

  • the restoration of the Trinity Street and St Mary Street entrances.
  • the repair and restoration of the roof, original windows and external elevations.
  • replacement of glazing and tiles.
  • restoration of the market interior, including improvements to the historic stalls.
  • removal of a 1960s ‘false floor’ at the Trinity St entrance to reveal the original design.
  • roof-mounted solar panels, and integrated battery storage.
  • repairs to the H.Samuel market clock.
  • a new 70-seat eating area on the ground floor.
  • a new activity and education room.
  • improvements to the original Victorian drainage system.
  • the installation of energy-efficient LED lighting.
The restoration works include the removal of a false floor, added in the 1960s above the fishmongers, to reveal original design features.

The restoration and repair work was granted Listed Building Consent in August 2023 and a funding strategy to deliver the project is due to be discussed at a Cardiff Council Cabinet Meeting on Thursday, 21stSeptember.

If funding is successfully secured, it is hoped that work on the restoration could begin in Summer 2024.

What will happen to the traders during the works?

Following advice from independent experts, and consultation with existing traders in the Market, it is proposed that the Market remains open during the restoration work. To enable this, the work will take place on a phased basis with aisles of tenants being temporarily relocated to units on the Hayes, immediately outside the Market, for up to 12 weeks.

What will happen to the traders after the works are completed?

To enable the delivery of the new ground floor seating area, proposed for the central block of the northern aisle, a small number of traders will be relocated within the Market. To ensure that displaced tenants are offered the best alternative locations in the market the Council will reserve any vacated stalls until the completion of the restoration for these tenants.

Will traders have their rent increased?

In order to support traders, the scheduled rent reviews which form part of the lease arrangements for stalls at Cardiff Market have been on hold since the onset of the pandemic. In practice this means that many traders have not seen rents increase since 2017. Rents will continue to be held at existing levels throughout the restoration project.

Scheduled rent reviews are expected to restart, in line with individual tenancy agreements, once the restoration works are complete. Historically, rents have been kept below market value for comparable city centre spaces. Whilst any changes in rent as part of this review post restoration will be informed by a market value analysis, it is also proposed to minimise the potential impact of the rent review on any current tenant in the market. As part of this any rent increase will be implemented on a stepped basis over three years.

The proposals for Cardiff Market will be scrutinised by the council’s Economy and Culture Scrutiny Committee from on Tuesday 19thSeptember.