A major restoration of Cardiff’s historic Central Market is now fully funded, with work expected to begin in Summer 2024, after Cardiff Council successfully secured £3.1 million towards the project from the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns programme.
This follows on from the recent announcement of a £2.1 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The remainder of the restoration work will be funded via the Shared Prosperity Fund and direct investment from the Council.
A total of approximately £6.5 million will be invested in protecting, preserving and future-proofing the 130 year old, Grade II* Listed Victorian market.
Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas said: “The confirmation of this funding from Welsh Government is fantastic news. The Market is one of Cardiff’s most important heritage buildings, as well as a vital city centre space for small independent traders. Anybody who has visited in recent years will know that it’s a special place, with a unique atmosphere built on 130 years of history. Our restoration plans will preserve and protect that history and ensure that it remains the bustling heart of the city that we all know and love, for many years to come.”
Welsh Government Climate Change Minister, Julie James said: “We want town and city centres across Wales to be the beating heart of Welsh communities, where people can access services, shops, communal and cultural spaces.
“Cardiff Market is a vital asset which significantly adds to the region’s shopping, visitor and cultural experience and has a key role to play in generating footfall and supporting the wider city centre economy. The project will also contribute to our decarbonisation goals by improved energy efficiency and increasing the renewable energy supply through solar panels.
“This is another fantastic example of the real difference Transforming Towns funding can make to securing a sustainable future for landmark buildings in our town and city centres that will enhance the visitor experience for generations to come, and I look forward to seeing works progress.”
The restoration will see original design features revealed, traditional entrances and original stalls restored, the iconic glass roof repaired, and improvements made to the Victorian drainage system.
Repairs will also be made to the H.Samuel market clock, a ‘false floor’ installed at the Trinity Street entrance in the 1960s will be removed, and a new activity and education room introduced, along with a new 70-seat eating area. The plans also include new energy-efficient LED lighting and roof-mounted solar panels.
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.
Historically, rents have been kept below general retail rents in comparison to other city centre spaces. Following restoration, scheduled rent reviews will restart and any changes in rent as part of this review will be informed by a market value analysis. It is also proposed that any potential impact to current tenants of any revised rental figure will be minimised and a stepped rent be implemented for a period of three years.