Building on success

'No running commentary'
How low will the ceilings be?

Reports are sweeping the BBC that their new Welsh headquarters may have a major problem which will be highlighted by the impending General Election, while other buildings nearby are also proving controversial The Eye can reveal.

It is claimed parts of the new £120 million BBC building in Cardiff’s revamped Central Square could have been built too low for major equipment.

“We are all worried about it,” one internal source told The Eye.

“The rooms just won’t work for us.”

Staff believe that ceilings have been created below the levels needed to accommodate the large graphic displays required for election night special TV programmes, and huge changes are having to be made.

But contractors are on track with their plans.

The building is due to be finished in the Spring of next year.

BBC staff are not happy

BBC Cymru Wales though are not expected to move into the new office in front of Cardiff Central Railway Station until late 2019, or possibly even early 2020.

The finished building will be five storeys high, totalling 180,000 sq ft, there will be 4,000 sq ft of retail space on the ground floor, and around 1,200 members of BBC staff will work in the new building, as well as a small presence for S4C’s digital broadcast team.

Yet it will be a huge embarrassment if there are major faults.

The current site of BBC Cymru Wales in Llandaff will become a housing development and work will start when programme-makers transfer.

The broadcaster’s new headquarters is designed to be next to a multi-million pound bus station, but that too has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Last month it was reported that funding for it had still to be secured nine months before it is scheduled to open.

Elizabeth Clark – ‘outraged’

Some councillors are deeply unhappy.

The leader of Cardiff council’s Liberal Democrat group, Elizabeth Clark, said she feared the Welsh capital would never “have a proper bus station again“.

She said it was “outrageous” no deal had been struck for the new interchange.

The bus station, retail units and office sections of the regeneration project were granted planning permission by councillors earlier last month.

But a report put before the council’s cabinet said negotiations were continuing to reach a funding agreement for the bus interchange aspect of the development.

It stated: “the council is seeking to secure delivery of the bus interchange within the financial envelope of existing capital allocations and intends to conclude these negotiations in time to enable the construction to commence immediately following completion of demolition and site preparation works”.

Will it happen?

The planned revamped railway station opposite the new BBC building has also been controversial.

The report said that the leader of Cardiff council Phil Bale had written to the UK government stressing the “urgent need for long awaited investment” in Cardiff Central railway station.

Network Rail has put forward plans to modernise the station, but it is subject to funding being granted by the Department for Transport for the 2019-2024 funding period for rail projects.

The dangers with modernising broadcasting are clear – if the reports among staff are anything to go by.






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