Plans to demolish ITV Wales television studios complex at Culverhouse Cross and build houses on the site have stalled amid concerns that it could lead to more than 400 job losses in the Vale of Glamorgan and rob the area of a ‘vibrant media centre’.
Urgent talks are to be held between Vale council planners and representatives of London-based Carlton Communications, part of the ITV group, after councillors pulled back from refusing planning permission for the scheme following legal advice.
The outline project centres on the 30 year-old complex next to the Valegate retail Park and Copthorne Hotel at the gateway to the Vale of Glamorgan. It involves building approximately 243 houses with various road improvements.
The complex comprises the ITV Wales studio and 50 other small to medium-sized businesses, may of which are related to the media industry.
ITV Wales plans to move to another site by March 1 next year and the other businesses, which are on short-term leases, would also have to leave should the plan go ahead.
But following a visit to the site, members of the Vale council’s planning committee criticised the scheme and called for a re-think.
Councillor Jeff James, a former chairman of the planning committee said: “It is fascinating what is happening in this place. It is a vibrant media centre with many valuable assets to offer the area which we would not be able to replace.”
Local councillor Jonathan Bird said: “I don’t want to see 500 jobs going out of my ward and the Vale of Glamorgan which is what would happen if this went ahead.
“We know that the businesses there would b e disappointed to move and it would be a great loss to the media industry in the Vale.
“We would become a dormitory area for Cardiff.”
Councillor Kevin Mahoney said the Welsh Government was encouraging media companies to move to Porth Teigr (Tiger Gate), on Cardiff Gate.
He said: “How can the Welsh Government be advocating the loss of jobs in our area so they can go to another area?
It is a scandal. These firms have been restricted to short-term leases, but they clearly want to stay.”
Coun Keith Hatton said: “There is a hell of a buzz around this place. Clearly they do not want to move to Cardiff Bay or elsewhere They want to stay where they are. A vibrant media centre has been created there.”
Coun Maureen Kelly Owen said: “To demolish this building which employs such a lot of young, enthusiastic people would be quite wrong.
“If we allowed this , we would eventually look back and realise what a terrible mistake we made.
Coun Bob Penrose said: “We would be giving up one of the jewels in the crown in the Vale. “This is one of the best commercial sites in Cardiff and the Vale. To put 243 houses on it would be sacrilege.”
In a letter to the committee, agents for the developer said : “ITV is committed to providing all the support it can to its tenants to prepare their businesses for a new future away from Culverhouse Cross.”
Following private legal advice, the committee agreed to defer a decision to allow further talks with the developer and tenants.
An ITV Wales spokesman said: “We look forward to assisting the planning committee with its further deliberations on the planning application.
“Our current base at Culverhouse Cross has seen better days and is running on a loss. Once a decision on a new HQ is made, our priority will be to give tenants significant notice to allow them to relocate. “