Following a petition which garnered over 7000 signatures against the opening of a new hotel above the Gatekeeper pub on Womanby street, (the heart of grass roots music venues in Cardiff’s city centre) that threatens the very existence of venues on the street. Campaigners, longstanding businesses and venues are calling on Cardiff Council to protect the city’s music scene, with a new campaign. The Save Womanby Street campaign is lobbying the council to recognise the street as an area of cultural significance for music and performance arts.
Home to live music venues Clwb Ifor Bach, The Full Moon, Fuel Rock Club and Bootlegger, Womanby Street has been described as “the epicentre of Cardiff for grassroots music,” and “the heartbeat of live music.” According to campaign organisers, late alcohol licensing and live music is vital to the venues’ survival. The addition of a hotel will benefit the area but current systems of law could threaten the unique nature of the street. As a result, the group are calling on Cardiff Council to designate Womanby Street a cultural night time economy. This will protect the street and allow businesses to continue to flourish.
The decision under the current systems of law has been met with widespread objection, with folk singer Frank Turner joining nearly 7,000 others to petition against the move. However, Save Womanby Street organisers have stressed that the wider issue lies with planning permission policy and not the pub in question.
Under current regulations, any complaints regarding noise pollution would threaten the livelihood of the street’s venues.
In addition to the local planning changes the campaign will lobby the Welsh assembly to adopt the agent of change principle in relation to planning permission, making it the responsibility of the developers of any new premises, commercial or residential, to find solutions to noise from nearby pre-existing businesses.
Local business say of the street itself:
“Womanby Street has been a hive of creativity for decades and has flourished into a real hub of artistry and community over the last decade in particular. The businesses who have fuelled this wave of culture are not giant corporations but small, independent operators who are driving the scene with no help what so ever. The time is right for the council to start supporting them by safeguarding this creative institution once and for all.”
Chris Rowlands, City Arms
“Womanby is more than just a street, it’s the aorta of the beating heart of live music in South Wales; every truly great Welsh musician has cut their teeth here. Without the platform it provides to independent artists the step from obscurity to prominence is too great for many to overcome. As Cardiff expands it cannot afford to distance itself from the culture it is founded upon, protecting the future of grassroots venues now through changes to planning permission in Cultural Nightlife Economy is a solid step towards guarding that culture and the future of Welsh music.”
Thom Bentley, The Full Moon
To join the campaign or find out more, visit Facebook