A second Welsh Government Minister in as many days has refused to endorse plans by Cardiff Council to build a new HQ on a highly sought-after section of land in Callaghan Square, in the heart of the Welsh Government’s embryonic Enterprise Zone.
When I asked if she would be disappointed if jobs were simply moved by Cardiff Council rather than created by new investors, Business Minister Edwina Hart told the Assembly that Enterprise Zones are for: “…the creation of new jobs and opportunities. I don’t think I can make myself any clearer than that.”
We now have two Welsh Government Ministers refusing to endorse one of the biggest and most costly plans ever drawn up by a local authority in Wales. It is clear that negotiations between the Welsh Government and the new Cardiff Council have broken down just six months after they were elected to office.
The Welsh Government must now urgently step in and prevent Cardiff Council from spending hundreds of millions of pounds on a new and unnecessary HQ in the city centre and simply moving hundreds of jobs from one end of Lloyd George Avenue to the other. This is not what the land was intended for and is not what Enterprise Zones status was awarded for. We could soon be approaching a situation where firms and investors choose to ignore Cardiff due to the Council’s actions.