1. Memorandum by the Cardiff
Bay Development Corporation
1.1 The Development Corporation spent £4.6
million acquiring the Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum site.
The amount is based on actual value and the cost the National
Museum will incur in moving to a new site. Cardiff Bay Development
Corporation has offered the Museum a number of new sites, which
are available for development, and is doing all it can to persuade
the Museum to choose a site in Cardiff Bay.
2.1 The Cardiff Bay Development Corporation
was set up by Government in 1987 with the following mission statement:
"To put Cardiff on the international map
as a superlative maritime city, which will stand comparison with
any such city in the world, thereby enhancing the image and economic
well-being of Cardiff and of Wales as a whole."
2.2 In 1988 the Corporation published a
Regeneration Strategy which provided the blue print for the Corporation's
work throughout Cardiff Bay.
2.3 This work has progressed primarily through
the acquisition and decontamination of land, the construction
of new infrastructure and working with private sector investors
on specific schemes of development, all in accordance with principles
set out in the Regeneration Strategy.
2.4 In relation to the Inner Harbour area
(now renamed Millennium Waterfront) the Regeneration Strategy
and subsequent more detailed plans designated the site comprising
the Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum (WIMM) and surrounding
land for comprehensive commercial redevelopment due to its prime
location in the heart of the Bay. It also designated the adjoining
Oval Basin as an area of new public infrastructure.
3.1 The Corporation's ambitions for a comprehensive
redevelopment of the site resulted in a private sector initiative
from Sovereign Land Plc, a specialist retail/leisure development
company and their funders, Schroder Exempt Property Trust. The
scheme proposed to the Corporation comprised the construction
of approximately 15,000 cubic metres (150,000 sq ft) of mixed
retail/leisure development with associated decked car parking
and Bayside public realm, at a cost in the region of £25
3.2 The scheme, known as Mermaid Quay, which
comprised a mix of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops and undertook
the comprehensive development of land held in the ownership of
the National Museum and Galleries of Wales (NMGW) which comprised
the site of WIMM, Associated British Ports (ABP) and the Corporation.
The Corporation agreed with the developer to support the scheme
through the planning process and procure the land necessary for
their scheme by the use of its land acquisition powers.
3.3 The Corporation also brought forward
plans for the development of the adjacent Oval Basin as a major
new area of public realm, complimentary to both Mermaid Quay and
the proposed Wales Millennium Centre.
3.4 Negotiations with NMGW resulted in the
Museum agreeing to dispose of their land interests by private
treaty at a figure of £4.5 million plus VAT. This sum was
agreed by both parties' professional advisors as a fair and reasonable
figure based upon the anticipated costs of an equivalent reinstatement
of WIMM to an alternative site of equal prominence.
3.5 Cardiff Council and Cadw gave their
support to both Mermaid Quay and Oval Basin by granting the necessary
consents and highway orders earlier this year.
3.6 The land acquisition contracts signed
with the Museum allowed them adequate timescale for closure and
decanting. The Museum did not link the disposal of the WIMM site
to the acquisition of an alternative.
3.7 The Corporation was aware of, but not
party to, an agreement between NMGW and the Welsh Office in relation
to further monies that may be available to the Museum direct from
Government should the Museum proceed with the construction of
a new Museum within Cardiff Bay within the deadline. This agreement
did not form part of Corporation's acquisition of the WIMM site.
3.8 Construction of Mermaid Quay started
in April 1998 and has a target opening date of August 1999.
4.1 NMGW has long stated its keenness to
redevelop a new museum within Cardiff Bay not simply the upgrading
4.2 This intent was reinforced with the
arrival of Colin Ford as a Director of NMGW, when a number of
exciting ideas, include a large screen IMAX theatre were stated
by the Museum to be part of their plans for a new museum.
4.3 Over a lengthy period of time the Corporation
assisted the Museum in examining a number of serious alternatives
including an option to become part of the Wales Millennium Centre
Project (WMC), an option for a free standing new Museum on part
of the WMC site and the procurement of space within the Mermaid
Quay scheme itself.
4.4 For one reason or another none of these
options has progressed and are now not available.
4.5 In addition, the Corporation has offered
other sites in the Bay which are within its ownership. Namely,
a site within the Graving Dock area adjacent to Techniquest and
a site currently used for car parking at the junction of Bute
Crescent and James Street. The latter site is currently on the
market and we know that the Museum may express an interest, which
the Corporation will consider, balanced against other bids, or
proposals which may be received.
4.6 We are also aware, but not party to,
other proposals that have been put to NMGW for alternative options
within the Bay, namely a site at Queen Alexandra Head by the Barrage
and the former Post Office buildings in Bute Street.
4.7 The Corporation was not asked to be
party to the consultation recently undertaken by the Museum to
establish options for a new museum location and has no knowledge
of alternative sites put forward to the Museum in relation to
locations outside Cardiff Bay.
4.8 The Corporation remains of the view
that a new Museum, maybe one that told the story of Cardiff's
export of coal to the world and its significance to the world
economy, would be a major asset to the leisure attractions currently
located or planned for Millennium Waterfront.
4.9 Indeed, the compensation figure paid
to NMGW includes within it a sizeable element for the acquisition
of an alternative site, equal in value to the NMGW's assets given
up in WIMM.
5.1 The Corporation acquired the land interests
of the National Museums and Galleries of Wales on a private treaty
basis at a mutually acceptable figure and agreed to a closure/decanting
programme which enabled the Museum to deal properly with the transfer
of its collection to locations which it judged appropriate.
5.2 The Corporation remains willing to assist
NMGW in its search for a site or opportunity to remain within
Cardiff Bay for a new museum project which adds to the quality
leisure attractions currently located or planned for Millennium