St David’s Hall in Cardiff not expected to open until next year

EARLY indications of an inspection of St David’s Hall in Cardiff show that work which could take several months will need to be done on the building before it can reopen.

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Cardiff Council announced early in September that an inspection was required in the building due to the presence of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in its ceiling.

The council said RAAC experts brought in to carry out the additional checks are nearing the end of their inspections and their findings are due to be reported back to the local authority next week.

RAAC is a type of lightweight concrete, which is prone to sudden failure as it ages, and is found to have a limited lifespan.

In a statement, the council said the exact works required will be reviewed in light of the report findings.

A decision has been taken to extend the closure of St David’s Hall until the new year.

The council’s statement reads: “This means that further performances will be postponed and, as we have done before, we will be contacting promoters and hirers to discuss the potential for rescheduling performances.

“Again, we will also review all other options, including relocating productions if practicable.

“While the ongoing temporary closure continues, some promoters have already opted to change venues now, if available.

“There is no need for customers to contact St David’s Hall, we will be in touch with all ticket holders about options available once we have spoken with each affected show’s promoter.

“We would be grateful if customers could give St David’s Hall staff the space to undertake this work so that we can come back to them as quickly as possible about ticket purchases and postponed events.

“We apologise to customers of St David’s Hall for the further postponement of shows, and we want to reassure all ticket holders that we will be in touch to discuss rescheduling of performances and/or alternatives.

“Please check the St David’s Hall website’s news section for updates.”

When it made its initial announcement about the temporary closure of the venue in September, the council said it expected it to be closed for at least four weeks.

The local authority announced in early October that the temporary closure would need to be extended for another three weeks.

Cardiff Council has been aware of RAAC in St David’s Hall since 2021 and said it has always followed government guidelines and advice to ensure the building was safe.

The council said no issues were raised about the condition of RAAC in St David’s Hall over the past 18 months, during which time a building management and health and safety strategy was implemented.

The running of St David’s Hall is in the process of being taken over by major venue operator, Academy Music Group (AMG).

The council’s latest statement continues: “We know this is causing a lot of inconvenience and disappointment, and we would again like to apologise to all our customers, but the safety of audiences, staff, artists, volunteers, and everyone at the venue is paramount, and that the council is obliged to act in response to the updated HSE guidance and expert advice.

“The council has been consistently clear on the need for investment into St David’s Hall to secure its long-term future, addressing the RAAC and other maintenance issues, all of which was confirmed in a cabinet report last year.

“We continue to work to progress the transfer of the hall to AMG. We are keeping them appraised of the actions we are taking and we are in constant dialogue with staff at St David’s Hall to keep them updated.”

Cardiff Council said AMG has already undertaken its own inspections and has plans in place to undertake remedial work required in the medium to long-term.

The UK Government announced new guidance on RAAC in educational settings in August and a number of schools across the country were required to close over safety concerns.

Following inspections of 115 schools across Cardiff, the council announced in September none of the buildings contained RAAC.

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