This week Heras fencing has been erected enclosing the green space between the Motorpoint Arena, the Job centre and the St David's Centre East side entrance and car park. Work is about to begin on excavating the site to prepare for the construction of a new head quarters tower block for Admiral Insurance Company.
Eventually, the building will gather their 4,000 employees from various city office locations on to one site. Hopefully Admiral will benefit from this and continue to prosper. The company is, after all one of the city's major private employers. It will result in there being even more empty office accommodation in the city. Cardiff has not yet succeeded in attracting many large new corporate business to make Cardiff their head quarters, despite the obvious attractions of life in the city.
Quite apart from the two years worth of traffic congestion that will be result from building in the middle of an area busy with visitors to the Motorpoint Arena and St David's-Dewi Sant, the city centre will lose a green open space in an area dominated by tall buildings. The flowering cherry trees planted there three years ago when the shopping centre opened will, we are reassured, be removed and replanted on other sites locally. I hope it's true this time. I was much aggrieved by the brutal treatment of trees in blossom bulldozed in the early course of the redevelopment of 2007-9.
Photo taken 6th Feb 2007
Such measures contribute to alienating public sympathy. A blunt reminder that we don't own the city we belong to, and despite all the show case consultations, ordinary folk have little control over what happens. We are only allowed to come in to trade or consume - so long as we pay, and behave ourselves.