Cardiff Coal Exchange – An Alternative Vision

Joint Statement from the Save the Coal Exchange campaign and Cardiff Civic Society

According to media reports, Eden Grove has taken ownership of the Coal Exchange from Signature Living and plan to to re-open it as a hotel.  It is vitally important that the new owners fulfil their obligations to protect the heritage of the building, as was promised to Cardiff council’s planning committee.  

However, in the long term it is our view that this building should be owned by the people of Cardiff and that they should have a far greater say in its future.  Any proposal should first consider the wealth of positive ideas about what the Coal Exchange could do for Cardiff communities, especially Butetown.  

The building expresses of the rich history of the area and symbolises Wales’ links to the world, such as the cultural wealth of Cardiff docklands and their contribution to the nation.  

We would like to hear from the people of Butetown and Cardiff about their ideas for the future of this wonderful building. Working together, we must provide a vision for the building which reflects its glory and that of the community in which it is located. It should be built from the ground up. 

The following ideas and more have already been proposed as an alternative use for the building:  

  • A home for local artistic and cultural enterprises 
  • A cultural centre or museum to celebrate the history of Butetown and its links to the world   

The Coal Exchange could be a key part of a World Heritage site bid, recognising the importance of Wales’ coalfield for global history and development,  celebrating the Welsh coal industry which once lay at the centre of networks and trade routes which made Wales the vibrant, multicultural nation it is today and be part of a wider heritage area, taking in the Crumlin Navigation colliery and Big Pit.  Such a Site would celebrate and recall an industry which defined a nation and reflect the fact that the early twentieth century coalfield of south Wales was the greatest exporting coalfield in the world, the leading hub of worldwide shipping and developing globalisation.  

With the stated aims of Well Being of Future Generations, the impact of Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter, ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option for how local communities are developed.  Going forward, the Coal Exchange must fully meet Welsh Government and Council aspirations for a sense of place, community and the Foundational Economy at the heart of all planning. 

Its future starts with the people of Butetown and Cardiff.  Rather than narrow vested interests, the building should be nurtured and developed as a joint enterprise between public authorities and the people of the city.  

We’d love to hear your ideas for an alternative future for the building.  Please post your comments and ideas below.  

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