Campaigners are calling on Cardiff Council to protect the city’s music scene, in response to recent events and developments on Womanby Street.
Womanby Street is currently home to independent music venues Clwb Ifor Bach, The Full Moon, Fuel Rock Club and Bootlegger. Described as ‘the epic centre of Cardiff for grassroots music’ and ‘the heartbeat of live music’, the Save Womanby Street campaign is lobbying the council to recognise the street as an area of cultural significance for music and performance arts.
According to campaign organisers, late alcohol licensing and live music is vital to the venues’ survival.
The campaign was created after pub chain J.D Wetherspoon were given the go ahead to turn their current pub The GateKeeper into a hotel. Although many agree the addition of the hotel will benefit the area, many feel the current systems of law could threaten the unique nature of the street.
As a result, the group are calling on Cardiff Council to designate Womanby Street as a cultural night-time economy, protecting the street and allowing its current residents to flourish.
The decision under the current systems of law has been met with widespread objection, with folk singer Frank Turner joining nearly 7,000 others to petition against the move.
Thom Bentley from The Full Moon said “Womanby is more than just a street, it’s the aorta of the beating heart of live music in South Wales; every truly great Welsh musician has cut their teeth here. Without the platform it provides to independent artists the step from obscurity to prominence is too great for many to overcome.”
He added “As Cardiff expands it cannot afford to distance itself from the culture it is founded upon, protecting the future of grassroots venues now through changes to planning permission in Cultural Nightlife Economy is a solid step towards guarding that culture and the future of Welsh music.”
However, Save Womanby Street organisers have stressed that the wider issue lies with planning permission policy and not the pub in question.
Under current regulations any complaints regarding noise pollution would threaten the livelihood of the street’s venues.
In addition to the local planning changes the campaign will lobby the Welsh Assembly to adopt the agent of change principle in relation to planning permission, making it the responsibility of the developers of any new premises, commercial or residential, to find solutions to noise from nearby pre-existing business.
Womanby Street has already taken a blow this year, with the closure of much loved Dempseys Bar.