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Cardiff bus station developer moots scrapping PRS homes

The developer behind Cardiff’s new bus interchange is looking to scrap 195 rental homes from the scheme and replace them with offices or student housing.

Developer Rightacres is looking to cut up to 195 PRS units from the new interchange in the city centre, which is being built by Sir Robert McAlpine according to the design and access statement.

It is understood the developer has claimed current plans to deliver the homes for private rent on the building’s top floor were not viable.

Planning permission was given for the scheme in March, which comprised a top-floor commercial development of 195 PRS units and around 120,000 sq ft of office space, a ground-floor bus interchange and a 225-space car park and interchange lounge.

Construction News has learned that the previous administration at the local authority placed planning constraints on what Rightacres could build on the top floor of the scheme.

It is understood that the former administration felt there was an excessive number of student accommodation plans proposed around the city.

Rightacres has now proposed changing the development’s top floor to the council.

In a council report, which will be discussed on the 27 July, it states the developer is mooting plans to replace the consented PRS units with student accommodation.

Rightacres will pursue plans to build office space on the top floor of the development but will only start construction if at least 50 per cent of the office area is let.

The report said the council and Rightacres are “pursuing a number of live enquiries which have the potential to be secured over the next few months”.

However, the developer will look to deliver student accommodation across the whole of the top floor if office tenants are not secured within a “reasonable timescale”, the report says.

The report recommends that the top floor of the scheme should be “driven by market demand” instead of by council planning constraints.

The bus interchange marks phase three of six of the overall Central Square development.

Currently, ISG are on site building phase two of the development, which consists of a new media hub for BBC Wales and a separate office scheme located next to the broadcaster’s headquarters.

Work on phase two is expected to be completed in spring 2018.

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