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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 20:57 GMT
City pedestrian plans are backed
Tabernacle chapel, Cardiff
The chapel has stood on the site since 1821
Plans to pedestrianise one of Cardiff's best-known streets have been backed by Welsh Assembly Members despite fears they will restrict access to a chapel.

Cardiff Council wants to pedestrianise The Hayes under the St David's 2 development, due to open in 2008.

But it was claimed access to Tabernacle chapel on The Hayes would be limited.

AMs approved the plans but rebuked the council for failing to "pay due attention" to the "ongoing wellbeing of this religious institution".

The St David's 2 plans will see the building of a new department store, shops, cafes, restaurants, leisure space, offices and homes set around new streets, arcades and squares at the southern end of Cardiff city centre.

Under the plans, The Hayes is to be pedestrianised, with the creation of a square, Hayes Place, and a smaller pedestrian square at the northern end of nearby Mary Ann Street.

Artists impression of new development
The Hayes will be pedestrianised under the new scheme

But members of the Tabernacle's congregation and officials have complained that under the plans, access will be restricted and some chapel activities would have to be held at alternative venues.

The chapel's minister, Denzil John, said: "Our constant concern is that we need reasonable time to come and go from the services and other activities in the chapel without hindrance.

"The scheme and timetable does not allow this."

Cardiff Council said the pedestrianisation scheme was central to the St David's 2 development.

Council leader Rodney Berman said: "It is of prime importance that The Hayes becomes a vehicle-free zone for its entire length, as pedestrianisation is pivotal to the vision for St David's 2.

"As well as allowing historic buildings such as the Old Library, the former David Morgan department store and Tabernacle to be given a new setting, it will also create a new and exciting public open square that will form a key component of the city centre's regeneration."

The Hayes
Much of The Hayes is currently open to traffic

The council added it believed it had provided sufficient alternative provision to enable current activities at the Tabernacle, which first opened in 1821, to continue.

Mr Berman said: "The council, working with South Wales Police, has at all times tried to be reasonable in providing dedicated spaces for worshippers and visitors to the Tabernacle.

"As far as safety reasons will allow, we will allow Tabernacle users as much access to its existing car park as we can."

AMs voted in favour of allowing the pedestrianisation project on Wednesday, but voiced dissatisfaction at some aspects of the plans.

Plaid Cymru, Labour, and Conservative AMs said Cardiff Council had failed to "pay due attention and importance to protecting the ongoing well-being of this religious institution which has been a crucial part of the social, religious and cultural fabric of our capital city for the past 200 years".

Redevelopment threatens old pub
13 Apr 05 |  South East Wales

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