Petition to save St David’s Hall from takeover

November 20, 2022 by

Thousands of  people have signed a petition launched to halt the handing over of St David’s Hall, Cardiff to Academy Music Group /Live Nation, as revealed by Arts Scene Wales.

The petition claims the Council has aready told staff the plan is the only way forward, despite the local authority’s official statement saying that while an approach had been made by AMG “this proposal has no status and will be given consideration by the Council’s Cabinet at a future meeting”.

The petition that has been started by an agency staff member at the Hall reads, “St David’s Hall currently is the home of the BBC National orchestra of Wales, and Arts educational training and access for disabled patrons and young people via Arts Active.

“The hall operates at a significantly reduced subsidy (roughly £700,000 p/a) and returns through its catering and operation divisions a marginal profit.

“The reason stated by Cardiff Council for investigating privatisation is the maintenance backlog, a figure quoted by them as £55 million but in actuality more like £9 million (as quoted directly to St David’s Hall staff).

“They are publicly saying that they are only “investigating options”, with a decision due to go to council cabinet on the 15th December. However, at a meeting with HR in St Davids Hall earlier this week, it was made clear that the council’s opinion is that the long term lease of the building to AMG/livenation is seen as the only way forward.

“No investigation has been made regarding alternative funding streams to raise the money (i.e. arts council) or private fundraising for the building to clear the maintenance backlog, and they said at the meeting that they will not be doing so either- despite a letter being sent to the council leader in January 2021 signed by the entire management team wishing to investigate external funding opportunities after the offer of corporate sponsorship by SSE to revitalise the building.

“AMG/livenation have made it clear that they will not offer the arts educational side, and will dramatically reduce the cultural and classical output of St Davids Hall- as their “bread and butter” is large scale pop events currently akin to the International arena.

“They intend to undertake large scale structural alterations to a building that is in the process of becoming a listed building, including but not limited to extensive retrofitting to enable a large standing audience to increase the capacity of the venue and increase their profit streams. This would invoke the removal of the stalls seating, and structural alterations to the auditorium which have the potential to ruin the acoustics of one of the top 10 concert halls in the world- a jewel in the crown of this capital city.

“Losing cultural output could mean the end of the festival of remembrance, Cardiff singer of the world, the international concert series, the Welsh Proms, the annual Cardiff university graduations and so much more – and would in all reality be a travesty, all happening at a rushed pace without clear information being given to the general public.”

The petition raises fears that some workers at the Hall will have no protection, due to the Council’s HR policies.

“Many long-standing members of agency staff, myself included, who are in line with council policy entitled to a permanent council contract due to our length of service stand to have no protections through TUPE if the building is transferred and potentially stand to lose our continued employment. We were recognised as council staff through the pandemic, many of us redeployed by the council, and to now have a situation where they have announced to the public “no jobs would be lost” is outright lying and is to be blunt shafting many members of long standing loyal staff members. The only reason we are agency staff is due to change in council policy several years ago, whereas they wanted to have no 0 hours contracted staff on their books.”

It adds, “St David’s Hall, the National Concert hall of Wales, is a cultural asset and deserves to be saved before a mistake privatising (at a time that privatisation by consecutive conservative governments is being proved to generally be a failure) and potentially permanently losing something so important to both the capital city and the nation can be allowed to be rushed through by the council before all options have been investigated.”

When approached last week concenring the talks with AMG/ Live Nation, a spokesperson for the cash-strapped  council said: “Cardiff Council can confirm it has received a proposal from the Academy Music Group (AMG), regarding St David’s Hall. This proposal has no status and will be given consideration by the Council’s Cabinet at a future meeting.

“There is undeniably a need to secure investment into St David’s Hall, but safeguarding jobs at the venue and retaining its status as the National Concert Hall of Wales, with due access to Classical and Community groups would be an absolute imperative for the administration, under any proposal.”

The Council is a key sponsor of the BBC opera talent competition and in the past has paid for the competition’s main trophy. It is not known whether the Council still provides this and any other financial support for the BBC event.

The original news break and Cardiff Council’s statement: Council response to future of St David’s Hall


The petition has already exceeded 7,500 signatures.


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