Much like a certain Time Lord whose adventures are regularly filmed in and around the capitol city of Wales in the UK, Cardiff itself is going through a bit of a regeneration. Mainly focused around the Central Station region, the development aims to create a new central city square, one that for many travelling to the city from other parts of the UK will be the first thing they will see.
The development has seen a great deal of change in the area, including large street blocks already being knocked down to make room for the new offices, retail spaces, and in fact, new BBC Wales headquarters.
For one Cardiff comic book store owner, Kristian Barry, owner of The Comic Guru, this work has apparently already been disruptive, as he claims to have seen a 70% drop in customer footfall.
However, in an article with Wales Online, Barry says that plans to demolish St Davids House, the 50 year old building complex that houses his store, could see him lose his livelihood, and quite possibly his means to keep a roof over his head.
“I’m just about making ends meet and I’m scared about what could happen to my business in the next six months.
“We used to have on average around 25 customers a day and around 50 to 60 on a weekend. On Saturday we had just seven. What used to be double figures every day is now down to single figures.
“I wish for just once, someone would put their hand in their pocket and help us out.”
Claiming that he was not aware of the plans until a recent article on WalesOnline, Barry has stated that he has received no notification of possible development plans that would affect his livelihood, nor any attempt at compensation for the loss of business, or even loss of his retail space entirely.
“We could lose our businesses, we could lose our homes and we’re absolutely devastated
“I’m tired of building work chasing me around and I’m tried of sky-high business rates being put on local business owners.
“There’s never been any attempts to help local, independent store owners and it’s getting to the point where we just can’t afford to stay open.”
The solution to this particular comic retailers woes is maybe not immediately obvious, and may not strictly speaking be in the hands of customers to help. But certainly, if planned development would see him lose the space his business currently occupies, it seems reasonable that the developers help him to relocate and compensate him for his trouble.
We at Bleeding Cool certainly wish The Comic Guru luck and all the best for the future, and we hope that something comes up to save the day.
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