Callaghan Square

Coordinates: 51°28′31″N 3°10′26″W / 51.4753°N 3.1740°W / 51.4753; -3.1740
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Callaghan Square, 2008

Callaghan Square (Welsh: Sgwâr Callaghan) is a large public plaza in Cardiff, Wales, previously known as Bute Square. It was developed as part of a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme to link central Cardiff with Cardiff Bay.


Statue of the 2nd Marquess of Bute in Callaghan Square

Cardiff Bay was developed in the 1990s. A new public square and new link road, Lloyd George Avenue, were conceived by the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation (CBDC), using a PFI scheme that will cost taxpayers £189 million over 25 years.[1] There was a commitment to provide at least 356,000 sq ft of commercial office space. Initial stages were completed by October 2000 (when Lloyd George Avenue was officially opened).[2] When CBDC was wound up in 2000 the project became the responsibility of the Welsh Development Agency.[2]

Initially named Bute Square, in 1998 the development had been considered as a location for the new home of the National Assembly for Wales. It was rejected because of the risks associated with a complex PFI scheme. There were also concerns the site would be too small and dominated by traffic.[3] In March 2000, there was a three-month suspension and review of the project, in which Bute Square was one of three alternative locations considered;[4] the preferred location continued to be in Cardiff Bay next to the Pierhead Building, which became the Senedd building.

A statue of the John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute was relocated to Bute Square in 2000. The statue was originally created in 1853 and stood in front of the old town hall.[5]

A new commercial office scheme was also developed on the square by property company MEPC. The first phase, a 145,000 sq ft office building completed by 2002, was named No 1 Bute Square.[6]

On 1 June 2002 Bute Square was renamed Callaghan Square in honour of former UK Prime Minister (and Cardiff South and Penarth MP) Lord Callaghan.[7]

Future developments[edit]

In January 2011 it was announced that Callaghan Square could become the site for a new convention centre.[8] In March 2011 a report revealed plans to re-route the roads and junctions surrounding the square, possibly replacing the Herbert Street railway bridge, removing the road to the north of the square and adding a dedicated bus lane. The work was expected to start within 12–18 months.[8]


  1. ^ Abby Alford Treasury reveals Cardiff's Lloyd George Avenue set to cost taxpayers up to £189m, Western Mail, 7 September 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  2. ^ a b Case Study: Lloyd George Avenue and Callaghan Square Archived 2012-08-03 at the UK Government Web Archive, Partnerships UK. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  3. ^ Auditor General for Wales, "Accommodation Arrangements for the National Assembly for Wales" Archived 2006-10-15 at the Wayback Machine, Wales Audit Office, 2 November 2000, pp. 20-21. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  4. ^ Auditor General for Wales, "Accommodation Arrangements for the National Assembly for Wales" Archived 2006-10-15 at the Wayback Machine, Wales Audit Office, 2 November 2000, p. 5. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  5. ^ 100 facts you (probably) didn't know about Cardiff (no. 65), Walesonline (Expats Newsletter), 17 June 2002. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  6. ^ Sion Barry Tory AM claims name change could hamper development, Western Mail, 2 August 2002. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  7. ^ Bute Square renamed after Callaghan, Walesonline (Expats Newsletter), undated. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  8. ^ a b "Major roadworks planned for Callaghan Square". Walesonline: yourCardiff. Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2011-03-30.

51°28′31″N 3°10′26″W / 51.4753°N 3.1740°W / 51.4753; -3.1740