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.

Callaghan Square, 2008


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


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