Concerns at flawed arena plan

Cardiff Civic Society has responded to the pre-application consultation on the proposed new indoor arena

Cardiff Civic Society has voiced its concerns about plans for an expensive indoor arena in Butetown. In a response to the pre-application consultation (attached below) prepared by Lyn Eynon, they state:

  1. We recognise the potential benefits to Cardiff Bay, to Cardiff and to the Capital Region, of a regeneration of Atlantic Wharf that would make more productive use of the land there, notably the large expanse today used for open-air parking. But we do not believe that what is currently proposed is the best way of achieving that.
  2. Decision processes on this do not show city democracy and accountability in a good light. Too much information has been hidden from public scrutiny. Appointing the Consortium and then approving the Full Business Case for the Arena before the Pre-Application Consultation had completed has brought that process into contempt. Local residents feel ignored.
  1. The Business Case for a new 15,000 capacity Indoor Arena has not been convincingly proved, and the demand for this has not been demonstrated. Alternatives, such as expanding the capacity of the Motorpoint Arena, do not seem to have been given enough consideration.
  2. It has not been shown that the sizeable subsidy that Council will provide to the developers and operators of the Arena is the best use of public money and the Council’s borrowing covenant, at a time when many city services are stretched. Financial risks cannot be wholly discharged.
  3. The plans and funding for the Arena are both in place but proposals for the wider regeneration are still aspirational, with no assurances that they will happen. Promises on matters such as access to employment or support for the music strategy must be fulfilled.
  4. The lack of agreed funding and plans for the promised public transport improvements is a matter of great concern. This must be urgently addressed, and steps taken to progress the Transport Strategy. Contingency planning is essential to mitigate traffic impacts in case the Arena opens before the public transport upgrade is ready.
  5. The climate and nature emergencies must be taken seriously. This Arena does not compare well with others in its environmental consequences. Carbon emissions from both energy use and construction materials must be reduced. Repurposing should be preferred to demolish-and- rebuild. Every opportunity must be taken to maximise biodiversity gain.
  6. The implications of a significant population increase in a ward which is growing rapidly must be addressed, notably regarding local services and open space provision.
  7. The issues raised by local residents around the location of the Arena and the implications this will have on their lives, such as traffic and parking or disturbance during both construction and operation, must be acknowledged and steps taken to address these, including rethinking the Masterplan and Arena Quarter design.

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