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New plans unveiled for Cardiff’s International Sports Village

A new plan to complete the development of Cardiff’s International Sports Village has been released by Cardiff Council today.

The new plan aims to attract a number of new ‘adventure sport’ attractions to build on the existing facilities to establish a national-level visitor attraction and includes:

  • an improved pedestrian area connecting the facilities together
  • a new public space for year-round outdoor events;
  • a new ‘Leisure Box’ facility hosting a range of adventure sport activities ‘under one roof’;
  • extending Cardiff International White Water centre and adding further new attractions;
  • delivering a ‘destination’ food and beverage promenade on the waterfront;
  • potentially adding a new facility to complete the ice rink development on the waterfront side; and
  • retaining and enhancing the Bay edge walkway for public use.

Cardiff Council Cabinet Member for Investment and Development, Cllr Russell Goodway, said: “I remain absolutely committed to delivering a leisure destination of national significance on the peninsula site. The Council has been involved with the site for nearly two decades now, and after a good start, plans have now stalled. We recognise that the last few years have been challenging for property development and therefore a different approach is now needed to get the project back on track.”

Image credit: Cardiff Council

A report to Cardiff Council’s Cabinet last Thursday, October 10, asked Cabinet to approve a new development strategy for the International Sports Village and to grant permission for the Council to bring forward the development of the council-owned Waterfront site to help fund the wider leisure development. This would see a high-quality residential development on the waterfront with a destination food and beverage promenade fronting the Bay at ground level.

Income from the development of the Waterfront site would be ring-fenced to support the delivery of the new leisure development. Cabinet will also be asked to give authority to identify a suitable commercial operator to build and run a new leisure complex on the former Toys R Us site and this could include operation of the Cardiff White Water Centre as part of any deal.

Cllr Goodway added: “The Council’s purchase of the Toys R Us site has created an opportunity to rethink the strategy. We can now shift the leisure to the rear of the site and maximise the value of the Waterfront site. It also creates opportunity to bring in new public squares and spaces for outdoor activities. We want to create a new family-friendly, leisure-focused district, designed to be accessible, safe and attractive.

“The previous plan for the Sports Village was to deliver an indoor ski slope. It has become clear that this is no longer commercially deliverable. The new strategy will provide opportunity for operators to deliver smaller, alternative snow-based attractions and new-technology skiing attractions that can potentially fill the void. One such example is the conveyor belt skiing currently available in London and Belfast which has proven very popular and provides for both beginners and more advanced skiers.

“Transport links to the area are strong. The Cogan railway station is only a few hundred metres away from the site via the Pont-y-Werin bridge and there are regular bus services which connect to the city centre. We will also seek to make full use of the Bay and rivers to link the site back to the inner harbour and city centre via water taxi. And the new park & ride facility at junction 33 on the M4 will provide an important means of quick access to the site by bus from the wider region.”

The new strategy aims to get the International Sports Village completed over a period of 5 or so years, retaining opportunity for further expansion of the facility thereafter, through the consolidation of surface car parking into a decked or multi-storey car park to free up land for development.