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Plans to complete Cardiff’s International Sports Village revealed

Credit: Cardiff Council

Plans to complete Cardiff’s International Sports Village – delivering an outstanding sports and leisure destination that could attract two million visitors annually – will reach another milestone this week.

Cardiff Council’s Cabinet is expected to approve a report which shows plans for a new waterfront, residential and retail district, alongside an International Sports Village (ISV) which will be powered by ‘green’ energy.

The ISV will boast a new Central Performance Hub designed to support athletes across different sports, a new Velodrome, a closed loop circuit, outdoor leisure facilities, and a new ‘clip and climb’ facility – all brought to Cardiff Bay with a new park and ride facility, to complement the International Pool, The White Water Rafting Centre, and the Ice Arena, which are already on site.

Cabinet Member for Investment and Development, Cllr Russell Goodway, said: “The International Sports Village is a key part of our ambitious plans to establish Cardiff Bay as a leading UK visitor destination. We believe it could attract up to 2 million visitors a year, helping to bring jobs and economic benefits to Cardiff.

“Key among our aims is to ensure this is a ‘green development’ powered by renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, and heat recovery from the air, ground, and water. We think there’s an opportunity to deliver something special here, which could bring more ‘green’ jobs to boost the economy while also helping the council deliver on its One Planet Cardiff commitments.

“We have been out to the market to secure private-sector partners who can help us bring new investment to the area, including residential and retail opportunities alongside the enhanced sports village. The report coming to Cabinet will recommend negotiating with a number of parties to secure contracts.”

Cardiff Council’s Cabinet will take the report on Thursday, January 19. In it they will hear plans to deliver a vibrant waterfront residential and retail district alongside a sports and leisure destination of outstanding quality served by a park and ride, and improved public transport options.

The report will:

  • Provide an update on the International Sports Village development.
  • Look to approve in principle the proposed disposal strategy for the residential and commercial development opportunities at the International Sports Village.
  • Look to approve the Outline Business Case for completion of the sport and leisure attraction and associated infrastructure at the International Sports Village.

Cllr Goodway added: “The International Sports Village development has been beset by delays caused by the economic downturn and the pandemic, and this has created significant uncertainty for potential investors and for residents. To ensure the ISV can get back on track the Council has secured control of the land required to complete the development and our aim now is to secure the right partners so the ISV can fulfil its undoubted potential.”

The Council recently appointed property agents to establish investor interest in the site and several expressions of interest and offers both for individual plots and for the role of master developer have been received.

The report to Cabinet makes several recommendations, including:

  • Approval of a hybrid ‘disposal strategy’ appointing a master developer whilst also seeking to capture the best offer for individual plots of land.
  • Approval for a Full Business Case for the leisure destination to be developed.
  • Approval of a preferred operator for the Ice Arena and the development of a family attraction, including the new ‘clip and climb’ facility.
  • Approving the development of an Outline Business Case for the Energy Strategy to be presented back to a future meeting of Cabinet.
  • Approving the development of an Outline Business Case to consider the options for delivery of a proposed Park and Ride facility.

The preferred bid for the Ice Arena seeks to support the long-term operation of the Ice Rink by making better commercial use of the area that was previously set aside for a second ice pad. This area has not been used consistently as a second pad for some years due to the significant energy costs associated with keeping an ice pad properly chilled. The recent energy crisis has worsened this issue making the prospect of re-establishing a second ice pad commercially unrealistic. The proposal is for the area to be converted into a family leisure attraction including a bespoke ‘clip & climb’ facility aimed at attracting children and young people to the ISV.

The delivery of a new Park & Ride facility providing quick access to the city centre and Cardiff Bay is an important feature of the new ISV masterplan. The proposal is to deliver a multi-storey car park (MSCP) to consolidate the extensive surface car parking currently available on-site, to free up land for development, and at the same time providing regular and quick bus services to the city centre and the Inner Harbour. The ISV site lends itself to a Park & Ride facility given its proximity to the city centre and the Inner Harbour as it can provide sustainable travel options such as cycling and walking.

Work to develop a full business case for the enhanced ISV development will begin if a recommendation set out in a report due to be discussed on Thursday, January 19this accepted by Cardiff Council’s Cabinet.

Cardiff Council Cabinet will discuss the report on the International Sports Village at its public meeting at County Hall at 2pm on Thursday 19thJanuary.