Cardiff Council leader has dig at Plaid MS who said the north felt like ‘poor relations’
The leader of Cardiff Council has had a dig at a Plaid Cymru MS who said the north felt like “poor relations”.
Labour’s Huw Thomas was responding to comments from North Wales Senedd member Llyr Gruffydd about plans for the new 15,000 capacity Cardiff Arena, which is part of a redevelopment project for Atlantic Wharf in Cardiff Bay.
According to Thomas the north might have “similar projects” if it had more “Labour-controlled Councils”.
Llyr Gruffydd said: “Another new arena for Cardiff – yards from the Millennium centre and a mile from the Motorpoint Arena, St David’s Hall, Millennium Stadium.
“I know spec is different and it’s great news for Cardiff – but this really makes us feel like the poor relations up here in north Wales.”
Steve Thomas, the Chair of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Assurance Board said: “Surely this is an issue of simple economics? The large private sector-based arenas like this tend to be based in large cities. Making it a ‘grievance’ cultural issue between north and south smacks of parochialism.”
Huw Thomas responded: “Or an issue of leadership? This is a Council-led scheme; perhaps if North Wales had more Labour-controlled Councils, they’d have similar projects. Still, I do appreciate his acknowledgment that this is ‘great news for Cardiff.”
The latest in a series of public consultation webinars into redevelopment plans heard from venue operator Live Nation’s chief operating officer Graham Walters about how the new arena will be operated and managed.
Following a question from a member of the public as part of a Q&A session, he detailed how they are looking to celebrate the rich musical heritage and history of Cardiff and Wales at the state-of-the-art new venue.
‘Nothing for visitors’
It was put to him that: “Wales is renowned as the land of song, yet there is nothing for visitors to the city to discover to inform them of the unique cultural and contemporary musical history of Wales. I believe you have a great opportunity to develop a tourist attraction that would create extra revenue into the arena.
“If you want people to come early and stay late then this would be an ideal opportunity to increase footfall and embellish the arena’s reputation as a must visit, both day and night.
“It would also be a tangible link between the local community and the arena as well as serve as an educational opportunity. Do you believe something like this would be possible?’
In response he said: “Yes I do. It forms part of the overall masterplan and the way we’re looking to connect and work with the Wales Millennium Centre, stakeholders in the Bay, residents in Butetown and the new museum that’s planned to open.
“Absolutely we recognise the heritage and history that Cardiff offers and we will try and build that into the design and look of the arena through the materials and the finishes, but we will also have space to curate some degree of art, music and heritage displays that can all be fed into the infrastructure in that area (of the arena).
“It’s a key area that we can work on and certainly our partner architects are looking at these elements already and we’ll develop that through the planning phase and consultation with the local residents and the city as a whole.”