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Cardiff Council leader has dig at Plaid MS who said the north felt like ‘poor relations’

28 Jul 2021 3 minutes Read
Artist’s impression of the new Cardiff Arena

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.”

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Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

Yes, a new arena in Cardiff is an attractive prospect but we must not fall into the trap that has befallen the UK – major investment in one place and little or nothing elsewhere ( i.e London). Unfortunately, it is already beginning to happen, it has to stop, wealth must be distributed as evenly as possible (that’s not communist talk, just plain fairness) or inequality will ensue and this is from someone born in Cardiff.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

Er if there were ‘more labour controlled councils’ in north wales there might alas be more of those 100 foot monstrosities on buildings there too 😱. It was Thomas’ own labour controlled cardiff council which approved that hideous advert for british nationalism on a tax office in the city ☹️

John Brooks
John Brooks
1 month ago

If the north of Wales feels like a poor relation to the south, how do you think those of us who live in the ill defined mid Wales area feel.

Problem is investment always gravitate to the main population centres. In Wales that means Cardiff, in the UK it means England and in England it means London.

Llewelyn
Llewelyn
1 month ago
Reply to  John Brooks

Your welcome to Join North Wales.

BestChris
BestChris
1 month ago

According to Thomas the north might have “similar projects” if it had more “Labour-controlled Councils”.

So what I am reading there is that Y Senedd is withholding funds from North Wales for party political reasons? That is effing despicable!!

Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans
1 month ago
Reply to  BestChris

BestChris. You’ve hit the nail on its head. The Labour Party in Y Senedd should explain to us whether this is factual. As you say, if it is then it really is despicable.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Ieuan Evans

The Valleys are starved of funds. Port Talbot is too, despte being one of the most labour dominated places in the woleof the UK!!

Llewelyn
Llewelyn
1 month ago

No wonder us in “the North of wales” or more correctly those of us, to use its proper Name, North Wales, are a bit tired of Cardiff.

I bet he’s never ever been to North Wales

What North Wales needs is separation from Cardiff Control.

Gogs unite.

BestChris
BestChris
1 month ago
Reply to  Llewelyn

Totally agree with you and understand fully. But I think that to get independence from UKBIN Cymru needs to unite. Get some of our roads running North to South instead of West East into the gaping maws of the English megaloposises.
As a Southerner I suggest shifting the capital and the Senedd to North West Wales (EG Caernafon) to focus minds a bit and redress the imbalance between North and South, East and West.

Last edited 1 month ago by BestChris
R W
R W
1 month ago

Looking at how unionist Cardiff Council is, we need more Labour councils in Wales like we need a hole in the head.

Mandi A
Mandi A
1 month ago

This conversation has been disheartening but in a way I commend Llyr for bringing the north-south disaffection out in the open. One thing, having re-read the previous piece on this same issue of the proposed Arena, it would be good to clarify whether this is Council money or private sector. The business plans and PR platitudes of Mr Walters will vanish with the tide, surprised he doesn’t give some inflated number of new jobs it will create. Would also like to hear from Mr Mark Rhydderch-Roberts of the National Convention Centre how this new development might impact on his business… Read more »

Mandi A
Mandi A
1 month ago

And boringly, do the due diligence. Live Nation / Arena Island is backed by American money with a London address and a hand in the Manchester Arena, recently proven to be not the best run venue in the UK.

Sian
Sian
1 month ago

The most important point raised here in my humble opinion is around how resources are distributed. Germany ensures that investment is spread throughout the country rather than one city or region. We know that the whole of the West of Wales remains one of the economically poorest in Europe so investment in high skilled jobs in important industries like the environment is key. Also there’s a strong creative talent base in north west Wales and we need to build on this.

Mandi A
Mandi A
1 month ago
Reply to  Sian

Siwr, see my comments on the UNESCO announcement. Such an opportunity to turn centuries of hurt and exploitation into a positive for current and future generations. But done innovatively and creatively without damaging the environment. Teach people to listen to the sounds of the mountains and experience the stars and the dark nights.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Mandi A

Yes, I remember Gwynfryn, where one could hear the shooting stars at night.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Sian

We should be taxed at the communities where we reside.

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