Cardiff’s reputation as ‘event city’ at stake after Ed Sheeran gig ‘brings city to a halt’
Cardiff’s reputation as an ‘event city’ is at stake after the traffic chaos before and after the Ed Sheeran gigs at the Principality Stadium, according to a former leader of the council.
Major congestion caused half-hour tailbacks on the M4 ahead of Ed Sheeran’s gig in Cardiff on Friday, and there were further problems on Saturday compounded by a My Chemical Romance gig happening at the same time.
Councillor Rodney Berman, who was the leader of Cardiff Council between 2004 and 2012, said that Cardiff had “long since positioned itself as an event city” and had made this a key element of its economic strategy.
“However, this has been hugely undermined by the major traffic disruption we have seen during the recent Ed Sheeran concerts in the Principality Stadium which was far worse than anything the city has seen in the recent past,” the Liberal Democrat councillor said.
“We can’t have a scenario where concerts such as this are effectively bringing the city to a halt. We had reports of 15-mile tailbacks along the M4 towards Cardiff, people waiting for up to two and a half hours to get out of the multi-storey car park at the St Davids 2 shopping centre and scenes of utter chaos at Cardiff Central station as people tried to get home after the concert.
“Something seems to have gone badly wrong from an event planning perspective. Those supposed to be in charge of making sure the transport arrangements went as smoothly as possibly seem to have been asleep at the wheel.
“A major review must now be held by the council with other key stakeholders – such as the police, the Welsh Government, venues and transport providers. We need to establish what went wrong and how these events could have been better handled.”
Some visitors had taken to social media vowing never to return to the capital after waiting hours to get out of car parks after it finished on Thursday night.
One person wrote on Twitter at 12:29am: “Will definitely will not be returning to Cardiff after being sat in the car park for over an hour and counting”.
Another tweeted at 12:53am: “My partner has just phoned me, she’s been sat in her car trapped in St David’s Car Park since 11pm…it’s absolute chaos!!”
A spokesperson for NCP told ITV: “Unfortunately the traffic on the road was so busy that our customers were having to queue to gain access onto the roads.
“Customers were all leaving at the same time and it meant they were queuing to gain access to roads which were blocked with traffic.
“We did have staff on all sites to assist as best as we could, and we are sorry for the delays experienced but we cannot control the traffic on the roads surrounding our car parks.”
Cllr Rodney Berman said that questions need to be asked, such as whether more people could have been encouraged to travel to the city by coach or train rather than by private car.
“Also, why weren’t we making use of park and ride facilities on the east and west approaches to the city, including at the Park and Ride site at Pentwyn, rather than funnelling everyone down to County Hall in Cardiff Bay?” he asked.
“The lack of advance warning to residents also needs to be looked at. I am sure many people were caught out because signs hadn’t been put up in advance along key routes into and out of the city to warn of such major disruption.
“With a new concert arena currently being planned by the council for Cardiff Bay, these problems could be with us more frequently in the future.
“Cardiff residents need to be reassured our events-based strategy is not going to mean the city increasingly can’t function properly. We must be reassured the city is able to live and operate with such large-scale events.”
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