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Demolition of historic Maindy Velodrome moves a step closer

02 Mar 2023 4 minute read
Maindy Velodrome. Photo by Mark Turner is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

Plans to expand a school in Cardiff which could see the loss of a historic velodrome have taken a major step forward today.

Cardiff Council’s cabinet today approved recommendations made by an independent advisory committee to go ahead with a land swap which will see land at Maindy Park exchanged for land at Caedelyn Park in Rhiwbina.

If the land swap goes ahead, it will pave the way for the expansion of Cathays High School.

However, cabinet’s decision on the land swap is still subject to approval by the Charity Commission.

The planned expansion of Cathays High School would increase its capacity from 1,072 places to 1,450 places.

However, the plans have been opposed by some, predominantly due to concerns over the loss of Maindy Velodrome which would be demolished to make way for the new development.

The velodrome hosted the British Empire and Commonwealth Games – what the Commonwealth Games used to be called – in 1958 and has helped nurture British cycling talent, with past users of the site including Geraint Thomas, Owain Doull, and Elinor Barker.

Independent members

The Maindy Park Trust Advisory Committee, which consists of three independent members of the council’s standards and ethics committee, met a number of times over three months to discuss the controversial land swap and come to a decision.

The advisory committee was set up to manage the council’s conflict of interest arising from its role as the sole trustee of Maindy Park Trust – the charity which owns the land proposed for the school expansion – and its role as the local education authority which has put forward the plans for Cathays High.

Eventually, it agreed to make a recommendation to the council’s cabinet in favour of the land swap subject to a number of conditions, including:

The new velodrome is to be built and operational prior to the proposed land swap taking place

The terms and conditions recommended in the Qualified Surveyors updated report are to apply including specifically in relation to overage provision – being 50% of the uplift in value to be paid to the trust if the site is sold for future development during a period of 75 years from the date of the release of the restrictive covenant (which would entitle the trust to receive a share of any potential increase in value if an implementable planning permission is obtained for a higher value use of the land)

Improvement works to be carried out at the retained land at Maindy and Caedelyn including improved drainage of the site, walkways, lighting, and other measures to reduce antisocial behaviour in the area

Arrangements are to be made between the trust and the council for a lease or licence to be agreed to cover the future maintenance and management of the land at Caedelyn and Maindy by the council with no ongoing revenue costs to the trust which exceed income

The council is to carry out a review of the governance and financial management arrangements of all trusts of which the council is a trustee

The provision of an information board on site to explain the historic use of the site as a velodrome

Only cabinet members who have not had any previous involvement in the council’s development proposals for the Maindy Park land, and do not have any other personal and prejudicial interest, were able to take part in the decision making process.

These included Cllr Dan De’Ath, Cllr Jennifer Burke-Davies, Cllr Ashley Lister and Cll Julie Sangani.

Charity Commission

Now that the recommendations have been approved, the council will make an application to the Charity Commission for consent to go ahead with the land swap.

Once the Charity Commission receives the application it will assess whether the trustee’s decision is in the best interest of the charity and if it has sufficiently considered conflicts of interest and the views of beneficiaries.

After the advisory committee made its decision on the recommendation to be made to cabinet in January, the Charity Commission said: “We understand this issue is important to local people and will take care to listen to a variety of perspectives.

“We will seek representations from members of the public when making the decision and will publicise our reasoning once it has been made.”

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