Cardiff International Sports Village-Frequently Asked Questions



Cardiff Council has recently presented its vision to complete the leisure destination at the International Sports Village, Cardiff Bay. 

Amongst other things, this vision included proposals for new and improved cycling facilities, including a 333m outdoor Velodrome, a purpose-built Performance Hub, a 1km Closed Road Circuit, an Outdoor BMX Track and a large format Bike shop on site.

This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document has been prepared to respond to recent enquiries. The document will be updated as more questions are raised in order to ensure consistency of response and transparency as the project progresses.


1: Question: Why are you moving the Velodrome from the Maindy site? 

The Council has been exploring options to complete the leisure destination at the International Sports Village. The delivery of a cluster of modern cycling facilities is considered a fantastic opportunity to support the growth of sport and physical activity and to provide residents and visitors with a fantastic place to go to enjoy themselves.

The Cathays High School project provides an opportunity for a new track facility to be brought forward in the New Year, bringing a greater range of cycle track opportunities to our capital.

A full public consultation on the proposed expansion and redevelopment of the school ran from January to mid-March 2021. Details of the consultation which set out the rationale for the proposed changes, information on where we are in the process and what happens next can be found on the Council website


2: Question: Will the new Velodrome be for everyone or just Maindy Flyers?

Maindy Flyers CC are the resident club at the current Velodrome, so there is a need to relocate the club as well as replace the Velodrome itself and its associated services (welfare, storage etc). However, the development of the new Velodrome is not just for the use of one club. The purpose of the facility is to continue to support the development of the sport and provide improved opportunities for cyclists at all levels, which includes new riders, leisure groups, clubs, governing bodies and individual users.



3: Question: Why is the new velodrome 333m, when Maindy is 460m?

Over the last few months, Cardiff Council has engaged with technical experts from across the cycling community to form a Technical Working Group, including:

        British Cycling

        Welsh Cycling

        BC and WC Track Commission

 Along with qualified representatives in relation to:

        Coaching (development and performance)

        Events and Race Officials

        Health and Safety and Risk Management

This engagement has provided a key contribution to the preliminary designs of the new Velodrome and Closed Road Circuit to ensure that the facility, as far as is possible, meets the needs and expectations of its users and complies with the recommended specifications of the Governing Body.


The new velodrome at the ISV will be an outdoor velodrome. Most of the outdoor velodromes in the UK were built many decades ago, there have only been 3 outdoor velodromes built in the UK this century and they are all smaller in size.


Outdoor velodromes were commonly built around the outside of running tracks and their length was supposed to facilitate the 500-yard race event.  There is no true consistency in their measurements across facilities, but in general they are around the 500-yard measurement.  Maindy track is 459.37m, so just a bit more than 500 yards.  Races are now measured in metric, not imperial, so the modern specification for new outdoor velodromes as defined by the Governing Body is that every track must be divisible into 1000m to support the modern Kilo event. 


Therefore, the guidance recognises only 5 sizes of track:

  • 166.66m
  • 250m
  • 333.33m
  • 400m
  • 500m


Therefore, the new facility cannot be 460m -it would not be compliant.


Where the governing body acknowledges the track sizes above as compliant with modern specifications, its aspiration is that all new outdoor facilities should aim for a 333m size.  This is to encourage a consistency across the UK and also because the smaller sizes outdoors will have a banking that is too steep to be accessible and will also succumb to the weather conditions more easily.  Ie: wet weather will impact on its ability to be ridden.

400 and 500m tracks require a significant footprint of land in addition to the 400 or 500m of track.

333m is seen as a size that can accommodate all levels of ability and provision (community to performance and competition) and is also a much closer steppingstone for riders to progress to riding an indoor 250m track than either a 400 or 500m track would,

In addition, the reason we cannot build a 400m track at ISV is because the site constraints will not allow us to do so. It won't fit.  There are constraints relating to the levels, immature woodland and also dependencies relating to the wider regeneration of the whole site.


4 Question:A 333m track needs to have steeper bankings- does this mean the new track will be restricted to track (fixed wheel) bikes only?

No. The 333m Velodrome will be built to a specification commensurate to the needs of its users and in line with intended use of the facility. It is the whole geometry of the track that inputs into this, not just one angle. It is intended that the Velodrome will continue to provide opportunity for cycling at all levels, which includes novice riders and those on road bikes as well as competitive track riders and performance athletes. Therefore, the detailed track design will take these requirements into consideration.


5: Question: A smaller track means less capacity, how can sessions currently run at Maindy be replicated at the new track if the risk assessment requires a reduced capacity?

Every current outdoor velodrome is different in terms of size and geometry, so there cannot be a standard risk assessment that imposes a capacity on outdoor tracks.  The Governing Body complete risk assessments for all facilities for competition, this will include the capping of rider numbers for specific competitive events depending on age/type of bike etc. 

The rider capacity for training and coaching is determined by the risk assessments of the individual or organisation delivering the session.  Because a session can vary in terms of content, age and ability of riders, it is up to the coaches/clubs etc to ensure that each session is supported by a risk assessment conducive to the session being delivered.





6: Question: How will you make sure the new development is fit for purpose?

The Technical Working Group will support the project in the design and development of the facilities to ensure compliance to all health and safety and risk management specifications that apply to participation at all levels:

        Informal leisure riding

        Coached /non-coached training


Representation in this group is reviewed as the project progresses and a broader representation will be included as the need for more detailed engagement arises. The Project Team will continue to engage closely with the Technical Working Group on the design, development and operational components of the plan.


7: Question: Will there be a period of time when there is no velodrome facility available?

That is not the intention. The timeline set out for the delivery of the new Velodrome is for it to be operational by the end of 2022, sometime before the Cathays High School development is scheduled to enter the Maindy site. The commitment is that the Velodrome at the Maindy site will not be relocated until the new one is operational.


8: Question: If I have to drive to use the new facility, will I be able to park my car? What about motorhomes and other large vehicle parking for events?

There is a commitment to provide parking for all facilities at the International Sports Village. The masterplan includes the provision of adequate parking to accommodate the increase in facilities and attendance within the ISV. The parking available will need to allow for larger vehicles and vehicles carrying sports equipment such as bikes ad kayaks. The project is working collaboratively with other council departments including transport to enhance and improve links to and from the sports village.


9: Question: Will there still be ‘learn to ride' sessions available for my child?

The operation strategy for the International Sports Village is currently under development with a view to providing increased provision. The intention is for provision at all levels and will include access to ‘learn to ride' sessions and other sessions that might be of interest to the overall cycling community.



10: Question: Will I still be able to turn up and ride by myself?

The operation strategy for the International Sports Village is currently under development with a view to providing increased provision. The intention is for provision at all levels and will include opportunities for people to ‘pay to ride' in addition to block booking.


11: Question: Will my club be able to book time on the track?

The operation strategy for the International Sports Village is currently under development with a view to providing increased provision. The intention is for provision at all levels and will include a booking option for coaches, groups and clubs. 


12: Question: Will there be toilets and changing rooms?

It is acknowledged that relocating the track from its current site will require consideration of the associated services available via the leisure centre. Therefore, the project will develop a purpose built ‘Performance Hub' that will provide welfare facilities and additional provision, such as bookable studio space and storage. A part of the building will also be used to relocate the Maindy Flyers CC.


13: Question: What about first aid?

The Performance Hub will accommodate a first aid treatment room. The operation strategy is currently under development, discussions will include the provision of first response first aid. Governing Body requirements for responsibilities for track side first aid etc. will remain unchanged.


14: Question: The closed road circuit layout will make marshalling and coaching a challenge due to lack of visibility across the whole circuit?

All closed road circuits present similar challenges, there is a reliance on volunteers/coaches/marshals to play a role in coached sessions and events where these circuits balance off the benefit of being free from traffic and configured to give riders the opportunity to develop their skills by riding a technical circuit, with the need for additional marshals. Key requirements would normally be highlighted in the risk assessment.

The Project is engaging with national governing bodies, clubs and groups to discuss the layout in more detail. The intention for the circuit is for it to be traffic free and uninterrupted. The levels of the land and the wider masterplan will allow for this to be the case with some careful planning.

The engagement with users has enabled the high-level design to progress to include a single additional full loop to provide a choice of routes for users.


15: Question: Moving the velodrome 4.3km away from its current location will mean that people will be expected to ride further to attend sessions. This will mean riding fixed wheel bikes on the highway, which is illegal?

To ride a bike on the highway, you must have 2 brakes. Therefore, riders riding fixed wheel to attend any location, even a local one, is illegal. The majority of bookings at Maindy see riders arriving by car, public transport or road bike. There is no evidence to show that this will change by relocating the Velodrome to the Bay.


16: Question: Who will be the operator of the new facilities?

The project team is currently undertaking a soft marketing exercise to explore operator options to be presented to the Council's Cabinet later this year. One of the key considerations regarding the operation of the new velodrome is that there is an inclusive programme of provision as well as club bookings, so that all levels of ability can benefit.

The principles of the operator strategy will be included in the FBC for approval.


17: Question: Will the new facility charge higher prices for people to use it?

It is not the intention to raise the cost of provision. To date, any work carried out to determine costs has been based on the current charging model at Maindy and from other comparable facilities across the UK.


18: Question: How do I get involved and have a say in the new facilities in the Bay?

The proposed plans for the new velodrome have been developed so far with the technical input from the governing bodies and track cycling specialists to ensure compliance for safety and usage. These plans will be presented online via a PAC report in the coming weeks and everyone will be able to make comment. Phase 2 of the wider stakeholder engagement will commence towards the end of the summer when the focus will be around the usage and operation of the new velodrome and the design of the new closed road circuit.

The PAC report has been concluded, comments taken on board and further engagement will be via the full planning application.

There will also be an open engagement event in the new year to view and discuss the wider Masterplan.


19: Why have the designs changed from there being a roof to a different type of canopy?


There will always be 2 main conditions, wet and dry. Naturally, rain falls vertically, and as the new facility will have good drainage, this would not usually be a problem.  The main issue with the weather is the driving and gusty wind.  This will blow the rain and you will end up with part wet/part dry track surface, which will cause risk for the riders.

The design specialists have carried out a specific study to determine the best structure that will enable a uniformity of dampness and manage the wind ‘gustiness' and capture the wind born rain to provide the safest outcome. 

A lot of research has gone into how this structure needs to be and what materials should be used.

In addition, consideration of water dripping from a roof structure can create surface degradation, so the design needs to not hold water.

The outcome of our research is also supported by a study commissioned by the Governing Body re the covering of outdoor tracks, which advise that a traditional part roof is not the most effective or cost effective solution.


20: How is the lighting on the new velodrome going to work?


The project team have carried out studies, in conjunction with the wind canopy study to see how best to set the lighting to ensure uniformity of light, avoid light spill and to cover as much of the facility as possible.  Currently, the outcome is a lux level of 500 on the track surfaces, which is a similar level of lighting as premier league rugby pitches

Further work is ongoing to ensure that the light coverage of the track centre is also sufficient as it is key to activity continuation all year round.


21: Question:How much open access space will remain at the Maindy site?

Work has been undertaken to produce an indicative red line boundary map for the proposed school site.

This indicative map is available to view on the Council website atCathays High School Proposals ( identifies the open access space that would be available, the retained leisure centre and BMX track areas outside of the development boundary, the required land for the school and remaining community open access land. 

The map identifies a large area of community space, outside of the school and leisure centre boundary of c13,500m² which would be retained. This represents an increase in unrestricted open access space available for use by the local community.

The open access space areas would be landscaped in parts to provide the most appropriate and usable area possible and are in addition to the facilities which would be provided within the boundary of the school, that would be available to the community outside of school hours.

Further consideration of the layout of the site would be necessary at the design stage.


22: What will happen to the leisure centre?

There are no proposed changes to the existing leisure centre facilities. The Council agreed in 2016 that the leisure and sporting facilities at Maindy Centre would be operated by Better Leisure (GLL) and a long-term lease arrangement is in place. As part of a revised lease the school will continue to have access to indoor facilities at Maindy Centre and an arrangement will be explored with GLL for the shared use of the carpark outside of the school day. Car parking spaces dedicated for use by patrons of the leisure centre would be retained.


23: What will happen to the BMX track?

The BMX track is expected to be retained in its existing position but could potentially be relocated elsewhere on the Maindy site or current school site should it be deemed beneficial to the project and the community.


24: Why does Cathays High School need a new building?

Cathays High School has been identified as a priority scheme, requiring investment under Welsh Government and Cardiff Council's Band B 21stCentury Investment Programme. Band Bseeks to address those schools identified as in poor condition, with major defects, suitability issues or nearing the end of their operational life.


25: How can I find out more about the school plans?

Details of the recent consultation on the school plans which set out the rationale for the proposed changes and information on where we are in the process and what happens next can be found on the Council website atCathays High School Proposals (


26: What will the impact on traffic be?

Transport mitigation for the development would be identified through the Transport Assessment process, which will inform the proposals submitted for planning permission (subject to approval to progress to implementation) at a later stage of the planning process for the school.

The assessment identifies works associated with improving vehicular access and off-site highway measures including a school safety zone, traffic calming and pedestrian crossing facilities. Further transport assessment work will be required to support the detailed proposals for the new school site and to inform the future planning application for the development.

In addition to highways measures within the immediate vicinity of the school gates, this work will need to identify other off-site improvements which can help to increase opportunities for pupils to travel to school by walking and cycling.

The Council is committed to ensuring that every school in Cardiff has an Active Travel Plan by 2022. All schools developed under Band B will need to have such a plan in place from the outset of their operation and therefore, in the event the proposed development proceeds, it would need to be supported by an Active Travel Plan, which should be informed by the Transport Assessment.


27: What will happen to the existing school site?

The existing school site is to be retained in order that the proposed expanded school may meet the site area requirements set out in Building Bulletin guidance for schools on confined sites. Further consideration of the layout of the site would be necessary at the design stage.


28: What about potential disruption during construction

The Council has significant experience of delivering building projects on the sites of occupied schools. Any work carried out on the site would be managed effectively to ensure the continued delivery of high education standards and that safety and safeguarding standards are maintained and that any disruption to the school or the local area is managed. The proposed works will include a Construction Management Plan that will be included in the planning application for the school, which will be fully consulted upon in due course.


29: Why not use the existing Cathays High School site?

The existing Cathays site could potentially be used to accommodate a replacement school building, however, the current site would still be insufficient in size to allow the new school to be built whist the school remains operational. This would result in pupils having to be accommodated off site for the duration of any new build resulting in significant disruption to the operations of the school. The existing school site is also not large enough for 21stCentury School standards.


30: What is the intended timescale for the school development?

If the proposal is progressed and subject to statutory approvals, it is intended that building work would start in the 2023/24 school year following completion of the new track at the International Sports Village.


31: Why not use the Companies House or the Maindy Barracks site for the new school?

The Council did enquire about the potential use of alternative sites. However, these sites are not in Council ownership or available for consideration.