Cardiff Council Update: 24 November 2023

Here is your Friday update, covering:

  • Cardiff Indoor Arena - work on the new venue set to begin in the new year
  • Willows High School development - have your say on plans for the new school site
  • Annual White Ribbon Day - ending violence against women and girls
  • New investment zone - funding worth £160m heading to southeast Wales


Cardiff's new Indoor Arena moves into the development phase

Enabling works for Cardiff's new 15,000-capacity indoor area are set to begin in January 2024 - as the project moves into the delivery phase - with an opening date earmarked for the end of 2026.

The Indoor Arena project - a circa 250m investment into Cardiff Bay - will bring much-needed jobs, not only during the construction phase, but also once the arena opens to the public, while supporting the city's cultural and creative sector for years to come.

The overall Atlantic Wharf Masterplan, which includes the arena is expected to create thousands of new jobs.

Cardiff Council's Cabinet will discuss the funding strategy for the arena at its next meeting on Thursday, November 23. Cabinet members will hear how the project is self-financing in the long term and will be recommended to sign the Development and Funding Agreement with Live Nation, which will commit to the future long-term lease of the venue so that construction works can begin. The project has been hit by significant inflation, but Live Nation has agreed to cover the increased costs of construction and the council's capital contribution will be fully recovered over the term of the lease.

The indicative timeline for the delivery of the new arena has been confirmed in the latest Cabinet report on the project:

  • January 2024 - enabling works begin
  • May/June 2024 - Signing of the lease agreement between the council and Live Nation
  • June 2024 - Main arena construction begins
  • Late 2026 - Indoor arena opens to the public.

Cllr Russell Goodway, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development said: "Delivering a new indoor arena has been an ambition for successive Council administrations for over 20 years and was a key pledge we made at both the 2017 and 2022 elections. The report to Cabinet is significant as it clearly shows that the Arena is deliverable and affordable, both for Live Nation and the Council. It is a significant milestone, on the complex journey to commencing building work, and means the project can now proceed at pace. "

Read more here


Willows High School development: Have your say

Plans to relocate and rebuild Willows High School are open for public consultation.

The Pre-Application Consultation will run until Monday 18 December 2023, and provides an opportunity for members of the public to have their say on proposals for the new school, before a planning application is submitted to Cardiff Council's Planning Committee.

The new school will boast a range of comprehensive facilities which will be available for public use outside of school hours and will be delivered under Cardiff Council and Welsh Government's Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme.

Proposals include:

  • Relocating and rebuilding the school on three parcels of land at Splott Market and Portmanmoor Road; including access to the 3G pitches at the former tennis centre and providing enough space for the new school without taking away any existing open space.
  • Providing pupils with access to a high-quality learning environment to support and enhance teaching and learning.
  • A community focussed school with facilities available for use by the whole community outside of core school hours.
  • Enhanced pedestrian facilities to support active travel arrangements on the Lewis Road site.
  • Capacity for 900 places for learners aged 11 to 16, and a 30 place Specialist resource base for Complex Learning Needs; in line with the projected demand.
  • Pupils to remain at the existing Willows High School site until the new school build is complete to minimise the potential for disruption

Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council, and Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Sarah Merry, said: "The new Willows High School is set to become a first-class educational facility representing a significant investment in the local area. Not only will it provide pupils and staff with exceptional expertise and teaching opportunities, but it will also ensure that the local community benefit from excellent, modern amenities."

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Ending violence against women and girls starts when we #ChangeTheStory

The annual White Ribbon Day takes place across the world this weekend, providing an opportunity to reflect on the challenges of overcoming men's violence against women and girls.

Taking place on November 25 every year, the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, more commonly known as White Ribbon Day signals the beginning of a series of events leading up to December 8, Human Rights Day.

White Ribbon is a global campaign that encourages people, and especially men and boys, to individually and collectively take action and change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence. To wear a white ribbon is to promise to never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.

Cardiff Council is an accredited White Ribbon organisation, having achieved its third period of accreditation from White Ribbon UK last year.

The theme of this year's campaign is Change the Story, acknowledging that culture change doesn't happen overnight, but men's violence against women and girls can be ended within our lifetimes.

Public events to mark the awareness campaign in Cardiff began yesterday evening with the Not in My Name Candlelight Vigil at the Senedd, when people came together to show solidarity with victims and survivors of violence against women across the world.

On Friday November 24, all were welcome to join a march from Cathedral Road to Llandaff Cathedral at 9am and the annual multi-faith Light a Candle service at 11am, while a White Ribbon Service will take place at St Andrews Methodist Church, Birchgrove at 10.30 am on Sunday, November 26.

The Council's White Ribbon Ambassador and Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Modernisation, Cllr Chris Weaver said: "Violence experienced by women and girls takes many forms. As a White Ribbon City, Cardiff is committed to doing all we can to end men's violence against women and significant progress has been made in tackling the issue over the past five years."

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Investment Zone heading for Cardiff Capital Region

£160M funding from UK Government and Welsh Government announced in the Autumn Statement to support intensive economic growth in Southeast Wales.

The UK Government has announced in Wednesday's Autumn Statement that the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) is to host one of the UK's refocused Investment Zones in a joint funding package with the Welsh Government. The joint package is worth £160M over a period of between five to ten years and will begin in 2024.

Eight Investment Zones have already been announced for England with four more spread across the three devolved administrations. In addition to the Cardiff Capital Region, North Wales has also been selected for an Investment Zone in Wrexham and Denbighshire.  The Zone within CCR will be based across Cardiff with its heavy research base and Newport with its compound semiconductor expertise, with the wider Region designated as an area of benefit.

The intention for the Investment Zones is to catalyse high-potential knowledge-intensive growth clusters across the UK, with each Zone driving the growth of at least one key future sector from among green industries, digital technologies, life sciences, creative industries and advanced manufacturing. In CCR's case the world-leading compound semiconductor cluster will feature as part of this.

Key considerations by both Governments in terms of awarding Investment Zones included the clear evidence of economic potential, innovation potential, strong knowledge anchor institutions and recognised sector and cluster specific strengths with the Region.

Cllr Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council said of the announcement: "This is very welcome news for the Region and for Cardiff. Our universities host world-class research capabilities, we have a booming tech sector, and significant partnership arrangements are already in place. This means we are prepared, ready and able to make the best use of this opportunity. Cardiff is the economic driving force behind Wales, and Cardiff's role in these new investment zones will ensure the Region, and Cardiff, benefit from this joint governmental package for years to come."

Read more here