Cardiff City Football Club may have been promoted to the Premier League in football, but the winding up of citywide tourism board Cardiff & Co in April left the convention bureau to be folded in to the council’s Tourism and Culture department and there seems no sign that proposals for a new convention centre for the Principality’s capital are any nearer to fruition than they were five years ago.
Now website Wales Online urges the authorities to get moving to realise a convention centre project in South Wales, particularly with news that Bristol is close to securing European funding for a new 12,000-seater arena.
A dedicated convention centre in Cardiff, would ideally be built in conjunction with a 10,000-plus seater indoor arena, argues local media website Wales Online.
“While we have world class infrastructure in the Millennium Stadium, the Wales Millennium Centre and the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, adding an indoor arena and convention centre into the mix would only help to further South Wales’ reputation as a leading leisure and event destination – with all the economic benefits and additional spend they would bring,” a leading article on the site urged.
Cardiff Council has been allegedly examining closely for over a year a number of possible site options to locate both facilities. The potential cost is put at around £150m, however.
The debate and inaction over a proper convention centre for Cardiff is long-running, with funding being the perennial deal-breaker.
Various models of public-private partnership arrangements have been discussed, with most hopes pinned on backing from the Welsh Government.
Cardiff is not the only location under discussion for a potential convention centre site in South Wales; Celtic Manor Resort in Newport is also considering a new dedicated convention centre.
Wales Online also suggests a Government financially backed convention centre in the heart of Newport could be considered and “deliver a clear signal that the future is not all about Cardiff”.
Meanwhile, Cardiff Council cabinet member for finance, the economy and local government Russell Goodway recently reiterated the local authority’s backing, at least in words, to delivering both an indoor arena and convention centre in the capital, going on to warn of the danger of Bristol stealing a march on Wales in making its own indoor arena plans operational.
Bristol’s bid for a slice of the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund could receive a decision by the autumn. If successful, £50m could be earmarked for a proposed £80m 12,000-seat indoor arena next to Temple Meads station. Potential new funding has also been earmarked for the second phase of the redevelopment of Colston Hall.
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