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Sites identified for new Cardiff arena

Six sites are to be considered for a new multi-purpose arena in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.

The local council has signalled its intention to press ahead with work on a new £110m ($145m/€123m) venue, which would seat 15,000 people.

The WalesOnline website said that Red Dragon Centre, Cardiff Prison, Dumballs Road, Cardiff Arms Park, County Hall and Callaghan Square are the sites being assessed by the council.

Talk of a new arena first emerged in June, when Wales’ economy minister Ken Skates said a new multi-purpose venue is “crucially important” to help Cardiff attract more events.

Cardiff’s venue portfolio currently includes the 74,000-capacity Principality Stadium (pictured) and the 7,000-seat Motorpoint Arena, as well as Cardiff City Stadium, which seats 33,000 people. A new venue would likely lead to the closure of Motorpoint Arena.

At a scrutiny committee meeting, Labour cabinet member Russell Goodway said that Cardiff would use £40m in funding from the City Deal initiative, with the Welsh Government to be asked to provide £20m. WalesOnline said the remaining £50m would come from operator rent.

It is hoped that work will begin on the project within 18 months. The facility would take two years to build.

Labour’s Iona Gordon questioned the need for the arena, stating, according to WalesOnline: “We all know we’re living in a most fantastic city and we’re proud of it but the size of Manchester and Glasgow, the other two examples given where there are arenas of the size and magnitude that you’ve ambitiously discussed here, I just wonder are we ready? I know we’re the capital of Wales and we have a population of 360,000. But are we really in a position to be trying to erect for such an ambitious project?”

Addressing opponents of the proposed new arena, Goodway said: “There were a lot of siren voices opposed to the Millennium (Principality) Stadium development who tried to talk us out of having such a facility, one of the only ones in Europe with a roof, who said that Cardiff wasn’t worthy. I think it’s something that successive council leaders have had to battle with about a lack of confidence that exists within the local population.

“I don’t think there’s a person around who thinks it was the wrong decision to build the Millennium Stadium. A facility of that kind means we could attract international events and exposure that we couldn’t previously.”

Image: Andrew King