A COUNCIL official said talks with the consortium set to lead on a major sports village development in Cardiff has given him a great deal of confidence on the delivery of the project.
Cardiff Council’s head of economic development, Neil Hanratty, made the comments at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, July 13, where Cardiff Peninsula Consortium Ltd. were confirmed as the group set to take the International Sports Village (ISV) project forward.
The land in Grangetown which will be used for the sports village development was brought under council control after it was acquired from Greenbank Partnership Ltd. in 2021.
Cabinet approved the revised masterplan for the ISV in March 2022.
At the meeting group leader of the Liberal Democrats at the council, Cllr Rodney Berman, raised that Orion Land and Leisure Ltd, who are leading the consortium, were involved in the initial sports village development in Cardiff decades ago.
He said: “There was a point where the council ended the arrangement with Orion Land and Leisure because they seemed to be unable at that point to take the project forward.
“I appreciate that we may be in different times, although these are still economically challenging times which perhaps match the economically challenging times that Orion were dealing with when they previously unable to progress matters.
“I suppose… what safeguards do we have now that we think we have got an effective working relationship that is going to deliver, given that this company has obviously had problems before with this exact same project?”
In response to Cllr Berman’s comments, the leader of the council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: “It is a wider consortium than just Orion and I think it is fair to reflect in the history of the site [that] Orion did deliver significant components of the ISV before economic headwind changed direction at that time in the late 00’s.”
Mr Hanratty added: “The fact of the matter is we took this opportunity to the market.
“It was independently assessed by qualified surveyors.
“Their recommendations to us, having looked at the consortium and the detail of the consortium is that this is a good opportunity for the council.
“When we do go through those processes we do have to rely on the outcomes of other processes.
“I wasn’t around at the time when Orion were involved in the sports village in the past.
“All I can say is that the engagement I have had with them in the recent few months has been very positive, and not only with Orion but with the consortium and funders behind that consortium that give us a great deal of confidence that they will deliver.”
Plans to to finish off the development have been delayed due to increasing costs.
Mr Hanratty said at the council’s economy and culture scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday, July 11, that the business plan for the ISV requires more work and that it is expected to be brought to cabinet before Christmas.
Cardiff Council will be using a land disposal strategy which seeks to avoid the possability of land-banking.
The land disposal strategy allows the council to retain land ownership throughout the phases of development, rather than disposing of the whole site in one go.
A report published ahead of last week’s cabinet meeting also revealed further details about the energy strategy for the site, which subject to successful funding applications, could see a low carbon heat exchange developed to link the International Pool and the Ice Arena, with the swimming pools being heated using heat created in the process of making ice for the arena.
The strategy could also see solar PV installed on existing facilities including the Ice Arena, the International Pool, Cardiff International White Water, and the former Toys R Us building.