A historic velodrome in Cardiff is one step closer to being demolished after an independent committee decided that a controversial land swap should go ahead.
After months of discussion, the Maindy Park Trust Adisory Committee made the decision to approve a recommendation to Cardiff Council for land at Maindy Park to be exchanged for land at Caedelyn Park in Rhiwbina.
The proposed land swap, which will also be subject to approval by the Charity Commission, could pave the way for the expansion of Cathays High School.
Residents and campaigners who are opposed to the land swap made their voices heard at the final meeting of the independent committee on Monday January 23.
Ian Vincent, who was speaking on behalf of Cardiff Civic Society at the meeting, said: “It is clear that the proposed land swap will result in a net loss of parkland within the city.
“Public open space, as we all know from the pandemic and from international research, is vital for the population’s health and wellbeing.
“Cardiff already has less open space per capita than many other major UK cities and therefore cannot afford to lose any more.”
The independent Maindy Park Trust Advisory Committee was set up to negate the conflict of interest Cardiff Council, as the educational authority and sole trustee of Maindy Park Trust, would have had in making a decision on the land swap.
A final recommendation was originally expected from the committee on November 2017. However, this was delayed so that they could gain more information before making a decision.
A section of Blackweir Fields which was also being considered as part of the land swap was discounted after not being deemed a suitable option.
Mr Vincent added: “Caedelyn Park, the proposed substitute, is already a public recreation area and the proposed land swap offers no gains whatsoever for residents.
“Furthermore, Caedelyn Park is 2.1 miles from Maindy Park, making it an inappropriate replacement for most of Maindy Park’s current users due to the additional travel time required and the increased emissions associated with that.”
The Maindy Park Trust Advisory Committee was made up of three members of the council’s standards and ethics committee.
Chair of the committee Jason Bartlett said: “The committee has met on three occasions and has considered the reports and appendices presented to it.
“It has carried out a site visit, requested additional information, listened to representations from community groups and has carefully considered those representations as well as the written representations, consultation responses, independent valuation and legal advice and the equality impact assessment.
“Having carefully considered all of the relevant information, the committee has agreed that it believes that the land swap is in the best interest of the charity and so recommends that cabinet, as the charity trustee, agree subject to Charity Commission consent to the exchange and release from the trust of the Maindy Park land… for the land at Caedelyn Park.”