Land exchange saga in Cardiff takes step closer to decision

The saga of a proposed land swap in Cardiff which could pave the way for a school expansion will take another step towards completion next week.

Cardiff Council’s cabinet will meet on Thursday, March 2, to vote on the recommendations to go ahead with a land swap which will see land at Maindy Park exchanged for land at Caedelyn Park in Rhiwbina.

If the land exchange goes ahead, it will allow Cathays High School to be redeveloped and expanded as a modern education facility. However, it will also mean the loss of the much-loved Maindy Velodrome.

The independent Maindy Park Trust Advisory Committee, made up of three members of the council’s standards and ethics committee, was set up to negate the conflict of interest that the council had in a decision involving Maindy Park Trust, of which it is the sole trustee, and Cathays High School.

The independent committee met a number of times over three months to discuss the controversial land swap and come to a decision.

However, a decision by the council’s cabinet next week will not be the end of the matter.

If the exchange is approved, an application will be made to the Charity Commission for its consent to the proposed land swap.

An application to the Charity Commission will be made if the Maindy Park Trust agrees to the advisory committee’s recommendation and conditions.

These include:

The new velodrome is to be built and operational prior to the proposed land swap taking place;
The terms and conditions recommended in the Qualified Surveyors updated report are to apply; including specifically in relation to overage provision – being 50% of the uplift in value to be paid to the trust if the site is sold for future development during a period of 75 years from the date of the release of the restrictive covenant (which would entitle the trust to receive a share of any potential increase in value if an implementable planning permission is obtained for a higher value use of the land);
Improvement works to be carried out at the retained land at Maindy and Caedelyn including improved drainage of the site, walkways, lighting, and other measures to reduce antisocial behaviour in the area;
Arrangements are to be made between the trust and the council for a lease or licence to be agreed to cover the future maintenance and management of the land at Caedelyn and Maindy by the council with no ongoing revenue costs to the trust which exceed income;
The council is to carry out a review of the governance and financial management arrangements of all trusts of which the council is a trustee, and;
the provision of an information board on site to explain the historic use of the site as a velodrome
If the trust proposes any changes to the conditions set out by the independent advisory committee, these modifications would be referred back to the advisory committee for them to consider whether the proposed modifications would be in the best interests of the trust.

Cardiff council has said that only cabinet members who have not had any previous involvement in the council’s development proposals for the Maindy Park land, and do not have any other personal and prejudicial interest, will take part in the decision-making process.

All other cabinet members will withdraw from the meeting.

Ahead of a decision by the Maindy Park Trust, the recommendations of the Independent Advisory Panel will be considered by the Policy Review and Performance Scrutiny Committee at noon on Wednesday, March 1.

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