Sunday, January 08, 2006

Glamorgan Cricket Club's plans on ice

It's unlikely that Sophia Gardens will be housing the temporary ice rink for the Cardiff Devils.

An executive meeting of Cardiff County Council has recommended that it be built at the International Sports Village.

I say unlikely, because the executive decision still has to be approved by the planning committee on January 18th, although it would be very strange if the committee went against the recommendations of the executive in this case.

Just to clarify what's going before the planning committee - it's the application to build a temporary ice rink in the International Sports Village down at Cardiff Bay.

It is NOT the Sophia Gardens application, which was meant to be discussed at this month's meeting but has been put back until February because it was lacking various bits of information.

But regardless of where the ice rink is built, this won't affect Glamorgan County Cricket Club's application one bit - they'll still go ahead with the same plans they've submitted with, I'd imagine, a conference facility and indoor arena where the rink would have been. The 17,000 seater stadium and other facilities will also remain in the application.

The club also hasn't given up on it's ambitions to host test cricket, and says it will be look to work with the Welsh Assembly as well as the council. The club is still looking for public money.

But, having seen acopy of that executive report, it's also worth nothing a few interesting bits and pieces that weren't picked up in the Echo.

Although a £2m figure has been quoted, GCCC actually requested an extra £0.5m. The source of this half a million balance has not been identified by the council, if they were to enter into a contract with GCCC. The club also hasn't finalised arrangements for any third party funding.

The Ice Rink facility itself would not have been ready until 2007, which is too long if the Council is to honour its promises to the Devils and its fans.

But, most interesting of all, is the line "GCCC's chosen contractor has limited financial substance and to date details of its funding for this project have not been identified". The club have proposeda turn-key contract, which means no payment will be given to the contractor until 8 months after the project is started. This means costs will rise to £3.5m.

The contractor has also not been able to provide a contractors bond, meaning if the company got into further difficulties, this could delay the development even further.

The above all leads to the conclusion in the report that the venture at Sophia Gardens would be too risky.

EDIT: You can download the pdf of the executive report here, although some of the appendicies remain confidential.


At 6:25 pm, Anonymous Peter D Cox said...

Now this is a really picky point of clarification: but this is all a minefield where confusions so easily reigns. Planning Committee won't have to consider the Executive's decision at all: merely the merits or otherwise of the tent at ISV as a temporary ice rink.
Just the same when the GCCC plans come to committee (probably in February). The business plans etc attached to the planning application have loads of stuff about use by ice hockey and how the buildings will be managed. The fact that they'd been blown out of the water doesn't - sadly - change the planning issues. A planning applicant doesn't have to show that they have the money to do something, merely that it meets planning regs.
Where the money is important, of course, is in the public's (and councillors etc as individuals) perception of the GCCC as professional people and as a viable organisation (even though it's a private memebers club). That would count a lot when they come back with the begging bowl - which they will.
All the updates to the saga at

At 12:26 pm, Blogger Gary said...

Thanks for that Peter, as you say, it is pretty confusing in places (and I thought I had a pretty good grip on it all).

Am I right in thinking, though, that GCCC wouldn't have the cash to develop Sophia Gardens on its own? They didn't complete everything they got planning for in 1997/98, did they? Has permission for that lapsed now? (Again, feel free to correct me if I'm way wide of the mark here. It's not been unknown in the past).

And have they actually approached the Welsh Assembly yet about the idea of bringing test cricket to Cardiff? Or is this a change of tactic to get public funds seeing as the Ice Rink idea hasn't worked?

At 8:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The prospect of Test cricket in Cardiff is practically nil. At the moment, there are seven Tests per summer, two of which are always held at Lords. Apart from Lords there is the Oval, Old Trafford, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge, Riverside in Durham and Headingly (the future of which has now been secured). If another ground were to be introduced, the Rose Bowl in Southampton would be next in the pecking order, but there doesn't seem to be any need for another test ground at the moment, although I note that England are playing a One day match against Pakistan in Cardiff next summer. The whole idea is a huge waste of time and money and was the main reason Glamorgan did not win a game last season.


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