“This could be a major boost for the Cardiff economy”: says councillor

Plans to redevelop the Motorpoint Arena and hand the St David’s Hall to new management have been criticised online, but could it boost the economy?

According to a local politician, plans to redevelop one of Cardiff’s main event arenas could significantly boost jobs and the economy.

Redeveloping the Motorpoint Arena has been described as a ‘vanity project’ by commentators on social media, especially when the council is in a £23.5 million budget cut. But councillor Chris Weaver believes it is a vital redevelopment project.

“I disagree entirely because it is a really important regeneration project. And the key thing about it is an income to the council that pays for that project. So actually, it is done on what we call an invest to save basis. We are helping that development happen, but then we will receive an income from the operator for decades ahead. So it pays back to the council,” says Cllr. Chris Weaver. 

“The regeneration will bring a lot of infrastructure like cafes, hotels and restaurants that can bring hundreds of jobs in. People travelling into the city, people staying in hotels in the city, going out and making a weekend of it,”

Cllr Chris Weaver says public opinion is essential for the council to plan new projects.

Campaigns across the city have called this budget an “Austerity budget”, accusing the Welsh government of not standing up against the Tory government in Westminister to get better funding. 

The Cabinet member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance, Cllr. Chris Weaver says, “It is an austerity budget. The Welsh government has cut our funding, and the Westminster government has cut the Welsh government’s funding, but we have to set a balanced budget. So the alternative is not stopping austerity but prioritising where we put our money,”

The Cardiff Council has also proposed allowing an external promoter to run St David’s Hall, turning the Museum of Cardiff into a mobile operation, and raising charges for residents’ parking, burials, and cremations.

The external promoter, Academy Music Group, is under investigation by Lambeth council over the death of two individuals during a concert in December.

Campaigns fighting to save the history and culture of Cardiff have questioned the council’s move to let AMG operate St. David’s hall.

Cllr. Chris Weaver, the Cabinet member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance, says, “So it’s a real benefit to the city. AMG will cover the long-term capital investment to keep the venue operating and safe. This is an opportunity to get a major investment that otherwise will have to come from us as a council, which means we won’t be able to invest in some other things in the city,”

An external promoter will operate St. Davids’s hall to keep itself running and safe.

The council is currently in talks and has not yet decided on the external operator for St. David’s hall following a false claim that said the takeover deal was done, According to the Cllr. Chris Weaver.

The Cardiff council announced the budget proposals for 2023/24 and proposed measures to address a £23.5 m funding shortfall in its budget amidst a cost of living crisis. 

The council held a consultation involving 6000 respondents who were asked their views on options such as reducing opening hours for libraries and recycling centres and employing unpaid volunteers to the library.

Adam says the Welsh government needs to stand up against the cuts by the Westminister government.

Adam Johannes from Cardiff People’s assembly says, “We remain concerned that the council continue to bring in more unpaid volunteers to library services to do work previously done by paid, trained library staff. Our city’s library services are currently understaffed and are working under pressure,”

Cardiff Council’s budget allocation for the year 2023-24