Cardiff: Green light in place, City to expand stadium immediately

source: WalesOnline.co.uk

Cardiff: Green light in place, City to expand stadium immediately City planners approved it and council members didn’t oppose – planning permission to expand Cardiff City Stadium is in place. Works are to start immediately, according to Wales Online.

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In a year from now Cardiff City Stadium will have capacity of 32,898 seats, not today’s 27,748. In fact, this size will already be available for UEFA Super Cup on August 12, 2014. The addition of another tier to the east stand is first of a series of alterations expected over the next few years.

There’s very little time, which may have been a factor for city planners and councilors to already approve the expansion plan submitted in August. Works are to start within just a few weeks.

First works should see the steel frame grow outside the stadium, to support staircases and hospitality space. This shouldn’t obstruct matchday use at all and roof over the east side is to be removed only in May, as season ends. Between May and August the extra tier and new roof are to be put in place.

Cardiff City StadiumImage: Cardiff City FC

There were some doubts about the plans, though. Initial construction permission set the stadium’s maximum capacity at 30,000, while current plans are much more ambitious. But already now problems with parking infrastructure and access routes are a major issue for the neighbouring community on matchdays.

In response to concerns from Canton’s Labour councillors, the council asked Cardiff City to make a £1,000 contribution for each home match to fund more civic parking enforcement officers.

Planners also requested that the club pay £20,000 to evaluate a possible improvement of Ninian Park railway station, which struggles to cope with the high number of fans on match days.

The Bluebirds turned down both of these requests, but agreed to give £20,000 towards footway improvements. This caused displeasure of many councilors, arguing that a company with annual turnover of£60 million or more should find the resources to support all requests listed.

Committee chairman Michael Michael, however, said tackling illegal parking was a matter for the council and it had never previously forced developers to contribute towards the cost of enforcement. Still, the issue may be brought again as the club will later apply to further increase capacity to some 38,000.

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