PLANS for a 15,000-seat Atlantic Wharf arena have raised concerns about a north-south divide across Cardiff.
Liberal Democrat group leader in Cardiff Council, Joe Boyle, said the proposed arena was an example of leisure and commercial development in the south, while projects in the north of the city are limited to residential sites.
Coun Joe Boyle said: “I can understand the move to establish the Bay as a leisure destination but I have a broader concern about the development of Cardiff.
“Almost the entire commercial, cultural and leisure focus of Cardiff is in the city’s geographical south. Meanwhile, we are piling residential developments to the north of the city. The result is that travel and traffic is filtered southwards in numbers that increase year-on-year.
“This is a city planning issue and one I have raised at council and cabinet meetings, though no-one seems interested in dealing with the implications.
“Building an indoor arena will be the easy part. Moving people through a congested Victorian road infrastructure is the difficult bit. Get that wrong and we will pay the price in terms of harmful emissions and economic waste.
“The arena has to be matched with a comprehensive and strategic transport system.”
The Penylan councillor fears the council may have missed its opportunity to diversify developments throughout the city.
“It is hard to see [alternative methods of expansion] with the council’s current Local Development Plan,” he said.
Although it is hoped that building the arena will push through the completion of the Eastern Bay link road, Coun Boyle is not convinced this will solve the problem.
“That is great but when you come over the bridge you immediately come into single file again,” he said.
“If the only solution to some of these issues is to build a dual carriageway road then we should be encouraging people to get out of their cars.”
Coun Boyle highlighted a 2017 study which labelled Cardiff as the 33rd most congested city in the UK, and the second in Wales, behind Newport.
According to the study by traffic analytics firm Inrix, Cardiffians spend 23 hours a year stuck in traffic, 10 per cent of their total driving time.
In the north of Cardiff, 5,970 new homes will form a new garden city as part of the Plasdwr development.
Elsewhere, about 4,500 homes are to be built in north east Cardiff, west of Pontprennau, and a further 2,000 homes are scheduled to be built north of junction 33 on the M4.
Cardiff Council declined an opportunity to comment.
Some councillors have already voiced concerns over the increased traffic the arena will bring, including leader of the Conservative group, Coun Adrian Robson and Riverside councillor Iona Gordon.