South East Wales

Cardiff convention centre plan agreed by top councillors

Convention centre potential sites
Image caption The council says it has a preferred site of the four potential ones identified

Plans to build a convention centre in Cardiff have come a step closer after senior councillors agreed to allow a procurement plan to be drawn up.

The Labour-led council is keen to see a city centre international convention venue for up to 1,500 delegates as part of a 12,000-seat indoor arena.

The Celtic Manor near Newport, owned by billionaire Sir Terry Matthews, also has plans for a convention centre.

The Welsh government is match-funding the resort project's initial stage.

Cardiff council believes the Welsh capital needs both a multi-purpose indoor arena and an international convention centre.

It estimates the project will create 1,000 construction phase jobs and 500 full time jobs when operational.

Russell Goodway, cabinet member for finance and economic development, said: "There can be no denying the need for a facility of this scale in Cardiff and this has been something this administration has been progressing since we took office in 2012.

"The economic benefits of having such a centre in Cardiff cannot be under-estimated with major job creation during the construction phase, followed by full-time jobs on its completion as well as employment opportunities for all those sectors such as hospitality and retail which will be needed when it opens.

"The lack of a convention centre in Cardiff is something we need to rectify as the proposed facility will have a major impact on our ability to grow the local economy, increasing our capacity to attract global conferences and other large events."

'Capital city status'

The report before Cardiff's cabinet on Wednesday from director of economic development Neil Hanratty sought permission to begin a procurement process.

It acknowledged there may be competition.

The report says: "Despite proposals for arenas and convention centres being explored in Bristol and Newport, Cardiff is seen to have a sufficiently strong basis for its own facilities based on having the benefit of an appropriate scale local and regional population base with relatively easy access to the city centre; a strong university presence with a large resident student population; and the significant benefit of capital city status."

A Welsh government spokesperson said: "Proposals for a conference centre for Cardiff are a matter for Cardiff council."

In November, Newport's Celtic Manor Resort - which hosted golf's Ryder Cup in 2010 and will host this year's Nato summit - unveiled it own proposals for a convention centre.

If approved, it will be the bigger than any in Wales or south west England.

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