City Deal news, Confirmation of BBC Wales HQ and the opening of Winter Wonderland

City Deal takes another step forward

A City Deal for the Cardiff Capital Region has taken a big step forward with Welsh Government pledging to contribute £580m towards the Deal. This is great news and a result of the hard work being done between Welsh Government and the ten local authorities of South East Wales.

It is a really positive step and we hope that the UK Government will match this commitment, which alongside £120m in funding from local authorities, would mean a city deal of £1.28 billion.

We are at an early stage in this process, but our proposal is to invest in projects that will grow the local economy by 5% – that’s worth around £1.2billion per year!  We’ll work with Welsh Government, UK Government and the business community to develop detailed proposals, but we’re looking to invest in projects in the following areas:

  • Transport
  • Digital Infrastructure
  • Innovation
  • Skills
  • Business Support and Regeneration

You can watch a short interview I did about the City Deal news with Made in Cardiff outside the Senedd.

I will keep you informed as this develops, but this is a significant step, and we will now wait for news from the Comprehensive Spending Review that takes place later this month.


Confirmation of New BBC Cymru HQ at Central Square

In other good news, BBC Executives have given the go-ahead for the new BBC Cymru headquarters in Central Square. This is a commitment to a long-term lease for a new 150,000 sq. ft. HQ designed by leading architecture firm Foster + Partners at the centre of the Central Square re-development. This will form part of a new gateway to the city that we can all be proud of!



The Ball in the Wall is Reborn

A special date in Cardiff’s calendar is the official start of the Christmas season in the city. The Step Into Christmas event marked the opening of Winter Wonderland, sponsored by WalesOnline, and offered a variety of entertainment including street theatre and a festive market. Santa even paid Cardiff a visit in his sleigh – complete with real reindeer!


This year’s Wales Online Winter Wonderland features an exciting new attraction, the ‘Ice Kingdom’, featuring a number of ice sculptures created from 40,000kg of ice and themed around winter in Wales – it even includes a tribute to the world  famous Ball in the Wall.

ball in wall

Winter Wonderland is open until 3rd January 2016 in Cardiff’s Civic Centre, in front of City Hall, and includes fairground rides, refreshments, outdoor ice skating rink and the latest attraction – the ice kingdom.  It offers fun for all the family – so pay a visit and enjoy the festivities in the city centre!

xmas market


New powers being developed to keep Cardiff tidy

I often talk about Cardiff’s liveability – namely the things that make the city a great place to live, work or visit. A really important factor in this is being a city free of litter, dog fouling and other obstructions or annoyances that can make the city a less nice place to live.

In order to tackle these issues, the City Council’s Cabinet have approved plans to develop greater enforcement powers. This could mean anyone without the correct licence for skips, tables and chairs or A-frame advertising on pavements and roads may be issued with a fixed penalty notice. Parking a car on a grass verge could also mean a fine of £100. These controls, if introduced, will hopefully deter people from causing obstructions and eyesores in the city.

Likewise, we’ll be tackling fly posting and dog fouling with increased fines from £80 to £100 for those not cleaning up dog mess and greater controls around where fly posting can take place!  Consultation will take place on these new powers in the coming months. If you need to report any of the issues above you can do so via visit the Council’s website or by calling our C2C contact centre on (029) 2087 2087.

When I talk to people across the city, these are often the issues I hear about, and I believe developing this approach will help keep Cardiff clean and tidy and improve the quality of public areas across the city.


Attacks in Paris

I would like to express heartfelt sympathies to the people of Paris and France. My thoughts are with the victims and their families of this terrible atrocity. I’ve written to the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, to pass on our condolences and to let her know that the people of Cardiff stand with them at this difficult time. A number of buildings across the city have also been lit up in the colours of the French national flag, the Tricolore, to further express solidarity with the people of France.

City Hall Cardiff

You can pass on your respects by signing the book of condolence at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.





Delivering a Liveable City Vision

Liveable Cardiff

‘Go Cardiff’ was the headline in the South Wales Echo as we launched our first Liveable City Report, comparing the performance of Cardiff with other major UK cities, at the Cardiff Convention discussing the future of the city.

The report is a fascinating insight into life in Cardiff and shows that the city is performing well in many areas and that there is much to be proud of.


The video below also provides a snapshot of what is in the report and what makes Cardiff such a great place to live, work and visit.

But what does being a liveable city mean? Liveability is about being a great place to work and do business; a city where having a great career or a great quality of life is not an ‘either/or’ question, and where there are opportunities for all, regardless of a persons background.

Some headlines in the report include that:

  • Cardiff is safe – total crime has almost halved over the last 10 years
  • Cardiff is a green city -we recycle almost 50% of our waste, way ahead of other major cities- recycling twice as much as Liverpool
  • Cardiff is healthy – we are living about 5 years longer than we did 20 years ago. In fact, women in Cardiff live longer than in any other major British city!
  • Cardiff is highly skilled – only Edinburgh has fewer people with no qualifications or more people with a degree level qualification

We know that people love Cardiff. But if we want to build on our success we need to understand our strengths and weaknesses. Yes, there are issues we need to address, and areas we need to improve, but overall the picture is of a city that is performing well compared to other major British cities and where residents enjoy living. Read the report and see for yourself.

The Cardiff Convention

The city recently hosted the second Cardiff Convention which brought together some of Cardiff’s brightest talents as well as international experts in city development, to help us achieve our vision of becoming Europe’s most liveable capital city. Whilst our Liveable City Report gives us an indication of our current strengths and weaknesses, the Cardiff Convention is an opportunity to work out what Cardiff needs to do next to deliver our vision.

Chaired by Terry Stevens, Managing Director of Stevens & Associates (a multi-award winning international tourism consultancy), and held just before World Cities Day, the Convention included speakers from Austin, Belfast and Copenhagen.

With the Chair, Terry Stevens, and other speakers at the Cardiff Convention

With the Chair, Terry Stevens, and other speakers at the Cardiff Convention

I opened the Convention by launching the Liveable City Report and discussed how it provides a platform to build on our strengths, address our weaknesses, and take action in order to deliver our city vision.

PB Convention

It was a really interesting day – thank you to all who spoke and attended – you can follow the day’s events on Twitter by checking out the #cdffuture. The team are currently developing a video from the event and drafting a report capturing the outcomes of the day which will be shared more widely in due course.

Central Square

One of the major ways in which we are going to deliver our vision is through projects such as the redevelopment of Central Square.

Following the positive news about Legal & General’s £400m investment in the Central Square redevelopment, which will be one of the premier business locations in the city and a fitting gateway to the Welsh Capital and the wider Cardiff Capital Region, I’d like to bring you a bit more information.

Transport interchange

The project will move forward in five phases over the next 3 years, incorporating a mix of office, hotel and residential accommodation and an excellent retail offering, with the delivery of a new transport interchange. You can read all about the proposals on the Central Square Cardiff website, which has a wealth of information about the masterplan for the redevelopment.