Cardiff Blues training ground proposal submitted to Cardiff Council Cabinet

Cardiff Blues have confirmed plans to establish an Elite Performance Centre, as part of a redevelopment of Pentwyn Leisure Centre, have been submitted to the Cabinet of Cardiff Council.

The site has been utilised by the club since the beginning of the season due to the Arms Park’s well documented supporting role to the Dragon’s Heart Hospital.

However, exciting long-term plans have now been submitted to build and manage a revamped facility, which will house a Community Rugby Hub and other public facilities alongside an exclusive Elite Performance Centre for the Arms Park outfit.

Cardiff Blues chief executive, Richard Holland said: “I’m delighted to have submitted these plans to the Cabinet and we are all excited about the future if approved.

“We have been looking for a long-term site for a training ground for some time and have explored a number of options with this the ideal solution. It is an exciting opportunity to deliver first class facilities for the future of the club.

“We are very grateful to Cardiff Council for assisting and hosting us in recent months, and while using the existing leisure centre we saw the potential for both ourselves and the local community.

“Throughout the process we have worked closely with the council and they will make a substantial investment into this project. 

“These proposals will see us develop an exclusive state-of-the-art training facility for the future of Cardiff Rugby alongside an enhanced and sustainable public offering to serve the local community.

“It gives us that long-term home and the elite environment required to compete at the top level as well as the ability to engage and work with the local community both in terms of the recreational offerings on site – including a Rugby Hub, gymnasium and swimming pool – and the work of our own Community Foundation.”

If approved at the Council Cabinet Meeting on Thursday, March 18, the proposals would see the upstairs areas at Pentwyn Leisure Centre retained for dedicated use by Cardiff Blues. This will include a state-of-the-art gym, medical and analysis facilities and meeting rooms.

The downstairs area would be reconfigured to provide a much-improved cross fit gymnasium, a new 25m swimming pool, retention of the main hall, community rooms, a new catering concession, and some office space to be utilised by Cardiff Blues.

Outdoors, a new grass pitch will be created for exclusive use of Cardiff Blues, while the existing grass pitch will be replaced with a 3G pitch, and a new mini 3G pitch, which will be utilised by both the rugby team and the wider community,

3G pitches are playable 52 weeks per year and can accommodate the equivalent number of fixtures as four grass pitches. The new 3G facility will also designed to meet the criteria of the Welsh League structure and ground regulations, enabling local clubs to potentially climb higher in the Welsh football pyramid.

The proposals, which are part of a Cardiff Council review of the leisure services provided by GLL/Better Cardiff, are designed to improve the long-term sustainability of the leisure contract agreed with the council in 2016.

Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury, added: “Leisure providers across the UK have faced serious financial challenges as a result of Covid-19 and GLL are no exception. What these proposals do is use those challenges as an opportunity to rethink how leisure services operate in Cardiff, address some longstanding issues, and ensure that as the city recovers from the impact of Covid-19, residents have access to the affordable, high quality leisure facilities they deserve.

“Before Christmas we committed to using the current period, while Pentwyn Leisure Centre is being used as a mass vaccination centre, to secure the long-term future of the centre and invest in improving facilities there. The proposed new partnership with Cardiff Blues will allow us to deliver those improvements, recoup the money we intend to invest, and remove an outdated, loss-making facility from the GLL contract, so that they can focus on delivering the sort of high quality leisure facilities seen at newly-refurbished facilities such as Eastern and Fairwater Leisure Centres.”

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