Arms Park redevelopment progresses slowly but no lease agreement on the horizon

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Any new lease agreement between Cardiff Athletic Club (CAC) and Cardiff Blues Limited (CBL) is still some way off, according to comments made by CAC chairman Keith Morgan at the Annual General Meeting.

He stated during the meeting that he is ‘not sure what lease we can negotiate’ with future development or updating of the Cardiff Arms Park still up in the air, although discussions do continue between both parties, Cardiff City Council, the Welsh Rugby Union and potential developers over plans.

Those plans are particularly centred around the North Stand and the area behind it, with CAC in the process of looking to relocate the Bowls section and either sell or lease the large space created, with funds from that going towards redeveloping the stand itself.

Morgan was quick to rubbish any speculation that there would be an entirely new stadium with a roof, or ‘something that looked like a spaceship’, but that there could potentially be a new clubhouse as well as a refurbishment of the South Stand, with improved matchday experience for supporters at the heart of whatever plans are decided on.

However a meeting last week with CBL and property advisors on both sides was positive, with another arranged before Christmas that will possibly lead to an appointment of developers. A wish list from CBL and the Council had been received, with some negotiating to be done over what will and won’t be included.

The issue of a lease was also described as ‘difficult’, as CAC could not offer a lease now that would be very different to a lease with a newly rebuilt stand. Any rent payments would be considerably higher than the £135,000 a year being paid at the moment though, which Morgan stressed was extremely cheap and had not changed despite Cardiff Blues now using the ground as a permanent training base.

On the matter of the current lease and rental payments it was confirmed that the agreement ran for another two years and two months, with rent paid up to Christmas Day. The saga with a court order being issued last year was resolved, although no interest for late payments had been paid. CBL would be liable for this if they fell into arrears again.

Elsewhere a proposal was passed at the meeting that stated any future lease or agreement struck up by CAC must ensure that professional or semi-professional teams using the ground as their home have ‘Cardiff’ in the name, and the ground itself must retain ‘Cardiff Arms Park’ in the title, subject to any secondary naming rights being sold.

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