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Charity Commission receives information on controversial Cardiff land swap

The Maindy Park Trust Advisory Committee decided to make a recommendation to Cardiff Council's cabinet for a proposed land swap, which could pave the way for the Cathays High expansion, to go ahead (Pic: Ted Peskett)

THE CHARITY Commission has received the information it needs from Cardiff Council to start processing an application for a controversial land swap.

If the land swap goes ahead, which would involve land at Maindy Park in Cathays being exchanged for land at Caedelyn Park in Rhiwbina, it will pave the way for Cathays High School to be expanded as planned.

However, it will also mean the demolition of the historic Maindy Velodrome – something campaigners have fought against for years.

The news from the Charity Commission comes months after it sent a request to Cardiff Council for additional information relating to the management of Maindy Park Trust – the charity that owns Maindy Park of which Cardiff Council is the sole trustee – and for the processing of its application for a land swap.

Cardiff Council has maintained throughout that it has provided answers to the questions raised by the Charity Commission.

However, the commission said up until last month that it was still waiting for the information needed to process the land swap application.

This information, as set out in a correspondence from the Charity Commission to the council in August 2023, includes:

  • More detail on when the council became aware that Maindy Park was held in trust
  • Further detail about an advisory committee set up by the council to consider the land swap proposal, including the roles of individuals on the committee and how it was set up
  • More detail about the cabinet members who took the final decision on whether to proceed with the proposed land swap application, including their roles and interests within the council
  • More detail on how the responses from a consultation on the proposed land swap were considered by the advisory committee and cabinet

The council had provided information and answered questions from the Charity Commission about the governance of Maindy Park Trust when we approached it in March.

To negate its conflict of interest in making a decision about a land swap as the education authority and sole trustee of Maindy Park Trust, Cardiff Council set up an independent advisory committee in 2022.

After a number of meetings, the advisory committee eventually recommended the council approve the proposed land swap.

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Only cabinet members who had not had any previous involvement in the council’s development proposals for the Maindy Park land were allowed to make a decision on the recommendation and the proposal was approved in March 2023.

Now that the Charity Commission has received the information needed to process the land swap application, we asked the body what happens next, including how long it will take for it to reach a decision.

The commission is carefully reviewing the information to determine its next steps. However, a public consultation is not something it would undertake.

It did not give a time-frame for how long the review process would take or when it received the final pieces of information requested from the council.