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Cardiff City FC's new home

CARDIFF

THE BLUEBIRDS have nested in the 20,000 capacity Ninian Park stadium since 1910, but soon they will flit to a new home.

They won't have far to go ? the new stadium is planned across the road from the current ground in Leckwith, on the site of the city's athletic stadium and an area of waste land previously used for municipal tipping. A threeway partnership between CCFC, Cardiff Council and developer Capital and Regional will provide stadia for both athletics and football, crossfunded by retail developments.

Contract closure between the three parties is due at the end of May, and reclamation will start in the autumn.

A rup is carrying out the reclamat ion design. The site is less contaminated than the bay, so encapsulat ion, ventilation and compaction should suffice to remediate it.

Once infrastructure is in place an athletic stadium will be built prior to demolition of the old one. It is designed by HMA, the firm masterplanning the retail development. Capital and Regional has pre-let some of the site, having signed up Costco and Asda.

'We're tinkering with the finer points of the deal at the moment, ' says Mr Berman. 'The council is scrutinising the business plan from the club to check it can deliver the stadium.' The football stadium is being designed by Arup Sport, and the club hopes the first match will kick off for the 2008-09 season.

Will the project experience the same difficulties as the Millennium Stadium or Wembley? 'Whether or not the stadium is built to the current timescale is dependent on how quickly agreements are made and cont racts placed , ' says John Lovell of Arup. 'It's not a grand international stadium but closer to the regional ones recently built in Southampton, Coventry, Leicester and Swansea.

'But it is unique: it will be built initially as a 30,000 seater, but has been designed to allow for future expansion to 50,000 capacity.'