Cardiff Council leader Huw Thomas was challenged by members of the public this weekend, on the fate of Maindy Velodrome and the City Region's recent low graduate pay boast.

Mr Thomas said he'd "rather we have jobs than no jobs", and that the development on the velodrome site was necessary "to create world-class education facilities".

The questions came during Saturday's Cardiff Transformed festival, where Mr Thomas was taking part in a debate on gentrification in the capital, along with former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, journalist and author Rhian E Jones, and community activist Ali Abdi.

Following the debate, panellists took questions from the audience.

"A couple of weeks ago, a document published by the Cardiff Capital Region was circulated online," one member of the public said, addressing Huw Thomas.

"It was a document introduced and signed off by yourself, and presented to global investors.

"That document promoted Cardiff and its surrounding areas as a low-wage economy - it basically said, 'come and invest in Cardiff, you'll make great profits because you won't have to pay workers here as much as you would in other city regions.

"How can you justify that?"

The National recently reported on the Cardiff Capital Region document, an Investors' Prospectus which highlighted that graduates in Cardiff are paid around £6,000 less per year than those in Glasgow, presenting this fact as a "clear cost advantage" for businesses.

The Capital Region group is made up of ten councils in south east Wales, including Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Newport and Merthyr Tydfil.

Huw Thomas was quizzed by members of the public during this weekend's Cardiff Transformed festival. (Picture: Rebecca Wilks)Source: Cardiff Capital Region

"It's not the way I would have phrased it," Mr Thomas said of the document.

"That being said - that is the reality of the situation in the Cardiff Capital Region compared with others.

"I would probably argue that if we can attract businesses to invest in Cardiff, creating graduate salaries, then that is better.

"I'd rather we have jobs, than no jobs."

Leanne Wood interjected: "Low-paid jobs are no jobs."

Mr Thomas went on to emphasise that Cardiff Council is a Real Living Wage employer, and had "consistently pressed" other organisations to pay at the same rate.

Another member of the public questioned the council leader on the Maindy Velodrome.

A planned high school development on the velodrome site, which hosted the cycling races at the 1958 Commonwealth and Empire Games, has been a major source of controversy in the city.

Thousands signed a petition against the destruction of the cycling track, and hundreds of objections were lodged against the plans during its council consultation phase - with Olympic cycling gold medalists Geraint Thomas and Chris Hoy lending support to the campaign.

"The velodrome is very important to the community, and there's been no transparency - no real engagement," a Cardiff Transformed attendee said on Saturday.

"What does it take for the council to hear its communities? 

"Because if 400 complaints don't do that - what does it take?"

Huw Thomas responded: "Just to be clear - one third of the velodrome land is going to be public park.

"The remainder is going to become playing fields, which will be used by the school during school hours."

The audience member pushed back against this, seeming to assert that this information hadn't been effectively relayed to the community.

"We didn't know until recently - we were told the school itself had to be built there," they said.

"We have never said that the school would be built on the velodrome, because it's a former quarry, so it was never going to be possible," Mr Thomas insisted.

He went on to say that the Maindy site formed part of the council's mission to create "world class education facilities."

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