'Sophia Gardens is the worst place in the city to develop such a huge stadium' April 23, 2006

Sophia Gardens causes environmental concerns

Cricinfo staff

An environmentalist opposed to the redevelopment of Sophia Gardens, in preparation for the 2009 Ashes, has said the ground is located in the worst possible place for such a large stadium. Last week the ECB elevated Sophia Gardens to Category A status, awarding them the lucrative privilege of hosting an Ashes Test in 2009, much to the surprise of many.

Neil McEvoy, a former Cardiff councillor and spokesman for the Save Our Parklands campaign, is worried that the development will affect the listed parkland setting.

"The Ashes are very welcome in Cardiff but this development is in the wrong place," he told BBC Sport. "I would say Sophia Gardens is probably the worst place in the city to develop such a huge stadium. Within Cardiff there are brown field sites which we could develop. They've not been looked at."

The redevelopment will triple the ground's current capacity of 5,500 and while Cardiff council has pledged its support to the project, McEvoy is concerned at the speed in which the decision has been made, without any thought to the impact it could have on the environment.

"I would like somebody to explain to me why, in the rush to develop, there has been no full environmental impact assessment. It's quite shocking," he said. "I think people are horrified that there is no provision for any improvement in public transport."