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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting:  28th March, 2012

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration

 

Vale of Glamorgan Heritage Centre - Options Appraisal

                                                                  

Purpose of the Report

1.             To inform Members of the completion of a Study into options for a Vale of Glamorgan Heritage Centre.

Recommendations

1.             That the report from DBA Consulting be noted.

2.             Discussions be held with the relevant Heritage Groups to progress the recommendations.

3.             Further work be undertaken on the capital and revenue costs involved.

4.             That this report be referred to Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To note the consultant's report.

2.             To progress the project

3.             To progress the project.

4.             To allow Scrutiny Committee to consider the matter.

Background

2.             In March 2010 the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee considered the issues relating to the establishment of a Vale of Glamorgan Museum.  Cabinet then considered the conclusions of the Scrutiny Committee meeting and resolved at its meeting on the 14th April 2010 that an Options Appraisal Study be funded to examine the issues associated with establishing and locating a Heritage Project in the Vale of Glamorgan (Minute No. C834).

Relevant Issues and Options

3.             Following a competitive process a Company called DBA Consulting was appointed to look at the options available for establishing a Heritage Project in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The commission specifically asked for work on the following issues:

(1)  Setting up a new museum

·               Assessment of appropriate locations with recommendations;

·               Issues in relation to new build;

·               Assessment of use of an existing building.

(2)  Developing a Heritage Museum that does not physically collect and display objects

·               New use of an existing building;

·               Shared use of an existing facility e.g. libraries;

·               Relevance of the Welsh Government initiative "Peoples Collection Wales".

(3)  Supporting other local Heritage organisations

·               Identification of other relevant organisations and facilities e.g. Town and Community Councils;

·               Possible means of support to such organisations:

(4)  The broad capital and revenue implications of each option will be assessed along with advice on potential sources of funding/grants.

4.             DBA Consulting were appointed in April 2011 and they carried out their assessment involving a number of local organisations. For instance a consultation meeting was held with the Vale Heritage Centre Coalition and other interested parties to examine the aspirations of local societies and the options available to deliver a facility.   The Company also had discussions with the Council and other stakeholders and as a result of these discussions the following conclusions were arrived at:

There was a strong stakeholder desire to:

·               Improve stewardship of and care for the heritage including collections, objects and buildings.

·               Develop an understanding and community awareness of more intangible heritage such as local stories, culture and identity.

·               Create and provide public access to the heritage - to build peoples understanding of the heritage and the cultural identity of the local area amongst local people

Stakeholders and the Council wanted to:

·               Involve local communities in both experiencing but also operating a Centre

·               To create volunteering opportunities and develop the participation in heritage that already exists around the local area

Additional factors from the Council included:

·               Creating a sustainable service with minimal revenue costs

·               Exploring the potential to provide a tourist attraction to increase the tourist offer of the local area, especially during poor weather

·               A need to attract investment for the capital development

·               An exploration of the operational model of any new development, and whether that should be community / volunteer led or professionally operated.

5.             The Study then went on to look at a number of ways forward to provide Heritage provision.  As no operational model had previously been identified and the possible sites were various, the appraisal concentrated on exploring a range of operational models which were then mapped onto sites.  The main test for these options were a set of cultural and financial sustainability criteria and these were again decided through consultation in a workshop involving a number of stake holders.  The options identified were as  follows:

1.           A heritage visitor centre - with dedicated support

2.           A local history museum - volunteer operated

3.           A local history museum - with dedicated support

4.           A local history museum - professionally operated

5.           A significant museum - professionally operated

6.           A landmark museum - professionally operated

7.           A networked model - volunteer operated (status quo)

8.           A networked model - with dedicated support

9.           A networked model - professionally operated

10.         A virtual museum

6.             These options were then examined against a cost benefit analysis and the following findings were identified.

·               The options appraisal and the cost benefit analysis suggest that option three (a local history museum - volunteer operated with dedicated support) and option four (a local history museum – professionally operated) could provide the most appropriate models to pursue. These offer significant heritage and sustainability benefits for relatively low cost.

·               Option 3 could offer a quick win in terms of developing the heritage offer of the local area, with a view to growing the volunteer organisation into a professionally operated museum in the longer term. This progression plan may also be attractive to funders.

·               The report also suggests that it may also be appropriate, initially, to fund a dedicated post to support and develop any proposals. A key role of this post would be to assist the various voluntary groups and volunteers in developing themselves and the heritage offer in the area. Funding for this post could come from the HLF provided the project included a suitable level of outputs for the HLF’s learning and participation criteria.

·               It is understood that HLF are planning to change their financial limits within their grant schemes. In April 2012 the Your Heritage Grants upper limit ceiling is rising to £100,000 from £50,000 and the Heritage Grants regionally assessed programme is rising from £1m to £2m. In 2010/11 any requirements for match funding for Your Heritage Grants was removed. The requirements for match funding for Heritage Grants was reduced to 5% of the grant being applied for in 2010/11.

·               Developing either option three or option four would require the identification of a suitable space/building. At present the analysis suggests that no single location emerges as the most appropriate site for these options.

·               The locations considered by the space and operations analysis for these options are:

·               Arts Central in the Town Hall, the Tourist Office at Barry Island, part of the Barry Docks Office, any new Waterfront Building, part of the site at the Barry Rail Centre, other (disused shop, other cultural developments).

·               The Barry Island Tourist Office and Barry Docks Office have an estimated capital investment requirement of £400k to bring the spaces up to a local museum standard. In reality the costs will depend on the condition of the building and the type of exhibitions installed. Neither have the advantage of being centrally located although the Tourist Office would benefit from a tourist footfall in Barry Island.

·               Arts Central has the advantage of being located in the centre of Barry, sharing facilities with the Library and Council offices. Provided the opening of the main entrance to the site is resolved, the site has the potential to attract local people. The site would not offer space for collections storage and other back of house activities, such as cataloguing. Therefore additional space would be required and a spilt site service offered. Capital costs to develop the exhibition space and develop space for collections storage and office space could also reach an estimated £400,000.

·               Any Waterfront building site is at present an unknown and not available until the developments are underway, but housing a Museum would provide a good element within a mixed use community space.

·               Barry Rail Centre should not be discounted as a location. Although the capital cost estimates are significantly higher (£1.7m) this does assume that a significant investment would be required in the warehouse building. The investment needed may be less depending on the condition of the buildings and on the needs of the collections. If the collections to be housed and displayed are of a large industrial or transport related nature (and consultation with the local community has suggested that this may be the case), then the warehouse, without great modifications, might provide a suitable storage environment. The site is also the only site which could potentially house these items and locating here would also allow partnership arrangements with the Barry Rail Centre. The cost benefit analysis was based on an assumed capital investment requirement of £400,000 for options three and four, based on locating the museum at one of the sites considered above. This location may therefore still offer a viable alternative, especially given the nature of some of the collections likely to be included in a local history museum.

·               Other sites: as the project develops other sites may become available. Interest has been made in utilising disused shops and partnership arrangements with other cultural developments, for example, within unused local churches. Having identified the preferred delivery models, the Council can now have a greater understanding of the constraints and opportunities offered by individual sites as they become available.

7.             A detailed report has been submitted by the Consultants and copies of the appendix are available on the council’s website and copies will be provided in the Members Room.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

8.             No specific funding is available to develop any option within the Vale of Glamorgan.  Further discussions will now need to be held in terms of identifying a suitable location and suitable funding streams.  Discussions are already taking place within the context of the Barry Regeneration Area to develop a culture based project which would include potential heritage facilities.  The DBA Consulting report also identifies potential areas of funding and consideration therefore now needs to be given to whether a project can be developed which could access funding from bodies such as Heritage Lottery Fund, Welsh Government Heritage Grants, CADW, and a number of foundations which are available in Wales and the United Kingdom.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

9.             None relevant to this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

10.        None relevant to this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

11.        Any facility open to the public would have to consider equal opportunities including disabled access and use of Welsh Language.

Corporate/Service Objectives

12.        A successful Museum operation could contribute to lifelong learning, community wellbeing, a quality environment and community regeneration.

Policy Framework and Budget

13.        Any proposal requiring Council funding would be a matter for Cabinet consideration.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

14.        As the purpose of this report is to consider a Vale-wide facility, no Ward Member consultation has taken place.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

15.        Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

Vale of Glamorgan Heritage Centre:  Options Appraisal - DBA Consultations

 

Contact Officer

Rob Quick - Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration - Tel: 01446 704611.

 

Officers Consulted

Head of Planning and Transportation

Legal (Committee Services)

Principal Accountant

Responsible Officer:

Rob Quick - Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration.