Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 30TH MAY, 2012
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 17TH APRIL, 2012
“1105 BARRY TOWN CENTRE - FRAMEWORK FOR FUTURE PUBLIC REALM IMPROVEMENTS AND REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION OF MATTER (COUNCILLOR N.P. HODGES) (REF) -
Cabinet, had on 28th March 2012, been provided with a status report on a study that had been undertaken by consultants Powell Dobson Urbanists. Building on the public realm works already undertaken at King Square and Holton Road the consultants were also asked to prepare a context document focused on developing proposals for three other areas in the town centre, namely Holton Road (central), Thompson Street and Gladstone Road.
During the course of the study the brief had been extended to take into account a number of key issues. Firstly, to consider the work of the Renewal Area team in the run up to the declaration of Castleland Renewal Area in April 2010. Secondly, to consider the wider regeneration benefits for the town centre which could accrue from the defence training proposals at St Athan and the Barry waterfront regeneration development, and thirdly to have regard to the review of regeneration policy in Wales and the resultant concentration of Welsh Government investment in Regeneration Areas.
The main conclusions were that there was significant support for works to improve the appearance of the key areas but that an ongoing programme of consultation should be established once funding had been secured. The total package of works was in the order of £7.7m. To date, it was noted that the final report had unlocked £1.1m (Welsh Government Barry Regeneration Area Programme) for the Thompson Street Public Realm Improvement Project and £1.2m (Welsh Government Private Sector Housing Renewal Programme) for the Castleland Renewal Area Housing Facelift Programme. The final costs of the report produced by Powell Dobson Urbanists were reported as £68,218 which was under budget to the allocation of £70,000.
Cabinet had referred the report to the Scrutiny Committee in order that they could be kept informed of the progress to date.
Councillor Hodges had requested that the matter be considered by the Scrutiny Committee
· in order that the consultants’ report could be presented for consideration
· to consider the costs of the report to the Council,
· the actions the Vale of Glamorgan Council intended to take following the report
· to ascertain if the communities of Castleland and Buttrills had been disadvantaged by the delay in the implementation of the report
· and whether it reflected value for money.
Councillor Hodges also advised Members of his concerns in relation to the fact that significant parts of the report seemed to have been acted upon without any regard to Councillors or local Members. In his opinion, in particular with regard to Thompson Street, he considered that the work that had been undertaken to date did not reflect the conclusions of the report and that the report itself had not been presented to the Barry Regeneration Board for consideration.
The Director advised that the purpose of the report was as a context document and that to implement all the proposals in one scheme would cost am estimated £7.7 million. It had been clearly indicated that the Welsh Government would not agree to such a scale of funding and therefore proposals would need to be developed over the years through separate schemes. This had happened in the case of Thompson Street improvements. Schemes funded under the Barry Regeneration Area funding had to be a mix of community led schemes and not just Council schemes. Consultation on the document had been undertaken in 2009 (in line with good practice guidelines) with a cross section of stakeholders and the local Ward Members of Castleland and Buttrills. However, some Members considered that the report should have been available at an earlier stage for all, including Elected Members to consider.
Following discussion on the issue it was subsequently
(1) T H A T Cabinet be informed of the concerns of the Scrutiny Committee that it took two years for a report of this magnitude and importance to the future of Barry to come to the knowledge of the majority of Councillors of the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
(2) T H A T the Scrutiny Committee notes the good work that has been undertaken in recent years in the Barry area.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To advise Cabinet of the Committee’s concerns
(2) In acknowledgment of the work undertaken to date.”
Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 17th April, 2012