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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 17th December 2012

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

Welsh Government Consultation Document, Vibrant and Viable Places - A New Regeneration Framework

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         The purpose of the report is to advise Cabinet of the Welsh Government consultation document, Vibrant and Viable Places - A New Regeneration Framework.  The report also recommends responses to the set questions contained in the consultation document.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the policy review of approaches to regeneration instigated by the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage.

2.         That Cabinet approves this report and Appendix 2 of this report as forming the Council's response to the consultation document.

3.         That a copy of the report be referred to Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To allow the Council to be centrally involved in discussions about proposed policy and institutional changes.

2.         To allow the Council to work constructively with the Welsh Government, other local authorities and key partners from across sectors to achieve the best future investment and regeneration strategy for the Vale of Glamorgan.

3.         To obtain the views of the Scrutiny Committee in respect of the consultation process.

Background

2.         The Welsh Government consultation document attached at Appendix 1 is the result of a policy review of approaches to regeneration instigated by the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage in February 2012. 

3.         The consultation document and various commissioned reports which have informed the review were issued on 22nd October 2012.  The closing date for responses to the Welsh Government is 14th January 2013.  Since the date of issue there have been a number of opportunities for the Council to contribute to the consultation most notably at the Welsh Local Government Association Regeneration Cabinet Members event on 9th November 2012; the National Regeneration Summit (Meeting the Challenge: Regenerating Wales) on 15th November 2012 and at various regional stakeholder events during December 2012. 

4.         The Welsh Government definition of regeneration in the consultation document is "an integrated set of activities that seek to reverse economic, social and physical decline to achieve lasting improvement, in areas where market forces will not do this alone without some support from government". 

5.         In terms of context, the current and future Welsh Government area-based programmes with regeneration implications in the Vale of Glamorgan include:

·                Communities First (2012-2015): the Council has been awarded revenue funding of £1.4 million over the programme period for a cluster area in Barry based on parts of Castleland, Cadoc, Gibbonsdown, Buttrills and Court Wards.  This was the subject of a report to Cabinet on 3rd December 2012.

·                Barry Regeneration Area (2010-2014): the Barry Regeneration Area programme was launched by the Welsh Government in March 2010.  A total of £9.8m of Welsh Government investment was allocated to the programme, which was initially intended to run for three years (April 2010 - March 2013 inclusive).  However, following the spending review by the United Kingdom Government, this allocation was re-profiled over four years.  Cabinet considered an update report on the Barry Regeneration Area programme and the Welsh Government’s Ministerial review of approaches to regeneration on 23rd July 2012 (C1780 refers).

·                Flying Start (2012-2015): the Council has been awarded capital funding of up to £663,985 over the programme period to provide suitable premises in Barry from which Flying Start services will be delivered.  The Council as lead body has also been awarded Flying Start revenue funding of £1.4m for 2012/13.

·                Housing-led regeneration: Castleland Renewal Area (2010-2022) covers parts of Castleland, Court and Buttrills Wards.  To date £2.8m has been invested in the residential face-lift programme to assist the regeneration of private sector housing in the area.  In terms of public sector housing the Council's Housing Improvement Programme (2012-2017) is investing £82m in Council properties to meet the Welsh Housing Quality Standard.

·                Rural Development Plan (2014-2020): Creative Rural Communities is currently delivering a programme totalling £3.8m as part of the second phase of the 2007-2013 Rural Development Plan for Wales.  Arrangements for the implementation of the new European Funded Programmes for Wales (2014-2020) are currently being considered.  A public consultation on the future Rural Development Plan for Wales is likely to begin during February/March 2013 with the aim of submitting an initial Rural Development Plan for Wales to the European Commission before next summer.

·                Structural Funds (2014-2020): there is limited flexibility in the current European Union Structural Fund Programmes (European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund) for funding to support projects based in non-convergence areas such as the Vale of Glamorgan.  A public consultation on the new Structural Fund Programmes for the period 2014-2020 is likely to begin during January 2013.  Non-convergence areas will continue to lobby for more flexibility to allow for strategic investment into areas which adjoin the West Wales and the Valleys convergence area on the basis that it is beneficial to make connections at a higher geographic level between areas with development potential and areas of need.

·                St Athan - Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone: launched by the Welsh Government in April 2012, the Enterprise Zone is focused on the aerospace sector a key sector in the Welsh Government's commitment to creating jobs and sustainable growth.  The Welsh Government is offering specific incentives to attract new business such as access to finance, diverse support packages, international trade advice, help with finding a location, workforce and skills development plus links with industry networks.

·                Cardiff Airport Task Force: set up by the First Minister in June 2012 the Task Force aims to address how the competitive position of Cardiff Airport can be improved through collaboration between its owners, the Welsh Government and the wider public sector and business community.

·                Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan (2012-2022): the plan sets out the Welsh Government’s capital spending on key infrastructure priorities, such as Enterprise Zones, housing and transport networks, of £3.5bn through to 2014/15 and around £15bn over the next decade. 

·                South East Wales City Region: the Welsh Government's Business Minister is considering the recommendations of a report issued in July 2012 by the City Regions Task and Finish Group.  The report recommends that a City Region be recognised in South East Wales on the basis of existing patterns of movement and the potential for increased interconnectivity, together with the tradition of both social and economic interdependence.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         The key issue for Cabinet to consider is the proposal by the Welsh Government to bring a regional approach to the governance arrangements for delivering key regeneration projects and programmes.  The consultation document is proposing three regions for Wales, which are consistent with the Welsh Government's regional collaborative areas for public service delivery, namely North region, South East region and South West and Mid region.  For the Vale of Glamorgan the proposed "collaborative footprint" is the South East region which aligns with the City Region concept and is coterminous with nine other local authorities, namely Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr, Bridgend, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Torfaen, Newport and Monmouthshire.  The proposed Regional Regeneration Board for the South East will provide oversight, planning and policy for the area and advise on how indicative funding could be spent as well as how other funding sources can be levered in.  In terms of membership of the Regional Regeneration Board the consultation document states that the Welsh Government is committed to developing appropriate governance arrangements that facilitate equal involvement of the private, third and public sectors in the development of planning and delivery mechanisms.

7.         At a national level it is proposed to enhance the role of the National Regeneration Panel by converting it into a full and formal Ministerial Advisory Group on Regeneration.  It will provide the Minister with advice and challenge on policy and will also have a role in overseeing the proposed Regional Regeneration Boards.  It is proposed that a shadow Regional Regeneration Board is to be established in early 2013/14 to collate evidence and map existing services, funding, opportunities and need.  It is proposed that indicative funding allocations are made to each Region on a formula basis.  The Regional Regeneration Board will then produce a business plan in 2013/14 to evidence how it can recommend to the Welsh Government how to make best use of funding in achieving nationally agreed outcomes (to be determined).  The consultation document states that 2013/14 is a transition year as the new regeneration framework goes live in 2014/15.

8.         There is an argument for regional governance for delivering key regeneration projects and programmes as it builds on the Welsh Government collaborative agenda for public services.  However, in responding it is considered relevant to refer to the fact that the setting up of a regional structure for regeneration should seek to avoid complicated structures and also ensure that there is no duplication in collaboration in terms of existing and emerging Welsh Government and local government structures.  For example the Welsh Government's review of land-use planning has highlighted the need for a statutory framework for strategic regional planning for South East Wales.  New arrangements for the City Region concept are likely to include City Region Boards and there are also regional boards proposed to oversee "clusters" of Communities First areas.  Furthermore, there are potentially some new regional arrangements associated with the delivery of activities and interventions as part of the new European Funded Programmes for Wales for 2014-2020.  All of this is taking place alongside existing regional level arrangements for local authorities in respect of residual waste (Project Gwyrdd), tourism (Capital Region Tourism), transport (Sewta), economic development (SEWEF), inward investment (Capital Wales) and land-use planning (SEWSPG).

9.         There is therefore a need to bring order to all these existing and proposed arrangements so that change is undertaken in a way that can work.  It is also important to ensure that whatever arrangements are put in place have collective coherence.  The review of approaches to regeneration must not lose sight of the need to consider, at a regional level, key strategies and initiatives i.e. transport, land-use, economic development and tourism as part of an integrated process to ensure that the benefits are maximised and fully recognised.

10.      The key questions in the consultation document are:

·                What is your feedback on lessons learnt from delivery to date?

·                Should other national outcomes or principles be considered?

·                What more can be done to achieve greater coherence and cross cutting action across Welsh Government departments?

·                Do you agree with the national, regional and local approach set out?

·                Do you have any other comments on our proposals for how we will target and direct our funding?

·                We want to ensure effective monitoring and evaluation of regeneration activities; will the approach set out achieve this?

11.      In light of paragraphs 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 in this report and the work around the St Athan - Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone, the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan, the South East Wales City Region and the developing work around the Planning Bill the proposed responses to the key questions can be found at Appendix 2. 

12.      In summary the following points are pertinent:

·                Greater clarity is required from the Welsh Government in relation to what the key national and regional priorities are and how these link with emerging local priorities, thus providing a meaningful framework within which regional and local regeneration initiatives can be progressed.

·                At the time of writing details are awaited on City Regions and their associated governance arrangements and whether the commitment to equal involvement is applied.  It is hoped that both the Regional Regeneration Board and City Region governance arrangements will build on existing arrangements rather than create new structures with the associated risks of duplication, competition and silo working. 

·                The Vale of Glamorgan is a non-convergence area and there is a risk that areas of disadvantage, particularly in Barry, will miss out should the regional formula be skewed to match fund the new West Wales and the Valleys convergence area European Funded Programmes.

·                Notwithstanding the above, continued regeneration intervention in the Vale of Glamorgan can build upon and add value to several successful examples of intervention such as successful regeneration programmes in the rural Vale of Glamorgan and Barry, as well as recent policy interventions such as the Enterprise Zone, the Airport Task Force and the announcement of a Communities First Cluster.  In addition, there is ongoing housing renewal work and progress being made on regeneration at Barry Island.  Furthermore, the emphasis in the consultation document to the role of coastal towns and town centres is welcomed, especially given that early in 2013 the Council will seek to progress work on a Destination Action Plan and seek to adopt a Town Centres Framework.  It is therefore essential that momentum gained through the Barry Regeneration Area and other associated initiatives is retained and built upon.

·                Councils throughout Wales will need support both financial and human from the Welsh Government to adopt monitoring and evaluation processes.  Until this is achieved it will be difficult to determine whether the Welsh Government initiatives are achieving their intended purpose and whether value for money is being achieved.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

13.      There are no direct financial implications from this report though the outcome of the review could have an impact on future regeneration funding opportunities afforded to the Council.  Any proposed funding opportunities should be addressed in the knowledge that future Council capital funding is expected to be further reduced, limiting any scope for match funding Welsh Government grants. 

14.      The Director of Development Services leads on informing the strategic direction that the Welsh Government should set for any future regeneration investment to achieve the best outcome for the Vale of Glamorgan.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

15.      There are no Sustainability and Climate Change Implications associated with this particular report.  However, regeneration has implications for the sustainability of communities, especially when integrated with planning and transport issues.  By way of example, investment in new developments and facilities can reduce the need to travel.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.      There are no Legal Implications associated with this particular report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.      There are no Crime and Disorder Implications associated with this particular report, although successful regeneration activity can result in a reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.      There are no specific Equal Opportunity Implications associated with this particular report, although successful regeneration can lead to improved access to services and facilities and foster community cohesion.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.      There is broad agreement both in Wales and across the United Kingdom that regeneration is a comprehensive process, which aims to tackle a combination of social, economic, physical and environmental issues and that it is focused on areas of disadvantage, particularly those where the market alone cannot deliver improvement.  Regeneration therefore requires broad action across a range of Departments and Service Areas and this is reflected in the content of both the Corporate Plan and Service Plans.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.      This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.      No Ward Members have been consulted as the report relates to matters that are a not Ward specific.  The matter is being referred to Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.      Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

Wales Audit Office (August 2005) Regeneration - A Simpler Approach for Wales

Welsh Assembly Government (October 2010) Framework for Regeneration Areas

Welsh Government (October 2012) Vibrant and Viable Places - New Regeneration Framework

Cabinet Report (23rd July 2012 Minute C1780) Barry Regeneration Area

 

Contact Officer

Dave Williams

Principal Regeneration Officer

Tel: 01446 704753

 

Officers Consulted

Operational Manager Countryside and Economic Projects

Operational Manager Planning & Transportation Policy

Operational Manager Public Housing Services

Principal Housing & Pollution Officer (Public Protection Services)

Major Project Manager (Development Services)

Head of Performance and Development (Corporate & Customer Services)

Business Manager (Corporate & Customer Services)

Tourism/Marketing Manager (Leisure Services)

Coordinator Castleland Communities First Team (Planning & Transportation)

Senior Accountant - Accountancy (Resources)

Committee Reports - Legal Services (Resources)

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas

Director of Development Services

 

 

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