Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 14TH JANUARY, 2013
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 6TH NOVEMBER, 2012
“503 PRESENTATION - GATEWAY WALES -
Following introductions by the Chairman, Mr. Steve Hodgetts (Cardiff Airport) and Mr. N. Baker (Legal and General Property) provided a presentation to the Committee as detailed below:
· What is Gateway Wales?
- An opportunity to bring economic value to the Vale of Glamorgan
- To realise the potential in the Local Development Plan
- To unlock the potential of the existing employment land allocations
- To be part of the cluster effect of Cardiff Airport and St. Athan
- To develop over time an improvement in the visual aspect of the airport and its surroundings
- To assist in the realisation of the Enterprise Zone (EZ) objectives.
Mr. Hodgetts referred to Cardiff Airport as an economic generator and a large scale employer, however, in terms of the transport interchange further improvement was required together with the need for a Transport Plan as part of the Enterprise Zone initiative. He advised that the 2006 Master Plan was still valid in land use and physical development terms with the potential to offer up to a potential 8 million passengers via incremental development. One of the main purposes of the project was to define where opportunities could be taken from. The Welsh Government, Legal and General Properties and Cardiff Airport had also considered that a rail link to the site was a long term aspiration as there was currently some concern that a spur would divert trains away from Llantwit Major in the early years. However, any site and route could be reserved for such a facility in the Master Plan.
A copy of a map indicating the Enterprise Zone relationship with Cardiff Airport, Gateway Wales and St. Athan, together with examples of a uses layout which detailed a number of opportunities that could be available was displayed on screen. However, the overall intention would be to work with as many organisations as possible to identify appropriate uses and to ensure sustainability of the airport. The Welsh Government considered that the airport was pivotal to the Welsh economy and it would therefore be essential that St. Athan, Cardiff Airport and Gateway Wales were detailed in a development Master Plan and marketed as such. Members considered that the Welsh Government should take the lead on this.
The Chairman had also provided the representatives with a series of questions prior to the meeting, which were responded to as below:
· Is the project agreed as vital to the Welsh Economy by the Welsh Government?
The view was that the inclusion of the site within the Enterprise Zone demonstrates this to be the case.
· Is the project discussed at First Minister’s Task Force?
Gateway Wales was not part of the main work streams of the Task Force as it was outside the main focus of the Task Force. The issues within its remit related to encouraging more flights and improving the passenger experience.
· Is the Project embedded in the work of the Enterprise Zone?
The Enterprise Zone Board meets regularly to maintain progress with Gateway Wales also being discussed on a regular basis and integrated into all strategies
· How important is a rail link and will the project fail without it?
The Gateway Wales project did not need the rail link to succeed especially in its early stages. A successful Gateway Wales would however, advance the case for improved transport
· If Cardiff continued to lose business would the project fail?
Gateway Wales was enhanced by a successful airport but it would mainly benefit from the growing economy of Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan. The mix of uses and clients would be influenced by the maturity of the airport
· Is the Vale of Glamorgan Council supportive?
Strong working relationships existed with officers to date and it has been included in the Draft LDP and the Council is working together with the Enterprise Zone to develop joint Master Plans for Enterprise Zone sites including Gateway Wales.
In conclusion, the representatives advised that the next steps would be to understand the LDP timeframes and planning status for the Gateway Wales' site, deliver an Enterprise Zone Master Plan and create a marketing plan to promote the Enterprise Zone and the individual elements as referred to above.
A copy of the presentation was tabled at the meeting together with a copy of the document “An Investment in the Future” as at 18th November 2011 for Members’ information.
Following consideration of the presentation a number of concerns were raised by the Committee as detailed below:
It appeared that Bristol Airport was more successful than Cardiff?
Mr. Hodgetts referred to Easy Jet at Bristol being an acquisition from another airline. Airlines at that airport flew to a number of destinations. Cardiff Airport to compete with this also offered incentives to airlines to fly from its airport but response depended on the operators themselves. Bristol however, also had other advantages such as a larger catchment area and a GDP of 20,000 per head
The terminal in Cardiff Airport was not as attractive as Bristol's.
In his view the Bristol terminal was very similar to the Cardiff terminal and recent surveys undertaken by Thomas Cook Airlines and an independent consultant had detailed that customers would prefer to fly from Cardiff if possible.
How do you envisage all the proposals identified at the meeting being developed?
At what point would you envisage that Legal and General may pull out of future investment?
This would depend on how soon the LDP process would be finalised and what input was received from private companies.
Legal and General Property did not have unlimited resources and it would only be a matter of time before shareholders would wish to see the fruition of plans. More certainty was required with Welsh Government and the Enterprise Zone and the development of the next stage in the process as well as the formalising of the LDP.
Has the airport considered lowering handling fees?
A number of operators had been offered incentives and recently a new airline company had been attracted to the airport - “Vueling”. They were also considering capacity growth in 2013 which would be good news for the airport. The airport was constantly trying to market its product and discussing with operators various incentives.
The Chairman enquired as to whether the Scrutiny Committee could assist in encouraging progress and was advised by Mr. Baker that formal recognition by the Council of its support would be advantageous together with progress in relation to the LDP process.
It was subsequently
(1) T H A T the Chairman in consultation with the Vice-Chairman prepare a letter, to be forwarded to the Business Minister following e-mail consultation with Members of the Committee indicating the Committee’s support for the project and its concern at the lack of an overall Master Plan.
(2) T H A T a further progress report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in six months.
Reason for recommendations
(1&2) To progress the matter.”
At the meeting of the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) held on 4th December 2012, the Committee made the following recommendation:
“599 MINUTES -
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 6th November, 2012 be approved as a correct record subject to it being noted that the recommendation in relation to Gateway Wales would be referred to Cabinet as the Chairman had been made aware that N. Baker (Gateway Wales) wished to meet with Councillor N. Moore and the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science.“
Attached as Appendix - Presentation to Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 6th November, 2012