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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 17 June, 2013

Report of the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development

Surrender and Re-grant of Lease in respect of land at Dyfan Road, Barry

Purpose of the Report

1. To seek authority to surrender the current lease to the Trustees of the 2nd/4th Barry Scout Group (dated 14th November 2008) and grant a new lease (to include an additional area of housing/open space land) to the newly formed Witchell Hall Community Association to enable the development of a new community hall

Recommendations

1. That the land shown highlighted on the plan at Appendix 1 be declared surplus to requirements of Housing Services and that authority be granted to the Director of Resources and the Director of Housing and Visible Services in consultation with the Head of Legal Services and the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development to advertise as necessary the proposed disposal of public open space in accordance with s123 (2A) Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) and to consider and determine any objections received.

2. That the Director of Resources is granted delegated authority to agree the surrender the current lease and agree appropriate terms and conditions for a new lease (including the provision of the additional area of land and a right of access) to the Trustees of the Witchell Hall Community Association.

3. That the Director of Resources in consultation with the Head of Legal Services agree a temporary works access licence with the Trustees of the Witchell Hall Community Association to facilitate the construction and development of the new community hall.

4. That the Director of Resources/Head of Legal Services/Operation Manager for Legal Services be authorised to prepare, complete and execute the necessary legal documents required.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1 2 and 3. 

In order to secure the required authority to allow the agreement to surrender the current lease and for agreement for the new lease to be entered into.

4. In order to execute and complete the legal formalities

Background

2. Historically there has been a community hall at the Dyfan Road playing field. From the 1960's the hall has been used primarily for the scouts but with other community uses also. There was an occupation agreement between the Council and the Trustees of the 2nd Barry (St. Helen's) Scout Group. 

3. In 2008, the Trustees of 2nd/4th Barry Scout Group were granted a 25 year lease in respect of the land and buildings at Dyfan Roan (as shown at Appendix 2) in order to redevelop the hall which was at this stage in a very poor condition and replace it with a new facility. In order to achieve this, the lease was granted for a nominal rent and the use of the property was restricted to that of Scout Group Headquarters, although the Scout Group were permitted under the terms of the lease to allow other occasional community uses.

4. The Scout Group demolished the old hall without Council's consent sometime in 2008 which was in fact a breach of the lease with the Council. However, the Group were granted planning permission on 23rd July 2009 to erect a new Scout Hall (2009/00572/FUL) which was subsequently varied to allow the building to be used as a 'Community Hall' on 9th August 2012 (2012/00628/FUL). The planning permission granted related to an increased land take to that included in the demise of the 2008 lease as is illustrated in the plans at Appendices 1 & 2.

5. The Scout Group has been successful in their application for Welsh Government Funding as part of the Communities and Activities Programme and has been awarded £294,289.20. The Purpose of the Funding is to rebuild the hall for community use. Welsh Government has stated that the funding must be spent in full by the 31st March of the 2013-2014 financial year or the funding will be ceased.

6. Following consultation with the Council's land holding Departments and advice from the Council's Estates and Legal Services Departments, a letter was received from the Scout Group's architect on 13th May 2013 requesting the consent of the Council as landlord and owner of the land for the following:

  • To grant the new lease to the trustees of what will be the newly formed Witchell Hall Community Association
  • To increase the area of land to be leased to the new association as shown in the plans at Appendices 1 & 2.
  • To allow a change of use to permit the newly developed hall to be used for wider community uses.
  • To allow the construction of an improved footpath across Council land to access the new community hall
  • To request for a temporary works access licence to permit access over the Council land during the construction and development of the new community hall..

Relevant Issues and Options

7. As stated above, the Scout Group has secured Welsh Government funding to rebuild and develop a new hall at Dyfan Road. However, whilst the funding was granted to the Scout Group, this was on the understanding that the responsibility for the ongoing management and future of the hall would lie with a newly formed community association with wider community objectives than those of the scouting movement although the Scout Group will remain a primary user of the new facility.

8. The Council has received a draft constitution for the new Witchell Community Hall Association but has requested the trustee's solicitor provide a more comprehensive document which deals with how the association intends to hold the land and clarifies its community/charitable objectives. It is proposed that this should be in line with the usual model for community associations. The surrender and regrant of the lease to the new association will be conditional on evidence that the new group is a properly constituted.

9. The additional land required to be included within the demise of the new lease is land which is currently vested in the Council's Housing Services Department. However, the land in question has the characteristics of open space land and has been used as such on a daily basis. Therefore the land will need to be advertised for disposal under S123 (2A) of the Local Government Act 1972.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

10. The new building will revert back to the Council on the expiry of the lease or if the group should cease to exist.

11. Estates and Legal officers' costs will be incurred as a result of the disposal process.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

12. The Trustees have indicated that a number of groups and organisations will benefit from the construction of the new community hall including:

  • Vale of Glamorgan Brass Band
  • Welsh Medium Pre School Play Group
  • Adult Learning Welsh Evening Classes
  • Barry Deaf Club
  • Police, Gibbonsdown - PCSO PACT
  • Scout Group
  • National Small Rifle Association (NSRA)
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Slimming World Group
  • Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Scout Leader Training Advisor
  • Communities First
  • Flying Start
  • Local Community One off Parties, Wedding Receptions

    Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

    13. As contained in this report.

    14. The Council has a statutory and fiduciary duty pursuant to section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972 to secure the best consideration possible for any property disposal. A lease granted for a term of years in excess of 7 years would be deemed a disposal under this Act.

    15. However, there are exemptions and dispensations. Under the General Disposal Consent (Wales) 2003, where the asset to be disposed of has an ‘undervalue’ of less than £2million and the transfer helps to secure the promotion or improvement of the economic, social or environmental well-being of an area, the Council is able to transfer its land and buildings at ‘less than best consideration’, i.e. below market value.

    16. The Council also has powers to support social well being in its area pursuant to section 2 of the Local Government Act 2000.

    Crime and Disorder Implications

    17. Whilst the site remains vacant it may attract anti-social behaviour such as fly-tipping and unlawful occupation of the site.

    Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

    18. There are no equal opportunities implications as a direct result of this report.

    Corporate/Service Objectives

    19. Environment - Current and future generations of Vale residents and visitors to enjoy the built and natural environments of the Vale of Glamorgan and actively protect and maintain them.

    Policy Framework and Budget

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

    Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

    21. Local Ward Members have been advised of this report and no adverse comments have been received..

    Relevant Scrutiny Committee

    22. Corporate Resources.

    Background Papers

    None.

    Contact Officer

    Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing - Tel 02920 673204.

    Officers Consulted

    Jocelyn Ham  Senior Lawyer, Legal Services

    Sian Cornwell-Shaw  Estates Officer, Property

    Gareth Bissett Structural Engineer, Property

    Phil Beaman  Operational Manager, Parks and Grounds Maintenance

    Mike Ingram Operational Manager, Public Housing Services 

    Responsible Officer:

    Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housin

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