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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 1st July 2013

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

Hydraulic Pumphouse, Innovation Quarter

Purpose of the Report

1. To report the outcome of the marketing of the Hydraulic Pumphouse;

2. To seek Cabinet approval to complete a review of the alternative options for the future of the Hydraulic Pumphouse and report back to a future Cabinet;

Recommendations

1. That Cabinet note the outcome of the marketing of the Hydraulic Pumphouse;

2. That Cabinet authorise the Council's Project Team in consultation with the Project Board to facilitate a review of the alternative options for the future of the Hydraulic Pumphouse and report back to a future Cabinet;

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. To ensure Cabinet is informed of the outcome of the marketing of the Hydraulic Pumphouse;

2. To authorise the Project Team facilitating in consultation with the Project Board a review of the alternative options for the future of the Hydraulic Pumphouse;

Background

3. The Hydraulic Pumphouse is a grade II Listed property in the freehold ownership of the Vale of Glamorgan Council. Situated within the Innovation Quarter the property is well located in the heart of Barry Waterfront alongside the new Premier Inn and Brewers Fayre restaurant and adjoining the proposed retail area of the forthcoming Quays development.  

4. As reported previously to Cabinet the Council recently facilitated the external refurbishment of the property with grant aid from the Welsh Government with works limited to those required to save the property, which had been in serious disrepair and was becoming an eyesore in a prominent location.  

5. The Council and Welsh Government as joint venture partners for the Innovation Quarter are working together to ensure every effort is made to secure an end use for the Hydraulic Pumphouse. However, as is often the case with industrial historic buildings bringing this important local landmark back into beneficial use is a significant challenge and may take time especially in these difficult economic conditions. 

6. Having completed the minimal works to the external fabric of the property, in the first instance the Joint Venture Partners agreed to test the market to investigate whether an investor could be attracted to purchase the property and bring it back into beneficial use.   This was approved at the Cabinet meeting of 2nd November 2011 ( Cabinet Minute C1495 refers) at which time authority was granted to market and dispose of the Hydraulic Pumphouse site in consultation with the Director of Finance, ICT and Property and the Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, subject to the consent of the Welsh Government. 

7. A joint Council/Welsh Government Project Board was established to oversee the marketing (comprising the Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation; the Managing Director; Director of Development Services and from the Welsh Government the Head of Regeneration Policy and Barry Regeneration Area) supported by an officer Project Team led by a Project Manager. Property agents Savills of Cardiff were subsequently appointed to implement the marketing exercise. 

Relevant Issues and Options

8. Savills have now completed marketing the property in accordance with Cabinet Minute C1495.   The deadline for detailed bids was 12 Noon on Monday 15th April 2013 by when bidders were required to submit a Financial Bid (with proof of funding); Outline Business Plan; Draft Design and Access Statement; Summary of Regeneration Benefits; and Community and Social Benefits Statement and Action Plan.

9. Three submissions were received but none of them represented compliant bids and after careful consideration of their proposals were rejected by the joint Council/Welsh Government Board.

10. In view of the marketing exercise not securing at this point in time an end use for the Hydraulic Pumphouse the Project Board approved (subject to Cabinet) a review appraising the alternative options for the property, which will be reported to the Project Board and Cabinet in due course.

11. In addition a new opportunity has arisen for the Council to submit a grant application to the Welsh Government under its new regeneration framework called “Vibrant and Viable Places”, which if the Council was to be successful could lever into Barry significant funds over a three year period from 2014/15. The Director of Development Services is presently considering whether the Hydraulic Pumphouse might be a suitable project (along with others) for submission by the Council as part of a programme of potential regeneration projects for Barry.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12. The cost (spent and committed) of marketing the Hydraulic Pumphouse to date is £10,200 (rounded). This will be funded from potential proceeds from the sale of the Pumphouse, should that occur. In the event the property is retained these costs will be funded from within Departmental budgets.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

13. This is a matter that will be addressed at the design stage of any new use ultimately secured for the Hydraulic Pumphouse. However, it is clearly sustainable to bring back into beneficial use a historic, listed building, especially if that end use encourages community cohesion and reduces the need to travel.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14. The Hydraulic Pumphouse is in the freehold ownership of the Vale of Glamorgan Council. The property is located within the Innovation Quarter and therefore is the subject of a legal Joint Venture between the Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Welsh Government.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15. To minimise the risk of vandalism and damage the Hydraulic Pumphouse is fenced, has steel doors securing the property and is also monitored by CCTV.   

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16. This project will be delivered in accordance with the Council’s equal opportunities policies and ethos.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17. The delivery of the project will assist the Council with its corporate objectives aimed at regenerating Barry.

Policy Framework and Budget

18. The report is a matter for an Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

19. The Hydraulic Pumphouse is located within the Buttrills ward and the members for Buttrills (Councillors Stuart C Egan and Ian J Johnson ) have been consulted. Councillor Ian Johnson states "It is disappointing that there were no compliant bids in the marketing of the site, including no bids from the community sector. It is possible that misinformation regarding the cost of restoring the interior may have led to potential organisations not coming forward.

Despite the clear opportunities that the building represents, the current market is tough and I would welcome a further options paper that investigates alternative uses to private sector disposal including options for a bid under the Viable and Vibrant Places scheme and community or mixed use options.

Given the substantial previous public sector investment in the building as part of the Barry Regeneration Area it is important that the Pumphouse does not become a white elephant. It is equally important that costs and risk are controlled for the project. I hope that the building will be successfully converted for a positive use in future."

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20. Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Mark White (Major Projects Manager) 01446 704698

Officers Consulted

Estates Group Officer

Lawyer, Legal Services

Senior Accountant

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas – Director of Development Service