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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 16 December, 2013

 

Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning

and Transportation

 

Cowbridge Livestock Market

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To advise Cabinet of a consultant feasibility study received from the Market Action Group (VMAG) for the Cowbridge Livestock Market site (Appendix C);

2.         To obtain Cabinet support in principle for the indicative mixed use development concept identified in Appendix B (subject to planning and viability) put forward by the VMAG for the Cowbridge Livestock Market site;

3.         To obtain Cabinet authority for the Director of Development Services to undertake due diligence on behalf of the Council as landowner to determine the viability of the indicative mixed use development concept proposed by the VMAG and report back to Cabinet;

4.         To obtain Cabinet authority to extend the Licence for the Market Operator for a further twelve months;

5.         To report the proposed project governance arrangements for the project.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet support in principle the indicative mixed development concept identified in Appendix B (subject to planning and viability) put forward by the Vale Market Action Group (VMAG) for the Cowbridge Livestock Market site;

 

2.         That Cabinet authorise the Director of Development Services to undertake due diligence to determine the viability of the indicative mixed use development concept proposed by the VMAG;

 

3.         That Cabinet authorise the Director of Resources to extend the Licence for the Market Operator for a further twelve months from March 2014;

 

Reasons for the Recommendations

 

1.         To obtain executive approval to support in principle the indicative mixed use development concept (subject to planning and viability) put forward by the Vale Market Action Group (VMAG) for the Cowbridge Livestock Market site;

 

2.         To enable the implementation of a due diligence exercise to determine the viability of the mixed use development concept proposed by the VMAG;

 

3.         To facilitate a new temporary Licence for the Market Operator;

 

Background

6.         Cowbridge Livestock Market is located in the heart of Cowbridge at the west end of the town centre with access from the adopted highway called The Butts, as identified in the Site Plan (Appendix A) edged red. 

7.         Located within the Cowbridge Conservation Area the Livestock Market site is in the freehold ownership of the Council and includes two areas:

- AREA A: the main Livestock Market site, which extends approximately 0.87 hectares (2.12 acres); and

- AREA B: a strip of land to the east of the Butts alongside the historic town wall, which extends approximately 0.31 hectares (0.77 acres) and includes non-operational bull pens, a sale ring and stock area flanked either side by car parking. 

8.         At its meeting of 22nd June 2011 the previous Cabinet authorised the marketing and disposal of Site A (the main Livestock Market site) for a "…privately funded and managed Extra Care (and/or other older persons/social care) residential use" (Cabinet Minute C1348 refers) and it was proposed as part of the development for Site B (the strip of land alongside the town wall) to be redeveloped as a larger area of car parking to serve the wider town centre.

9.         Following the local elections in May 2012, the Council was approached later that year by the Vale Market Action Group or VMAG (comprising the Cowbridge Chamber of Trade, Cowbridge Town Council, the Market Operator, the Vale Marketing Group, Cowbridge Charter Trust, Capital Region Tourism, local businesses and representatives of Vale farming interests.  The VMAG expressed a desire to retain the Livestock Market and requested time to facilitate a feasibility study to consider possible options for the livestock market site that would retain the livestock market plus introduce other uses/facilities that would benefit Cowbridge. 

10.      In the Autumn of 2012 it was agreed for the VMAG to be given the time required to facilitate the appointment of consultants to complete a consultancy feasibility study to work up a development concept for the Livestock Market site that would retain the market.  The VMAG subsequently facilitated the appointment of consultants (commissioned by the Farmers Union of Wales) "…to consider options for the livestock market site both in terms of an operational livestock market and additional compatible uses on the site that would benefit Cowbridge…". 

11.      The feasibility study (attached as Appendix A) was completed for the VMAG by the consultants in May 2013 and presented recently to the Leader, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning, Innovation and Transportation, the Managing Director and officers of the Council.  The recommendations of the study are outlined below.

Relevant Issues and Options

12.      The consultant feasibility study (refer to Appendix C) sets out the context of the Livestock Market referring to the historic importance of the market to the town stating that there has been a livestock market in Cowbridge for nearly 800 years and the current site ( to the west of the Butts) has been in operation since 1968.  The existing market operator, Glamorgan Marts (Herbert R Thomas and Watts and Morgan) had a 21 year lease, which expired in March 2011 and presently have a licence that will expire at the end of March 2014.

13.      The consultant feasibility study considers various mixed use development options for the Livestock Market site and concludes by identifying a proposed Preferred Option, which is attached as Appendix B (in the form of an indicative conceptual master plan and supporting artists impressions). 

14.      The Preferred Option identified in the feasibility study and attached as Appendix B proposes a mixed use development comprising the following:

 

AREA A of the site:

 

- A refurbished Livestock Market Building;

- A new open sided Market Hall possibly comprising a Farm Shop, small shop units and a covered performance space;

- Retirement Apartments (i.e. Older Persons Residential development/Extra Care);

- Live/Work Units; and

- Public Car Park at the rear of the existing Livestock Market.

 

AREA B OF the site:

 

- Public Car Park.

 

15.      It is recommended the principle of the indicative mixed use development concept proposed in the feasibility study and attached as Appendix B is supported subject to planning and it being viable. 

16.      In view of the Council's role as landowner it is proposed that the Director of Development Services undertake due diligence to determine the deliverability of the VMAG's indicative mixed use development concept.  As part of this due diligence exercise it is therefore intended for the Council:

a) to request the VMAG provide evidence the Market Hall proposal would be a financially viable entity;

b) to request the Market Operator provide evidence the Livestock Market is a financially viable business; 

c) to appoint an external valuer to value part of the Livestock Market site for disposal as either an older person's residential and/or extra care development with or without a Live/Work development;

d) to evaluate the cost of constructing the two public car parks; and

e) to carry out various other technical assessments (e.g. reviewing legal, planning, highways, drainage, and environmental health issues etc). 

17.      Time is required to undertake the due diligence exercise and it is therefore recommended that the Licence for the Market Operator, which is due to expire at the end of March 2014, be extended for twelve months until the end of March 2015. 

18.      A report will be submitted to a future Cabinet following the completion of the due diligence/assessment of viability by the Director of Development Services.  If the VMAG's proposed mixed use development concept (or other appropriate mix of uses) is demonstrated to be viable, it is intended that a phased master plan will be prepared and reported back for the approval of Cabinet. Also, if it is determined the Livestock Market is financially viable and can form an integral part of the mixed use development, it is intended that authority will be sought from a future Cabinet to negotiate a lease with the Market Operator.  This would be for a scaled down Livestock Market as part of a mixed use development, subject to the Market Operator implementing at its own expense specified physical enhancements to the Livestock Market buildings.

19.      In terms of Council project governance, it is proposed to establish a Project Board (the Leader, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning, Innovation and Transportation, Managing Director and Director of Development Services), a Project Manager from the Project Management Unit and a Project Team of officers.  Representing the Council as landowner and Landlord, the Council Project Manager and Project Team will liaise with the VMAG and other key stakeholders during the due diligence exercise of the mixed use concept and thereafter represent the Council's interests should the project be deemed viable and Cabinet ultimately authorise the project to be progressed.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

20.      The cost of the external valuation, an indicative outline assessment by the Council's engineers of the potential cost of the car parks, the Project Management Unit fees will be funded from capital receipts.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

21.      It is anticipated this is a matter that will be addressed at a detailed design stage.  However, mixed use developments are often promoted as sustainable approaches to development.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

22.      The land identified in Appendix A edged red is in the freehold ownership of the Vale of Glamorgan Council.  

23.      Legal input will be provided to the Council Project Team and will therefore allow legal issues to be considered that would affect the viability and deliverability of the mixed use concept.  If required any key legal issues will be reported back to Cabinet.  

Crime and Disorder Implications

24.      The mixed use redevelopment of the site, if viable, provides the opportunity to address any issues of crime and disorder through appropriate scheme designs.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

25.      The project will be delivered in accordance with the Council's equal opportunities policies and ethos.

Corporate/Service Objectives

26.      The delivery of the project has the potential to assist with the regeneration of Cowbridge Town Centre.

Policy Framework and Budget

27.      This report is a matter for an Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

28.      The site is located within the Cowbridge ward and the Local Ward members have been briefed regarding the VMAG's mixed use concept at a meeting held on Monday 18th November 2013.  The Local Ward members raise concerns about the financial viability of both the Market Hall element of the VMAG's proposals, and the Livestock Market itself.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

29.      Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Mark White - Major Projects Manager - Tel 01446 704698

 

Officers Consulted

Managing Director

Director of Development Services

Group Estates Manager, Property Section

Lawyer, Legal Division

Accountant

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services

 

 

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