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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 16 December, 2013

 

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

 

Hydraulic Pumphouse, Innovation Quarter, The Waterfront Barry

Purpose of the Report

1.         To report the options for the future of the Hydraulic Pumphouse.

2.         To identify the Preferred Option as Option 3, the proposed disposal of the Hydraulic Pumphouse to a developer identified in a separate Part Two report to this Cabinet.

Recommendations

1.         That the options for the future of the Hydraulic Pumphouse identified in this report are noted by Cabinet.

2.         That Cabinet authorise the Preferred Option as Option 3, the proposed disposal of the Hydraulic Pumphouse to the developer identified in a separate Part Two report subject to Welsh Government consent (in accordance with Innovation Quarter Joint Venture Agreement) and on terms and conditions to be agreed and that this disposal be subject to Cabinet authorising the recommendations in the said Part Two report.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure Cabinet note the options for the future of the Hydraulic Pumphouse.

2.         To obtain authority from Cabinet to support implementing Option 3 identified in this report.

 

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 located in the heart of Barry Waterfront alongside the IQ developments new Premier Inn and Brewers Fayre restaurant, The Business Service Centre (BSC), The Skills Centre, West Quay Medical Centre, and tourist railway, adjoining the proposed retail area of the Quays development.  As reported previously to Cabinet the Council recently facilitated the external refurbishment of the Hydraulic Pumphouse with grant aid from the Welsh Government comprising works limited to those required to save the property, which had been in serious disrepair.

4.         The Council and Welsh Government as joint venture partners for the Innovation Quarter are working together to secure an appropriate sustainable end use for the Hydraulic Pumphouse.  A joint Council/Welsh Government Project Board was established to oversee the marketing of the Hydraulic Pumphouse comprising the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation; the Managing Director; Director of Development Services and a representative from the Welsh Government supported by a Council officer Project Team led by a Major Projects Manager.

 

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         Property agents Savills of Cardiff were subsequently appointed to implement the marketing exercise on the basis of promoting the property for a wide range of potential uses subject to planning. The original aim of this broad approach to marketing, which commenced in the Autumn of 2012, was to secure a use that would bring back into beneficial use the grade II Listed building and its site.    However, as reported to the Cabinet meeting of 1st July 2013 (Cabinet Minute C1392 refers) the Council's property agents Savills completed a comprehensive formal marketing exercise, which ended with disappointing results as only three non-compliant bids were received within the deadline on Monday 15th April 2013.

6.         Following the formal marketing exercise earlier this year, the Council sought to secure instead new Welsh Government grant funding as part of the recent Viable and Vibrant Places bid prepared by the Council.  The Viable and Vibrant Places bid was submitted on 12th July 2013 and included a proposal to establish at the Hydraulic Pumphouse and on remaining adjoining undeveloped land within the Innovation Quarter a "Business/Creative Industry Hub".  However, as reported previously the Welsh Government in September 2013 confirmed the Viable and Vibrant Places bid for Barry was unsuccessful.

7.         As outlined above every effort has been made to secure a sustainable use for the property through a comprehensive formal marketing exercise and by pursuing grant funding from the Welsh Government's Viable and Vibrant Places initiative.

8.         Since the formal marketing exercise was completed on 15th April 2013 the For Sale signs have remained in situ on site and the property remains on Savills' and the Council's websites.  Savills state "…In terms of marketing the property has remained active on our website since the bid date in April, we have had limited interest …"   

9.         However, a developer has now come forward with an ambitious and promising high quality mixed use scheme concept that has the potential to bring the property back into beneficial use, creating opportunities for living and working in the property along with accommodating commercial uses.  Importantly the scheme concept put forward will complement the mixed use urban quarter vision for the Innovation Quarter. In the separate Part II report this new scheme is outlined and it is recommended the property and site be disposed of to the developer subject to Welsh Government consent (in accordance with the Innovation Quarter Joint Venture Agreement) and on terms and conditions acceptable to the Council.  The developer has requested that in advance of a disposal contract being in place their ideas for bringing the property back into beneficial use is not reported publicly as this is commercially confidential information; hence the detail of their proposal is reported in a separate Part II report.

10.      The recommendation put forward in the separate Part II report to dispose of the property to the developer, follows careful consideration by the Project Board of firstly, the unsuccessful marketing exercise by Savills, secondly, the unsuccessful outcome of the Viable and Vibrant grant application and thirdly the various options for the future of the Hydraulic Pumphouse set out by the officer Project Team in the table below.

11.      The table of options below has been prepared in accordance with Cabinet Minute C1392(2) , which at the Cabinet meeting of 1st July 2013 resolved "…T H A T the Council's Project Team in consultation with the Project Board be authorised to facilitate a review of the alternative options for the future of the Hydraulic Pumphouse and report back to a future Cabinet meeting…".

 

TABLE: OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE HYDRAULIC PUMPHOSE

 

OPTION (in no particular order)

 

 

COMMENT

 

OPTION 1.

 

DO NOTHING/MOTHBALL

 

Doing nothing or mothballing the property is not viable because the Council and Welsh Government have already invested £1.4 million works contract (plus professional fees) saving the property. 

 

Until an end use is secured the property will remain a liability to the Council, and will undermine the Council and Welsh Government’s vision to complete the Innovation Quarter as a mixed use “urban quarterâ€. 

 

 

OPTION 2.

 

INVESTIGATE TEMPORARY USES

 

A temporary use for the property would help bring the property temporarily back into use and may be the catalyst for a longer-term use.

 

However, this option would require further significant capital investment by the Council in the external areas to facilitate access and parking and the property would need internal enhancements to ensure it is usable (e.g. to comply with fire regulations and disabled access, Health and Safety etc). 

 

This option is deemed to not be viable due to the general lack of capital funding and because it does not provide a long-term sustainable future for the property. 

 

 

 

OPTION 3.

 

ACCCEPT THE OFFER FROM THE DEVELOPER IDENTIFIED IN THE SEPARATE PART 11 REPORT

 

As outlined in the separate Part II Report a developer has now put forward a strong and well thought out proposal for a mixed-use development that would bring the property back into beneficial use and complement the mixed-use “urban quarter†vision of the Innovation Quarter.

 

This option, subject to planning and Welsh Government consent, has the potential to result in the delivery of a high quality mixed use scheme creating opportunities for living and working in the property along with accommodating commercial uses.

 

 

OPTION 4.

 

RE MARKET

 

 

 

Alternatively the Council could re-market the property. 

 

However, the Council has already comprehensively marketed the property with no compliant bids received by the April 2013 deadline.  Also, as outlined in the separate Part II report since April there has been limited interest in the property.  

 

 

 

12.      It is recommended that Cabinet authorise the Preferred Option as Option 3, the proposed disposal of the Hydraulic Pumphouse to the developer identified in a separate Part Two report and that this disposal be subject to Cabinet authorising the recommendations in the said Part Two report.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

13.      The disposal of the property and the work associated with the disposal can be taken forward within existing budgets.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

14.      The favoured option is Option 3, which would lead to delivering a sustainable mixed use development.  It would also bring back to re-use a currently vacant, historic building and would represent a beneficial and efficient use of land and buildings.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

15.      The Hydraulic Pumphouse is located within the Innovation Quarter, which is the subject of a legal joint venture between the Council and Welsh Government.  The disposal of land and property within the IQ is subject to Welsh Government consent.

16.      The Council is required to comply with its duty pursuant to Section 123 of the Local Government Act to obtain the best consideration reasonably obtainable.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.      Bringing the Hydraulic Pumphouse back into beneficial use with a mix of uses will minimise the opportunity for crime as it will create activity at different times of the day within the Innovation Quarter.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.      A comprehensive marketing campaign of the Hydraulic Pumphouse has been undertaken with the property widely advertised as a development opportunity for potential investors and developers to bid for the property.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.      Bringing the Hydraulic Pumphouse back into beneficial use will assist the Council in its corporate regeneration objective by potentially creating jobs and economic activity within a vacant historic property.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.      The local ward members for the Buttrills ward have been consulted. 

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.      Economy and Environment. 

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Mark White (Major Projects Manager)

 

Officers Consulted

Managing Director/Director of Resources

Group Estates Officer

Lawyer, Legal Services

Accountant

 

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services

 

 

 

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