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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

 

Welsh Government's Regeneration Framework 'Vibrant and Viable Places' – Outcome of Stage 1 Assessment Process and Way Forward

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To advise Cabinet of the work being undertaken on the Council's bid under the Vibrant and Viable Places programme in light of the decision by the Welsh Government in September that the Council's Stage 1 bid had not been successful. 

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet notes the content of the report and the progress being made in respect of the various initiatives included within 'Barry - A Centre of Growth and Opportunity'.

2.         That further reports detailing how the various initiatives and proposals contained within "Barry - A Centre of Growth and Opportunity" are being progressed be presented to Cabinet in due course.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To apprise Cabinet of the progress being made on regeneration proposals contained within the Council's bid for Vibrant and Viable Places funding.

2.         To ensure that the regeneration of Barry is maintained and that momentum is not lost.

Background

2.         The Barry Regeneration Area programme was launched by the Welsh Government in March 2010.  A total of £9.8m of Welsh Government investment was allocated to the programme, which was initially intended to run for three years (April 2010 - March 2013 inclusive).  However, following the spending review by the United Kingdom Government, this allocation was re-profiled over four years and the programme will therefore close at the end of March 2014.  Barry is one of seven Regeneration Areas declared by the Welsh Government under its Framework for Regeneration Areas (October 2010) policy commitment.

3.         In February 2012 the Welsh Government began a Ministerial review of approaches to regeneration and in October 2012 published a consultation document entitled Vibrant and Viable Places - A New Regeneration Framework (C1949 refers).  Following the consultation period which ended in January 2013, the Welsh Government's new regeneration framework, 'Vibrant and Viable Places' was launched in March 2013.  Bidding guidance was published in May 2013.

4.         The guidance issued by the Welsh Government relating to the submission of bids for Vibrant and Viable Places funding is contained in the report to Cabinet on 1st July 2013.  Due to the very tight timescale for submitting the bid, Cabinet on 1st July 2013 (C1391 refers) provided delegated authority to the Director of Development Services in consultation with the Managing Director, the Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation  to submit the Stage 1 bid by the deadline of 12th July 2013.  The Stage 1 bid was reported to Cabinet on 29th July 2013 (C1442 refers). 

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         The Stage 1 bid sought approval to proceed with the development of a clear joined-up outline programme of actions entitled Barry – a centre of growth and opportunity (2014-17 and beyond) and deliver the following vision:

"By 2020 Barry will be a distinct, attractive and safe place to live, work, invest and visit, and will make a unique contribution to the economic growth of the South East Wales City Region.  Its reputation for excellence will be focused on opportunities for skills development, employability and progression augmented by the profile and academic distinction of a leading edge higher and further education sector."

6.         In terms of strategy and policy the bid argued that there was a need to maintain the momentum created by Regeneration Area status and scale-up from this base to harness the development benefits from investment such as The Quays; St Athan-Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone; Welsh Housing Quality Standard; and, Renewal Area activity to realise community benefits and narrow the gap of aspiration and achievement across the town.  The bid also highlighted the need to dovetail the rejuvenation of Barry’s assets with the activities of the Barry Communities First Cluster and the emerging City Region approach.  The outline programme contained in the bid was based on seven specific investment aims as set out below:

·               Create a fertile environment to develop cohesive communities by providing the tools to improve and maximise opportunities;

·               Develop a new housing model around the occupation of empty flats, empty commercial properties and other properties in our traditional shopping areas;

·               Broaden the mix and appeal of traditional shopping areas by supporting proposals to locate public facilities, leisure and homes;

·               Renew infrastructure to improve accessibility and perception; and, promote more efficient public transportation provision and usage;

·               Achieve well connected complementary growth by investing in property that will stimulate business and creative industry to start-up or expand; directly creating jobs and growth;

·               Create a brand for the town based around its outstanding waterfront setting and the marine and lifestyle assets; and,

·               Create a strong sense of place by protecting and enhancing Barry’s heritage, reusing historic buildings and encouraging new contemporary developments that respect the town’s unique identity.

7.         The bid was a response to the long term structural changes in the town’s economy and the opportunities change offers.  It reflected and still reflects this Council's ambition to develop and deliver a new narrative for our communities and traditional shopping areas in Barry and ensure that the targeted Welsh Government investment and the investment it levers in are aligned to achieve the maximum effect.  Furthermore, the bid represented a whole town approach to regeneration in Barry, as can be seen from the investment aims detailed above.  A flexible approach was taken in producing the bid as this allowed the outline programme scope to adapt over time and for any changes in emphasis to be reflected in Stage 2 of the process.    

8.         The Council was notified by email on 4th September 2013 that the Stage 1 bid had been unsuccessful.  A copy of the notification letter (embargoed until week commencing 23rd September 2013) is attached at Appendix 1.  On 10th September 2013 the Minister for Housing and Regeneration issued a written statement to all Assembly Members confirming the outcome of the Stage 1 Assessment Process.  A copy of the Written Statement is attached at Appendix 2.  In it the Minister identifies the 11 local authorities invited to proceed to Stage 2 of the bidding process, namely Bridgend, Conwy, Flintshire, Isle of Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Swansea, Torfaen and Wrexham.  Both the notification letter and Written Statement refer to a ring-fenced budget of £5m for the three year period 2014/15-2016/17 to invest in key projects which are aimed at tackling poverty in settlement areas which have not been successful at Stage 1 but which contain wards which are within the ten percent of deprived areas as measured by the 2011 Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation.  This Council's bid meets these criteria along with six other local authorities namely Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire and Gwynedd.  It is understood the settlement areas which have not been successful at Stage 2 but meet these criteria will also be added to the list of local authorities eligible to bid for funding from the ring-fenced budget.  The Welsh Government has yet to announce further details in respect of bid criteria for this budget and whether that budget of £5m is likely to increase.

9.         In terms of moving forward, the outline bid contains some important projects and proposals.  Since the announcement in September, I have been working with officers to re-visit these projects and proposals to establish which elements of the bid can be taken forward and by what means.  Clearly, working in partnership with the private sector and various agencies, groups and organisations is vital to successful regeneration, but even more so given the outcome of the bid process.  Accordingly, as well as this report, which sets out below the initial work undertaken, I propose to present further reports to Cabinet with more detail on individual elements of the bid and how these elements can be progressed.

10.      Attached at Appendix 3 is a status report which sets out each investment aim and component that was included in the Council's Stage 1 bid, identifies a potential Project Manager and Project Sponsor and provides detail as to the current status of that component.  The aim of this status report is to outline whether it is possible to take forward each component, given the fact that the Council's bid for regeneration funding was not successful, and if so by what means.  Of particular relevance is the progress made in respect of the Innovation Quarter and the Pumphouse (Investment Aim 7a) and this is the subject of a separate report to this Cabinet. 

11.      Alongside this, there has also been significant progress in terms of delivering the Barry Island link road and also progressing current regeneration work to the Island based around Eastern Promenade.  The progress in terms of delivering the Barry Island link road is subject to separate reports to this Cabinet.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.      The overall cost of the programme in the Stage 1 application was £20,120,000 of which £15,000,000 (74.6%) was required from the Vibrant and Viable Places programme.  The Stage 1 application identified Council match funding to the level of 25.4% to support the programme outlined in the bid document. 

13.      The cost of compiling the bid was met from within the Directorate budget.

14.      Appendix 3 includes details of all the components of the bid and provides the current status of each component.  A number of the components refer to the use of the Project Development fund in taking forward projects.  The Capital Programme includes a sum of £300k per annum up to and including 2018/19 to take forward regeneration projects.  A further analysis of each component will be required to establish priorities and to assess whether that component can be delivered via the Project Development fund.  This will lead to a more detailed delivery plan, with full costings and potential sources of funding.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

15.      There are no sustainability and climate change implications associated with this particular report.  However, regeneration has implications for the sustainability of communities, especially when integrated with planning and transport issues.  By way of example, investment in new developments and facilities can reduce the need to travel.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

16.      There are no legal implications associated with this particular report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

17.      There are no crime and disorder implications associated with this particular report, although successful regeneration activity will result in a reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

18.      There are no specific equal opportunity implications associated with this particular report, although successful regeneration can lead to improved access to services and facilities and foster community cohesion, a factor which figured in the Council's bid.

Corporate/Service Objectives

19.      There is broad agreement both in Wales and across the United Kingdom that regeneration is a comprehensive process, which aims to tackle a combination of social, economic, physical and environmental issues and that it is focused on areas of disadvantage, particularly those where the market alone cannot deliver improvement.  Regeneration therefore requires broad action across a range of Departments and Service Areas and this is reflected in the content of both the Corporate Plan and Service Plans.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.      This report is a matter for determination by Council.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.      The Council’s Stage 1 application was reported to Cabinet on 29th July 2013 and referred to Economy and Environmental Scrutiny Committee for information purposes on 3rd September 2013.  All Councillors were sent a copy of the bid by email on 23rd July 2013.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.      Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

Wales Audit Office (August 2005) Regeneration - A Simpler Approach for Wales

Welsh Assembly Government (October 2010) Framework for Regeneration Areas

Welsh Government (October 2012) Vibrant and Viable Places - New Regeneration Framework (consultation document)

Welsh Government (March 2013) Vibrant and Viable Places - New Regeneration Framework

Welsh Government (May 2013) Vibrant and Viable Places Regeneration Framework (guidance for applicants to access Welsh Government targeted regeneration investment)

Cabinet Report (23rd July 2012 Minute C1780) Barry Regeneration Area

Cabinet Report (17th December 2012 Minute C1949) Welsh Government Consultation Document, Vibrant and Viable Places - A New Regeneration Framework

Cabinet Report (1st July 2013 Minute C1391) Welsh Government Regeneration Framework - Vibrant and Viable Places

Cabinet Report (29th July 2013 Minute C1442) Welsh Government Regeneration Framework - Vibrant and Viable Places

 

Contact Officer

Dave Williams, Principal Regeneration Officer

 

Officers Consulted

Head of housing and Building Services

Operational Manager (Countryside and Economic Projects)

Principal Regeneration Officer

Principal Housing and Pollution Officer

Major Project Managers

Accountant

Legal Services

 

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services

 

 

 

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