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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 24 February, 2014

 

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

 

Town Centres Framework

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To apprise Cabinet of the work undertaken by Consultants to develop a town centres framework and to adopt the draft Framework.

Recommendations

1.         To endorse and adopt the Framework for the Town Centres of the Vale of Glamorgan as a framework for future action and working with stakeholders.

2.         That a progress report on implementation be made to Cabinet in no more than 12 month's time.

 

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To adopt a framework for formal decision making on the future of the town centres.

 

2.         To monitor progress.

 

Background

2.      The Council appointed Consultants Nathaniel Litchfield and Partners (NLP) to develop a framework for the four town centres, Cowbridge, Penarth, Llantwit Major and Barry (Including High Street and Broad Street areas).  The basis of the framework document is to understand generic needs of the four town centres and to identify issues specific to each centre.  The resulting Framework intended to create a vision for the four centres and progress their futures over the coming years. The draft framework document is available here.

3.         NLP set up a series of consultation meetings with key stakeholders in each town centre and also attended a briefing with the Vale of Glamorgan Retail Forum and presented to Scrutiny Committee.  NLP then undertook a review of each centre to create baseline data that would inform the Framework's findings.

 

4.         Following the consultation events and data extrapolated from NLP's research NLP produced an Implementation Plan for all centres based upon the cross cutting themes detailed below, identifying stakeholder responsibility, delivery mechanisms, estimated costs and the likely timescales. 

5.         The Council then consulted stakeholders in each town centre to discuss the final draft Framework document.  Whilst the report was the basis for discussion, the majority of attendees of these events used the time as an opportunity to discuss their own thoughts and views on how the town centres should progress.  The consultation notes are attached as Appendix 1.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         The Framework alludes to many Council functions such as rural and urban regeneration, town centre management, Planning and Visible Services.  The Council has the option to adopt the Framework as a formal document upon which future decisions can be made.

7.         The cross cutting theme headings used as the basis of the Framework are:-

- Creating and Marketing an Image

- Improving and Maintaining the Street Scene and Public Realm

- Improving centre accessibility and legibility

- Making Cardiff's proximity an opportunity

- Challenges of delivery

 

8.         The Framework's visions for each town centre are detailed as follows:-

 

Barry (main town centre)

"A diverse town centre which supports business start up and embraces new opportunities such as Barry Waterfront"

This vision could be achieved by considering the following:-

Enabling Linkages - encouraging clear linkages between surrounding areas including Barry Waterfront and Barry Docks Railway Station.

Activity and Focus - A 'Whole Building' Strategy - dealing with vacancy rates, bringing empty buildings into use coupled with a pragmatic approach to focussing commercial activity around a commercial core.

Diversifying Holton Road - Encouraging a better mix of uses and new reasons to visit Holton Road.

Improved Street Scene - Improvements to Shop Fronts and building fabric.

Revitalising Holton Road's Image - Marketing/advertising a vital and viable centre which supports business start ups.

 

 

 

Barry (Broad St/High Street)

"A coherent and functional centre. High Street being Barry's independent cluster and Broad Street being the gateway, providing an attractive and safe evening destination".

 

This vision could be achieved by considering the following:-

 

Improve Broad Street - Create a more enticing place to stop and more attractive entrance into the centre

Increasing awareness of the centre - High Street as Barry's independent cluster and Broad Street as an attractive night time destination.

Diversifying Broad Street - Encouraging a more diverse family orientated night-time economy not just based on drinking

 

Cowbridge

"Continuing momentum for destination Cowbridge! . . . An historic shopping town".

 

This vision could be achieved by considering the following:-

 

Improve the Tourism & Leisure Offer - Capitalise on Cowbridge's historic built environment and increase leisure and tourist offer.

Develop the transport strategy - Establishment of a parking strategy to alleviate parking problems in Cowbridge.

Marketing - Promote Cowbridge's festivals, retail identifies and leisure offer.

 

Llantwit Major

"Developing the tourism potential of the historical gateway to the Heritage Coast and ensuring that the historical and modern elements of the centre complement one another to reinforce the town's function and to raise its profile".

 

This vision could be achieved by considering the following:-

 

A new image for Llantwit Major - creating one brand for the town.

Harnessing the coastal attraction and town's heritage to provide a cohesive offer - Exploiting Llantwit Major's unique surroundings to capture benefits of increased visitor numbers.

Improving the street scene - Ensuring good management, maintenance and stewardship of the towns built fabric with consistently good shop front design.

Creating a Destination - Diversifying Llantwit Major's offer so that it creates a destination and caters for visitors as well as residents.

 

 

Penarth

"An artistic, historical and sustainable town centre which is well connected with its surrounding area and has real potential as a cultural and artistic hub".

 

This vision could be achieved by considering the following:-

 

Imagine Penarth - Creating one brand for the town.

Fostering connections - Exploiting Penarth's unique surroundings and other attractions to capture benefits for the centre by encouraging internal and sustainable connections.

Widening Penarth's offer - Diversifying Penarth's daytime and night time offer so that it caters for visitors and supports the brand.

Building upon the centre's heritage - Building upon Penarth's unique qualities stemming from its role as a historic seaside resort.

 

9.         The Council has created a new post of Town Centres Development Officer (TCDO) using existing resources saved from the deletion of another post and a successful candidate has recently been appointed to the role and will start work in March.  This Officer will work on future town centre projects including those identified in the Framework should Cabinet adopt it.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

10.      Some elements of this work would be carried out under current budgets.  Other projects would need to be carried out by other means of funding and private sector support.  Any projects with direct funding implications for the Council will be subject to a further Cabinet Report.

11.      There are no other resource implications as a direct result of this report.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

12.      Viable town centres reduce the need to travel further afield for services and also assist in promoting civic pride and community cohesion.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

13.      There are none as a result of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

14.      It is widely accepted that town centres with fully occupied units are subject to less crime and disorder and anti-social behaviour.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

15.      There are none as a result of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

16.      Corporate Plan: R10 - Produce and implement a framework for the future of the town centres in the Vale of Glamorgan to promote investment and improve their vitality and attractiveness.

Policy Framework and Budget

17.      This is an executive decision for Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

18.      All Ward members of the Principle town centres have been consulted on this report.

Cllr Geary verbally agreed the contents of the notes from the Llantwit Major meeting and is happy with them.

Cllr Hacker was perfectly happy with the contents of the notes from the Llantwit Major meeting.

Cllr Gwyn John is happy to support the report's content.

 

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

19.      Economy & Environment.

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Emma Smith, Principal Officer (Business & Employment) - Tel. 01446 704878

 

Officers Consulted

Operational Manager for Countryside & Economic Projects

Principal Officer for Urban Regeneration

Principal Officer for Rural Regeneration

Operational Manager, Leisure & Tourism

Senior Accountant

Operational Manager, Legal Services

Director of Visible Services & Housing

Operational Manager for Development Control and Building Control

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services