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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 24 March, 2014

 

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

 

Assisted Areas Consultation

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To apprise Cabinet of the ongoing review of the Assisted Areas Map for 2014-2020.

Recommendations

1.         That the position is noted and the responses to the Draft Assisted Areas Map endorsed.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         In order to inform the next stage of consultation.

 

Background

2.         The U.K. Government is reviewing the Assisted Areas Order that came into force in 2007.  This is in response to the 2014 -2020 Regional Aid Guidelines (R.A.G.) issued on 20th June 2013 by the European Commission (E.C.).  The R.A.G. sets out the rules for how, why, where and to whom regional aid can be granted.  Essentially this is the framework allowing member states to provide aid to businesses and some other organisations in order to promote economic development.  The guidelines provide for regional aid to be given in selected economically disadvantaged regions, whilst providing restrictions to avoid unnecessary intervention in competitive markets and excessive distortion of competition.  Regions which are permitted to benefit from State Aid are known as Assisted Areas (A.A.).

3.         Member States have some flexibility in identifying A.A.s, so long as criteria comply with the guidelines.  The U.K. Government is working with the Welsh Government on the process.  There are two stages to the consultation.  At stage 1, the U.K. Government led on an 'open' consultation, and observations/suggestions were sought by 30th September 2013.  

4.         I reported to Cabinet on 16th December 2013 and Cabinet endorsed the submissions made in respect of Stage 1 (Minute C2127 refers).

 

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         The Council submitted two responses to the Stage 1 Consultation.   

6.         Response 1 suggested inclusion of Castleland, Buttrills, Sully, Rhoose, St Athan, Llantwit Major, Llandow/Ewenny and Peterston Super Ely.  The submission was based on the economic opportunities in these Wards, and their potential to stimulate regional growth.  Peterston Super Ely for instance, includes the Deposit Draft Local Development Plan Employment Site at Junction 34 of the M4 motorway, and its inclusion also provides a physical link to, and employment opportunities for, the current Convergence Area, to the north of the M4 motorway at this location.

7.         Response 2 was a collaborative response.  The consultation documents encouraged collaboration in this way, and working with neighbouring non Convergence Areas allowed a case to be made around the emerging City Region approach, again in the Vale's area focussing on the Enterprise Zone and potential for Cardiff Airport to drive regional growth.  This response suggested inclusion in the AA of parts of Newport, East, South and Central Cardiff, and similar wards in the Vale to Response 1. 

8.         On 18th December 2013 the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills of the U.K. Government moved to Stage 2 of the consultation.  In doing so it published a Draft Map of Assisted Areas.   The Draft Map includes the introduction of the Wards of St Athan, Rhoose and Peterston-Super-Ely as new proposed Assisted Areas.  Whilst it is unfortunate that the other wards included in the Council's previous submissions are excluded I am very pleased to see these three wards in the Draft as there is no coverage at all currently.  In terms of opportunities to drive investment (as opposed to local areas of need) Rhoose and St Athan host prime land and buildings available together with opportunities of Welsh Government support as land owners.  Hence, I believe the Draft Map should be welcomed.  Attached as Appendices A and B are the two responses made to the draft, Appendix A being the Council's response and Appendix B being the collaborative response with Cardiff and Newport Councils.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

9.         Assisted Area Status would facilitate investment and job creation in the Vale.  The report has no direct financial costs or employment implications for the Council, but Assisted Area status for parts of the Vale could indirectly allow the Council to secure additional grant under future European Grant regimes if such funds were to be used to provide aid to businesses.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

10.      The report reflects an attempt to create an environment which facilitates local employment opportunities, reducing the need for travel in some cases.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.      There are none as a direct result of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

12.      Investment in job creation is widely accepted as having a positive effect on crime and disorder.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

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

Corporate/Service Objectives

14.      To promote economic wellbeing by supporting businesses to create local employment opportunities.

Policy Framework and Budget

15.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

16.      As the report deals with the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan, those included and not included in the Draft Map, Ward Member consultation has not been undertaken.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

17.      Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

2014-2020 Assisted Areas Map: Consultation Stage 1, Common Principles and Local Intelligence.

2014-2020 Draft Assisted Area Map: Stage 2 consultation.

 

Contact Officer

Bob Guy, Operational Manager Countryside and Economic Development - Tel. 01446 704623

 

Officers Consulted

Committee Reports, Legal

Principal Accountant

Business Manager, Corporate and Customer Services

Principal Officer (Business and Employment)

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services