Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cabinet Meeting: 30 June, 2014
Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation
Welsh Government's Town Centre Partnerships
Purpose of the Report
1. To advise Cabinet of a recently announced Welsh Government (WG) funding stream to support the development of Town Centre Partnerships (TCP's) across Wales. The report also seeks authority to progress two applications for Penarth and Llantwit Major.
1. That Cabinet note the Welsh Government's Town Centre Partnerships programme and associated funding support.
2. That the Director of Development Services be given delegated authority, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation, to submit applications for funding in respect of Llantwit Major and Penarth towns.
3. That the outcome of the applications be reported to Cabinet once a decision has been received from Welsh Government.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. In order to apprise Cabinet of the Town Centre Partnerships programme.
2. Attached at Appendix A is a letter dated 28th May, from the Deputy Director of the Homes and Places Division, Welsh Government, which draws the Council's attention to the Town Centre Partnerships initiative. The letter advises that a total fund of £1 million is available across Wales and a maximum of £50k revenue funding is available per successful application, on the expectation that match funding of a minimum of 50% is put forward from other, non WG sources. The deadline for submitting applications is 5pm Friday, 25th July 2014 and a maximum of two applications are permitted per authority.
3. The letter and attached guidance, advises that the purpose of the funding is to act as a catalyst for the formation of Town Centre Partnerships and the creation of Town Centre Action Plans, although funding may be used to support existing Town Centre Partnerships and Action Plans. WG expect Action Plans to support activity that contributes to the vibrancy of centres, increases investment, reduces the impact of vacant premises, supports business and diversification of centres and allows the dissemination of best practice. Barry would not be eligible for funding as it is a settlement that will benefit from the Viable and Vibrant Places £7 million Tackling Poverty programme (paragraph 25 of the Appendix).
4. Guidance has also been issued by WG which is also attached at Appendix A alongside an application form.
Relevant Issues and Options
5. In February 2014, Cabinet endorsed and adopted the Town Centres Framework as a framework for future action and working with stakeholders on a partnership basis. The framework includes an implementation plan for the five retail centres in the Vale of Glamorgan. For the purposes of this report, Llantwit Major and Penarth town centres are the focus for an application to the TCP funding.
6. Both of the Vale's rural towns, Llantwit Major and Cowbridge, have attracted funding from the Rural Development Plan for Wales funding. The Council's Town Centres Development Officer has been working closely with the Council's Rural Regeneration Partnership, Creative Rural Communities and Towns Alive on a Destination Management project. The work began by benchmarking the two towns, which gave traders a snapshot of what residents and visitors thought about the town. Following on from this 'Town Teams' have been formed, which comprise of traders, local Councillors as well as active groups in the area, to take forward ideas, projects and investment.
7. Llantwit Major is the Vale's third largest town and is steeped in Christian heritage as well as boasting a fabulous location as the gateway to the Heritage Coast. There is huge potential to build on this and better promote the area as well as improve links between the coast and the town. Llantwit Major could attract more visitors to its historic quarter which could underpin future development of the town's image, brand and retail centre. It requires some work on its retail offer by increasing the range and choice of non-food stores, giving local residents and visitors a better retail mix.
8. The Welsh Government's Town Centre Partnership initiative could further help the Town Team to develop and implement ideas to improve the town as a destination for visitors. Part of the 50% match funding contribution required for the town centre partnerships funding initiative could be offset by using officers' time spent on existing town centre projects, should timescales allow.
9. Penarth town centre is the second largest town in the Vale of Glamorgan. With its distinctive Victorian character and period architecture, it has a sound basis upon which to make progress. Enhancements to the town include increasing the number of festivals and events including markets and increasing the range of non-food shops balancing the quantity of coffee shops on offer.
10. Penarth Town Council has recently appointed consultants to prepare a Town Plan and more recently has acquired the services of a Business Improvement District (BID) Consultant to run a BID working on a variety of improvements to enhance the town centre. A BID is a defined area within which businesses pay an additional tax (or levy) in order to fund projects within the district's boundaries. The BID is often funded primarily through the levy but can also draw on other public and private funding streams. BIDs provide services, such as cleaning streets, providing security, making capital improvements, construction of pedestrian and streetscape enhancements, and marketing the area. The services provided by BIDs are supplemental to those already provided by the local authority.
11. The BID consultant has been working with the Vale's Town Centres Development Officer on progressing the Penarth BID proposal. Once Cabinet approval has been given (to be confirmed in July 2014) consultations with Penarth businesses will take place with a view to running a ballot at the end of 2014 and the first levy payments to be made in January February of 2015. If Penarth businesses move forward as a BID, developments could include developing a brand for the town, introducing events and regular markets plus joint promotion. The Town Centre Partnership initiative could compliment and further enhance the work developed by the BID.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
12. A total grant of £50k per application is available on the basis of 50% from other sources. Each application should be based on one settlement area. In terms of match funding, this is something that will need to be factored into any application and this is a matter that will be addressed in working up the application submissions for Llantwit Major and Penarth Town Councils. A percentage of the Town Centre Development Officers' time could be offset against the match funding required.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
13. Supporting vibrant town centres allows for provision of a wide range of services in close proximity to centres of population thereby reducing the need to travel. In addition, effective regeneration schemes promote the re-use of vacant premises, thereby adding further to the sustainability and appeal of traditional centres.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
14. There are no legal implications directly applicable to this report. Each application will need to detail governance and management arrangements as part of the submission.
Crime and Disorder Implications
15. Vibrant and well occupied and well used town centres are less prone to crime and disorder and antisocial behaviour.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
16. None as a direct result of this report although vibrant town centres do allow access to a range of services to those who cannot travel further afield to access services, relating to community facilities.
17. This issue reflects the key corporate objective of regeneration and ties in with Corporate Plan Action R10 which sought the production and implementation of a town centres framework.
Policy Framework and Budget
18. This is an executive decision for Cabinet.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
19. Ward Members of Llantwit Major and Penarth have been consulted on this report.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
20. Economy and Environment.
Letter and Appendix from Welsh Government 28th May 2014
Town Centres Framework for Vale of Glamorgan
Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services - Tel. 01446 704630
Committee Reports (Legal)
Director of Visible Services and Housing
Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services