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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 2 November, 2015

Report of the Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration

Surrender and Re-grant of Lease in Respect of Forest Café Porthkerry Country Park

Purpose of the Report

  1. To seek authority to accept a surrender of the current leases and to grant a new lease (to include an additional area of open space land, Appendix 1) to the existing tenant of Forest Café, Porthkerry Country Park, Barry.

Recommendations

  1. That, subject to consideration of consultation responses, the Managing Director is granted delegated authority, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the Leader of the Council, to accept the surrender of the current leases and agree terms and conditions for a new lease in accordance with the terms and conditions to be agreed by the Head of Finance (including the provision of the additional area of land indicated in Appendix1), to the existing tenant of Forest Café, Porthkerry Country Park, Barry.
  2. That the Head of Legal Services be authorised to prepare, complete and execute the necessary legal documents required.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. In order to secure the required authority to allow the agreement to the surrender of the current leases and for agreement for the new lease to be entered into, in order to execute and complete the legal formalities.
  2. In order to expedite recommendation 1.

Background

  1. The tenant of the Forest Café at Porthkerry Country Park holds the property via a 21 year lease from 1st August 1998 and benefits from the Security of Tenure provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 allowing for renewal at the end of the term. A second lease was granted on 1st March 2011 to allow for the extension of outside decking area to be used by the tenants of the Café. This lease expires on 31st July 2019 and also has the benefits of the Security of Tenure provisions.
  2. Planning consent has been granted (2014/00400/FUL) to extend the existing café, providing a seating area at ground and first floor level. An extended kitchen and toilet facilities are also provided at ground floor level. The extension projects by 8 metres to the side of the existing building and 4 metres from the front with an extended decking area.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The tenant is requesting to lease the extra area of land required to allow for the proposed development as well as landlord's consent to extend the café in line with the planning permission.
  2. Terms have been agreed (Subject to Cabinet consent and Contract) to surrender the two leases currently held and for a new 21 year lease to be granted for the whole of the area required on market terms. The new lease will also benefit from the security of tenure provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. These terms are also subject to the potential loss of public open space being advertised pursuant to Section 123 (2A) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) as detailed within the legal section of this report.
  3. In order to provide for a timely development (if appropriate) emergency powers have been sought and approved to declare the small area of land adjacent to the café at Porthkerry Country Park (Appendix 1) surplus to requirements and to advertise the proposed disposal of the same open space land under the S123 (2A) of the Local Government Act 1972. If any objections are received this will be reported separately to Cabinet for consideration prior to any final decision being taken.
  4. If no objections are received the matter will be progressed as set out in the Recommendations of this report.
  5. The proposed works will improve the Council's asset. In addition the new lease terms will secure increased income generation.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The improved building will revert back to the Council on the expiry of the lease, subject to renewal of the lease.
  2. Estates and Legal officers' costs will be incurred as a result of the disposal process, which will be met by the proposed tenant.
  3. An increased rental income will be secured.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The Countryside Service offers a comprehensive environmental education package to schools, community groups and users. The new facility will enhance and compliment the visitor experience and encourage use of the Country Park as a destination.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The potential disposal of the additional open space has been subject to the statutory consultation provisions of S123 (2A) of the Local Government Act 1972 and subject to consideration of any objections received, if approved, it is proposed to accept a surrender of the two existing leases and to combine all three areas under one new lease covering the larger site.
  2. The Council has a statutory and fiduciary duty pursuant to Section 123 (2A) of the Local Government Act 1972 to secure the best consideration possible for any property disposal. The Council's Estates officer has researched comparable rentals and is satisfied that this requirement has been met. A lease granted for a term of years in excess of 7 years would be deemed a disposal under this Act.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. Investment in the café facility and extended use into evenings will create higher levels of use and effective supervision in evenings, helping to reduce vandalism and antisocial behaviour.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. There are no equal opportunities implications as a result of this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. It is a Service Plan objective to implement a strategy for tourism, marketing and events to encourage visitors to the Vale and create employment (R140).

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Councillor John Drysdale, Councillor Howard Hamilton, Councillor Rhona Probert, Councillor Nic Hodges and Councillor Steffan Wiliam have been consulted as Ward Members covering the whole Country Park area.

Councillor John Drysdale responded as follows:

"No adverse comment; this seems reasonable in the light of the proposed development."

Councillor Rhona Probert responded as follows:

"At first sight, this plan seems like a good idea to me."

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Economy & Environment.

Background Papers

Planning application 2014/00400/FUL

Contact Officer

Steve Pickering, Team Leader, Countryside Service

Officers Consulted

Legal Services (Committee reports)

Strategic Estates Manager

Operational Manager, Accountancy

Operational Manager, Regeneration

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Managing Director

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