Agenda Item No. 6(a)
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
COUNCIL MEETING: 7 MAY 2014
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 10 MARCH 2014
C2239 HOLTON ROAD COMMERCIAL RENEWAL AREA GRANT SCHEME – REVIEW AND OPTIONS APPRAISAL (RIPT) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)
Members were asked to review the Grant Scheme and to consider options for moving the Grant Scheme forward.
The Local Government Act 2000 (Part 1 Section 2 Promotion of well-being) included powers for local authorities, having regard to their Community Strategy; to do anything which they considered was likely to achieve the promotion or improvement of the economic, social and environmental well-being of their area. Having regard to the Local Government Act 2000, Cabinet (25th July 2007, Minute no C3155) approved the designation of a Commercial Renewal Area on Holton Road.
The Commercial Renewal Area offered grants on a discretionary basis for small scale high quality works such as the removal of unsightly solid roller shutters and the provision of new signage. The grants had been offered up to a maximum of 50% of the total costs of the eligible external works.
The Grant Scheme had been funded from 2007/08 by a Capital Programme allocation of £50,000 entitled 'Holton Road Shopfront Improvements'. The grants were administered by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and were available for commercial premises within a defined area. An indicative boundary of the grant eligible area was outlined at Appendix A attached to the report.
As a result of the review the following options were available for the Grant Scheme:
Option 1: stop the Grant Scheme due to diminishing budgets; the low take up rate; and, the limited overall impact on the street scene.
Option 2: Subject to funding, extend the Grant Scheme and continue to offer grants up to a maximum of 50% of the total costs of the eligible works.
Option 3: Subject to funding, expand the Grant Scheme to offer two distinct grant products. The first grant product, Commercial Improvement Grant, would continue to support the eligible works supported by the current Grant Scheme but at a higher grant intervention rate of up to a maximum of 65% of eligible costs. The second grant product, Town Centre Living Grant, would provide assistance for external works to create separate entrances to access vacant and redundant space above shop frontages to assist owners to bring that space into use for residential purposes (subject to any necessary planning permission).
Option 1 was not favoured as it would be contrary to the Welsh Government's regeneration framework, 'Vibrant and Viable Places' and the policy emphasis on supporting the regeneration of town centres; and, the Council's Town Centre Framework in relation to this part of Holton Road. Option 2 was not favoured as the grant intervention rate of 50% was unlikely to improve the take up rate. It was also considered that Option 2 would be a missed opportunity for the Council to take the lead and bring benefits not just to the main shopping area on Holton Road in terms of additional footfall but to the general housing needs of the area. Option 3 was therefore favoured and recommended for approval. That said Options 3 was subject to budget decisions to ensure that there was funding available during 2014/15 for the Grant Scheme to operate. The remaining element of the 2013/14 'Holton Road Shopfront Improvements' budget £5,065 would have to be slipped. There was also scope for further funding of £76,797, which was the remaining element of the Valegate Retail Park s106/ planning obligation contribution (Application No. 2008/00481/FUL). This sum was identified for public realm works in Barry Town Centre (Cabinet 3rd February 2010, Minute C757 refers) and could therefore be included in the Capital Programme 2014/15 for the Grant Scheme as described in Option 3.
This was a matter for Executive and Council decision.
(3) T H A T it be recommended to Council that the remaining element of the 2013/14 budget £5,065 be slipped and be included in the 2014/15 Capital Programme.
(4) T H A T it be recommended to Council that the remaining element of the Valegate Retail Park planning obligation contribution £76,797 (Application No. 2008/00481/FUL) be included in the 2014/15 Capital Programme.
Reasons for decisions
(3) To ensure that there was funding available during 2014/15 for the Grant Scheme to operate.
(4) To ensure that there was funding available during 2014/15 for the Grant Scheme to operate.