Agenda Item No. 4

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

ECONOMY AND REGENERATION SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: 18 JANUARY 2018

 

REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 20 NOVEMBER 2017

 

C144        Barry Regeneration Progress Report (RP) (Scrutiny Committee – Economy and Regeneration) -

 

Cabinet was apprised of past regeneration policy, programmes and projects in relation to Barry and key issues and challenges for the future were identified.

 

The socio-economic and cultural environment of Barry had changed dramatically over the last 100 years or so. The coal boom, as the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth, was followed by a steady economic decline, following the interwar period. This decline prompted a plethora of government-led regeneration and redevelopment initiatives stretching back to the late 1980s, differing in scale, scope and vision. The primary purpose of the report was to provide an overview to the subject of regeneration in Barry and the possible future direction. The report attempted to give a sense of the regeneration activity that had been undertaken in Barry to address economic failure, poverty, degradation and social exclusion; and, to identify the key issues and challenges for the future.

 

The following regeneration and redevelopment initiatives were detailed in the report:

 

Welsh Development Agency (WDA) Urban Renewal Unit / Urban Development Programme (1987 - 1992) - Barry was included along with six other areas across Wales, all characterised by dereliction and economic decline, for a multi-million pound programme of investment.  Investment was largely capital based, focusing on land assembly, land reclamation and environmental improvements.

 

Barry Joint Initiative / Barry Joint Venture (1992 - to present) - The Barry Joint Initiative between the WDA and Associated British Ports (and its successors) was a delivery vehicle created to direct and manage the redevelopment of 190 acres of land around the decommissioned Barry No.1 Dock. The regeneration programme known as Barry Joint Venture was a delivery vehicle comprised of the WDA, South Glamorgan County Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Borough Council (and its successors) which worked alongside the Barry Joint Initiative.  Capital investment focused on land assembly, clearance and disposal at key locations across the town such as Nell's Point, Holton Road, Innovation Quarter and the Barry Steam Railway Project.

 

Barry Regeneration Area (2010 - 2014) - The Barry Regeneration Area programme was launched by the Welsh Government in March 2010. A total of £9.8m of Welsh Government investment was allocated to the programme, which ran from the years 2010/11 to 2013/14 (inclusive). In July 2015 the Welsh Government published an achievements report (attached at Appendix 1 to the report) which was subsequently reported to the meeting of Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) on 6 October, 2015 (minute 475 refers).

 

Vibrant and Viable Places Programme (2014 - 2018) - From 2014/15 the Welsh Government targeted regeneration investment across Wales through the Vibrant and Viable Places (VVP) Regeneration Framework (published in March 2013).  In July 2014 the Council was awarded £1m in capital funding through the VVP programme (Tackling Poverty Fund) over the three financial years 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17. In September 2017 the Council published an achievements report (attached at Appendix 2 to the report) which provided information on regeneration projects which had either taken place or had started during the first three years (2014/15-2016/17 inclusive) of the programme.

 

Regenerative Impact of Other Initiatives and Projects (2001 - to present) - In recent years the policy focus for the Council was to encourage and facilitate a more joined up or whole-town approach to regeneration in Barry in order to maximise the regenerative impact of mainstream Welsh Government initiatives. Looking ahead there were further opportunities for closer integration, through procurement to maximise local supply chain development and associated targeted training and recruitment clauses favouring local residents.

 

Communities First (CF) was a Welsh Government funded anti-poverty programme, and the Council was the delivery body for CF in targeted wards with higher levels of deprivation in Barry, using multiple measures, working within a multi-agency partnership. CF addressed poverty issues through health, prosperity and learning strands of activities and had been very successful in building the capacity of individuals in targeted wards to improve their lives, including employment prospects. The CF programme across Wales was coming to an end in March 2018 as a result of a reprioritisation in Welsh Government. This would impact on the targeted wards.  Welsh Government had however announced 2 new, considerably smaller, grant schemes which would partially replace CF. Firstly, the Legacy Fund would allow the Council to deliver what it considered to be the strongest elements of CF for at least a further 2 years. Secondly, the Employability Grant would allow the Council to support individuals with their employability prospects through a broad range of potential actions.

 

Castleland Renewal Area was the third of the Vale of Glamorgan’s Renewal Areas and was declared in April 2010. The programme was now completed, the final works being improvements to commercial properties and public realm in upper Holton Road, which had already drawn considerable new business investment into the area. Attached at Appendix 3 to the report was a summary of key achievements over the programme period.

 

A new reinforced Council Economic Development team was established in February 2017, the idea behind the team being that they mirrored the approach of the successful Rural Regeneration Team in Cowbridge (Creative Rural Communities) by building the capacity of local groups and businesses. The focus of this team was the urban wards within Barry, Penarth and Llandough but it worked county wide.

 

Emerging Projects, Policies and Funding Programmes - On 20 October, 2017 the then Welsh Government's Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children launched a new capital regeneration programme known as Targeted Regeneration Investment (TRI) for the three year period 2018/19-2020/21. Under the new programme, local authorities along with their partner organisations would be able to apply for capital investment for projects that promoted economic regeneration and served the aims of wider sustainable development with activities focussed at individuals and areas most in need. The Welsh Government's intention was that the new programme would help create jobs, enhance skills and employability and create the environment for businesses to grow and thrive. The guidance published by the Welsh Government was attached at Appendix 4 to the report.

 

There remained a number of concerns about the way TRI would operate particularly in relation to the development of the Regional Plan for Regeneration and the project approval process. The Vale of Glamorgan Council along with the other local authorities across South East Wales would be seeking further advice and assistance from the Welsh Government over the coming weeks and months with the aim of clarifying matters.

 

There was no guarantee that the Vale of Glamorgan Council would be awarded funding from TRI but it was vital the Council had schemes ready to submit for grant assistance should the opportunity arise during the period 2018/19-2020/21. The Barry Town Centre Gateway Regeneration Scheme (Cabinet minute C3544 refers) was a potential candidate for capital investment from TRI and had been developed in anticipation of such. Subject to the conclusions of an on-going complex feasibility and master planning exercise the project area covered the interface between Gladstone Road, Broad Street and Dock View Road; the Dock View Road corridor; and, the land south of Dock View Road adjoining Barry Dock Station. The links to Barry Island and the Innovation Quarter/Waterfront were also key to the project, along with the master planning of Barry Island. As a future project it was considered well-placed to meet the fundamental aims and objectives of TRI, which was to support regionally significant regeneration investment proposals; enable people to improve their well-being and chances to access employment; and respect the local Sense of Place by creating safe, attractive and well-connected places.

 

At the meeting, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Planning tabled the following statement from Councillor I. J. Johnson as Ward Member Consultation, and confirmed that it had been received and considered by all Members of Cabinet.

 

“This is a useful history of investment in Barry regeneration which should be forwarded to the Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee for them to note.

It is disappointing that Welsh Government did not continue their place-based regeneration funding through the Strategic Regeneration Areas, instead opting for the Vibrant and Viable Places framework. In the case of Barry, the difference in investment levels for both plans is quite stark and that can be seen in the outcome reports attached.

 

I am concerned that Welsh Government policy going forward for Targeted Regeneration Investment is going to be similarly focused on ‘bitty’ projects rather than a whole town regeneration concept.

 

I support the proposal to use the Barry Town Centre Gateway Regeneration Scheme as a plan to receive Welsh Government funding, supported by our own council resources. However, I would not want to see progress delayed if there are lengthy lead-in times or un-necessary bureaucracy to access Welsh Government funding. I would also recommend that the Regeneration Scheme boundaries be extended as far as Kendrick Road, so as to encompass buildings such as Haydock House, the former Post Office and Provincial House – all of which are currently under-utilised but important parts of the town centre.

 

I would also ask for clarification on how we will develop future eligible pipeline projects, how consultation with local members and the wider public will operate and how we will evaluate outcomes from Barry regeneration projects, rather than list outputs as is the case in previous achievement reports.”

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

Cabinet, having considered the report and all the issues and implications contained therein

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report and the progress made be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to Environment & Regeneration Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To note the progress made and the key issues and challenges for the future.

 

(2)       To inform Environment & Regeneration Scrutiny Committee of the progress made and the key issues and challenges for the future.

 

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 20 NOVEMBER 2017