THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 11TH JANUARY, 2016
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 1ST DECEMBER, 2015
" NELL'S POINT MARKETING (CALL-IN) -
Cabinet, at its meeting on 16th November, 2015, considered a Part I report and a Part II report in relation to Nell's Point Marketing which advised of the results of the marketing exercise over the summer months for the site at Nell's Point and the adjacent toilet block.
The Council's preference had been indicated as being the development of tourism and leisure based development on the Nell's Point site to widen the range of product and attractions available at Barry Island. Cabinet at the meeting subsequently on 16th November, 2015 resolved
"(1) T H A T Bidder B- Bourne Holidays Limited trading as Warner Leisure Hotels, be accepted as "Preferred Bidder" in respect of the sale of the site at Nell's Point, Barry Island marketed in the summer of 2015.
(2) T H A T officers be authorised to continue discussions and negotiations with Bourne Holidays Limited/Warner Leisure Hotels as the preferred bidder from the marketing exercise.
(3) T H A T the Managing Director, the Director of Environment and Housing Services and the Head of Regeneration and Planning as members of the Project Board, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, be granted delegated authority to continue negotiating towards the disposal of the site at Nell's Point and adjacent toilet block.
(4) T H A T subject to progress, as authorised under resolution 3 above, the Head of Legal Services be granted delegated authority to enter into an appropriate lease agreement, on behalf of the Council, for the disposal of the sites to Bourne Holidays Limited trading as Warner Leisure Hotels, subject to appropriate terms and conditions as may be agreed by the Project Board and complete the transaction in due course."
Councillor R.J. Bertin who was unable to be present at the Scrutiny Committee had requested a call-in on the matter for the following reasons:
"Given that Bidder B is now the preferred bidder from the marketing exercise, I would like a report to be given to the E&E scrutiny to discuss the following implications:
Bourne Holidays / Warner Hotels only cater for adults when in fact we do require family facilities?
Will we have enough parking spaces will the loss of the temporary car park given plans for development of Barry Island?
Bidder A has complained that the wrong paperwork was sent out during this exercise - Can this be confirmed?
Can all Barry members be involved and kept updated on all future developments at this site?"
Prior to discussion the Chairman took the opportunity to inform all present of her concerns with regard to the comments made in the call-in, some of which she had considered could be potentially damaging to the Council, and she had sought advice from the Monitoring Officer when considering the call-in request. It would also be her intention to deal with as much of the call-in as possible under Part 1. Detailed appraisals of the bids were in the Part II report and should there be a need to discuss any confidential matters by the Committee these would have to be dealt with under Part II. Members of the public would therefore be asked to leave the room at that point whilst those matters were being discussed.
The extract of the minutes relating to Nell's Point of the Cabinet meeting held on 16th November 2015 had also been forwarded to all Members of the Scrutiny Committee prior to the meeting and were available at the meeting for Members' information.
The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, with permission to speak, advised that the brief for the marketing had specified that bids should relate to leisure and tourism uses. Accommodation for families fell within the range of uses which would have been acceptable but the overall aim was to encourage investment which would generate tangible local regeneration benefits. Leisure and tourism had clearly been the remit.
In response to the issue of the "loss of the temporary car park", the Cabinet Member advised that Members would have been fully aware that the car park was "temporary" as it was always intended to be a "meanwhile" use to exist through the marketing and eventual disposal of Nell's Point to an appropriate bidder. Its construction had been seen as part of the package of works required to support the marketing initiative for Nell's Point and to act as a catalyst for investment.
In referring to the call-in, and the reference to Bidder A having complained that the wrong paperwork was sent out during this exercise, the Cabinet Member confirmed for the Committee that no complaint had been received from Bidder A by the Council and that the correct procedures had been followed by the Council through the bidding process. Two compliant bids had been received and both compliant bidders had been invited to attend the Council's offices to present their submissions to the Project Board for the sites on 20th October, 2015. The Project Board comprised the Leader of the Council, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, the Managing Director, the Director of Environment and Housing Services and the Head of Regeneration and Planning. Further reference was made to that fact that the detailed appraisal of the bids had been provided in the Part II report which was later in the agenda.
Finally, with regard to the final question in the call-in reference relating to all Barry Members being involved and kept updated on all future developments, the Cabinet Member advised that the two reports had been presented to Cabinet within six weeks of the close of the bids which, in her view, clearly demonstrated openness and transparency and a willingness to keep Members informed of progress. It was, however, important to recognise that the Part II report contained information of a confidential and commercially sensitive nature which could not be made publically available at this stage. The comment made that "Bidder A has complained" was also not the case and was a cause for concern. The Cabinet Member stated that the call-in clearly made the suggestion that Bidder A had complained that the wrong paperwork had been sent out but the Council could confirm that Bidder A had not complained, therefore this statement was misleading.
In referring to "Can all Barry members be involved and kept updated on all future developments at this site?" the Cabinet Member referred to the two reports that had been presented to Cabinet which provided detailed information of the exercise.
With regard to the comment "only cater for adults when in fact we do require family facilities" the Cabinet Member reaffirmed that the specified brief was for a quality leisure and tourism provision with the Bidder having to comply with the strategic brief document. The submission by Bidder B had complied.
Members of the Project Board had also considered the bids having due regard to the scoring mechanism as set out in the strategic brief document.
All Members of the Committee agreed that it was clear that the two bidders referred to in the report had been compliant with the requirements as set out in the strategic brief and that the marketing exercise had been undertaken following the appropriate procedures.
Councillor S. T. Wiliam stated that he was more than happy with the way the marketing exercise had been dealt with but would like the Committee to recommend that Cabinet address the issue of the need for additional car parking and look into the feasibility of a multi-storey permanent car park on the Island.
Councillor N.P. Hodges, (not a Member of the Committee) with permission to speak, advised that he also had no issues with the process which he considered had been appropriately executed but was concerned by the call-in about how the misinformation contained therein could be perceived. With regard to the issue of car parking on the Island, although not directly linked to the call-in, he considered it an opportunity to raise the issue and concurred with Councillor Wiliam's suggested recommendation. Local traders had also advised him of their concerns that when Nell's Point was developed a significant loss of car parking spaces would be an issue for the Island.
In response, the Head of Service stated that the Council was currently in a transitional situation with the new link road through the Waterfront nearing completion, and this along with the ongoing redevelopment of the Waterfront and the position of Nell's Point, meant that the Council would have to consider a number of issues regarding transport in general, in the future. Other Members of the Committee considered that a wider transport study of the Island was preferential in order to fully assess what would be required and that recommending that a multi-storey be built was inappropriate at this stage. It was subsequently suggested that a request to the Cabinet to look at traffic management fully in the area would be a more appropriate approach.
Following which it was subsequently
(1) T H A T, in noting the inaccuracy outlined in the call-in in relation to the reference to Bidder A, the Committee fully recognised that the bidding process had been dealt with in accordance with procedures and that the resolutions of Cabinet be accepted.
(2) T H A T notwithstanding Resolution (1) above, Cabinet be requested to include the consideration of traffic management and the management of car parking in the vicinity of the Nell's Point development in their current review of car parking in the Vale.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) In recognition of the fact that the submissions by Bidders A and B had been compliant with the requirements as set out in the strategic brief and the procedure for the tendering process had been executed in accordance with Council Procedures.
(2) In order that the issue can be considered.