Agenda Item No 12

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 17 September 2018

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing and Building Services

Housing Development Programme - Hayeswood Road, Barry.

Purpose of Report

  1. To seek Cabinet approval to proceed with the acquisition of Welsh Government owned land at Hayeswood Road, Barry.
  2. To submit a detailed planning application for the development of the site.
  3. To obtain the necessary authority to tender for the provision of 20 Gypsy and Travellers pitches to meet the identified needs in the Vale of Glamorgan area.

Recommendations

  1. That Cabinet endorses the findings of the Site Assessment (APPENDIX A) and confirm the site at Hayeswood Road, Barry as the preferred site to meet the longer term need for Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation identified in the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA).
  2. That approval is granted to submit a planning application for the site at Hayeswood Road, Barry, as a detailed application for a permanent Gypsy and Traveller site (the site).
  3. That approval is granted to the Head of Finance to finalise negotiations with Welsh Government for the acquisition of the site, having regard to the proposed use of the site, existing site constraints and any costs.
  4. That Delegated Authority is given to the Monitoring Officer/Head of Legal and Democratic Services to agree the form of contract and transfer in respect of the land to be acquired from Welsh Government at the appropriate time and complete all necessary legal agreements relating to the purchase.
  5. That approval is granted to tender the proposed scheme shown, for illustration purposes at Appendix B   subject to approval of planning permission and acquisition of the site.
  6. That following the planning decision l and, if applicable, the tender receipt, a further report will be presented to Cabinet regarding award of contract.
  7. That this report is referred to the Homes and Safe Communities Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To confirm the preferred site to meet the longer term need for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation identified in the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA).
  2. To allow the progression of public consultation, formal planning application and, if applicable, procurement arrangements to enable works to commence at the Hayeswood Road, Barry Site within the financial year.
  3. To allow the acquisition of the Site from Welsh Government, which has been deemed suitable in accordance with the Council's Gypsy and Traveller site identification process.
  4. To allow all required legal documentation to be entered into and for the acquisition of the site to be completed.
  5. To enable work at the Site to commence (subject to planning permission being obtained) in line with the Welsh Government's grant award requirements for Gypsy and Traveller sites.
  6. To comply with the Council's Contract Standing Orders, which require contracts with a value in excess of £300k to be agreed by Cabinet.
  7. To allow appropriate Scrutiny of the report.

Background

  1. The need to provide a permanent site for the Gypsy and Traveller Community has long been identified as a strategic priority for the Council as well as being a legal obligation to meet its statutory duty.  Opinion Research Services was commissioned in 2015 to undertake a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA), which gave a robust assessment of the Council's current and future needs for Gypsy and Traveller provision in the Vale of Glamorgan. This information has been published on the Council's website and confirms the needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community to ensure the Council meets its statutory obligations in the provision of these facilities.
  2. The last assessment was reported to Cabinet in July 2017 (minute C49). The need identified in the GTAA comprised 2 individual gypsy and traveller families currently occupying tolerated sites in Twyn Yr Odyn and Llangan (resolved via the short term supply identified in the LDP) and 17 families currently occupying a site at Hayes Road in Sully and 1 additional pitch over the plan period, accounting for demographic change.
  3. This report focuses on the unmet need for 20 pitches comprising the 17 families currently occupying a site at Hayes Road in Sully and 3 additional pitches over the plan period. The GTAA also confirmed there is no need to provide a transit site.  Therefore, the Site at Hayeswood Road, Barry is intended to provide pitches for long term residency. A GTAA must be carried out at least every 5 years and the Council will need to undertake a new assessment in 2021 at the latest.
  4. The Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan 2011 - 2026 (LDP) was formally adopted by the Vale of Glamorgan Council on the 28th June 2017. LDP Policy MG5 - Gypsy and Traveller Site makes provision for a 2 pitch gypsy and traveller site at Llangan. This 2 pitch allocation made under Policy MG5 was intended to meet the short to medium term accommodation needs of gypsy and travellers identified within the GTAA. The LDP Monitoring Framework required the further identification of an appropriate site to accommodate the need identified in the GTAA up to 2026.  This will be fulfilled through the provision of the proposed site at Hayeswood Road
  5. The Gypsy and Traveller Site Assessment 2018 at APPENDIX A sets out the methodology for finding an appropriate site to meet this need, identifies a selection of possible sites, outlines the site assessment undertaken and concludes that the preferred site is the site at Hayeswood Road, Barry.
  6. Further to the previous report of 26 March 2018 (Cabinet Minute C278) which set out the Council's intention to acquire  a site from Welsh Government, an option appraisal regarding the needs of the communities within the Vale of Glamorgan have identified this site to be in prime location to meet the needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community.  Work has progressed on preliminary site investigation and illustrative layout proposals and a copy of the proposed scheme layout is provided at APPENDIX B.
  7. Negotiations have commenced with Welsh Government in accordance with the National Assets Working Group (NAWG) Land Transfer Protocol (A Best Practice Guide for the disposal, transfer, shared use and co-occupation of land and property assets between publicly funded bodies in Wales).

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The illustrative scheme layout at APPENDIX B is designed to meet the identified need of 18 pitches, plus additional capacity of two further pitches.  To ensure the Council complies with best practice and meets the Welsh Government's funding criteria available for this site; the layout is based on "Designing Gypsy and Traveller Sites", guidance issued through Welsh Government and a detailed layout of the individual pitches is provided at APPENDIX C with an artistic impression of the street view provided at APPENDIX D.  Each pitch will facilitate a static caravan with provision for an additional touring caravan, parking for two vehicles and individual amenity block.  Each amenity block is designed to be flexible so it can be converted into temporary accommodation or a one/two bedroomed home should demand change in the future.  The gypsy and traveller site will also contain a manager's office and a communal room to allow for social activities. The pitches will be let at similar rates to other gypsy and traveller sites within Wales.
  2. In addition to the site design guidance, the Council has also made numerous unsuccessful attempts to consult with the travellers who currently occupy an unauthorised site in Sully in order to take their views into account on the location and design of a permanent site. A chronology of these attempts is provided at APPENDIX E, which shows that between June 2016 and June 2018, 27 attempts were made by Council Officers and Gypsy and Travellers (Wales) which was commissioned and funded by the Council to try to engage with the occupants of the unauthorised Sully site.
  3. Further work relating to the site is on-going, which will enable Housing and Building Services to finalise the Scheme for submission of a full planning application and support the tender documentation to enable contractors to bid for this development work.
  4. A public consultation is now required as part of the 'Pre-Application Consultation Report' (PAC) prior to a formal planning submission. This is being arranged in preparation of the planning application.
  5. The planning application is being finalised in conjunction with the PAC to enable a full planning application to be submitted after the public consultation has been undertaken and comments taken on board to inform the final layout and design of the proposals.
  6. Consultation is on-going with officers from Housing Solutions and Supporting People, Housing Management, Highways and Planning to agree the final details of the development. The Council will also continue to attempt to involve members of the Gypsy and Traveller community in those discussions.
  7. It is envisaged this scheme will provide sustainable accommodation for the gypsy and traveller community.
  8. The scheme will be tendered through the Sell2Wales portal, to satisfy the Council's financial regulations and following evaluation of the tender returns a further report will be presented to Cabinet on the details of the tender process.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The current estimated build cost is £2.3 million and it is anticipated this will be mainly funded through Welsh Government grant. Procurement of the land is separate to these costs with the value being negotiated with Welsh Government and will be met through funding identified in the Housing Revenue Account.
  2. Welsh Government is offering a capital funding stream specifically for the development of Gypsy and Traveller sites. This grant is capped at an upper limit of £150,000 per pitch and funding is only available until 2021 and requires the scheme design be delivered in line with this funding criteria.
  3. The site will require a dedicated full time site manager to be available during normal office opening hours to ensure the site supervised.  The cost of this post will be recovered through site fees.  There will also be charges for running costs of the site office and communal area which again will be included within the site fees.  Prior to setting the site fees, a review of similar sites will be conducted to ensure the site fees reflect other similar sites.  Currently, local charges range from £69 to £80 per week for similar Gypsy and traveller sites.  Charges for Electricity and Water will be charged through a separate service charge.
  4. It is anticipated the site charges may be insufficient to recover full expense for the management, running costs and future maintenance of the site although some of these costs could be charged to supporting people and any residual shortfall being funded through General Funded Housing.
  5. A sum of money has been identified within the HRA business plan for the acquisition as the final purchase price is not yet known.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The scheme will meet Welsh Government requirements on "Designing Gypsy and Traveller Sites" as a benchmark standard. The sustainability credentials of the site, in terms of its location and proximity to services and facilities, will be assessed through the planning process.
  2. No renewable technologies are currently proposed. 

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Development Team will continue to liaise with the Council's Legal team on all legal matters concerning the project and it will be necessary for appropriate forms of contract to be executed.
  2. It will be necessary for the Monitoring Officer/Head of Legal and Democratic Services to execute all documents necessary to complete the acquisition of the land at the appropriate time.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. The Site will be designed to meet security proposals as part of the Welsh Government requirements on "Designing Gypsy and Traveller Sites", which ensures the design, layout and technical specification reduces crime.
  2. Access control into part of the Site is still under consideration and discussions are on-going with the 'Secure by Design' Officer to ensure the Council has successfully mitigated this issue.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The local community and the Gypsy and Traveller community will be consulted on proposals.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. An inclusive and Safe Vale:

Objective 2: Providing decent homes and safe communities.

  1. Action: Increase the number of sustainable, affordable homes. (2019/20)

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Ward Member consultation for the proposed development will be undertaken ahead of a local information event with the local community. 
  2. Community consultation is currently being organised.
  3. Ward Members have been consulted on this report and any comments will be reported to Cabinet.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Homes and Safe Communities

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Andrew Treweek -    Operational Manager, Building Services

Officers Consulted

Mike Walsh -            Principal Lawyer

Vicky Robinson -      Operational Manager for Planning and Building Control

Pam Toms -              Operational Manager, Public Housing Services            

Carolyn Michael -     Operational Manager, Accountancy

Lorna Cross - Operational Manager, Property

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter- Director of Environment and Housing Services