Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Head of Operations, Community Services presented a report providing an update on the Valleys Regional Park (VRP) and seeking approval, following a request from the VRP board, that Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) continues in its role as host of the VRP to the end of the 2023/24 financial year. The report was also seeking approval to accept a grant offer of £265,000 from Welsh Government (WG) for funding VRP for the remaining 9 months of the 2023/24 financial year following the end of the current European Social Fund (ESF) funding in June 2023.
The Head of Operations, Community Services outlined the vision and purpose of the VRP undertaking and the steps that had resulted in Bridgend acting as the host authority for the delivery team for the Valleys Regional Park and how that has been funded in the main by the European Social Fund due to end this June. Discussions had taken place with the Board for the VRP and with the Deputy Minister for Arts and Sports and a grant offer was forthcoming of £265,000. This would cover the costs through to the end of the current financial year and would provide a basis for planning and looking at a longer term approach, so that hopefully the VRP or equivalent could bring benefit to these areas in the long term and assuring a continuation right away.
The Cabinet Member for Regeneration said that it was pleasing that the grant offer was forthcoming to continue this work. She asked what would happen after this financial year. The Head of Operations, Community Services replied that as in the report, work would be carried out to seek funding for the administration of the VRP going forward to secure the future for VRP or something equivalent.
The Cabinet Member for Communities referred to point 4.3 of the report and asked for confirmation that the final bullet point, “Development of a viable business plan to secure sustainable funding for VRP by the 31 March 2029” should read through to 31 March 2029. The Head of Operations, Community Services explained that the objective was to have a self- sustaining initiative by that point in time.
The Deputy Leader asked if staff were available to run this? The Head of Operations, Community Services replied that there were staff in place, some of whom were on secondment from WG so it was a case of continuing with the arrangements in place.
1. Noted progress to date in developing the VRP.
2 Approved the request from the VRP Board that BCBC continue in its role as host of the VRP to the end of the 2023/24 financial year.
3 Delegated authority to the Corporate Director Communities, in consultation with the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change and the Chief Officer - Legal and Regulatory Services, to approve the final terms of the grant offer, accept the offer of funding from Welsh Government and to enter into any appropriate funding and legal agreements necessary to fulfil the role as host the VRP delivery team.
Publication date: 23/05/2023
Date of decision: 11/04/2023
Decided at meeting: 11/04/2023 - Cabinet