The Corporate Director for Communities presented a report, the purpose of which, was to update Cabinet on the progress that has been made in order to bring forward a mixed use regeneration of the former Ewenny Road Industrial Estate, Maesteg, and to seek approval to progress with the due diligence stage of a grant funding application in order to secure Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) funding for necessary infrastructure and remediation works. The report also provided an update on the ongoing relationship with Pontardawe Coal & Metals Company Limited (PCMCL) and the joint aim of the parties to facilitate the remediation, marketing and sale of land at Ewenny Road (Former Cooper Standard Site), Ewenny Industrial Estate, Maesteg.
She explained that he former Ewenny Road Industrial Estate site is a 19.71 acre vacant parcel of land that is owned in part by BCBC and in part by PCMCL. PCMCL are a subsidiary of Clowes Development (UK) Ltd, a substantial family owned property development and investment company based in Derby.
BCBC owned 7.52 acres (Former Cooper Standard Site) whilst PCMCL own 12.19 acres (Former Budel Pac Cosi Site), with this reflecting an ownership split by acreage of circa 40 percent BCBC and 60 percent PCMCL owned land. Both parties have previously completed demolition and site clearance work in readiness for development although the lack of viability has resulted in the entire 19.71 acre site remaining vacant and in a state of dereliction.
Following an assessment of the application the Development Control Committee resolved to approve the application subject to finalising the planning obligations. This initial proposal was subsequently revised in an attempt to improve the viability of the scheme and this Committee resolved to grant planning permission for this revised scheme in June 2016. Terms were also previously agreed with PCMCL for the disposal of the BCBC owned land and these were authorised by Cabinet on the 10th May 2016.
The Corporate Director – Communities then outlined certain information, as alluded to in the report, of further works that were now needed at this site, so as to improve it. Given the costs associated with these works the development of the area, was not now financially viable without additional funding support she added.
In September 2020 the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) Housing Viability Gap Fund was launched. This fund is a £35 million targeted housing investment programme designed to overcome evidenced market failures relating to financial viability across South East Wales. Officers had worked collaboratively with PCMCL to prepare a comprehensive suite of application documents and put the scheme forward for consideration as part of this fund.
Following a period of evaluation by CCR and CBRE, a report to the CCR Cabinet on 15th March 2021 identified an indicative schedule of sites that had been shortlisted for funding, with the Former Ewenny Road Industrial Estate, having been shortlisted for £3.5 million of funding.
The Corporate Director for Communities continued, by advising that the CCR Viability Gap Fund is intended to unlock housing led development on sites where the upfront infrastructure costs render the scheme unviable and are subsequently stalled. The CCR Fund seeks to optimise economic returns by investing in the most strategically located sites which maximise value for money. The CCR Funding Programme had been structured to target the areas of lowest economic competitiveness in the region, as informed by the UK Competitiveness Index 2019. This was to be achieved via the split fund prioritisation approach detailed in paragraph 4.1 of the report.
In addition to the two £15 million sub funds outlined in the above part of the report, an additional £5 million of Welsh Government funding was being made available for schemes that could meet specific requirements. BCBC was not eligible for sub fund 1 and the Welsh Government funding conditions were not appropriate, as they required all residential units to meet space standards that were not deliverable for the Ewenny Road site. As such the site was eligible to be put forward for consideration as part of the £15 million sub fund 2 element.
Following a period of assessment and initial due diligence, CCR released an indicative shortlist in March 2021 which was reported to and approved by CCR Cabinet on 15th March 2021. This shortlist included the Former Ewenny Road scheme for which a maximum of £3.5 million of funding has been earmarked.
The Corporate Director for Communities advised therefore, that it was now necessary to request Cabinet endorsement for the submission of the full application. Officers would report back to Cabinet to seek approval to accept a funding agreement, should the application be successful.
The remaining sections of the report, included information on revisions required to the Masterplan at draft stage, to ensure that there was a mixed regeneration of proposals on the site, (as contained in paragraph 4.9 of the report), relationships with PCML and the next steps to be taken, going forward.
The Corporate Director for Communities concluded her report, by referring to the financial implications regarding its proposals.
The Cabinet Member for Communities commended the report and its proposals, which he felt was largely due to the Council being part of the Cardiff Capital City Deal arrangement, which would provide grant funding for that which was proposed at the site. The development of the site would give BCBC the ability to bid for Metro finance, in order to create a Park and Ride facility at Ewenny Road. The development proposals would also assist the Authority’s green agenda, ie with the provision of electric vehicles, as well as a children’s play area.
The Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration echoed the importance of the Council being part of the Cardiff Capital City Deal Region, which was assisting in the support of development works at this site, on the back of the proposed transport terminus at Porthcawl and enhanced transport links at Pyle station. No doubt other projects would also follow on, he added. He was pleased to see such a mixed set of development proposals at one location, which was a brownfield site, that included a transport hub, together with both residential and commercial development, amongst others.
The Leader was also pleased to see a commitment being made towards the building of over 180 homes that included affordable housing for local people, which would result in this being the largest housing development in Maesteg, together with a park and ride facility and a first new enterprise hub, serving the Llynfi Valley. This was only being realised he added, from being a member of the Cardiff Capital City Deal. This was also the biggest regeneration project that had been undertaken in Maesteg in a generation, he concluded.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
• Noted the progress that had been made in connection with regeneration proposals for the former Ewenny Road Industrial Estate, the proposed remediation, marketing and disposal of the site in order to facilitate mixed use regeneration;
• Authorised officers to continue to engage with CCR on the final submission for the Housing Viability Gap Fund grant for which the site had been shortlisted.
• Agreed to receive a future report on the contractual terms to be agreed with PCMCL on the proposed redevelopment of the site.
• Agreed to receive a future report on any financial implications to the authority on progressing the proposed redevelopment.
• Delegated the acceptance of a grant towards the redevelopment of the Former Ewenny Road Industrial Estate to the Director of Communities and Section 151 Officer