The Corporate Director Communities presented a report updating Cabinet on the progress that had been made on a potential purchase of Bridgend Town Centre Police Station at Cheapside with a view to supporting the aspirations of Bridgend College to relocate their main campus to the Town Centre, and to seek approval to progress with a grant funding application to Welsh Government (WG) to support the proposed acquisition and future demolition of the Police Station building.
The Corporate Director Communities explained that officers had been working alongside Bridgend College to support their aspirations to transform their learning environment. This started with their Strategic Outline Programme identifying the need for modernisation of the College’s Cowbridge Road main campus through WG’s 21st Century Schools programme. Cowbridge Road would be split into two schemes, a new STEAM academy (centre for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) at the Pencoed Campus and then relocate part of the provision to the Town Centre. In tandem, there were discussions with South Wales Police (SWP) surrounding their decision to consolidate their offices at their Cowbridge Road site, indicating that the Police Station at Cheapside would potentially become vacant from March 2022. The re-development of the Police Station site had therefore been identified as one of the key deliverable regeneration sites. At just just 0.2 miles from Pen-y-Bont Train Station, there were considerable opportunities to promote active travel and the use of public transport to the site
The Corporate Director Communities explained that in April this year Bridgend College took a Strategic Outline Proposal (SOP) to Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme Investment Panel for consideration to be elevated into its current Band B programme. This was successful, and the College were now progressing discussions with their governing body to invest in the detailed development and design stage for a Town Centre campus. The proposal was for BCBC to acquire the current Police Station site at Cheapside and to demolish the existing building, with the aim of leasing the site to Bridgend College via a long term lease. This would enable the relocation of the remaining education provision at Bridgend College’s Cowbridge Road campus to the Town Centre. Officers had progressed tripartite discussions with Bridgend College and SWP in respect of the sale and purchase of the site. A market valuation of the property in accordance with the Land Transfer Protocol provided a land value of £650,000 and all parties concurred with the value reported. A grant from WG’s Transforming Towns programme was being sought to support the proposed acquisition of the freehold title, to regenerate an urban vacant site, to demolish the building and to secure and make good the site.
The Corporate Director Communities reported that she had just heard that WG Capital Panel had met and recommended that the grant money be approved so this would now be presented to the Minister for sign-off.
The Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration stated that this was an historic day. He thanked the Regeneration, Education and Communities Teams for collaborating on this.
The Deputy Leader added that this was an opportunity to influence a key site in Bridgend and he was delighted to support the proposal.
The Leader thanked the team for their hard work on the Masterplan and this proposal.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
• Noted the progress that had been made in connection with the proposed acquisition of the current Bridgend Town Centre Police Station at Cheapside and regeneration proposals to create a new Bridgend College Campus at the site.
• Authorised officers to pursue discussions with SWP on the acquisition of the current Bridgend Town Centre Police Station with WG Estate Co-location & Land Transfer Protocol
• Authorised officers to engage with WG on an application for grant funding to support the initial acquisition and future demolition of the current Police Station building,
• Agreed to receive a future report on progress of regeneration plans for the site in conjunction with Bridgend College.
• If recommended for approval to delegate the acceptance of a grant towards the proposed redevelopment of site to the Director of Communities and Section 151 Officer.