The Corporate Director Communities presented a report providing a background on the UK Government Levelling Up Fund (LUF) and updating Cabinet on the development of projects previously endorsed by them to be developed for this and future rounds of the fund. The report also sought endorsement to submit projects in the next round of the fund.
The Corporate Director Communities explained that the LUF would invest in local infrastructure and capital projects that had a visible impact on people and their communities. This included a range of high value local investment priorities, including local transport schemes, urban and economic
regeneration projects and supporting cultural assets. Each constituency bid could be up to the value of £20m. However, there was also scope
for investing in larger, high-value transport projects, allowing for bids of up to £50m, with each bid being encouraged to contribute a minimum of 10% funding from local and third-party contributions.
The Corporate Director Communities reported that applications for round two of funding must be submitted in full by midday on Wednesday 6 July 2022. Updates were provided on the three constituency projects which were previously reported to Cabinet, setting out the current position and proposals for the way forward.
The Corporate Director Communities explained that for the Bridgend Constituency they would be proceeding with the Porthcawl Pavilion
Redevelopment. The principal objectives of the renewal of the Grand Pavilion would address the issues of risk to the building fabric that existed in the condition of the concrete structure whilst also meeting the needs and aspirations of local people for extended and improved arts, heritage and library services. A number of new facilities were proposed including new function spaces at first floor (Esplanade) level, new rooftop function and cafe spaces offering elevated sea-views across the Bristol Channel and a new Studio theatre. The local MP supported the bid.
For the Ogmore constituency, agreement had previously been sought to
pursue a Bridgend Enterprise Development Project, which officers felt was the most advantageous project to meet local needs and achieve the aspirations of the Levelling Up programme, by delivering commercial and employment space in key locations. UK Government Levelling Up officials had been unsupportive of this project, and they did not believe that this project would be successful and would not find favour during the assessment process. Despite having considered other strategic opportunities within the constituency area, no other projects had been developed to a point where officers could recommend the submission of an alternative project. Officers would like to take the opportunity to identify an alternative strategic project and potential partners to develop a bid for the communities of the Llynfi, Garw and Ogmore Valleys, in anticipation of the next bidding round.
The Transport bid was for the Penprysg Railway Bridge, a long-standing infrastructure project for Bridgend included in the current and replacement Local Development Plan (LDP) as well as predecessor land use plans.
This project would result in the rebuilding of the Penprysg road bridge so that it could accommodate two-way traffic leading to the eventual closure of Pencoed’s railway level crossing, and an all-new active travel bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. The value of the project would place it into the ‘large transport scheme’ category and therefore there would be a need for a more substantial financial and economical case.
The Corporate Director Communities outlined the financial implications in relation to the two bids to be submitted for funding in round two of the LUF programme. The LUF application encouraged a minimum 10% match funding requirement for each project and as the details of the delivery costs relating to each project emerged, both projects would be seeking the support of partner organisations and other external funding sources to support the total cost of the delivery of the projects. However, at this point match funding from external sources had not been secured.
The Cabinet Member for Communitiescommended the amazing work that had been done resulting in the Penprysg Road Bridge Scheme coming to fruition and improvements to Porthcawl Pavilion. It was unfortunate that the Ogmore bid could not be submitted but a better scheme could be achieved with more time.
The Cabinet Member for Regenerationwelcomed the report and thanked the Corporate Director Communities and her team for their hard work and she hoped that Ogmore would benefit in the next round.
The Leader stressed that it was important to note that the work undertaken to develop new enterprise hubs had not been wasted because they would look to see what other funding schemes were available to progress those schemes. He added that there would be briefing sessions for local members on both schemes.
· Noted the overview and update on the application process associated with the LUF.
· Endorsed the projects proposed by officers to be submitted in round two of the LUF programme.
· Delegated authority to the Director of Communities to liaise with the Section 151 Officer to agree the total project costs to be submitted within the applications
· Approved that future financial implications would be reported back to Cabinet and Council in due course prior to acceptance of any grant funding.
Agreed to receive a future report on the development of a bid for the Ogmore Constituency.