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You are welcome to use Welsh at the meeting, a minimum notice period of 3 working days is required should you wish to do so. A simultaneous translation will be provided if requested.
It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors G. Collier, L. Elias, M. Holland, J. P. Morgan, G. Paulsen and B. Willis.
Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
To consider any declarations of interest and dispensations received.
There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.
To receive and consider the following report(s) which in the opinion of the proper officer is/are an exempt item(s) taking into account consideration of the public interest test and that the press and public should be excluded from the meeting (the reason for the decision for the exemption is available on a schedule maintained by the proper officer).
To receive and consider the following report which in the opinion of the proper officer was an exempt item taking into account consideration of the public interest test and that the press and public should be excluded from the meeting (the reason for the decision for the exemption was available on a schedule maintained by the proper officer).
Festival Shopping, Ebbw Vale
To consider report of the Corporate Director Regeneration & Community Services.
Having regard to the views expressed by the Proper Officer regarding the public interest test, that on balance, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information and that the report should be exempt.
RESOLVED that the public be excluded whilst this item of business is transacted as it is likely there would be a disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 14, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).
At the commencement of the meeting, a Member advised that she was in receipt of new information which had been received late the previous evening, which could have a significant impact on the report. This information had not been shared with Members and officers of the Council prior to the commencement of this meeting.
The Chair suggested that the Member raise this matter following the Corporate Director’s presentation of the report.
Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services.
At the invitation of the Chair, the Corporate Director spoke in detail to the report and highlighted the salient points contained therein. The Corporate Director provided details in terms of:
· The scope and background of the report which reflected the discussions that had taken place at the Council meeting in July 2020, which had agreed that detailed negotiations commence with the current owners of Festival Shopping with a view towards agreeing Heads of Terms for acquisition of the site for refurbishment/redevelopment and the preparation of a business case for acquisition and future use.
· Following approval of the report in July, commercial negotiations had commenced and these were currently on-going. Alongside these negotiations a business case had been developed by external consultants in conjunction with officers.
· Discussions in relation to funding options and support were continuing with Welsh Government.
· Alongside the development of the business case for the acquisition of the Festival Shopping Site and Parkland, good progress was being made in relation to the establishment of community hubs. It was noted that this piece of work was not predicated on the site acquisition and both capital and revenue costings for this element of the project had been included in the business case.
The Corporate Director, thereupon, gave details of the options presented in the business case together with the associated cost of each option.
- Option 1 – Acquisition of Festival Park Shopping Centre or ‘Do Minimum’ (preferred option).
- Option 0 – Business as Usual (BAU) or the ‘Do Nothing’ option.
- Option 2 – New Build Administration Building to Replace Civic Centre.
It was noted that in terms of the Corporate Plan, the preferred option would fit within the priority aims of the plan to:
- increase the start-up business rate, retention and growth of local businesses and attract new inward investment; and
- work with partners to develop a new vision for our town centres ensuring their long term future.
Section 4.2 of the report provided details of further activities and aims ... view the full minutes text for item 5.