A report by the Assistant Director – Planning and Strategic Infrastructure.
The Assistant Director – Planning and Strategic Infrastructure provided committee with an overview of the report confirming that the purpose of the paper was to provide Members with an overview of the direction of travel for the Councils proposed Levelling Up Fund (LUF) round 2 submission –which related to the re-development of ‘PE21’.
The report and visual presentation would also provide an overview of the LUF fund itself, the round 1 submission and feedback from that round, as well as identifying a number of key / strategic partners and organisations that Officers have been working with both to formulate the bid, and also drive forward the PE21 proposals.
The Round 1 bid had been developed in conjunction with Rose Regeneration and Urban Edge; the aim was to focus on PE21 and show an overlapping of funding with the Towns Fund it focused on the following elements. Acquisition of Crown House for subsequent redevelopment (P3); Acquisition and demolition, of B&M, to facilitate redevelopment (P4); Urban greening and activation of the Market place (P6) and Moorings on South Square. The focus of the bid had been to utilise public sector investment from the LUF as a catalyst to deliver the PE21 project, starting at its eastern end through the re-development of Crown House and the B&M site (shown below) which would be brought together with a reinvigorated public space.
The total cost of all of the above was £22m, with 10% match funding, this left a funding ‘gap’ of c£20m which was the LUF ‘ask’. The Chief Executive confirmed the Councils commitment to the scheme through match-funding in the form of land, and any necessary ‘top-up’ to the 10% minimum (c£2m), this was to be further matched by commitments from the private sector as demonstrated by the letters of support. Although this bid had been unsuccessful, the feedback from Government (DLUHC) was largely good. Minor suggestions were made in respect of narrowing down the focus of the bid (removing the Market Place and Mooring element); focusing the bid down to PE21 only; revisiting values and costs; revisiting engagement with the community; and seeking support from more partners and the MP. On review, of those areas successful in Round 1, it would seem that the end decision by Government had been largely based around sharing funding around the UK, with those areas having already received funding through Towns Fund etc., having been overlooked. The feedback received had given Officers confidence that they were heading on the right track in terms of a future bid being an appropriate fit with the LUF and its objectives.
Following the Round 1 submission Officers had reviewed the LUF 1 bid and considered that the core aspects of PE21 remained relevant and workable. It had been reviewed by the external advisors (AMION – who had a track record of success with round 1 submissions). Also, the Scarborough Group (SG) had recently met with the Officers and the Leader/Deputy Leader and were keen to work up a private/public sector proposal for the entire PE21 area, to be delivered through a Joint Venture arrangement. Whilst still being under discussion it had provided Officers with confidence that there would be backing of private sector match for a LUF 2 bid. In addition, SG had revisited the Masterplan themselves.
Officers have also continued dialogue with the owners of Crown House.
The Council has also commissioned, jointly with NHS colleagues and LCC (transport) a reworking of the PE21 masterplan for the western end of the site, to look at the opportunities for a new health center (including defining its size, placement and potential costs) and how that could be brought forward as a deliverable proposal, and how it would work alongside neighboring parcels. It was being led by Wilmott Dixon and was underway, in order to provide information to feed in to a LUF 2 bid.
Officers continued to be in discussions with other potential partners who had expressed a considerable interest in being part of PE21 scheme.
The Round 2 prospectus was largely the same as that for round 1, with some minor additions. Officers were progressing at pace, working with AMION to put together a suitable bid. As this was still being worked up it was not possible to give Members a precise picture of what would be included in the bid and what the financial model and ‘ask’ would be.
It was however, possible to outline the likely direction and key elements including the delivery of a significant enhancement of the public realm (spanning the area between the river and the Len Medlock), seen as an impactful intervention, which could be delivered in the short-term and would create the conditions for unlocking the adjacent parcels. It would also provide confidence to other investment opportunities as well as making an immediate difference to the sense of place and would hit a number of the key LUF objectives around re-use of brownfield land, sense of place, cultural and environmental change etc. Furthermore, securing the potential to rejuvenate and reuse Crown House which would be likely to comprise of residential and commercial and community uses, alongside working in partnership with the current owners of the B M site to redevelop the site which would likely comprise of a hotel, commercial and community uses and possible residential use.
The interventions would use the LUF funding as a catalyst to unlock the remainder of the PE21 area, including adjacent sites. Collectively it would then leverage the ability to bring forward other potential interventions which may include, new health facilities with linkages to third sector organisations including Len Medlock, housing, community/public sector and commercial uses and improvements to the bus-station
The LUF was a competitive bid process, with submissions made via an online portal. Submissions closed at mid-day on 6th July 2022, with a decision due in the Autumn.
The decision to make a submission or not would be a Cabinet decision, however, in order to give confidence (to Government) with the bid, the Council needs to demonstrate a wider buy-in. To that end Officers had incorporated a series of briefings into the submission timetable.
Significant committee deliberation and questioning followed which included:
Responding to a number of question the Assistant Director advised as follows:
In relation to Crown House members were advised it was privately owned site which had planning permission on it but was at the time a stalled development. The owners had been supportive of round one of funding and support was being sought for round two. The intent was to provide residential accommodation on the upper floor that could potentially be aimed at a specific market, potentially transitional housing for younger people. The ground floor would provide vibrancy to the space allowing for a mix of uses including retail and a variety of hospitality businesses offering options of space for businesses. The frontage would be open to allow sight of the uses.
The public toilet provision at Lincoln Lane was not within the Levelling Up Funding bid and as such, not subject to any consideration of change or demolition. That did mean the facility would not be considered for re provision in the future and re location of the disabled facility as identified within item one of the agenda, would be doable due to the nature of the unit.
Referencing a question in respect of the lack of any other proposals, members were advised that following on from two member briefings in round one, no additional proposals had been tabled which met the prospectus but should any future suitable proposals be tabled they could be captures and taken forward if relevant.
The B&M car park would be cleared and prepared for future development on that site.
Addressing responsibility for the delivery of the project, members were advised that there were many models of delivery. Whilst the project was in principle a joint agreement with the Scarborough group, the Council was bringing other partners to the table. The Council could be the arbiter of the funding, allocating funds to partners for the various projects and as such, the Council may lead but partners may deliver.
There was overall support of the project from members. A request for a re-naming of the project was tabled as the PE21 name was historic with negative memories for many. A more positive and relevant name needed to be imagined. Appreciation of the flexibility of the uses of the sites was noted with agreement that retail alone would not be sufficient. Members recognised the need to start somewhere and provision of a connection between the market place and west street was required to encourage visitors into the town centre to visit west street, which a member requested be accorded conservation areas status. There was agreement that it was positive that the project had an end date to work towards, to ensure completion. Concerns were tabled at the possible demolition of buildings with no uptake of the site and no clearance of the residue. Further concerns noted the future maintenance of such a high quality development with a need to ensure all maintenance factors were to a high standard to reflect the regenerated area.
Summarising the Portfolio Holder thanked committee for their input and support and advised the name PE21 had been retained for the initial rounds, as it had been used previously and was familiar. If the bid was successful then a more fitting name would be agreed. The Council had taken on-board Government advice recognising the positives and negatives of the plan and the plan submitted was the best for the money available aligning with the Levelling Up Fund objectives.
Committee commended the team of officers on the project.
That the Environment and Performance Committee: