Rhondda Cynon Taf ‘sCabinet has received an update on the Council’s plan to bid for further UK Levelling Up funding – and agreed that an improved application relating to the former the Mayhew Chicken Factory site will be resubmitted.
A report to the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, June 22, recommended the project be put forward for Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund, with the deadline for submitting projects to the UK Government upcoming on July 6. Proposals for the site in Trecynon will take advantage of the resources available for the Cynon Valley Parliamentary Constituency in Round 2 of the Fund.
Priority areas being considered by the Fund include transportation, town centres and regeneration, and cultural investment. Local Authorities lead on bids for their respective areas, with the total number of bids they can submit determined by the parliamentary constituencies within their boundaries.
The Council submitted four bids in the first round of the Fund during July 2021 – relating to the Porth Transport Hub (Rhondda constituency), the Mayhew Chicken Factory site in Trecynon (Cynon Valley) and the Muni Arts Centre (Pontypridd), along with an additional transport-based bid for the A4119 dualling scheme. The Mayhew Chicken Factory site in Trecynon was the only unsuccessful bid, with the other three projects now being progressed.
Wednesday’s Cabinet report recommended that the Council resubmits this bid in Round 2 for the Cynon Valley constituency – adding that a relatively well-developed project would have a greater chance than a new project to meet the Fund’s requirements, including that work must start on site in 2022/23.
Detailed feedback has been received from the UK Government on the Round 1 bid – and the Council has since further developed the proposal. The Cabinet report adds that it is now considered a stronger bid with a greater chance of success in Round 2.
The Chicken Factory site was bought by the Council as a key redevelopment opportunity. The derelict land is readily-accessible from the A4059 and is close to the A465, which is currently being upgraded to a dual carriageway up to Hirwaun. The proposal is for a mixed-use development comprising light modern industrial units, and a park and ride facility in preparation for the potential future extension of the railway line beyond Aberdare by the South Wales Metro. It would include EV charging points and an active travel bridge.
The proposed development would provide 18 high-quality, Grade A business accommodation for growing small businesses – with the potential to create more than 50 local jobs. Three of the units are being designed in a pilot project, to conform to net zero carbon standards in their construction and use.
On Wednesday, Cabinet agreed to progress the development of a project application for the former Chicken Factory site, to be submitted before the July 6 deadline. The UK Government intends to announce the outcome of the Round 2 bids, following a three-stage assessment process, in autumn 2022.
Councillor Mark Norris, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Development and Prosperity, said: “I’m pleased that Cabinet has supported officer recommendations to resubmit an improved application to the Levelling Up fund for the Cynon Valley constituency. I’m confident that the new application for the Chicken Factory site will be a strong bid – to revitalise a strategic site in a regionally-important area, while addressing the lack of modern units to support the growth of small and medium sized businesses.
“Independent commercial advice has shown that there is a growing demand for this type of business accommodation locally, and the Council’s proposals have the potential to create 50 local jobs. The development would aim to achieve net zero carbon in the operation of some of the units, while the Council has gained invaluable recent experience of delivering similar developments at Coed Ely and Robertstown. The plans would also help the proposed delivery of the South Wales Metro, which proposes extending passenger rail beyond Aberdare in the future.
“The Council is currently consulting residents about these plans, giving the public an opportunity to share their viewpoints about the site and to give their thoughts about what is being proposed. I urge residents, if they have not done so already, to engage with process and take part before the deadline on July 1. You can find out more on the Council’s Let’s Talk engagement website.
“Following Cabinet’s decision to support the Levelling Up funding application, officers will now further develop the proposal and ensure it is ready to be submitted before the deadline, for consideration by the UK Government.”