Cardiff Capital Region’s Regional Cabinet has made a number of key decisions to maintain focus and momentum on new interventions and projects that will continue to boost the south-east Wales economy in the wake of Covid-19.
New £50m Investment Fund agreed for Strategic Premises.
This Fund will support the delivery of CCR’s Industrial and Economic Plan and our Covid-19 priorities through the provision of early stage finance for the development of new sites and employment premises that allow new and existing businesses to scale up and invest for the good of the region.
The Fund seeks to enable access to finance at a critical time in the region’s economic recovery post-COVID-19. In view of the significant job of work that lies ahead to recover and grow back better, the Fund is specifically designed to act as a catalyst for priority projects to move forward and be visible symbols of viable sectors and industries that will feature as part of the region’s long-term future. In this way, the Fund will be a key cornerstone of attracting inward investment, supporting indigenous growth and providing finance into a market that currently needs stimulus, support and confidence.
Projects that are key to delivery of the region’s economic priorities in support of innovation, business growth and regeneration will be targeted.
Specialist Independent Advisors CBRE have been appointed as Fund Advisors. The Fund is expected to be operational by May 2021.
Shortlist approved for Housing Viability Gap Funding Awards.
The £35m Homes for the Region Viability Gap Fund (£30m CCR and £5m Welsh Government) which was launched in September 2020, closed for applications on January 11 2021.
The fund targeted “stalled sites” which could clearly demonstrate a financial viability gap preventing housing delivery but which, if funding were available, would have a significant impact on housing delivery across the region. Clear submission and evaluation criteria were set out up front.
18 applications were received in total – all of which have been subject to independent evaluation and due diligence by CCR’s technical advisors, CBRE. 12 will now go forward with a ring-fenced allocation to support progress on a further 2 earlier-stage schemes.
The next stage of the process will now be to navigate pre-contractual matters and undertake standard checks and balances through a final phase of due diligence to ensure all risks are addressed and mitigated. A full and final list if sites will be announced in June 2021.
If successful the shortlisted schemes are projected to deliver 2,768 homes across the region whilst simultaneously delivering 3360 jobs and attracting £530m private investment.
Metro Plus Programme restructured and extended by 1 year to ensure it can deliver for the whole region.
Delivery of the original 10 LA led Metro Plus projects within a 3 year timeframe has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic and the knock-on effects of that seen in the public transport, construction and contractor realms together with a reduced delivery capacity given the increased pressures on local authority resources. This has facilitated a period of reflection in which it has become apparent that some projects are more “self-contained” and deliverable in the short term whilst others are more developmental and have to be delivered as part of wider, strategic and long-term programmes.
1 year extension and a 2 phase approach agreed –The following 6 projects will have a 1 year extension to the original 3 year term and are scheduled to fully deliver by March 2023:
- Barry Docks Park and Ride – Vale of Glamorgan
- Cardiff East Bus Priority Corridor- Cardiff
- Porth Interchange – RCT
- Severn Tunnel Junction Park & Ride – Monmouthshire
- Pontypool and New Inn Station Park & Ride – Torfaen
- Pyle P&R / Porthcawl Bus Terminus / Penbrysg (Pencoed) Level Crossing Bridge- Bridgend
The other 4 projects, which are much longer term initiatives, dependent on interventions outside of the control or remit of the Metro plus programme, will also be extended by 12 months and be continued to be developed to the point where they can attract funding from other programmes to enable their delivery. For these schemes funding will be provided up to March 2023.
- Newport – Cardiff Bus Priority Corridor (or alternative) Newport
- Merthyr Rail / Bus Integration Merthyr
- Abertillery Interchange (or alternative) -Blaenau Gwent
- Caerphilly Interchange – Caerphilly
These changes ensure that the Metro Plus programme continues to move forward across all 10 LAs but on grounds which promote improved viability, deliverability and affordability.
Full cabinet endorsement given to the significant progress made on the CCR Ultra Low Emission Vehicle strategy.
Taxi EV infrastructure plan in delivery and due to complete by end of June 2021 – SWARCO awarded a contract to deliver 34 chargers at 31 sites throughout the Region.
ULEV Taxi “Try before you buy scheme” to encourage transition to launch in summer 2021 – Orders are currently being placed for 50 Nissan Dynamo taxis to allow taxi drivers / operators the opportunity to try before they buy for one month per driver. The scheme will run for 3 years.
Significant Progress made in identifying appropriate sites for expanding charging infrastructure –112 sites have been identified and costed to deliver public use charging infrastructure throughout the region, including locations such as on-street, public car parks and transport hubs.
Educational Taxi webinar arranged for March 29 – to allow taxi drivers/ operators the opportunity to engage with the CCR to discuss opportunities and mechanisms for assisting with transition.
£3m Top- Up fund agreed – To ensure match funding capability to continue to lever in further investment and benefits, a £3M top-up to the Metro Plus scheme has been agreed which will support continued work on LEV and early research around the role of hydrogen in enabling future mobility.
Andrew Morgan, Leader, Rhondda Cynon Taff County borough council and Regional Cabinet Board member said:
“We are delighted to be able to announce such positive progress on these initiatives all of which will ensure that we hold our promise of delivering for all of the region at a time when the regional economy needs the boost of significant investment in infrastructure.”