Thursday, 16 October 2008

Destruction by heritage lottery fund

pic of Dan Clayton Jones (Deputy Chairman of the NHMF and HLF, Chairman of the Committee for Wales) who believes a bridge for aticulated lorries contributes to a grade 1 listed park!


Reason for this Report

1. To agree the provision of a new vehicular and pedestrian bridge for Bute
Park at an estimated cost of £1.40m as part of the revised 2007/08 capital
programme for the Council.
2. As part of the Council’s ongoing engagement with citizens and communities,
the omnibus survey for 2006 found that Cardiff parks are one of the most
highly valued local facilities in terms of user satisfaction. This was
underlined by the recent EU Urban Audit Perceptions Survey of 75 EU
Cities, which found that 88% of Cardiff citizens were satisfied with the city’s
parks and green spaces – the eighth highest ranking of any city in the
European Union.
3. The Council has previously agreed that Bute Park is the priority for
investment within the agreed Parks Partnership Programme for the Council.
4. The Parks Partnership Programme features 6 major Parks in Cardiff and
was established following the introduction by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s
(HLF’s) Public Parks Programme in 2002. In March 2005 the Council
submitted a Stage 1 application for the restoration of Bute Park which
included a new vehicular access bridge over the Docks Feeder to provide
access from North Road at a point opposite Corbett Road. As part of the
application in 2005 this commitment to funding the new bridge by the
Council was to be within the overall 5 year Parks Programme and was,
therefore, not included in the current 3 year medium term financial plan.

5. In June 2006 the HLF approved a Stage 1 grant of £3.1m towards the
overall cost of the project which amounts to £5.6m. The Stage 1 grant
specified that the Council needed to demonstrate a commitment to construct the new vehicular access into Bute Park and the offer excluded a contribution from HLF to the Bridge.
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6. On the 20 August 2007 the National Heritage Lottery wrote to the Council
confirming that:-
“the Heritage Lottery Fund view the position of a new bridge over the docks
feeder to provide access into the park from North Road as an essential
element of the Bute Park Restoration Project.
“Accordingly Cardiff County Council will be required to demonstrate a firm
commitment to the bridge and provide a construction start date as part of its
Phase 2 application to The Heritage Lottery Fund. Without this HLF will not
be in a position to commit its funding to the Bute Park Restoration works”.
7. Following the Stage 1 approval, a Stage 2 bid will be submitted in October
2007 and subject to satisfactorily meeting the commitments and
requirements of the HLF then confirmation of approval of the Stage 2 bid is
expected in spring 2008. Without this commitment and construction start
date from the Council by October 2007 there can be no Stage 2 bid to HLF.
8. With the exception of the new bridge (estimated cost £1.40m) all the
Council’s contribution towards the Bute Park Regeneration project is in
place and has previously been agreed. Any revenue consequences
associated with the new access bridge will be met as part of the overall Bute
Park Regeneration scheme.

9. The current main vehicle access into Bute Park is off North Road at the
North Gate entrance adjacent to the Castle. This access is totally
inadequate and limits the capacity of the park to accommodate major
outdoor events and prevents public access to the nursery. Furthermore the
existing access is a major health and safety concern as it is not possible to
effectively separate pedestrians and vehicles, particularly during these
major events.

10. The current vehicular access arrangements and safety concerns are a
major constraint holding back further development of the Park and the
consideration by HLF of the Stage 2 Bid.

11. The new vehicular access bridge will overcome the current difficulties and
allow maximum benefit to be achieved from the significant investment
planned for Bute Park and that currently in place at the Castle. It will also
supplement and support the work currently underway in Sophia Gardens to
improve visitor facilities.

12. The new bridge will also significantly improve access into Blackweir Playing
Fields and thereby enable this attractive parkland to be brought into greater
use for a range of activities and major events. If built by July 2008 this would
greatly assist in the planning and support for the 2008 National Eisteddfod
when 700 caravans will need to be accommodated for the event. Without
the provision of the new bridge the only existing access into and out of
Blackweir will be via the Taff Trail cycleway from the rear of Tesco in
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Western Avenue. Building of the new bridge would assist traffic flows and
alleviate the impact on adjacent local communities.

13. In March 2008 the new Castle Interpretation Centre and Café will open.
Linked to this and in line with the Council’s decision to open the North gate
of the castle into Bute Park and allow free public use of the Castle Green
significantly increased numbers will use Bute Park. Without the new access
bridge they will do so via the existing bridge over the Docks Feeder at the
North Gate. This additional pedestrian traffic will only exacerbate the
problems of Health & Safety previously referred to above.
14. Bute Park currently receives one million visits each year. The integration of
the Castle with Bute Park is essential and this along with the development
of the nursery as an educational, training and community facility are key
strategic elements in the Councils tourist development and visitor attraction
planning. This is recognised and supported by the HLF. The provision of the
new bridge is a key element in this.
15. The Royal Horticultural Society is a key partner in the Bute Park proposals
and they fully support the provision of improved vehicular and pedestrian
access. This will in turn assist in developing the RHS Spring Flower Show in
Bute Park as a long term attraction and major event. Bute Park is a grade 1
listed Park.
Local Member Consultation
16. Local Members are fully supportive of the Parks Partnership Programme
and the HLF application.
Reasons for Recommendations
17. To enable the requirements of the Stage 2 Bute Park HLF bid to be fulfilled
so that the Bute Park Regeneration proposals can be implemented and the
appraisal of the Stage 2 Bid and with it granting of the £3.1 million from HLF
not lost.
18. To provide essential access for caravans to support the 2008 Eisteddfod at
Blackwier Playing Fields.
19. To facilitate good and safe access for future major events in Bute Park.
Legal Implications
20. The Council is legally obliged to obtain value for money and the
procurement of the works will need to be in accordance with the Council's
Contract Procedure Rules
Financial Implications
21. Approval of this scheme costing £1.40million in advance of the 2008/09
budget would secure the grant support offered by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
This figure is subject to further detailed costing projections being undertaken
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and a likely tender exercise. As set out in the Month 3 Monitoring Report
elsewhere on the agenda for this meeting, the Council’s current capital
programme (2007/10) is experiencing considerable slippage, coupled with a
reduced level of capital receipts. The inclusion of this scheme in the revised
programme will utilise part of the available budgeted finance in 2007/08 but
could increase the Council’s need to incur additional borrowing of
£1.40million should savings on currently approved schemes not be available
at the relevant time.
22. The provision of a new vehicular and pedestrian access bridge will satisfy
the requirements of the HLF and enable the full grant to be considered as
part of the Stage 2 Bid and if successful awarded in the spring of 2008. The
new bridge, if built if completed this financial year, would greatly support
future major events in the Park, the first of these being the RHS Show 2008
and the National Eisteddfod 2008.
The Executive is requested to recommend to Council that the provision of a new
vehicular and pedestrian access bridge off North Road at a cost of £1.40 million be
included in the revised 2007/08 capital programme of the Council.
Corporate Director
3 September 2007

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