Posted: Mon 17th Jul 2023

£8m Funding for Redevelopment of Former Coke Works in Rhondda Cynon Taf for Potential 600+ Houses

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jul 17th, 2023

A former coke works in the south of Rhondda Cynon Taf could see £8m of funding go towards its redevelopment with the potential for more than 600 houses on the site.
The council’s cabinet on Monday, July 17 will be asked to approve the agreement between the developer and RCT Council to enable the draw-down of £8m of funding from the Cardiff Capital Region Housing Investment Fund for the Cwm Coking Works in Beddau.
The report to cabinet said Cwm Coking works is a strategic site in the RCT LDP (Local Development Plan) and this proposal is looking to allow the potential to develop a minimum of 625 homes, subject to planning permission, and to remove the eyesore that is the disused coking works.
Current estimates suggest that the site could accommodate around 650 new
homes plus associated infrastructure, open space and community uses.
The report said that although the site has been the subject of previous planning applications, little or no interest has been expressed at the site which would suggest that development would not otherwise be forthcoming for the foreseeable future without additional funding.
RCT, along with a number of other councils in the area, have been working with
Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) on funding to help deliver major residential developments that have stalled and without intervention from the public sector, would not ordinarily be built.
The cabinet report said these are often because of a viability gap caused by prevailing ground conditions largely caused either by past mining activities or
previous uses at the site which have resulted in a legacy of significant contamination.
The CCR Housing Viability Fund was open to all 10 councils in the region to
bid.
RCT has spoken with 20 developers and landowners whose sites have (or had) planning consent and/or are allocated sites within the council’s LDP but have not been delivered.
Of these 20 sites, three were selected by the council for funding under the Cardiff Capital Region Viability Gap Funding; the former Cwm Coking Works in Beddau, the former Aberdare Hospital site and Nant y Wenallt / Moss Place which is near Aberdare Hospital.
All were selected and were made eligible for funding with £8m allocated to the Cwm Coking Works, £2.04m to the former Aberdare Hospital site and £1.514m for Nant y Wenallt/Moss Place.
RCT has been awarded £11.554 million from a maximum available fund of £35
million which is just over 33% of the fund.
Initial figures suggested, subject to planning consent, that the funding
allocated to RCT would help secure approximately 1,000 houses with each
site having to include 10-20% affordable housing.
Because of the specific nature of the financial position of both the Aberdare sites and their respective developers, the funding for those two sites is allocated through a direct agreement between the developers and CCR so no  action is being asked of cabinet on them.
At the moment, the Aberdare Hospital development has been approved by the council’s planning committee and planning permission will be granted subject to the applicant entering into a Section 106 agreement.
The Nant y Wenallt/Moss Place development is due to be submitted later this year and the developer is currently carrying out pre-application discussions and it is likely that a decision could be made by the end of the year.
The report said about the Cwm Coking Works proposal: “It is considered that there are significant benefits to be realised through the Council enabling this grant funding to be delivered.
“The grant will enable the former and now derelict coking works to be safely removed from the site and also enable the site which in parts, has significant levels of contamination to be remediated to level that will make it ‘oven ready’ for residential led development.”
The financial agreement for the Cwm Coking Works means that although funding would be made available via CCR, the administration of the funds and the delivery of the houses will be a matter for the council to monitor and see through to completion.
Should the funds be paid out and the development not completed within a set
time-scale and under certain conditions, then the council would ultimately be
responsible for paying all or part of the money back to CCR.
But  the developer will be required to enter into a back-to-back agreement with the council before any funding is claimed that effectively transfers the liability onto the developer themselves, the report said.
The council will make it a requirement that the developer offer a company guarantee to underwrite any repayments.
It also said that the validation process ensures the council is only making payments to the developer in arrears, after assessment by global
commercial real estate and investment advisers CBRE and after having received the funds from CCR (Cardiff Capital Region). ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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