Agenda, decisions and minutes

Partnership & Regeneration Scrutiny Committee - Hybrid Meeting - Committee Room 1, Council Offices, Llangefni/Virtually via ZOOM, Partnership and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 19th April, 2023 9.30 am

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Venue: Hybrid Meeting - Committee Room 1, Council Offices, Llangefni/Virtually via ZOOM

Contact: Mrs Mairwen Hughes 

No. Item




As noted above.


Declaration of Interest

To receive any declaration of interest by any Member or Officer in respect of any item of business. 


None received.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 339 KB

To submit, for confirmation, the minutes of the previous meeting held on 15 March, 2023.


The minutes of the meeting held on 15 March, 2023 were confirmed as correct.


Anglesey's Town Centres Improvement Strategy pdf icon PDF 550 KB

To submit a report by the Head of Regulation and Economic Development.


 Submitted – a report by the Head of Regulation and Economic Development on the Anglesey’s Town Centres Improvement Strategy for consideration by the Committee.


The Deputy Leader and Portfolio Member for Finance, in the absence of the Leader of the Council at the beginning of the meeting, said that over the years the town centres in most towns and cities in the UK have changed.  He noted that the recently approved Council Plan includes the aims of ‘improving the vitality and viability of our town centres’ and ‘that the people of Anglesey and its communities enjoy, protect and enhance their built and natural environment for future generations’.  The Well-Being of Future Generations Act requires local authorities to address the economic, social, environmental, and cultural well-being of their areas.  He further said that Audit Wales undertook a study of Town Centre Regeneration in Wales and published a report in September 2021 with several recommendations for the Welsh Government and local authorities.  This report and the Council’s response was reported to the Governance and Audit Committee in February 2022.  This process highlighted the need for the Council to develop a strategic approach to improving the town centres.  The Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns programme includes a number of components, including capital grants and loans for town centre improvements.  Various town or town centre regeneration strategies/plans have been prepared on Anglesey in the past, mostly aligned to a specific external funding opportunity, with several having been prepared for Holyhead over the years.  It is now proposed that a single county-wide strategy covering the whole of Anglesey’s town centres be prepared, and not tied to any particular external fund or programme, but reflecting the wider needs of the county and its town centres. The three larger towns of Holyhead, Amlwch and Llangefni have the most need, with Menai Bridge and Beaumaris being more prosperous.


The Portfolio Member further said that subject to the Executive’s approval of the recommendations within the report, a process of stakeholder engagement and public consultation will take place to gather views, comments, and seek support for the proposed strategy, with a view to finalisation and adoption during 2023.  Consultation will also be used to gather views, comments and suggestions for improvements to individual town centres to inform the preparation of individual place making plans and/or related projects, subject to resources. 


The Regeneration Manager reported that Anglesey’s town and town centres are focal points for the Island’s economic, social and cultural activities.  He noted that a high number of empty shops exist in Holyhead town centre reflects local economic issues and the growth of the retail park on the edge of the town as the main shopping area.  He reported that the Holyhead empty shops initiative helped small businesses to start trading from empty shops and this had reduced the previously high vacancy rate, but over the pandemic the number of empty shops has returned to past high levels. He further said that the number of empty shops in Amlwch has also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Anglesey Free Ports pdf icon PDF 582 KB

To submit a report by the Head of Regulation and Economic Development.


Submitted – a report by the Head of Regulation and Economic Development on the Anglesey Freeport. 


The Leader of the Council and Portfolio Member for Economic Development said that on the 23rd March, 2023, the County Council was made aware it had been successful in its Freeport application.  This has resulted in significant work undertaken by the Officers of the Council and Stena Line and the commitment to submit the bid for the Freeport. 


The Chief Executive reported that the bid for the Freeport status has been successful subject to the completion of a detailed business case.  Meetings will be undertaken with both UK and Welsh Governments together with Stena Line to clarify the responsibilities, accountabilities and provide further guidance.  He further said that work will need to be undertaken over the next 6 months to enable to release the £25m capital funding.  The Chief Executive referred to the other development projects in Holyhead i.e. Breakwater restoration, Morlais, Hydrogen Hub and Stena Line have plans to clear the previous Anglesey Aluminium site.  He noted that there will be a need for strategic planning within the town of Holyhead, including other service area, such as education and health provision and to ensure that the developments do not have a negative effect on the residents.


In considering the report, the Committee discussed the following:-


·      Reference was made that the project plan estimates that 3,500 to 13,000 new job opportunities will be created over a period of 15 years.  Questions were raised as to what arrangements will be in place to ensure that they are high quality jobs and that Anglesey residents have the skills to take advantage of the opportunities?  The Committee was advised that there are still uncertainties as to the benefits from the Freeport status and it was stressed that the figure of up to 13,000 job opportunities is relevant to the whole of North Wales and not specifically to Anglesey.  It was stressed that work will need to be undertaken with Stena Line and the regional stakeholders, regional skills partnership and Llandrillo Menai to enable local people to be able to take advantage of the job opportunities that will result from the Freeport. 

·      Questions were raised as to the status of the third bridge across the Menai Straits and the improvements need to the highway network due to the Freeport status?  The Leader of the Council responded that there is a need to strengthen the resilience and network links across the Island and pressure is continuing on Welsh Government for the third bridge across the Menai Straits. 

·      Questions were raised as to how many companies have expressed an interest in relocating on the Island due to the Freeport status?  The Committee was advised that there are a number of expressions of interest by companies and organisations including GE-Hitachi, Rolls Royce SMR, Bechel, BP Lightsource and Menter Môn Morlais project when the originally bid submitted.  It was further said that once the governance structures are in place,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.