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Major £8 million redevelopment proposed for former coke works

12 Jul 2023 5 minute read
Cwm coke works. Photo by Richard Szwejkowski is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter

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.”

Financial agreement

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).

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Ap Kenneth
8 months ago

This site was NCB until privatisation of the coal industry and CPL Industries took over the works in 1990s (?) running it till 2002,They still owned the land in 2016 and were whinging about the remediation costs then as they wanted to develop the land. So public funds are being used to clean the land, is CPL Industries contributing anything? Has ownership been relinquished to the council or will any land sale proceeds go only to the private sector? There are so many questions remaining.

8 months ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

Good point. Very likely that some wide boy organisation is making a killing while getting the public pure to clean up the mess.

8 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Meant to say “purse” not “pure” !!

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