FIRM PULLED FROM £200M VIL­LAGE BID

Af­ter the an­nounce­ment that an in­d­pen­dent re­view will look at all 11 City Deal projects, SION BARRY re­ports on a ma­jor change for one of the flag­ship schemes

South Wales Evening Post - - FRONT PAGE -

ACOMPANY cho­sen through a EU ten­der process as the devel­op­ment part­ner for the pro­posed £200 mil­lion Life Sciences and Well­be­ing Vil­lage in Llanelli has been removed from the project.

Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil said that Ster­ling Health Se­cu­ri­ties Hold­ing is no longer part of the project which is seek­ing £40 mil­lion in fund­ing from the £1.3 bil­lion City Deal for the Swansea Bay City Re­gion.

The coun­cil, which is driv­ing the project, said it has con­cluded that the scheme can be de­liv­ered in a bet­ter way un­der a new model with­out Ster­ling Health.

It comes af­ter the coun­cil’s ex­ec­u­tive board ear­lier this week con­firmed that a de­tailed busi­ness plan for the project, while agreed in prin­ci­ple, will now be sub­ject to an ex­ter­nal in­de­pen­dent le­gal re­view to pro­vide members of the pub­lic and stake­hold­ers with re­as­sur­ance that all due le­gal process has been prop­erly fol­lowed.

It said it is cur­rently tak­ing le­gal ad­vice as to who would carry out the re­view.

Coun­cil leader Em­lyn Dole also said ear­lier this week that the as­sur­ances were needed “given the on­go­ing in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion at Swansea Univer­sity,” which has seen four aca­demics sus­pended in­clud­ing its vice-chan­cel­lor Richard B Davies and dean of its man­age­ment school Pro­fes­sor Marc Cle­ment.

Pro­fes­sor Cle­ment is cred­ited as be­ing the ar­chi­tect of the project, that was pre­vi­ously known as the Life Sciences and Well­ness Vil­lage.

The project, which prom­ises to cre­ate 2,000 jobs, is a joint col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the coun­cil, Swansea Univer­sity, Univer­sity of Wales Trin­ity St David and Hy­wel Dda and Abertawe Bro Mor­gan­nwg univer­sity health boards.

On Thurs­day the UK and Welsh Gov­ern­ment is­sued a joint state­ment con­firm­ing they had com­mis­sioned an in­de­pen­dent re­view of the en­tire City Deal for the re­gion.

The City Deal has iden­ti­fied

The col­lab­o­ra­tion agree­ment [with Ster­ling Health] was sim­ply an agree­ment to work to­gether to de­velop the var­i­ous as­pects of the Delta Lakes project and draw up a devel­op­ment agree­ment for its de­liv­ery

- Coun­cil leader Em­lyn Dole

11 projects. How­ever, they will all in­di­vid­u­ally need UK and Welsh gov­ern­ment ap­proval be­fore any money is re­leased.

They will also have to demon­strate they have se­cured pri­vate sec­tor match fund­ing.

On the de­ci­sion to re­move Ster­ling Health from the project, Mr Dole said: “The col­lab­o­ra­tion agree­ment [with Ster­ling Health] was sim­ply an agree­ment to work to­gether to de­velop the var­i­ous as­pects of the Delta Lakes project and draw up a devel­op­ment agree­ment for its de­liv­ery.

“That devel­op­ment agree­ment has not been agreed and the county coun­cil has con­cluded that the project can be bet­ter de­liv­ered in an­other way.

“No pub­lic fund­ing has been

There is no li­a­bil­ity on the county coun­cil what­so­ever at this point - Coun­cil­lor Em­lyn Dole

committed to the part­ners, no com­pa­nies have been es­tab­lished, no shares al­lo­cated and no di­rec­tors ap­pointed.

“There is no li­a­bil­ity on the county coun­cil what­so­ever at this point.”

The coun­cil wouldn’t say how much it has spent on the well­be­ing vil­lage to date.

Its chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark James, added: “The coun­cil and its part­ners re­main fully committed to de­velop the Life Sci­ence and Well­be­ing Vil­lage.

“The coun­cil will now fi­nalise the busi­ness plan to de­velop the vil­lage with key part­ners in­clud­ing the Hy­wel Dda Health Board and the two uni­ver­si­ties [Swansea and Trin­ity St David.”

Pro­fes­sor Cle­ment is a for­mer direc­tor of Kent Neu­ro­sciences, but re­signed in Au­gust 2015, be­fore the com­pany en­tered into a 10-month ex­clu­siv­ity deal with Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil to be the well­be­ing vil­lage’s devel­op­ment part­ner back in 2016.

Kent Neu­ro­sciences was dis­solved early this year.

In a EU pro­cure­ment ten­der ex­er­cise, for which there was only one bid­der, the con­tract was awarded to a newly-cre­ated com­pany in Ster­ling Health.

Di­rec­tors of Ster­ling Health in­clude Franz Dick­mann who is a for­mer direc­tor of now dis­solved Kent Neu­ro­sciences.

For­mer Car­marthen­shire coun­cil­lor Meryl Grav­ell was ap­pointed a direc­tor of the com­pany in July this year, be­fore re­sign­ing last month.

The well­be­ing vil­lage project in­cludes plans for an In­sti­tute of Life Sci­ence, a Com­mu­nity Health Hub, a Well­ness Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre, a Clin­i­cal De­liv­ery Cen­tre and new leisure cen­tre.

It would also see as­sisted liv­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion, a nurs­ing home, busi­ness space and a well­ness ho­tel.

Prepara­tory site work is un­der way and con­tin­u­ing, and a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for the scheme has been sub­mit­ted.

Artist’s im­pres­sions of the Well­ness Hub as part of the £200 mil­lion Life Sci­ence and Well­be­ing Vil­lage at Delta Lakes, Llanelli.

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