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COMMUNITY LIAISON COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 23rd November, 2011.

 

Present:  Councillor Mrs. M. Kelly Owen (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. J.E. Charles (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Mrs. S.M. Bagstaff, R.J. Bertin, R.F. Curtis, C.P.J. Elmore, A.M. Ernest, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, N.P. Hodges, H.J.W. James, R.L. Traherne and E.T. Williams.

 

Also present: Councillor A.D. Hampton.

 

Representatives of Town and Community Councils: 

Councillor L. Taylor (Cowbridge with Llanblethian Town Council), Councillor E. Hacker ( Llantwit Major), Councillor Mrs. J.R. Baker (Penarth Town Council), Councillor Mrs. M. Hayley (Dinas Powys Community Council), Councillor Mrs. S.A. Wilson (Ewenny Community Council), Councillor A.R. Munston (Llandough Community Council), Councillor M. Hurst (Llandow Community Council), Councillor J. Teague (Llanfair Community Council), Councillor C. Tatton (Pendoylan Community Council), Councillor Mrs. C.M. Evans (Peterston Super Ely Community Council),  Councillor S. Haines (St. Athan Community Council), Councillor A. Wilson (St. Brides Major Community Council), Councillor Mrs. G. Rawson and A. Evans (St. Nicholas and Bonvilston Community Council); Councillor P. Castle (Welsh St. Donats Community Council), Councillors P.B. Williams and I. Moody (Wenvoe Community Council), Councillors P.J. Thomas and P.M. Ball (Wick Community Council).

 

 

619     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillor Ms.B.E.Brooks (Vale of Glamorgan Council), Councillor W. Bellin (Colwinston Community Council) and Councillor D Pugh (Penllyn Community Council).

 

 

620     MINUTES -

 

AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 20th July, 2011 be accepted as a correct record.

 

 

621     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

There were no declarations of interest, however the Chairman took the opportunity to advise the Committee that in relation to agenda item 5 she had not been involved in any discussions on the matter prior to this meeting.

 

 

622     POLICE MATTERS -

 

Inspector Mark Taylor informed the Committee of the forces crime figures against targets at 23rd November 2011 as detailed below:-

 

Violent crimes

 

Target 423       actual 416      8 under target

 

Burglary

 

Target 244       actual 187      57 under target

 

Autocrime

 

Target 469       actual  408      61 under target

 

In presenting his report the Inspector advised of two arrests for burglary in Llantwit Major and that the force had recovered a cannabis factory in Dinas Powys.  Bonfire night had been successful with only one incident recorded with someone being arrested for throwing a firework in Cowbridge. In Barry a number of fires had been set at a particular location which had now received an alley gate with the appreciation of the residents.

 

With the festive season approaching the Town centre in Cowbridge would be  “closed off “ for the Reindeer parade. A number of officers’ shifts had also recently been altered which had allowed for more Police presence in various localities in particular to deal with the late night economy. 

 

Members queried the number of Police officers that were available in the area and were advised that over 200 PCSO officers were due to be recruited in South Wales which was centrally funded as opposed to the Police force budget. The force had also recently recruited 50 new officers although it was anticipated natural wastage i.e. retirement etc. would also take place.

 

AGREED – T H A T Inspector Taylor be thanked for his report and the positive comments.

 

 

623     DETERMINATION OF PLANNING (AND RELATED APPLICATIONS: SCHEME OF DELEGATION) (DEER) -

 

A Request for Consideration of Matter had been received from Penarth Town Council as follows:

 

“The Town Council continues to be concerned that planning applications where the Planning Officers decision are at variance with the observations submitted by the Town and Community Council are not routinely put before the Vale of Glamorgan Planning Committee.  It is this Council’s view that such applications should be determined by elected members”.

 

The Operational Manager for development control advised the Committee that the Vale of Glamorgan Council was required by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to determine planning applications within eight weeks of the date of the submission of a valid application to the Authority.  If this deadline was not met, in the case of all minor applications, the applicant had a right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate of the Welsh Government (WG).  In addition, all Welsh Local Planning Authorities were monitored by the WG in respect of their performance in meeting the eight week determination requirements.  Both Westminster and the WG were keen to encourage councils to meet the targets and speed up the planning process through streamlining the planning application process.  The Governments’ Planning Advisory Service also advises that it is good practice to maximise the number of delegated planning decisions so that Authorities which can delegate more than 90% of planning decisions, allow their Planning Committees more time to focus on complex and controversial applications. 

 

The Vale of Glamorgan’s Scheme of Delegation was attached at Appendix A to the report.  It was also written into the Scheme that any Vale of Glamorgan Councillor could call for a planning application to be considered by the Planning Committee as long as the request was made within 14 days of the application appearing on the weekly list of planning applications and subject to the request being substantiated by a good planning reason or demonstration that strong local objections had been received.  Any Town and Community Council could therefore also refer any matter to their local Councillor for the Vale of Glamorgan if they so wished.

 

The report also highlighted that in the last financial year the percentage of applications that had been determined in the Vale of Glamorgan through delegated powers was 86% with some 162 planning applications being determined by the Planning Committee.  With specific regard to Penarth Town Council, some 178 relevant applications had been determined through delegated powers and 12 relevant applications presented to the Planning Committee for determination.  Further analysis of the last six months of determinations between 1st March to 1st September 2011 had shown that there had been 98 planning applications for full planning permission related to Penarth which had been determined by the Vale of Glamorgan under delegated powers.  Of these decisions all had been generally in accordance with the comments of Penarth Town Council save in respect of three where Penarth Town Council had recommended approval but with some concerns and for Members’ information those applications had been ultimately refused permission by the Vale of Glamorgan.  In the case of two further applications, no responses had been received from Penarth Town Council at the time of the decision and in one case a formal no comment had been made as the Town Council’s response. 

 

From the research it was clear that it was only in very limited cases that a decision made using delegated powers was out of accordance with the representations from the Town Council. The officer further stated that in every case any comments made by a Town or Community Council were fully considered and assessed in the report prepared by officers prior to any decision being made.  The Council also had a duty to take into account any representations made following consultation and when a decision was made which did not accord with the representation of any Town or Community Council, the relevant report would explain the reasoning behind the decision.  The report further highlighted that failure to identify and follow procedure for delegating the determination of planning applications to officers of the Vale of Glamorgan would almost certainly mean that the Council would not meet the targets set for it by the WG and this could have consequences for funding the service in the future.

 

The Operational Manager informed Members that the detail within the report had also been discussed at the Vale of Glamorgan Planning forum and no adverse comments had been received. 

 

Councillor A.M. Ernest, also a member of Penarth Town Council, thanked the officer for his response and noted that in his opinion the views of Town and Community Councils were very clearly reported to the Council, officers and Elected Members and that there was also the facility of engaging with Vale Members if representations were required to be made at the Planning Committee meeting or to officers with delegated powers.  The representative from Penarth also took the opportunity to thank the Operational Manager for his report and that she would report back to her Council with the response for information.

 

The Chairman took the opportunity to remind all present that any member of the public could also send any comments on any applications not only to the Vale Council but to local Town and Community Councils in their area.

 

Having fully considered the report it was

 

AGREED - T H A T the reasons for the Scheme of Delegation operated by the Council in respect of Planning and related applications be noted and the Operational Manager be thanked for his detailed response.

 

 

624     VEHICLE ACTIVATED SIGNS (DEER) -

 

Llandough Community Council had requested that the issue of the criteria in use for determining the allocation to communities for illuminated speed reminder devices be considered as the speed of traffic was an issue for all communities in the Vale of Glamorgan and it would be helpful to have a discussion on the criteria that was used to determine the allocation of such devices. 

 

The Group Engineer of the Highways Project and Traffic Management section stated that inappropriate speed was a matter of concern throughout the UK and the Welsh Government (WG) had considered that a partnership approach was a way forward in addressing the issue and was concentrating on the three Es - Education, Engineering and Enforcement.  The Council’s Road Safety Section (Planning Transportation Policy) was responsible for education, training and publicity in relation to road safety matters in conjunction with the Police and other stakeholders.  The Council’s Traffic Management Section (Highways and Engineering) was responsible for investigating incidents of perceived inappropriate speed, obtaining speed data, receiving casualty reports from the Police and identifying actions to be taken if appropriate.  The report noted that South Wales Police was responsible for collecting personal injury collision data and for enforcing speed restrictions on the highway network. 

 

It was noted within the report that 26 locations in the Vale of Glamorgan had permanent Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) which had been chosen where inappropriate speed or inappropriate driver behaviour had been proven as being of a major concern and where formal enforcement opportunities were limited.  These sites were listed in Appendix B to the report and with regard to the mobile VAS service , 18 sites around the Vale of Glamorgan had been investigated with a view to identifying suitable locations for the use of mobile VAS. 

 

To date the following information had also been collected:

  • the existing speed restriction at the location
  • the length of highway being considered
  • the number and severity of personal injury collisions at the site
  • the collision rate measured in collisions / 10 million vehicle km
  • the date of the speed / volume survey
  • the percentage of vehicles travelling at a speed above the Police prosecution level.

The Council currently had two battery operated mobile VAS which were used at suitable locations around the Vale.  The survey data collected for the 18 sites had been analysed and the sites had been put into a priority list.  Seven locations had been identified as being appropriate for the siting of a mobile VAS as detailed below:

  • Maendy Road
  • A48 Bonvilston
  • Unnamed Road, Llanmaes
  • Station Terrace, East Aberthaw
  • Lavernock Road, Penarth
  • Cowbridge Road, St. Athan
  • Severn Avenue, Barry.

No specific funding was currently identified for additional permanent or mobile VAS.  The Council’s Traffic Management annual operational budget was used to maintain the mobile VAS and to install foundations and sockets at appropriate locations as required.  The Council’s Traffic Management Team also managed the siting and maintenance of the mobile VAS throughout the Vale. 

 

The representative from Llandough thanked the officer for the full details of the current situation and advised that in his area speed was a major concern.  In noting the cost of the mobile provisions as approximately £3,500 he could understand that the budget constraints for the Council had to ensure that priorities were given in various localities.  However he requested that the officer also consider the possibility of working with the Police to arrange for a mobile unit at the Memorial Hall site at Llandough.  The Group Engineer agreed that, following the request from Llandough, traffic speed data would be collected and reviewed.  In addition, he stated that officers would be making further bids in respect of VAS for use throughout the Vale, but reiterated that there were very limited resources available.  A suggestion was also made during the meeting to the possibility of Town and Community Councils considering purchasing their own equipment, but again with limited resources this was considered to be unlikely. 

 

The representative from Llandough then again thanked the officer for the details contained within the report and to the Committee for the debate.

 

Having fully considered the report, it was

 

AGREED - T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the officer thanked for the detail provided.

 

 

625     CREATIVE RURAL COMMUNITIES -

 

The Committee received a presentation from Rebecca Haves, the Programme Development Officer, regarding the work of the service.  Creative Rural Communities (CRC) was a regeneration and economic development initiative led by the Vale of Glamorgan Council in partnership with various public, private and voluntary sector organisations.  The aim of the initiative was to provide the people of the Rural Vale with the power to control the future of their communities.  The service worked in partnership with public, private voluntary and community sector organisations in the area with funding utilised to enable the partnership to help with individuals, groups and communities throughout the Rural Vale with the CRC providing vital support for a wide range of potential projects that would benefit those communities, both now and in the future. 

 

The projects it was currently involved in were detailed as:

  • Pride in our Villages
  • Pride in our Services
  • Pride in our Heritage
  • Pride in our Farming Families
  • Community Foodie
  • Pride in the Vale
  • -         Community engagement
-         Slow tourism.

Community consultation was currently taking place as an exercise to asses what was important to members of the community following which, a list of aspirations and actions would be put into a written document. 

 

The project Pride in our Villages aimed to enhance local pride in distinctiveness in villages with grants to address physical development needs identified by communities.  Pride in our Services Rural Hubs Grants were capital and revenue grant aid to support the conversion / diversification of existing service facilities to offer shared uses for the community based on the “Pub is the Hub” model determined by the local community. 

 

The Rural Footpath Scheme supported new public rights of way to provide the missing links within the rights of way network from villages and existing paths to and from coastal and other key land based assets within the Vale.  The service was also looking at encouraging more cycle paths and using Creative Rural Communities funding to establish certain cycle paths in the Rural Vale. 

 

Pride in our Heritage, was an investment into the Rural Vale’s natural, cultural and built heritage with a grant application of £70,000.  Pride in our Farming Families aimed to provide rural farming families within the Vale of Glamorgan the opportunity to supplement their farming income by diversifying into other business areas and Pride in the Vale under the Slow Tourism scheme would consider three key strands of activity which had been identified, namely outdoor activities, local food and the arts / culture, promotion of the natural heritage of the area. 

 

An initiative called the Community Foodie was about engaging with local people in the growing and celebration of food through a shared interest and understanding.  The objectives would be to encourage and facilitate joint working between land owners and local people, seek alternative uses for under used land, contribute to developing local food cultures, celebrate the diversity of the roles of food in communities, develop horticultural skills through shared knowledge and expertise, increase the amount of produce grown locally and increase availability and consumption of local produce. 

 

In making her presentation Ms. Haves took the opportunity to encourage all Town and Community Councils to consider the schemes that were available and provided Committee with her contact details as detailed below should any wish to receive further information or consider the issues in further detail:

 

            Rebecca Haves

            Programme Development Officer

            Creative Rural Communities

            The Old Hall

            High Street

            Cowbridge

            Vale of Glamorgan

            CF71 7AH

            Tel: 01446 704799

            E-mail: rhaves@valeofglamorgan.gov.uk

 

In considering the report Councillor R.F. Curtis urged the service to consider discussions with local land owners for the possibility of establishing badger watches which he considered the Vale of Glamorgan could offer and suggested that farmers be provided with an opportunity to diversify into this area.  Councillor H.J.W. James urged the officer to ensure that the information presented was available on the website in as clear a way as possible to not only advertise the service but encourage Town and Community Councils and local communities to engage in the process.

 

In responding to a question regarding the use of the grant for cycle paths in Dinas Powys, Mr. Chappell, Head of Service, advised that Dinas Powys was classed as a Rural Area in some respects and that the service had the flexibility within the programme in particular to look at issues of signage and the possibility of setting up some cycle paths in the area.  He referred also to some of the issues facing the project in that some roads would not lend themselves easily to the establishment of cycle paths but that further work may have to be undertaken to assist.  Councillor James advised Members of the grants that had been received to date from Sustrans for cycle routes and that the Council had identified various areas and would also be making further bids for further improvements. In particular he referred to the scheme that had taken place at Barry Comprehensive which had proved immensely successful and the Welsh Government had been so impressed that they had provided a further £200,000 extra funding.  The Chairman thanked Ms. Haves for an encouraging presentation following which it was

 

AGREED - T H A T the presentation in relation to the projects within the remit of the Creative Rural Communities’ service be noted and that all present be encouraged to work with the Creative Rural Communities officers to consider whether a project would be suitable for their area.

 

 

626     THE BIKE PROJECT -

 

The Training Manager, Pippa Jones, provided the Committee with an overview of the work undertaken at the bicycling recycling workshop at Holm View Centre.  The purpose of the Bike Workshop was to deliver quality training opportunities to local unemployed and unwaged people through renovation and the resale of old and unwanted bicycles, to improve the local environment by reducing dumped bikes and to encourage healthy living through increased cycling.  The Bike Workshop had been set up in 2001 as part of the Environmental Task Force on the New Deal programme offering training opportunities to young people.  It offered job seekers work experience, employability skills, hand tool skills, accreditation and personal development including self confidence.  For the community it offered access to reasonably priced bicycles for all ages, free bikes to local community groups, repairs and servicing, reduced the amount of scrap going to landfill and increased bike usage to improve the health and wellbeing of local residents. 

 

Bikes were collected from all areas of the Vale of Glamorgan, from the two civic community sites and from local residences where donations had been offered.  The workshop also offered a Dr. Bike services for schools and events, serviced bicycles for local Police officers and encouraged volunteering opportunities for anyone who wished to participate.  The service was advertised in the Gibbonsdown Grapevine, the Glamorgan Gem and leaflets were also available.

 

With regard to the financial situation the following information was provided to the Committee:

 

 

Income

2010-11

2011-12

(to date)

     Bikes

£3,291

£2,807.50

     Trainees

£2,650

0

 

Expenditure

 

 

     Staff

£16,824

£16,355

     Stock

£250

£500

 

The current prices for bikes were listed as:

           

            Revamped bikes for sale:

                        Adults             £25 - £35

                        Children                      £5 - £15

 

            Servicing and repairs:

                        Full Service                £15 plus parts

                        Puncture Repairs      £2.50

 

The Training Manager further informed Committee that, during the summer months, youngsters regularly visited the Bike Shop for repairs to their bikes which had been repaired as swiftly as possible in order for the children to use their bikes during the summer months.  Members congratulated the Manager on the successful service and also took the opportunity to suggest other ways of advertising the service, for example through the Castleland Ward newsletter and the Holton Road Renewal Area Office.  Ms. Jones requested that if anyone had a bike that they wished to donate this could be collected from their homes on Tuesdays and urged Members of the Committee to contact Mr. Wayne Mayor, Project Supervisor at the Holm View Centre, on telephone number 01446 721974 with their details.  The Chairman urged all Town and Community Council representatives to apprise their respective councils of the service and the contact details should further advice and guidance be required and to publicise the service.

 

Having considered the presentation it was

 

AGREED - T H A T the officer be thanked for the information provided, congratulated on the service provided and that further advertising be undertaken to raise awareness of the project.

 

 

627     FIRE SERVICE STATISTICS - INFORMATION ONLY -

 

The Fire Service figures for the Barry, Cowbridge, Llantwit Major and Penarth Fire Service areas for the period 2011/2012 were presented to Members for information.

 

AGREED - T H A T the Fire Service statistics as detailed in the report be noted.

 

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