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THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

Minutes of an extraordinary meeting held on 25th April, 2012.

 

Present:  Councillor J. Clifford (Mayor); Councillors Ms. M.E. Alexander, Mrs. S.M. Bagstaff, R.J. Bertin, J.C. Bird, Ms. B.E. Brooks, Mrs. J.E. Charles, P. Church, G.A. Cox, R.F. Curtis, Mrs. P. Drake, C.P.J. Elmore, A.M. Ernest, J.F. Fraser, E. Hacker, A.D. Hampton, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, K. Hatton, N.P. Hodges, H.J.W. James, T.H. Jarvie, G. John, F.T. Johnson, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen, G.C. Kemp, Mrs. K.A. Kemp, Mrs. A.J. Moore, N. Moore, C.L. Osborne, Mrs. A.J. Preston, Mrs. S.I. Sharpe, J.W. Thomas, R.P. Thomas, Mrs. D.M. Turner, S.T. Wiliam, A.C. Williams, C.J. Williams, E.T. Williams, Miss. S.J.C. Williams and Ms. M. Wright.

 

 

1149   APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillors Mrs. M.E.J. Birch, S.C. Egan, Ms. V.L. Ellis, Mrs. M. Randall, R.L. Traherne, Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson and M.R. Wilson.

           

 

1150   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

1151   MINUTES -

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 7th March, 2012 and the extraordinary meetings held on 28th March and 16th April, 2012 were approved as a correct record.

 

           

1152   ANNOUNCEMENTS -

 

The Mayor made the following announcements:

 

(i)         In January 2012, following the announcements of the New Year’s Honours List, congratulatory letters were sent to Dr. C. Howard of Ystradowen on his award of an OBE and to Mr. G. Underdown of Barry on his award of an MBE.

 

(ii)        I am pleased to report that on 31st March 2012, the Council conferred the Freedom of the County Borough to HMS Cambria.  The ceremony and parade went very well and I have received positive feedback from those attending and a special thanks to the Council from Commander Pugh of HMS Cambria.

 

(iii)       In April I represented the Council at the Inauguration of the High Sheriff of South Glamorgan, who for 2012 – 2013 will be Dr. Arun Midha.

 

(iv)       Tomorrow, 26th April 2012, the Mayoress and I will be representing this Council at a special Service of Thanksgiving in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at Llandaff Cathedral.

 

(vi)       My final charity event is my Ball at Dyffryn Gardens on Saturday 28th April 2012.  I have had good support for this event but there are still tickets available for anyone wishing to support my charities.

 

 

1153   PETITIONS -

 

The following petitions were submitted and passed to the relevant Director:

 

(i)                 For the urgent refurbishment of the children’s play areas at Meggitt Road / Florence Avenue and Dryden Terrace / Milton Road – submitted by Councillor R.F. Curtis (co lead petitioner: Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson).

 

(ii)        For the Vale of Glamorgan Council to make dog fouling a major priority for the Council and to be more committed to tackling the issue in Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan – submitted by Councillor R.J. Bertin.

 

           

1154   STANDARDS COMMITTEE: APPOINTMENT OF COMMUNITY COMMITTEE MEMBER (COMMUNITY COUNCILLOR) (MO) –

 

The Standards Committees (Wales) Regulations 2001 require the appointment of a Community Committee Member (Community Councillor) to the Council's Standards Committee.

 

The previous Community Committee Member (Councillor Mrs Pope) would not be eligible for reappointment to the Standards Committee as she had served the maximum of two terms of office.

 

Councillor Pope was appointed to the Standards Committee by a process approved by the Council on 21st July 2004, by which the Director of Legal and Regulatory Services (now the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services) wrote to all Town and Community Councils requesting nominations to the Standards Committee and the appointment was determined by an Appointments Panel comprising the Elected Members on the Standards Committee.

 

It is proposed that the same procedure be followed in this instance, immediately following the Council elections to be held on 3rd May 2012. 

 

RESOLVED - T H A T an Appointments Panel comprising the Elected Members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council appointed to the Standards Committee be established with power to appoint the Community Committee Member (Town / Community Councillor) to the Council’s Standards Committee.

 

 

1155   CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2011 TO 31ST JANUARY 2012 (REF) -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the proposals of the Cabinet, as set out in Cabinet Minute No. C1656, 14th March, 2012, be approved and the Capital Programme be amended accordingly. 

 

 

1156   CORPORATE IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2012/13 (REF) -

 

The Leader referred to supplementary information containing the comments of the Scrutiny Committees which had been tabled.  Comments had been received from three of the five Scrutiny Committees. 

 

Cabinet had considered those from the Scrutiny Committees (Social Care and Health) and (Economy and Environment) on 18th April and referred the recommendation from Social Care and Health relating to the time taken to deliver Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) to the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection).

 

The Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) had recommended

that the Key Corporate Improvement Objectives for 2012/13 as set out in Appendices 1 and 2 to the report be supported in principle, subject to the following recommended amendments:

 

(i)         T H A T the Key Corporate Improvement Objective No. 2 description for 2012/13 be amended from “To reduce the time taken to deliver Disabled Facility Grants to children and young people and adults to achieve the Welsh average performance of 2011/12” to “To reduce the time taken to deliver Disabled Facility Grants to children and young people and to adults to achieve the Welsh average performance of 2010/11 as a minimum.”

 

(ii)        T H A T the Key Corporate Improvement Objective No. 2 target for 2012/13 in respect of :

 

(a)       “The average number of calendar days taken to deliver Disabled Facility Grants” be corrected from “WA 387 days in 11/12” to “WA 387 days in 10/11”.

 

(b)       “The average number of calendar days taken to deliver Disabled Facility Grants for Children and Young People” be corrected from “WA 478 days in 11/12” to “WA 478 days in 10/11”.

 

(iii)       T H A T the Key Corporate Improvement Objective No. 5 measure progress indicator description be amended from “Percentage of housing stock where WHQS works have been carried out” to “Percentage of housing stock where work that meets the WHQS has been competed in full”.

 

The Leader moved that the proposed Corporate Improvement Objectives as set out in Minute No. C1708 be incorporated in the Part 1 Improvement Plan 2012/13 together with the revisions put forward by the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection).  The motion was duly seconded.

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the proposals of the Cabinet, as set out in Cabinet Minute No. C1708, 18th April, 2012, be approved for incorporation in the Part 1 Improvement Plan 2012/13 together with the revisions put forward by the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) above.

 

 

1157   QUESTIONS PURSUANT TO COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 8.2 -

 

Due notice had been given of the following questions:

 

 

(i)         Question from Councillor R.J. Bertin

 

With the increasing cost of food and growing demands for more allotments, will the Cabinet Member please inform us if any sites have been identified as part of the proposed Strategy?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Visible and Building Services

 

One of the aims of the allotment strategy, agreed by Cabinet on 14th March 2012, is to provide a cohesive framework for the actions necessary to increase and improve allotment provision over the next 5 years.  The strategy acknowledges that the increased demand for allotment space will not be satisfied by the Vale Council alone, and recognises the need to better engage and empower individual plot holders and other sectors in the future provision of allotments and their management.

 

The strategy (which every Member has seen a copy of) identifies a current total of 23 sites and 817 individual plots.  It is hoped that additional sites will be identified during the 5 year term of the strategy.

 

Supplemental

 

Thanks.  Whilst we are considering new space, let us not forget our existing allotments - will you ensure that a new access road is put in at the old Pencoedtre allotments?

 

The Cabinet Member replied that he would discuss that with officers in respect of this site.

 

 

(ii)        Question from Councillor R.J. Bertin

 

I fully support the proposals to bring back hundreds of empty properties in the Vale back into use to help with demand.  Can I please ask what help and support will be made available to those interested in such properties?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety

 

Empty homes create very serious problems not just in the Vale of Glamorgan but throughout the Country.  They are a waste of resource especially when we have so many people desperate for housing.  I am sure that our new Empty Homes Strategy will help us to reduce this problem in the Vale.

 

There are various ways that owners of empty properties can be helped.

Council officers at the moment are sending out questionnaires to owners of empty homes to ask what help may be needed to return these properties to use.

 

If the owners are willing for their details to be passed on to property developers for instance they may be able to sell the property to the developer.

Any agreement to sell would be a private matter between the owner and the developer.

 

In the Empty Homes Strategy you will see that the Environmental Health (housing) team will be responsible for the day to day process of dealing with the Empty Homes issue.

 

The Council are working at the moment with the Private Landlords Forum, Strategic Forum and the Overarching Housing Forum, and will make presentations to owners through these organisations.

 

As you will be aware we have embarked on the Castleland Renewal Area here in Barry and Owners can refurbish run-down properties with the help of grants in this area.

 

The Welsh Government has just introduced a loan scheme to help to bring empty properties back into use called the Houses for Homes Initiative.  The Government are making available £5m, between all 22 Councils in Wales for this initiative.

 

This Council will have to work in conjunction with Cardiff Council on this and between us we have been allocated approximately £750k.  Our portion of that funding is approximately £212k and Cardiff £538k.  If we do not use all of our £212k within the next year Cardiff would be able to use that funding for use in their area.  By the same token, if Cardiff were not able to use all of their allocation, we would be able to accept their funding for our use in the Vale.

 

The Council will be able to offer owners of empty properties a loan from this fund to help with repairs and refurbishment of their empty homes.  These loans would have to be repaid within three years.

 

Once these properties are in a fit state for use as habitable homes the owners could either sell the property or rent them out.  At the moment owners are not realising any income from their properties.

 

There are also Social Lettings Agencies that help owners to rent out their properties on the open market.  There are also Social Lettings Agencies such as Can Do Lettings Agency that manage the property for the owner and work closely with Councils / Housing Associations to help with the assistance of landlords in accommodating people on Council waiting lists.

 

These are just some of the ways that we can help owners of empty properties in the Vale and I am sure that over time we will discover more ways to help.

 

 

1158   QUESTION FROM THE PUBLIC -

 

The following question had been submitted in accordance with the protocol agreed by Council on 5th May 2010 and, in introducing the item, the Mayor referred to that procedure.  Given that the member of the public who had submitted the question was not present, the Chief Executive referred to the procedure requiring that the enquirer, if unable to be present at the Council meeting should ask the Chief Executive to put the question to the Mayor.  Since the enquirer had not made that request, the Leader proposed that a written response be forwarded to the questioner.  Following a request from Councillor N. Moore that the answer be read out at the meeting, the Leader indicated that would be acceptable and read out the response shown below.  A written response would be forwarded to Mr. Langford.

 

 

(i)         Question submitted by Mr. K. Langford

 

Why are the Vale of Glamorgan County Borough Council ignoring a ready made tourist attraction at Cosmeston Medieval Village, which could be made to pay for itself if handled correctly?  At the same time the Vale of Glamorgan County Borough Council is actively investing in other “new” heritage schemes and proposals throughout the Vale of Glamorgan.  Where is this funding originating?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

The Council has invested over £100,000 each year in the running of the Medieval Village.  The delivery model for the Village has remained unchanged for many years, whilst the tourism industry certainly has not.  The new model will provide a free facility for tourists, including the estimated 90% or more of the visitors to the Country Park who did not previously enter the Village.  This should lead to more tourist spending available to benefit local business, rather than the Council.  The new model expanding visitor numbers, leaves archaeological work unchanged, protects the site, continues to provide costumed guided tours to school parties and saves the tax payer around £60,000 every year. 

 

The questioner does not stipulate which “new” heritage projects are under consideration, but in many cases Council investment is supported by external grants and regeneration projects generally need to demonstrate long term financial viability without subsidy.

 

As Members are aware, this was recently considered at the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) when I made it clear that if groups came forward we would be pleased to work with them.  I am hopeful that will happen.

 

 

1159   APPOINTMENT / DESIGNATION OF HEAD OF PAID SERVICE (HHR) -

 

A detailed series of recommendations of Cabinet of 14th March, 2012 were submitted to, and approved by, Council on 16th April, 2012.  The recommendations included the progressing of arrangements for the matching of an officer to the new role of Director of Resources and, subsequently, appointment to the role of Managing Director (the latter being on a three year honorarium basis from 1st August 2012 and to be in addition to the substantive role of Director of Resources).

 

In accordance with the decision of Council of 16th April, the Senior Management Appointment Panel met on 17th April 2012 and resolved that S. Davies, the current Director of Finance, ICT and Property be matched (in accordance with the Council's Avoiding Redundancy Policy) to the role of Director of Resources and appointed to the role of Managing Director (the latter on the honorarium basis alluded to above).

 

The job description of the Managing Director includes acting as the Council's Head of Paid Service.  Under the Council's Constitution, the making or confirming of the appointment of the Head of Paid Service is a mandatory Council function and, therefore, requires the approval of Full Council. 

 

RESOLVED - T H A T S. Davies, as Director of Resources / Managing Director (honorarium) be formally designated the Council’s Head of Paid Service, as from 1st August 2012. 

 

(Note: S. Davies vacated the room prior to the consideration of the above matter.)

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