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THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 26th September, 2012.

 

Present:  Councillor Eric Hacker (Mayor); Councillors Richard Bertin, Janice Birch, Rhiannon Birch, Jonathan Bird, Bronwen Brooks, Lis Burnett, Philip Clarke, Geoff Cox, Claire Curtis, Rob Curtis, Pamela Drake, John Drysdale, Kate Edmunds, Stuart Egan, Christopher Elmore, Christopher Franks, Keith Geary, Howard Hamilton, Val Hartrey, Keith Hatton, Nic Hodges, Jeff James, Hunter Jarvie, Gwyn John, Fred Johnson, Dr. Ian Johnson, Peter King, Kevin Mahoney, Anne Moore, Neil Moore, Andrew Parker, Bob Penrose, Anthony Powell, Audrey Preston, Rhona Probert, Gwyn Roberts, John Thomas, Ray Thomas, Rhodri Traherne, Steffan Wiliam, Margaret Wilkinson, Clive Williams, Christopher Williams, Edward Williams and Mark Wilson.

 

 

350           APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Councillor Maureen Kelly Owen.

 

 

351           DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

The Members whose names appear in the schedule below declared an interest in the matters indicated against their names and left the meeting during consideration of the items.

 

Councillors Richard Bertin, Claire Curtis, Rob Curtis and Howard Hamilton

Agenda Item No. 12(b): Gibbonsdown Community Centre on the basis that the Members concerned hold the positions of Board Member (Councillor Bertin), Secretary (Councillor Claire Curtis) and Trustees (Councillors Rob Curtis and Howard Hamilton)

Councillor Kevin Mahoney

Agenda Item No. 7: Change of Name: Sully Community Council on the basis that he was a member of the Community Council and had previously voted on this issue at a meeting of that Council.

 

 

352           MINUTES -

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 27th June, 2012 were approved as a correct record.

 

 

353           ANNOUNCEMENTS -

 

The Mayor made the following announcements:

 

(i)         He referred to the great success of the Royal National Eisteddfod, which had been held in the Vale of Glamorgan and attracted approximately 140,000 visitors.  He would shortly be hosting a reception to thank the numerous staff who had assisted in delivering such a successful event.

 

(ii)        He had attended the Vale of Glamorgan Agricultural Show which, again, had been a huge success with significant numbers of visitors attending.

 

(iii)       Together with the Leader, he had attended the Trottoirfest in Rheinfelden.  Colleagues from Rheinfelden would be visiting the forthcoming Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival.

 

(iv)       On 6th September, 2012, The Princess Royal, Princess Anne had visited the area and this had included a visit to the International Sheepdog Trials. 

 

(v)        On 19th September, 2012 he had attended the 50th Anniversary of the founding of Atlantic College, St. Donats.

 

(vi)       His Royal Highness the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward had recently visited the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

(vii)      He reminded Members of the forthcoming Mayor’s Charity event, on 13th October, 2012 - 'A Night at the Races', to be held at the St. Athan Golf Club, proceeds from which would go to the Stroke Association.

 

The Leader made the following announcements:

 

(i)         He welcomed Siân Davies, Jennifer Hill and Councillor Dr. Ian Johnson, who were attending their first meeting in the capacities of Managing Director, Chief Learning and Skills Officer and newly-elected Member respectively.

 

(ii)        The Leader informed Members that Councillor Maureen Kelly Owen had recently been unwell and it was agreed that the Council's best wishes for a speedy recovery be conveyed to her.

 

 

354           RE-ALLOCATION OF SEATS ON COMMITTEES (MD) -

 

Section 15(5) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 required that the total number of seats across all Committees should, as far as practicable, reflect the political balance of the Council. 

 

The Plaid Cymru Group, as a result of now having one additional Member on the Council, were entitled to a total of 4 extra Committee places.  The specific changes in the various Groups' entitlements related to the Planning Committee and to Committees of 10 Members.  As far as the Planning Committee was concerned, the Conservative Group was required to give up a place on the Committee.  The remaining three additional places for the Plaid Cymru Group were required to be given up by the Labour Group and these should come from three of the Committees which comprised 10 Members. 

 

The Leader had indicated that, as far as the Labour Group was concerned, they would give up a place on each of the following Committees:

  • Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) - Councillor Anne Moore
  • Democratic Services Committee - Councillor Margaret Wilkinson
  • Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee - Councillor Lis Burnett.

The Leader of the Conservative Group indicated that Councillor Maureen Kelly Owen would relinquish her seat on the Planning Committee.

 

The Plaid Cymru Group representation resulting from the above would be :

  • Scrutiny Committee (Social Care and Health) - Councillor Dr. Ian Johnson
  • Democratic Services Committee - Councillor Dr. Ian Johnson
  • Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee - Councillor Dr. Ian Johnson
  • Planning Committee – Councillor Keith Hatton

In addition to the above, the Labour Group had also indicated that the vacancies to which it was entitled as a result of the passing away of former Councillor Ms. Alexander would be taken up as follows:

  • Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) - Councillor Anne Moore
  • Investigating Committee - Councillor Fred Johnson
  • Licensing Committee – Councillor Neil Moore
  • Equalities Consultative Forum - Councillor Lis Burnett.

Finally, the Leader of the Llantwit First Independent Group, Councillor Gwyn John, had indicated that he would be replaced by Councillor Edward Williams  on the Joint Consultative Forum.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the changes outlined above be approved.

 

 

355           SCRUTINY COMMITTEES' ANNUAL REPORT MAY 2011 - MAY 2012 (MD) -

 

The report, submitted by the Chairmen of the Council's Scrutiny Committees highlighted the work of the Committees during 2011/12 and incorporated statistical information, together with a summary of issues considered. 

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the Scrutiny Committees' Annual Report 2011/12 be received.

 

 

356           CHANGE OF NAME: SULLY COMMUNITY COUNCIL (MD) -

 

Section 76 of the Local Government Act 1972 stated that, at the request of a Community Council, the principal Council in which the Community was situated could change the name of the Community.

 

Sully Community Council had requested the Council to consider changing the name of the Community Council from Sully to Sully and Lavernock Community Council. 

 

Should the Council be minded to approve the change of name of the Community Council, notice of the change was required to be sent to the National Assembly for Wales, the Director General of the Ordinance Survey and the Registrar General for England and Wales.  It must also be published in the community.

 

The proposal had been made on the basis that the new name would encompass both areas that the Community Council already served and represented.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the change in name of Sully Community Council to Sully and Lavernock Community Council be approved with immediate effect.

 

 

357           STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS 2011/12(S151O) -

 

The Accounts and Audit Regulations required the Council to prepare a Statement of Accounts for each financial year (with an Annual Governance Statement).  The Authority was required by the Wales Audit Office to sign a Letter of Representation regarding the 2011/12 Financial Statements.  The Statement of Accounts needed to be considered by the Council and signed by the Mayor as Chairman of the Council in agreement.  The Annual Governance Statement needed to be signed by the Leader.  The Statement of Accounts and Annual Governance Statement had already been considered and endorsed by the Audit Committee. 

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the letter of representation to the Wales Audit Office be noted and that it be agreed and signed and dated by the Chairman of the Audit Committee and the Mayor as Chairman of the Council.

 

(2)       T H A T the Annual Governance Statement (within the Statement of Accounts) be approved and signed and dated by the Leader of the Council at page 92.

 

(3)       T H A T the Statement of Accounts for 2011/12 be approved and signed and dated by the Mayor as Chairman of the Council at page 18.

 

 

358         APPOINTMENT OF COMMUNITY COMMITTEE MEMBER TO THE COUNCIL'S STANDARDS COMMITTEE (MO) -

 

Council on 25th April, 2012 had agreed a process to fill a vacancy for a Community Committee Member on the Standards Committee.  Accordingly, all Town and Community Councils had been asked if they wished to nominate a member for consideration, with the appointment to be made by an Appointments Panel comprising the Elected Members sitting on the Standards Committee.

 

On 19th July, 2012, the Appointments Panel met and appointed Councillor M. Cuddy as the Community Committee Member.

 

A number of Members indicated that they had not received notification of decisions regarding applications submitted to the Council's Standards Committee for various dispensations to speak and / or vote.  The Leader assured Members that this matter would be dealt with and decisions conveyed to the relevant Members.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T it be noted that Town Councillor Mr. M. Cuddy has been appointed the Community Committee Member to the Council's Standards Committee.

 

 

359           COUNCIL CONSTITUTION / OFFICER DELEGATIONS (MO) -

 

Since the formal introduction of the Council's new executive arrangements in May 2002, the Constitution had remained under review and would continue to be reviewed on an ongoing basis.  Under Article 15 of the Constitution the Monitoring Officer had a duty to monitor and review the operation of the Constitution to ensure that the aims and principles contained therein were given full effect.  Any changes considered necessary were subject to approval by the Full Council after consideration of the proposals by the Monitoring Officer.

 

A number of relatively minor amendments had been proposed by officers and were set out in Appendix A to the report.  They comprised proposed revisions/ updates to the scheme of officer delegations designed to reflect current management and service requirements and arrangements and which had been identified since the comprehensive review of delegations reported to / agreed by Council on 27th June 2012.  The opportunity would also be taken to make a number of other minor typographical / "housekeeping" changes relating to officer / Cabinet Member titles to ensure the document was accurate.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the following amendments to the Constitution be approved:

 

View Amendments to the Constitution (PDF)

 

 

360           TREASURY MANAGEMENT (REF) -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the proposals of the Cabinet, as set out in Cabinet Minute No. C1762, 9th July, 2012, be approved.

 

 

361           IMPROVEMENT PLAN 2012/13 (REF)

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the proposals of the Cabinet, as set out in Cabinet Minute No. C1827, 17th September, 2012, be approved.

 

 

362           CLOSURE OF ACCOUNTS 2011/12 (REF) -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the use of the Urgent Decision Procedure (Cabinet Minute No. C1763, 9th July, 2012), as set out in Article 13.09(a)(ii) of the Council's Constitution, to endorse approval of slippage figures as set out in Appendix 5 to the report, be noted.

 

 

363           GIBBONSDOWN COMMUNITY CENTRE (REF) -

 

Prior to the noting of this item in accordance with the Constitution, Councillor James alluded to the important role of the Centre and suggested a review of any future leases / agreements to ensure the operation of the Centre on a sound legal basis.

 

Councillor Traherne, whilst fully supporting the project, sought clarification regarding two points. Firstly, now that the survey work was presumably complete, he asked whether the works would be covered by funding from Flying Start and the Barry Regeneration Area Partnership Board Grant or whether the Council's Barry Regeneration Area Project Development Fund would have to be utilised in order to fully fund the re-development of the Children's Centre. Secondly, he sought clarification as to whether the Flying Start Capital Grant had been approved by the Welsh Government.  The Leader indicated he would look into the matter and respond to Councillor Traherne.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the use of the Urgent Decision Procedure (Cabinet Minute No. C1811, 30th July, 2012), as set out in Article 13.09(a)(ii) of the Council's Constitution, to implement the resolutions of Cabinet, be noted.

 

 

364           QUESTIONS PURSUANT TO COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 8.2 -

 

Due notice had been given of the following questions:

 

(i)               Question from Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson

 

On what date was the final application for civil enforcement officers submitted and on what date does he expect those officers to begin operating in the Vale of Glamorgan?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

The full application for the Vale of Glamorgan to become a Civil Parking Enforcement area was submitted to Welsh Government on 24th September 2012. 

 

Cabinet were originally advised on 29th February 2012 of an implementation date for Civil Parking Enforcement of 1st April 2013.  Following the Local Government Elections in May 2012, the new Administration requested a further report to advise of progress with this most important project.  This report was duly presented to Cabinet on 23rd July 2012.  In this report I advised that the Council’s Internal Audit department had recently been engaged to review the position with Civil Parking Enforcement to establish if an earlier implementation date would be possible.  Regrettably the conclusion of this audit report is that due to the amount of work still to be completed on this joint project, the 1st April 2013 date remains the most realistic.

 

A report detailing the outcome of this audit review is scheduled to be put before Members during October 2012.

 

It may be possible for enforcement officers (and I will be pushing for it) to be active on our streets issuing warning notices prior to 1st April 2013, and this would serve to give prior additional warning of the significant change to enforcement arrangements that will take place in the Vale immediately following 31st March 2013.  Members will be advised of this, and other, implementation arrangements via a further report early in the new calendar year.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson asked how many officers would be in place on 1st April 2013. 

 

The Cabinet Member replied that, as this was a joint project with Bridgend, he did not currently have a figure, but would provide this information once known.

 

 

(ii)              Question from Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson

 

What support is the Council providing for development of a hydrotherapy pool on the corner of Tynewydd Road with Gladstone Road and Woodlands Road?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

The proposal has been brought to the attention of the Barry Regeneration Area programme.  I believe that an officer from the Welsh Government has met with those proposing the scheme with a view to establishing what, if any, support can be provided through this programme. If they haven’t yet met, I understand they will do soon.

 

In addition, officers from within the Council are available to offer signposting to possible sources of support or planning advice once a scheme or potential scheme has been developed.

 

Supplemental

 

Referring to his understanding that, under the previous administration, there had been a commercial clause included in respect of the sale, Councillor Dr. Johnson asked whether the Cabinet Member and relevant officers would be willing to meet with him, together with any potential developers, to discuss the difficulties of such a clause. 

 

The Leader indicated that, should the Member wish to be made aware of the details of the clause, he would be entitled to be provided with such information.  He would be prepared to discuss the matter with the Member.  However, the attendance of potential developers would be a matter on which the Council’s Legal Services Division would need to advise.  

 

 

(iii)             Question from Dr. I.J. Johnson

 

Further to the information provided to Council on 27th June what further discussion has taken place with the Welsh Government regarding Council Tax Benefit cuts?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

Work to develop the replacement for Council Tax Benefit is being taken forward by a Steering Group comprising of representatives from the Welsh Government and local government (co-ordinated by the WLGA).  The Steering Group has focused on drafting regulations that will enable the scheme to be put in place for implementation in 2013.  The concerns over the financial risks facing councils have been raised at the Group by the local government representatives.  The funding available for Wales will be determined by the UK Government.  It is anticipated that this will be announced following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in November.

 

Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee has established a Task and Finish Group to report on the implications to the Council of Welfare Reform.  The Head of Financial Services held a briefing session earlier today, open to all Council Members, on the Welfare Reform agenda.  This provided more information on changes to the system.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson referred to these cuts having been announced in June 2010 and to a promise made by the new Administration that a Labour Council would introduce Council Tax relief for residents aged 70 or over unless they were already receiving benefits and he asked when this would be introduced.

 

The Leader indicated that this issue would be considered as part of the 2013/ 14 budget process.

 

 

(iv)             Question from Councillor R.J. Bertin

 

Could the Cabinet Member for the Environment please update us on the performance of XFOR enforcement in the Vale of Glamorgan?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

Tackling litter and dog fouling was a key commitment in the Labour Party manifesto and remains so.  I am pleased to report that in just over 8 weeks since their introduction in August this year, XFOR Local Authority Support Ltd. have issued over 500 fixed penalty notices for environmental crimes within the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

To compliment this high level enforcement work, I will be advising Scrutiny and Cabinet shortly of a number of new initiatives aimed at further improving the Vale's environmental quality. I hope to be in a position to commence these new initiatives later this year.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Bertin, whilst supportive of the proposal, asked whether more litter bins would be provided from the proceeds of the penalty notices issued.

 

The Cabinet Member was hopeful that in “pinch points”, it would be possible to install extra facilities such as litter bins.   He reminded Members, however, that once fitted, there was still a maintenance requirement. 

 

 

(v)              Question from Councillor R.J. Bertin

 

According to the latest report from the Local Government Data Unit, The Vale of Glamorgan Council currently has the lowest number of affordable homes as a percentage of new homes in Wales.

 

So my question to you is: how are we going to address this issue?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

I share your views.  The need to provide affordable homes is greater than ever.  Getting even close to meeting that need has been difficult in recent years, as a consequence of the economic downturn and the obvious reduction in house building activity across all Welsh and, indeed, UK areas.

 

We have set ourselves a very demanding target, that 30% of all new homes should be affordable.  This is reflected in our various policy documents including the Supplementary Planning guidance paper on affordable housing which makes it clear that a 30% target is required on new developments.  The issue over the last year is that very few new developments have come forward and the low figure is a reflection of very low completion rates across the industry over the 12 months from April 2011 to March 2012.

 

That said, we continue to work with developers and prospective developers to bring forward sites and as a consequence affordable housing.  There are a number of sites that are currently reaching completion which will, as a consequence, contribute to our affordable housing requirement this year, a good example being the site that is being completed at Pencoedtre where 30% of the houses being provided will be affordable.  There is also the site at The Herberts where all the properties are affordable, this scheme representing an excellent example of how our planning and housing officers worked in partnership with a Housing Association.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Bertin asked whether it would be possible for the Council to publish a new Affordable Housing Delivery Plan, working with Housing Associations, developers and planners to help develop such.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that this specific proposal had not been considered but that she was prepared to consider the feasibility of such with the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety.

 

 

(vi)             Question from Councillor R.J. Bertin

 

Will the Leader please give this Council an update on the recent incident involving the Mayor's car?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

On Thursday 13th September the Mayor’s car was involved in an accident in a supermarket car park.  All Members were e-mailed, on my instruction, on 21st September giving them an update on the health of the driver and the condition of the car.  The incident is under investigation, and that investigation is continuing.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Bertin asked why it had taken a week for Members to be informed of the incident and requested they be kept informed of the ongoing investigation.

 

The Leader indicated that normal procedures followed in the event of an accident involving a Council vehicle would not include informing all Members.  He had done so purely because rumours had been circulating in the press and he had wanted to set out the facts.  The investigation was ongoing and the outcome would be reported to Members if / as necessary. 

 

 

(vii)            Question from Councillor C.J. Williams

 

Almost a year ago, a young Barry mother tragically lost her life making her way home from Dinas Powys, on the A4055.  Others have died making the same journey along the railway line.

 

Whilst we are awaiting the funding for a safe footpath and cycleway along this perilous link road, are there any plans to reduce the speed limit, from the Biglis roundabout to Southra park estate, to 40mph?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

Could I firstly, and most importantly, state that any loss of life on our highways is a tragedy and we will not hesitate in taking action to improve highway safety if the Police advise that the condition of the highway is a factor in any road traffic collision.

 

The initial Police report relating to the fatality on 16th October 2011 indicates that the Police did not consider that there were any highway safety implications at that time.

 

The Council has not received any further information relating to this incident and, as speed was not identified as a contributory factor to the collision, there is no intention to introduce a reduced speed limit on this section of highway at this time.

 

Our officers will, however, keep the safety of this route under review as they do all other routes within the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Williams asked whether the Cabinet Member would be prepared to press the case for this worthy scheme at SEWTA meetings.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that, when attending, she would press for any scheme which would improve road safety in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

 

(viii)           Question from Councillor Mrs. C.L. Curtis

 

Would the Cabinet Member please update Council on the progress of the Welsh Housing Quality Standard initiative in the Vale of Glamorgan and the difference it will make to the tenants and communities alike?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety

 

The Council has recently embarked on one of its most ambitious refurbishment projects, where Council homes within the Vale will be brought up to Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) over a period of four and a half years.  The programme will see kitchens, bathrooms, wiring, heating systems, windows, doors and roofs replaced over this period and work commenced, to schedule, on 3rd September 2012.

 

The Council's own Building Services section is engaged in the WHQS Programme, in addition to four external contractors who are working in partnership with the Council.  The Council's Building Services Team are primarily tasked with bringing void (vacant) properties up to the WHQS standard in addition to works to Sheltered Accommodation.  They are currently engaged on 33 void properties and works at Gwenog Court, a Sheltered Accommodation unit in Barry.

The four external contractors are currently working in:-

  • Buttrills, Barry - West Walk / Buttrills Walk
  • Barry Island - Amherst Crescent / Clive Road
  • Penarth - Andrew Road
  • Rural Vale – St. Brides Road, Wick.

The total investment programme is in the region of £82 million with £2 million planned for Environmental improvements from year 3 (2014/15) for which a comprehensive programme of tenant consultation will be undertaken beforehand. 

 

Refurbishment works are substantially complete in a number of properties during this early phase and the standard of workmanship to date is high with very positive feedback from tenants. 

 

There is no doubt that this work will make a major difference to our tenants and the communities in which they live.  It should also ensure that this Council is at the forefront of quality in-house public housing provision within the next five years.

 

 

(ix)             Question from Councillor A.G. Powell

 

Would the Cabinet Member for Visible Services please update Members on the Council’s ‘Big Fill’ initiative, which is designed to tackle the blight of potholes in our roads?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

This issue was a key commitment in the Labour Party manifesto and remains so.  The Big Fill initiative is a direct response to the poor results from the recent public opinion survey which saw our residents' satisfaction with road maintenance fall by 38% when compared to the previous survey in 2010. 

 

In addition to continuing with this important resurfacing investment via the Prudential Borrowing Arrangement, which will see resurfacing work in the Vale undertaken to a value of £2.3m during this financial year, I felt it important to have a highly visible and interactive campaign to demonstrate to our residents that we are very serious about improving the quality of our road network.

 

We currently attend to road repairs from Monday to Friday when a great number of our residents are away from home.  We have managed to negotiate comparable rates with our Contractor so as to now engage them during weekends, to specifically target potholes on a ward by ward basis over a 12 month period.

 

The Big Fill scheme allows residents to specifically advise us of problems in their local areas for attention over the weekend where repairs are scheduled for their ward.  It also allows members of the public to directly contact our highway maintenance staff to point out specific areas of concern.  The intention is to involve everyone in contributing to the initiative in order to improve the condition of the road network and to firmly demonstrate that this Council listens to the needs of its residents and responds appropriately.

 

Initially the pilot for the scheme will be undertaken in the Dyfan ward in Barry over 29th and 30th September.  The scheme will then progress through the Barry wards before moving onto Penarth and the wider Vale.  Details of the first phase of the initiative are available on the Council's website, which will be updated regularly as the scheme progresses.

 

 

(x)              Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

Following the welcome planning approval for the Penarth Learning Centre development will you indicate how it is intended to address outstanding issues such as safe walking to school, traffic congestion and on site security?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

I am somewhat surprised at this question, not because of the relevance of the topic, but given the fact that Councillor Franks has already asked the same question through the Gem last week and indeed the Gem was provided with a full answer.  I could therefore refer Councillor Franks to the pages of the Gem, but for completeness, and in case Councillor Franks has not had an opportunity to read the press in recent weeks I will answer the query again.

 

Traffic issues associated with the development have been carefully and fully considered by officers and by members of the Planning Committee. In addition it is also relevant that Planning Committee members undertook a detailed site visit before making a decision on the application at the of August.

 

In addition, and highly relevant to the progression of the scheme, is the fact that the Council works closely with all schools on all aspects of road safety and traffic management and has an established track record of delivering a programme of road safety education and training across all ages. The Council is particularly eager to work with schools in looking at options for engineering measures to enhance road safety of school children and parents, and this is something that will be progressed in relation to this site. It is recognised also that traffic both on site and on the approaches to the school will need to be closely managed and to this end planning conditions have been imposed to establish working travel plans and schemes for the management of traffic on site. This is also alongside traffic calming and footpath improvement works on Sully Road that were deemed necessary as part of the development. 

 

In terms of on site security, this is clearly an issue that will need to be closely addressed in partnership with the school, as the new development becomes fully operational.  A joint premises committee will manage the school buildings and the school grounds.

 

I would, however, like to take this opportunity to welcome the significant investment in the Penarth Learning Community which can only be viewed as a huge step forward for learning in Penarth and the vicinity.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks indicated that he understood the Police had felt the planning application had been deficient, that the Council’s Highways Officers had expressed concerns and that there were still outstanding issues in terms of safety of pupils walking on Ashgrove and asked when the Cabinet Member intended to address such issues. 

 

The Cabinet Member reiterated his earlier comment regarding the joint premises committee that would manage the buildings and grounds.  He indicated that Councillor Franks was well aware that he shared his concerns regarding the ash path and had asked officers to again look at this issue.   He was prepared to provide Councillor Franks with further information subject to him clarifying what was required.

 

 

(xi)             Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

What representations has this Authority made regarding the proposed Congestion Charge currently being advocated by Cardiff County Council?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

I would draw Councillor Franks’ attention to press coverage earlier this month when Cardiff Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Highways, Traffic and Transportation stated he had “reached the conclusion that a congestion charge will not be introduced by this administration”.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks asked whether the Council had been consulted before Cardiff Council’s initial statement.

 

The Cabinet Member stated that, as there had never been an official policy, the Council would not have been consulted.

 

 

(xii)            Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

What recent discussions has this Council undertaken regarding the future of Cardiff Wales Airport?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

The First Minister has recently established a Cardiff Airport Task Force.  The inaugural meeting was held on 7th June at the Airport.  I am pleased that the Council is represented on the Task Force through the Director of Development Services.  In addition to officials from the Airport, the Welsh Government and the Welsh Local Government Association, the Task Force also includes representation from the business sector, with British Airways Maintenance Centre represented along with the South Wales Chamber of Commerce and CBI.  I am aware that the Welsh Government has dedicated a specific staff resource to administer the Task Force, but to also work with the Airport in looking at opportunities for route development and marketing. 

 

Another meeting of the Task Force is planned for the Autumn.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks asked for more information regarding what was actually happening.

 

The Cabinet Member reiterated the fact that there had only been one meeting of the Task Force to date.  As future updates were received, she would convey information accordingly.

 

 

(xiii)           Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

I would be grateful if the Cabinet Member could let Council know how her plans for a Vale of Glamorgan Heritage Centre are progressing.

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

I told you at the last Council meeting, in response to a very similar question that this is one of the priorities for the new administration and that we would be progressing ideas.  I can advise that a report will be presented on this matter to the Scrutiny Committee in the near future. I can, however, confirm that this will not be during October due to the fact that I continue to review options as to how the Council can best assist in establishing a Heritage Centre.  Heritage means very different things to different people. Indeed, you and I probably have very different ideas on what constitutes the heritage of the Vale of Glamorgan, neither of which would probably provide a complete picture. For that reason it is essential we consult fully and widely before bringing a report to Scrutiny.

 

 

(xiv)           Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

Is the Vale Labour Administration, and Welsh Government Regeneration Minister Huw Lewis, supportive of the establishment of a “State of the Art” Family Attraction Centre and Aquarium at Nells Point?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

I assume that Councillor Traherne is referring to the LDP / Collins study, which indicates that the provision of an aquarium and family attraction centre is a possible option in terms of the future use of the site.  I also seem to recall that, yet again, Councillor Traherne asked a very similar question at the previous Council meeting barely 3 months ago.

 

Although we have had productive conversations with him, I cannot speak for the Minister, but I can advise that the potential use of Nells Point for leisure related uses are very much a priority for the new administration.

 

Councillor Traherne will be pleased to know that since I recently took over as Chair of the Barry Regeneration Board, I held a specific Board workshop earlier this month at the Barry Island Railway Centre to consider issues relating to Nells Point and Barry Island.  The consultants – LDP / Collins provided input into this workshop and this allowed everyone on the Board to understand the issues in taking their work forward.  As a result two reports will come before Cabinet on 15th October which will recommend progressing the LDP / Collins work to the next stage, as well as progressing other important schemes at Barry Island.  These reports will be presented first to the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee on 9th October so that Cabinet can be informed of that Committee’s views when making a decision on the way forward.

 

 

(xv)            Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

In view of the changes that are to take place to the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy and the Welsh Labour Government’s approach to the post 2013 Welsh Rural Development Plan, will there still be rural regeneration funding for the Vale of Glamorgan post 2013 and, if so, how will this be delivered?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

There appears a definite theme developing here Councillor Traherne - another question, which you asked at the last Council.

 

The Council’s Rural Regeneration Programme is delivered through the Creative Rural Communities Partnership. This excellent programme makes a real difference to people’s lives by empowering rural communities to improve their wellbeing.  In addition to Council funding, the programme relies heavily on Rural Development Plan funds delivered through Welsh Government. Current funding ends in December 2013.  A new Rural Development Plan is being developed and we are advised that it won’t be finalised until at least early 2015. The availability of grant for the Vale’s rural areas is still to be determined as the programme is developed, and we are working with Welsh Government to seek the best outcome.  However, the Council has been invited to bid for an extension to the current programme in the meantime.  We are doing this through Creative Rural Communities.  Given our track record, I am hopeful that we will be able to secure an extension to the programme pending longer term decisions.  I am also very hopeful that our track record on this matter will put is in a good position when making the case for continued funding into the future.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne asked whether the Cabinet Member would confirm whether the Welsh Government was seeking to deliver Rural Regeneration regionally and, as such, this would have implications for the successful Vale of Glamorgan Rural Partnership with it likely to have to be dismantled.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated she could not give any such confirmation.  She was continuing to discuss future funding arrangements with the Welsh Government.

 

 

(xvi)           Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

It would appear from the Cabinet Report of 23rd July 2012 that the Labour Administration is in the process of marketing the Hydraulic Pump House.  I would be grateful if the Cabinet Member could confirm that she will be accepting bids and proposals from the commercial sector.

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

I can confirm the Council’s property agent Savills is presently marketing the Hydraulic Pumphouse and this has received very positive press coverage. The Council will welcome bids from community groups, social enterprises and commercial organisations. Hence, the answer to the question is yes the Council will accept bids and proposals from the commercial sector and these will be assessed along with other bids received.

 

 

(xvii)          Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

Can the Cabinet Member tell me what incentives are currently available to businesses who wish to re-locate to the St. Athan Enterprise Zone? 

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

I am somewhat bemused by this question.  Not because, yet again, you asked it at the last Council meeting as a Supplemental question, but because, in my answer I advised that I could provide you with information in writing should you care to set out your exact request.  You did not, and so it might be concluded that it was not something that you wanted to pursue.

 

Nevertheless, I can advise that work is progressing on the Enterprise Zone and the Council has a seat on the Board.  Despite it still being early days, I am aware that work has progressed on developing an Outline Strategy Document for the zone that will highlight the attributes for new potential investors.  The Board is also currently setting out infrastructure requirements that will add to the attractiveness of the zone for investors.  Finally, I am aware that a marketing strategy is being developed which will clearly assist in attracting investment.  The designation of St Athan and the Airport as an Enterprise Zone is making all this possible.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne asked whether the Cabinet Member agreed that it was very disappointing that the Welsh Government was taking so long to carry out the necessary work on business rates, enhanced capital allowances and a fast track planning regime, all of which he considered essential for the success of a Competitiveness Area Enterprise Zone such as St. Athan.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that, on the contrary, she was pleased with how parties were working and with the progress being made.

 

 

(xviii)         Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

Is the Cabinet Member and the Labour Administration in favour of the construction of a Severn Barrage from Lavernock Point in the Vale of Glamorgan to Brean Down in Somerset?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

The Council has not yet been consulted formally on any proposals relating to a proposed Severn Barrage, but would hope to be involved in any future discussions should the project progress.

 

Any project that would offer a renewable energy source of this scale merits serious consideration.  However, the impact on the environment of the Severn Estuary would also require very careful consideration, as would the need for, and impact of, any other infrastructure to support this major project.

 

A development of this magnitude would, therefore, have to pass significant Planning tests and would in all likelihood be a project that would be considered and determined by the National Infrastructure Planning Office of the Planning Inspectorate. As part of this process the Council would expect to play a significant role.

 

 

(xix)           Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

Does the Cabinet Member and the Labour Administration support a direct rail link to Cardiff Airport?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

The provision of a direct rail link to Cardiff Airport is a proposal that is currently contained within the Deposit Local Development plan.  That Plan in its current form was produced by the last administration and was the subject of consultation before the last election.  In terms of the future of this proposal, the results of that consultation exercise and any specific responses relating to the rail link will need close examination before moving forward on the issue.  I cannot pre-judge the next steps, but I can say that I remain to be convinced of the deliverability of such a link and also the value of the link and these are matters which will require careful examination.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne, referring to the Labour Party manifesto, asked whether discussions had taken place with the Welsh Government regarding the scrapping of the draft Local Development Plan.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that this had, indeed, been alluded to during discussions. 

 

 

(xx)            Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

Can the Cabinet Member tell me how many people are waiting for affordable housing in the Vale of Glamorgan and is she able to estimate how many of these people are waiting for rented accommodation and how many of these people are waiting for suitable affordably priced housing to purchase?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety

 

There are currently 2,669 households registered on Homes 4 U which includes 731 who have indicated that they are interested in affordable housing and 214 interested in Shared ownership.

 

The Housing Department maintains a separate register for those interested in Low Cost Home ownership schemes, of which there are 93 households identified.

 

A report is to be submitted to the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) on 10th October 2012, which will include provision for a Manual on Affordable Housing.

 

 

(xxi)           Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

The Cabinet Member will no doubt be aware of the fact that pupils in England are continuing to overtake their counterparts in Wales in the first three years of secondary school. I understand that by the end of Key Stage 2, 11-year-olds in Wales do better in Maths, Science and English at the end of primary school but they then fall behind pupils in England, who do better by the age 14 or the end of Key Stage 3.  Is this true for young people attending secondary schools in the Vale of Glamorgan?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

Can I thank Councillor Treharne for his question.

 

I am pleased to say that in Key Stage 2, pupils in the Vale perform better in English, Maths and Science, than pupils in Wales and in England. (Data for 10/11 and 11/12.)

 

In Key Stage 3, pupils perform better in Maths and Science than pupils in Wales and England, but perform less well in English. (Data for 10/11 only. Performance data for KS 3, 11/12 for England, will be published in October.)

 

The Council recognises precisely where improvements in pupil performance need to be made.

 

In the Vale of Glamorgan, within the subject of English, in Key Stage 3, pupils need to improve attainment in writing. More pupils need to attain a level 5 in writing at the end of Key Stage 3.

 

To support this, the Council has implemented a writing improvement programme called Power Writing in KS 3 and Big Writing in KS 2.

 

The programme is continuing to focus on improving standards in writing in Key Stage 3 for the forthcoming academic year 2012 -2013.

 

Referring to having heard it said that a certain amount of the curriculum in Year 7 was a repeat of Year 6 and to some teaching staff feeling that it would be better for Secondary Schools to trust Primary Schools and spend as little time as possible re-teaching material Councillor Traherne asked whether the Cabinet Member would agree to look into this issue and, in particular, whether any more could be done to ensure a seamless transition from primary to secondary school.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated he was aware that there were substantial transitional arrangements in place, but nevertheless he would ask officers to look into the point raised regarding Year 6/7.

 

 

(xxii)          Question from Councillor R.L. Traherne

 

Can I ask the Cabinet Member whether he is minded to undertake a review of the “Meals on Wheels Service”?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Adult Services

 

Because of increasing demand for our services from increasing numbers of vulnerable people, the Adult Services budget is under considerable pressure.  All services have to operate as efficiently as possible to ensure that needs can be met. 

 

The Social Services Budget Programme did include a plan for a review of the Meals on Wheels service.  However, the Cabinet is monitoring the overall programme very closely.  It is likely that we will be able to protect the Meals on Wheels service from further savings for the time being.  Therefore, the review will be deferred, although we will need to consider ensuring that pricing remains realistic given the increasing costs of providing the service.

 

Supplemental

 

Referring to some people in rural areas having been without Meals on Wheels for a number of months and such people thinking it was satisfactory for the Meals on Wheels Service to be continued in urban areas when it had been discontinued in many rural areas, Councillor Traherne asked whether the Cabinet Member could reassure rural people that the Council was not entering a period of “rural apartheid” with positive discrimination in favour of people living in urban areas. 

 

The Cabinet Member considered Councillor Traherne to be well aware of the particular problems encountered as a result of an equipment breakdown.  There is not any money in the budget to replace such, but everything possible had been done to provide hot meals to as many people as possible in the western Vale.  Aware that there were a small amount of people that were not able to receive that particular service, alternative provisions had been put in place and if the Member or any other Member was aware of anybody in particular need in the western Vale, he asked that they bring this to his attention or to the Head of Adult Services and they would do whatever they could to ensure that a service was provided.  What he could not guarantee was the reintroduction of a meal service or, indeed, any of the Council’s other provisions.  Future provision would be determined by the finances available although the Council was trying to ensure that every vulnerable person received appropriate services from the Council. 

 

 

(xxiii)         Question from Councillor J.W. Thomas

 

Last week Cardiff Council’s Cabinet considered a report on adopting the Living Wage for all its employees. Has the Vale Cabinet discussed this matter?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

Preliminary work is being undertaken by officers to assess the implications of adopting the Living Wage for employees within the Council. Whilst recognising the positive intentions of the Living Wage, there are clear concerns about the cost and effectiveness of the measure.

 

Another concern is the view that for many employees an increase in basic pay would be offset by a commensurate reduction in welfare benefits and therefore the initiative would be ineffective, or not effective, as an “anti-poverty” measure.

 

Once a more detailed analysis has been completed consideration will be given on whether to take the matter forward (but that is unlikely until early next year at the earliest).

 

I would also comment that the Council has just been through the Job Evaluation process and therefore had to sort that out first.  Possible consideration would be given to the Living Wage should it be required.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Thomas asked whether the Leader agreed that it was better for staff to see that people could actually earn a decent wage without having to rely on benefits.

 

The Leader agreed but stated that whether or not he considered the Living Wage to be a way forward was another matter.   

 

 

(xxiv)         Question from Councillor J.W. Thomas

 

I have noticed that the plinth for the Pay and Display meter is still in place at Llantwit Major Beach car park. Could the Cabinet Member confirm that car parking charges will not be introduced at Llantwit beach by this administration?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sports Development

 

If Councillor Thomas had looked further, he would have noted that the pay and display plinth is also still in place at the Knap Terrace Car Park in Barry. The plinth for a pay and display meter in Penarth, which was the third location for the new charges agreed by the previous Administration was never installed. 

 

I, as the responsible Cabinet Member for coastal areas, stopped the implementation of pay and display car parking charges at Llantwit Major, Clifftops and Knap Terrace so as to protect the interests of our residents who are users of these areas.  I have no plans to introduce such charging arrangements during our administrative term, though I am working with officers to consider a range of more suitable measures aimed at delivering a balanced budget. 

 

I have not instructed that the plinths for the pay and display meters be removed at this stage as this would incur additional unnecessary expenditure. Also, these plinths can be used as a base for public signage such as, in the case of Llantwit Major, the recently introduced bye laws that prohibit camping on the meadow area. 

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Thomas asked whether the Cabinet Member considered it acceptable that visitors to Ogmore by Sea, Southerndown and Barry Island should have to pay for car parking whilst those to Llantwit Major did not.

 

The Cabinet Member referred to the difference being these were three car parks in small areas where local residents used them regularly.  They were not attracting business from outside the Vale whereas the other car parks attracted the major visitor operations of the Vale of Glamorgan.  He did not intend changing the charges to those larger car parks, but certainly did not intend implementing charges on the car parks mentioned.

 

 

(xxv)          Question from Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson

 

Would the Cabinet Member for Children's Services give us an update on the progress being made on an elected Youth Mayor.

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

Following discussion with the Vale Youth Forum, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Democratic Services and the Youth Service a plan has been developed to establish a Youth Cabinet with a Youth Mayor.

 

Three models of Youth Cabinet have been devised by members of the Youth Forum.  At present, members of the Forum are not elected and are not fully representative of all young people in the Vale.  Consultation on the models will widen participation and engagement of young people in the development of Youth Engagement with the Council.  The consultation is being carried out in a number of stages:

 

On 22nd September a Youth Event was held in the Civic Offices. Young people from representative groups across the Vale were invited to attend. The event focused on the three models and young people were asked via workshop activities which aspects of them they liked and disliked.  From this all models will be fine tuned prior to wider consultation.

 

During Local Democracy Week three events will be held in Barry Fire Station on 16th, 17th and 18th October.  Local comprehensive schools will be invited to attend and a similar process on the models will be held via workshops, using the information and feedback from the youth event. Also, on 24th October a feedback evening will be held to inform those involved in the consultation of progress and, if necessary, to add any further input.

 

Following an evaluation of all information gathered and the analysis of all inputs, an assessment will be made of which model is most appropriate. This work will include an impact assessment and financial implications will also be identified.
 

It is anticipated that a recommendation will be considered by Cabinet in either December 2012 or January 2013.

 

 

(xxvi)         Question from Councillor Ms. R. Birch

 

Following the planning permission for the Penarth Learning Community, there has been some concern from local residents and parents about the Ash path that gives access to the new school. Would the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services inform Council of how he hopes to address this important issue?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

The Ash Path has been used by pupils living in Dinas Powys as a walking route to St. Cyres School in Penarth for many years.

 

Following concerns raised by local residents over the risk posed by horses in the fields adjacent to the path, officers of the Council entered into protracted negotiations with the landowner over the erection of a fence to prevent livestock access to the path. The path was fenced for safety reasons in April 2012.

 

In response to further specific concerns raised by parents in relation to the risk associated with crossing Sully Road at the entrance to the Ash Path, a toucan crossing was installed prior to the start of this term.

 

Planning and Transport officers will be meeting on 2nd October to discuss the feasibility of delivering a combined cycleway and footpath along this route. Clearly, there would be a need to acquire additional land from the landowner to enable such a development to proceed. I will be doing everything possible within my remit to ensure that, if feasible, the necessary steps are taken to progress this scheme.

 

 

(xxvii)        Question from Councillor H.C. Hamilton

 

Can the Cabinet Member give an up date on the support this Council is giving to keep the Castle Pub an integral part of the Barry community?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

Members may be aware that the application, which was submitted earlier this year, sought to partially demolish the premises and convert the remainder into 7 residential apartments with associated car parking.

 

As a result of consultation, a number of concerns were raised within the community regarding the loss of the public house, which has over the years served as an important facility within the local community. 

 

Both I and the Director of Development Services recently met with representatives from the community to discuss their concerns and I am also aware that the ward councillors have been very active in supporting the residents in their efforts to maintain an element of the public house within the scheme.  I was able to facilitate a meeting between community representatives and the applicant.  As a result, this application now proposes the partial demolition and conversion for 5 x 2 bed residential apartments and retention of the A3 use in part of the ground floor with ancillary accommodation.

 

This is an excellent example where the community can work together to influence planning proposals, and I was only too happy to help facilitate the process.  In answering I must also point out that my colleagues, the Ward Members for Castleland, have also worked incredibly hard to assist the residents in their efforts.

 

 

(xxviii)       Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

What proportion and amount of Vale of Glamorgan Council procurement expenditure spend is with companies (a) within Wales and (b) within the Vale of Glamorgan?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

During 2010 / 11 the Welsh Purchasing Consortium arranged for an analysis of procurement data submitted by all Welsh Authorities. Part of this analysis related to the breakdown of the spend by geographical area. The results of that analysis for the Council showed estimated spends as follows:

  • Total spend - £103,533k
  • VoG suppliers - £18,247k (17.62%)
  • Welsh Suppliers - £59,935 (57.89%

Overall Vale and Welsh Suppliers make up 75.51% of procurement.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks referred to his understanding that, if Welsh Companies gained a 1% increase in business, this would create some 2,000 additional jobs.  He asked how the Cabinet Member intended to implement recommendations of the McClelland Report within the Authority.

 

The Leader indicated that the Council was proactively trying to encourage local and Welsh businesses to work with it and would continue to do so and that the stimulation of the local economy was one of the key priorities of the Council’s Procurement Strategy.

 

 

(xxix)         Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

What is the current status of the Vale of Glamorgan's draft Local Development Plan?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation Planning and Transportation

 

As stated in an email copied to Cllr Franks on 12th September I can assure you that activity continues apace within the team responsible. In the three months since taking up the reins we have undertaken a review of the existing draft LDP and the strategy on which it was based; we have spoken to WG ministers and their officials and alongside this activity all submissions to the previous consultation have been catalogued and evaluated.

 

I have spent a considerable amount of time since May considering my options with regard to the Local Development Plan as published by the previous administration.  I have made no secret of the fact that I was of the view, and remain of the view, that the consultation undertaken on the Deposit Plan was unsatisfactory.

 

We stated prior to the election that the Plan will not go forward in its current state. That remains true. However, we will avoid an approach that just deletes some proposed sites and replaces them with others in an ad hoc manner. To do that without sound evidence to back up decisions would arguably be as flawed as the original plan.

 

I hope to take a report to Cabinet in November with regard to the way forward.  I aim to ensure that this report will be presented to the Council’s Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee in the first instance, so that Committee can feed in its views on the matter to Cabinet. 

 

This intention is set out in our Cabinet Forward Work Programme, which was presented to Cabinet recently, and as a consequence this intention should be common knowledge, certainly amongst Local Ward Members who have an interest in the subject.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks asked whether it was true that officers had not been given full instructions to abandon the work on the current draft Plan and that, in effect, very little had changed since there had been a change in Administration.

 

The Cabinet Member expressed confidence that a lot had changed.  However the new administration would not simply make populist cuts and changes.  All options would be explored.

 

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