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VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 8th May, 2013.

 

Present:  Councillor Eric Hacker (Mayor); Councillors Richard Bertin, Janice Birch, Rhiannon Birch, 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, Maureen Kelly Owen, Peter King, Kevin Mahoney, Anne Moore, Neil Moore, Andrew Parker, Bob Penrose, Anthony Powell, Audrey Preston, Rhona Probert, Gwyn Roberts, John Thomas, Ray Thomas, Steffan Wiliam, Margaret Wilkinson, Clive Williams, Christopher Williams, Edward Williams and Mark Wilson.

 

 

1133   APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillors Jonathan Bird and Rhodri Traherne.

 

 

1134   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations of interest were received.

 

 

1135   MINUTES -

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 6th March, 2013 were approved as a correct record.

 

 

1136   ANNOUNCEMENTS –

 

The Mayor made the following announcements:

 

(i)         He referred to the fact that, due to a lack of support, the intended Charity Golf Day on 17th April 2013 in aid of Prostate Cymru had been cancelled.

 

(ii)        He referred to the success of the Charity Concert with the Liberty Big Band at the Memorial Hall, Barry, proceeds from which would go to Health for Heroes.

 

(iii)       He reminded Members and officers of the informal buffet to be held following the meeting, in recognition of it being his last full meeting as Mayor.

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services made the following announcement in respect of the measles outbreak:

“I am mindful that I will be answering several questions on this immensely important subject during the course of Council Questions.  However, I feel it appropriate to provide a full statement to Members covering all aspects of the work of this Council in relation to the measles outbreak that has hit South Wales.

 

Members will, of course, be aware that measles is a serious illness which can cause disability and, in some cases, be fatal and the MMR provides a safe and very effective vaccine providing good protection against measles.  MMR has been a standard part of the childhood vaccination schedule offered to children across the UK for many years.

 

In relation to schools within the Authority, officers have worked proactively with all schools to determine the extent of the potential impact of the outbreak locally.  All schools have been contacted by a member of our Occupational Health Team requesting they provide information regarding the number of suspected, and actual, cases of measles.  The information has been collated on a weekly basis since 12th April 2013.

 

Since 12th April, and as of 3rd May, four cases have been confirmed and one suspected.  These figures represent the current situation within the Authority. There has, therefore, been no significant increase at this point in time.  All schools have been supported via advisory e-mail, a direct hot line to Occupational Health and Public Health information posters have been distributed to all schools.  MMR uptake sessions have been held in local schools and I have made a statement, widely reported in the press, asking parents to inoculate their children if they haven’t already done so.

 

Education officers and schools-based staff have also been sent advisory information regarding what to do if they suspect measles in adults, and, particularly, in pregnant women.

 

The Council continues to closely monitor suspected and confirmed cases via the weekly monitoring report.

 

The lowest uptake of MMR is among 10-18 year olds who were due the vaccine at the time there was adverse (and since discredited) publicity around MMR.  Uptake among younger children in the Vale of Glamorgan is better, with good uptake for the first dose, but a lower uptake is seen among five year olds, a significant proportion of whom have not received the second dose.

 

Since the recent outbreak in Swansea and surrounding areas, Cardiff and Vale UHB has in addition:

  • carried out proactive communication campaigns through press, radio and television statements and interviews;
  • circulated posters and messages through local networks, including the Council website, to raise awareness of the need for protection against measles;
  • held two weekend community clinics, one in University Hospital Llandough and one in Cardiff Royal Infirmary;
  • worked with GPs, who have significantly increased the number of MMR vaccinations being delivered each week, as a result of the outbreak in Swansea.

The UHB have also committed to review the best way of further improving uptake in primary aged children.

 

It is hoped that through the multi-agency response the measles outbreak will be controlled in the Vale, although of course no guarantees can be given.

 

If Members have any concerns I would ask them to contact me. If the situation deteriorates I will of course inform all Members via e-mail.

 

 

1137   REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2012 TO 31ST DECEMBER 2012 (REF) –

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the proposals of the Cabinet, as set out in Cabinet Minute No. C1242, 4th March 2013, be approved.

 

 

1138   CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2012 TO 31ST JANUARY 2013 (REF) –

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the proposals of the Cabinet, as set out in Cabinet Minute No. C1287, 8th April 2013, be approved.

 

 

1139   QUESTIONS PURSUANT TO COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULES 8.2 –

 

Due notice had been given of the following questions.

 

(i)         Question from Councillor R.A. Penrose

 

May I ask the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services why the Sully Moors Road and Hayes Road areas of Sully have not been given any priority in the authority’s Flood Prevention programme, when major business companies, and employers, in that area have been continually flooded over the past few years, experiencing extensive damage and interruptions to their business activities, and where in the last instance, on the 23rd December 2012, the village of Sully was virtually cut off, as far as road travel is concerned, by the flooding of these roads and the flooding to Lavernock Road and Sully Road?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

The flooding that occurs at Sully Moors Road is a consequence of the area being within the flood plane of the main River Cadoxton.  During times of exceptional rainfall, as was experienced earlier this year, the river is unable to cope with the volumes of water and hence the whole area of Sully Moors Road / Hayes Road, including the highway, became flooded.  The main responsibility for addressing this problem, due to it being Main River, lies with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) (formerly Environment Agency Wales) and they are now fully aware of the flooding that occurs at this location.

 

I am advised that a site meeting took place on 10th April 2013 involving NRW, yourself, Councillor Mahoney and the Operational Manager for Highways and Engineering.  I understand that at this meeting you discussed the problems with local businesses from the area and a commitment was made for the businesses to provide photographic evidence of the flooding problems to us for consideration by NRW.

 

In a meeting of the Local Flood Forum on 18th April 2013 this matter was raised by the Operational Manager for Highways and Engineering with the NRW.  It was agreed that the NRW would consider the photographic evidence of the flooding events from the local businesses when received.

 

The Council’s Local Flood Risk Management Strategy is currently in draft form and subject to consultation and I can confirm that the flooding events at Sully Moors Road and Hayes Road will be included within the document and properly assessed in line with other flooding matters.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Penrose asked whether he could look to the Cabinet Member to assist Councillor Mahoney and himself, the Welsh Government, Environment Agency and Highways, in seeking a solution to the problem.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated he had no problem giving that commitment, and that this Authority would do whatever it could with the NRW to try and resolve the matter, the problems which had occurred, in his view, having been unacceptable.

 

 

(ii)        Question from Councillor R.J. Bertin

 

With Cardiff City football club making the Premier League, in what way are we going to capitalise on the club going to the top?

 

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

 

Firstly, can I express my congratulations to Cardiff City F.C and all those involved at the club for such a successful season and I wish the Club all the very best for life in the premier league.  I know the Leader has already written to the Chairman and Club congratulating them on their success.

 

There are many ways we can capitalise.

 

Firstly, I know that Councillor John will be discussing with the Club the opportunity for forging links with clubs and schools in the Vale to promote football development.  I know the Director of Development Services has already raised this with representatives of the Club, earlier in the season.  I am keen that this discussion is progressed further.

 

Secondly, there are obviously economic spin offs.  The Vale is a wonderful place to visit, and being right on the doorstep of Cardiff, we have every opportunity to capitalise (excuse the pun) on a set of visitors, both new and hopefully, returning visitors.  It is for this reason, that we will be sending information on what the Vale has to offer to every supporters' club of every premier league team.  We will also be working with hoteliers in the Vale to discuss how the opportunities can be maximized and will be talking to Cardiff Airport officers.

 

All this sits comfortably with our approach this year of attempting to get far wider coverage in terms of visitor information.

 

 

(iii)       Question from Councillor R.J. Bertin

 

What support is this Council providing to local Food Banks in the area?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

In April, all elected Members were invited to a very informative presentation about the local Food Banks scheme and also a briefing paper on Food Poverty was presented to the Vale Welfare Reform Group. 

 

It was agreed that Food Poverty will form part of the Vale Food and Fitness Plan for 2013-14.  This plan is delivered by a multi-agency group, including representation from all the relevant Vale Council departments, which reports to the Vale Health and Wellbeing Board - one of our key strategic partnerships.

 

Specific actions will include:-

  • Stronger partnership working between the Vale Food Bank and other programmes, including Communities First and the Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Increasing awareness among the public and practitioners of the programmes in place to prevent food poverty, including food co-operatives, Healthy Start Vouchers, school-based food programmes (school meals, free school meals, breakfast clubs).  Information on the Healthy Start scheme is to be mailed out to all families claiming Housing Benefit.
  • Discussions have also recently taken place with representatives of the Vale Food Bank to discuss finding a suitable location at the Civic Offices for a donation box.  This will provide them with the prominent location in Barry which they have been seeking.  The intention is that the Council will facilitate the facility, informing the Food Bank when the box is full for collection.

Supplemental

 

Councillor Bertin asked whether the Leader would expedite the matter.

 

The Leader pointed out that he already had, reiterating part of his earlier reply.  In facilitating this, the Council would provide information regarding the nature of the scheme and type of goods required.

 

 

(iv)       Question from Councillor R.J. Bertin

 

There are a group of former workers of the Butlins camp at Barry Island who would like to see a Blue Plaque installed remembering the site.  Would the Cabinet Member please tell this Council what support could be given to this group to help them get this plaque installed?

 

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

 

I am aware of the group and I can confirm that this is a matter that has also been brought to the attention of Welsh Government officials in their role of administering the Barry Regeneration Area Board. I recently discussed the idea with officials in the context of the significant investment that will be made on Barry Island in the next 12 months.  No doubt you will be aware that over £3 million will be invested in a range of improvements on Barry Island between now and the end of March next year, with work on Nells Point starting today.  A significant element of that work will feature public art and interpretation and I have asked that references to the history of the island be included in that work. That said it should perhaps be noted that Blue Plaques are reserved for people, not places or buildings and that an appropriate colour for any plaque or artwork for Butlins might be red as blue was used by their competitors Pontins.

 

 

(v)        Question from Councillor R.J. Bertin

 

I believe that it would be a good idea if this Council allowed members of the public to present petitions directly Full Council.  Does the Cabinet Member share this view and if so what are you going to do to make it happen?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

I am aware that you enquired as to the possibility of this matter being considered by the Democratic Services Committee but were informed by the Head of Democratic Services at that time that such a request would be a matter for Full Council to consider.  I am also aware that you were informed of work currently being undertaken by the former Association of County Secretaries and Solicitors (now Lawyers in Local Government) regarding the production of a new Model Constitution for Welsh Local Authorities and that, again, you were advised that, once that document is available to adapt for our own use, it will be submitted to Council for consideration and, at that time, proposals such as yours could be considered.  I hope to establish a Working Group as existed in respect of the original Model Constitution.

 

I would, however, add to the above advice that I would not be supportive of any change to the way in which petitions are currently received.  As elected Members, each of us has an important representational and community leadership role and the submission, on behalf of residents, of petitions clearly falls within that description.  I consider it important that Members continue to represent their communities in such a manner, but, as indicated above, the Constitution will be reviewed generally.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Bertin asked whether the Leader did not share the view that this would be a way of encouraging more public engagement in the work of the Council.

 

The Leader confirmed that he was fully in favour of public participation, pointing out that the Cabinet had done something that others had not, holding Cabinet meetings in the community and meeting in every Town Council area.  This was designed to allow the Cabinet to meet people who actually lived in their communities so that their views could be heard and they participate fully.  He refuted the fact that the Administration did not wish to communicate, but reiterated his earlier comment that Members were the elected representatives of communities and it was custom and practice that petitions were presented to Council via their elected representatives and that, personally, he considered that was the way it should be done.

 

 

(vi)       Question from Councillor R.J. Bertin

 

What has been done to date to prevent the spread of measles in the Vale of Glamorgan?   

 

(N.B. This question was withdrawn in the light of the Cabinet Member’s statement earlier in the meeting.)

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Bertin asked why the Cabinet Member had not provided a weekly update via e-mail to Members on such an important matter.

 

The Cabinet Member reiterated the fact that there had only been four confirmed cases and one suspected case in the Vale.  If there had been an issue, he would, of course, have informed Members straight away.  Officers were undertaking their jobs, as were Headteachers, in making sure they monitored the situation every week.  The “outbreak” was being contained as, in reality, there was, thankfully, no outbreak in the Vale.  He would inform Members if anything did happen.

 

 

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

 

How many fines were issued by Civil Enforcement Officers in (a) Barry and

(b) the Vale of Glamorgan during April?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

As of 26th April, 533 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) had been issued throughout the Vale; this includes four cancelled notices.  However, this total can change daily as appeals are either accepted or rejected.

 

The system currently only produces reports on notices issued in either Bridgend or the Vale of Glamorgan and to extract town or area details would require a manual street by street analysis of the 533 notices issued.  The system is, however, being developed to enable electronic reports to be produced on an area basis and this should be possible later in the year.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson asked whether lessons had been learnt from the initial “teething troubles” experienced.

 

The Cabinet Member stated that time would tell if this was the case.  Generally, the system had been welcomed by the public and traffic had been freed up.

 

 

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

 

What meetings have you attended to discuss the future of Cardiff Airport since it was bought by the Welsh Government on 27th March 2013 and what representations have you made on this subject to increase employment in the Vale of Glamorgan in this period?

 

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

 

Only last week the Managing Director attended a meeting of the St. Athan and Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone board.  I have also contacted the office of the new Minister for Economy, Science and Transport and hope to meet with her in the near future. 

 

As to employment opportunities, officers are always available to discuss potential developments that will lead to new jobs in the Enterprise Zone and our Business Support Unit are also available to provide advice.  Finally, we are currently working on a replacement Deposit LDP and that will make provision for employment opportunities as well as improved infrastructure provision (which will only be good news for potential investors).

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson asked the Cabinet Member when she would next be meeting with the Managing Director to further push the Council’s interest in creating jobs.

 

The Cabinet Member stated she worked closely with the Managing Director and would continue to maintain close ongoing communication.

 

 

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

 

What discussions have you had with the new Minister for Housing and Regeneration regarding the future of the Barry Strategic Regeneration Area since his appointment on 15th March 2013, including the number of face-to-face meetings with the Minister?

 

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

 

I have frequent, and ongoing, communication with Welsh Government officials.  I am pleased to say that Carl Sergeant is coming to Barry next week and will be attending a workshop of the Regeneration Area programme Board that I have arranged.  I will also meet him at a conference next week and I know he is already scheduling a further visit to Barry in June.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson considered it disappointing that the Regeneration Area was not being continued by the Welsh Government and that this was also generating some negativity in the press and asked how much confidence the Cabinet Member had that there would be future funding as a result of the new system put in place in Viable and Vibrant Places.

 

The Cabinet Member considered many of the statements being “peddled” at present to require correction, together with some of Councillor Dr. Johnson’s own comments.  The current funding for Barry Regeneration Area was always due to finish at the end of March 2014.  There was a next round of funding for which the Council would be submitting a bid, and was confident that it would be a strong bid.  A strong forward-looking Board existed, to which three new members were shortly to be added.  She would be making a further announcement regarding this at the forthcoming workshop.

 

 

(x)        Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

Given the alarming measles outbreak in the Swansea area and the fact that there are still thousands of unprotected people in the Vale of Glamorgan will you indicate what steps you are taking to ensure that the Health Board ensures that there is a wide scale programme to ensure that vulnerable children and adults receive the MMR vaccine?

 

(N.B. This question was withdrawn in light of the Cabinet Member’s statement earlier in the meeting.)

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks asked what was being done with a view to ensure 90-95% take-up rates.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that comprehensive schools, in particular, were being encouraged to hold inoculation sessions.  These were already being held in Stanwell, St. Cyres and he was encouraging the other comprehensive schools across the Authority to do so.  The Public Health Service was taking the lead in terms of inoculation programmes which is why he had said in his statement about GPs increasing the amount of access to inoculations that they were giving to patients.  He indicated that, from his perspective, he felt all the Council could do was to continue to encourage schools to hold these sessions that were being supported by the UHB and he would continue to do so.  He would welcome any further suggestions from Councillor Franks or, indeed, any Member.

 

 

(xi)       Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

We all know but perhaps have forgotten that before vaccination there were hundreds of thousands of measles, mumps and rubella cases in epidemic years, but the disease was effectively eradicated in the UK after the MMR vaccine was introduced.  However, now Measles is back in Wales with a vengeance.

 

What proposals are there to arrange mass vaccination in our schools?

 

(N.B. This question was withdrawn in light of the Cabinet Member’s statement earlier in the meeting.)

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks enquired as to the numbers of children and adults who were currently unprotected in the Vale.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that uptake for the quarter Oct-Dec 2012 (prior to the main part of the outbreak in Swansea) was as follows :

2nd MMR by age 5 was 88.2% in the Vale

2nd MMR by age 16 was 85.4%.

 

Uptake during the current outbreak was being measured and would be fully collated and reported as activity started to die down, and a full outbreak report was made available.  However, as an example of uptake in the Vale, in the week ending 2nd May 2013 (latest data), 257 doses of MMR were given in the Vale through GP practices, compared with 78 in the same week the previous year, an increase of 229%.  365 doses were given in the previous week, up 304% on the previous year.  This excluded uptake of MMR in the school campaign, which would also significantly add to this figure. 

 

 

(xii)      Question from Councillor C.J. Williams

 

You will be aware of efforts of Dinas Powys Councillors and residents to improve the junction of Cross Common Road and the main road.  This junction is very dangerous yet serves a bus route and is one of only two roads connecting the south and north areas of Dinas Powys.  The structure contributes to the flooding risks to adjacent properties.

 

At our request, there was a meeting on site with Councillors, residents, the Environment Agency and officers when the various problems associated with the bridge were discussed.  These issues included the flooding risk posed by the timber props supporting the bridge.  It was agreed that further investigations were required into the structural integrity of the bridge.

 

Will you indicate what action you intend to take to improve the safely of the junction?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

As Councillor Williams is aware, it is an aspiration of our technical officers and myself that we remove this bridge and redesign the road layout to enable access to and from Cross Common Road at a location west of the current junction.  This would, however, require additional land and a significant financial resource.

 

The land required is in private ownership and has been identified as a possible candidate site within the Local Development Plan (LDP).  As far as improving the safety of this junction is concerned, it would therefore be prudent to wait until the conclusion of the LDP process before seeking to progress this matter further.

 

The safety of the junction will be kept under review in the meantime.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Williams asked whether the Cabinet Member was aware of the latest accident at the junction, which had occurred the previous evening.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that he was not, but that he would obtain details from officers, reiterating the point that he shared Councillor Williams’ concerns and that he felt Members generally also did.

 

 

(xiii)     Question from Councillor C.J. Williams

 

An independent report into the structural integrity of the Cross Common bridge deck reveals an alarming level of corrosion. To quote the report;

‘Both the Rolled Steel Joists and the steel arch buckle plates have been assessed as a Stage 1 Bridge, outlined in BA34/90, using hand calculations.  The calculations show both these deck elements can carry dead load only and no live loading.  The parapets and plinths are substandard.  These elements are qualitatively assessed, the parapets would be unable to sustain vehicle impact loading.’

 

What do you intend to do to make this bridge safe?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

I have also been concerned regarding this matter and, since coming into power, this Administration has done its best to progress matters.  Councillor Williams is quoting from the Principal Inspection and Assessment Report for this bridge that was commissioned following a site meeting that I attended with local ward Members and residents on 11th February 2013.

 

The assessment details the condition of the bridge as a stand alone structure and explains why it is currently necessary for the bridge to be propped to safely accept live vehicle loads.

 

This bridge should be replaced, though as I have previously advised it would be better to remove this structure altogether and to change the road layout at this location to both improve this difficult road junction, and at the same time, reduce the flood risk posed by any bridge deck at this point.  As I have stated, in order to do this the Council will require additional land which is currently earmarked as a potential site for development as part of the LDP process.

 

This matter is therefore unlikely to be resolved in full until the conclusion of the LDP though I am pleased to advise that I have requested a report to Cabinet on the implications of the “Bridge Inspection and Assessment” so that we can consider the details.  I will ensure that the views of local Members are taken into consideration as part of this report.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Williams referred to the bridge having been given a two-year life span and asked whether, in the event of repairs not being carried out within that period, the bridge would be closed.

 

The Cabinet Member reiterated the fact that a full report was to be submitted to Cabinet and, that, hopefully, such questions would be answered.

 

 

(xiv)     Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

You have stated that that a Cabinet Working Group would be created to look into access matters relating to St. Cyres School from neighbouring communities.  This was announced in the January 2013 Council meeting.  You indicated that you looked forward to working with local Members in finding solutions to the outstanding problems.  Further you indicated that the safety of school children on the journeys to schools is ‘of paramount importance’.  Can you indicate how many times the Working Party has met, when will local Members be involved and what progress has been made to date?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

The Working Group has met, although not yet with local Members.  It remains my priority to work with local Members in Dinas Powys, Llandough and Penarth in relation to access to the new St. Cyres School.  The Group is now looking at all issues relating to the St. Cyres School sites, including the lower site in Dinas Powys and, of course, that of the new school.

 

The Cabinet Working Group will be looking at options for access points to the new school.  As work will progress on the new site, we will be looking at access options.  However, our pressing concern relates to existing access issues as well as the priorities relating to the lower school site which Councillor Franks will be aware we have been consulting on.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks asked whether the Cabinet Member was able to indicate timescales for the improvement work and whether, given the provision made in the capital estimates, the work would be undertaken during the current financial year.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that, in terms of the money in the Capital Programme, representatives of the owners of the land had responded to communications recently seeking further information as to why this had been required; officers within the Directorate of Development Services had responded and the Council was currently responding to representatives with a view to moving this forward.  He hoped that the current financial year would apply but could not provide a timeframe, given it involved dealing with a private landowner.  The Council was doing its utmost to try and improve the ash path as part of those discussions.  The Working Group had met again only last week to look at the site opportunities for the lower site for St. Cyres.

 

 

(xv)      Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

Members are aware of the continuing reductions in bus services serving the residents of the Vale.  The result will be a decline in services linking Barry and Dinas Powys to Llandough Hospital and Cardiff.  There will also be fewer buses per hour on the Cardiff, Penarth Dinas Powys and Barry routes.  Within Barry there will also be a decline in services.

 

The significant reduction in support for public transport by the Welsh Government is starting to badly affect bus services across the county.  What representations have been made to the Welsh Government and the bus companies regarding the impact these cuts will have on the public?

 

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

 

In responding, can I share Councillor Franks’ concerns.  I too am very concerned at recent developments within the bus industry.  That said, we in the Vale are not alone in having to deal with cutbacks in services, a point that Councillor Franks refers to in his question.   I will, in the very near future, be bringing a report to Cabinet on the position that we find ourselves in, with reference to supported services as well as reduced frequencies on commercial services.  I am also looking to establish a Working Group to look at this key area.

 

Further to ongoing discussion with my Cabinet counterpart in Cardiff Council we are jointly arranging a meeting with Cardiff Bus to discuss implications for the Vale and to establish how we can work together.  

 

The South East Wales Transport Alliance, of which I am a member, has previously been in dialogue with the Welsh Government expressing concerns regarding the reduction in funding, as did the Vale of Glamorgan Council. This did have some effect and the cuts in funding we expected for the full financial year 2012/13 did not come into effect until October 2012 and were applied pro rata.  However, since 1st April 2013 there has been a reduction in the old BSOG (fuel duty rebate grant) to bus operators and a  reduction in the Local Transport Services Grant (LTSG) which the Council gets to help pay for supported bus services.   My response to this is to engage with operators, hence my scheduled meetings with Cardiff Bus and Cardiff Council colleagues.  In addition, I am also keen to explore other options for the delivery of rural services and my report to Cabinet in the very near future will explore options further.

 

 

(xvi)     Question from Councillor Mrs. M. Kelly Owen

 

Would the Cabinet Member responsible please ensure that the proposals for a cycle / walk way between Penarth Town and Cosmeston Country Park are brought forward for serious public consultation as a matter of urgency;

especially in view of the widely held concerns of so many Penarth residents about the clearance work already carried out without consultation?

 

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

 

We are currently looking at consulting on the possible options for delivering this important scheme, to upgrade a valuable long-standing active travel route, in early June.  I will be making all those with an interest in the scheme aware of the dates and method of consulting in good time, once arrangements have been finalised. 

 

I can assure Councillor Kelly Owen that consultation on the details of the scheme will be undertaken in advance of any physical works carried out as was always my intention.  I would, however, in responding like to take the opportunity to clarify the background to the scheme.  The Council bid to Sewta for feasibility funding was during 2010, with a report published in 2011.  There was also a bid for the scheme during 2011/12 and it has only this year come forward for funding.  It is clear, therefore, that the Railway Walk Scheme has been policy for some time and was set as policy by the previous administration.  Why Councillor Kelly Owen as local Ward Member and former Councillor Ernest, who represented the previous administration on Sewta, did not feel the need to consult with local residents on the proposal during the relevant time is a matter that Councillor Kelly Owen can respond to. I will ensure that full details of the timelines of this project are available during the consultation.   However, and finally, I have to say it would be quite unusual for a Council to consult on vegetation clearance in advance of carrying out such work.

 

I will also say that there are concerns from a lot of residents.  I have actually received one only today from an individual who says "I write on behalf of myself and my 92 year old father-in-law who lives in Lower Penarth, who would dearly wish to access the town centre on an all-weather route to support local businesses in the town centre using his only means of accessible transport, an electric mobility chair.  We were initially thrilled to hear that in these difficult financial times the Council was finding the funds to create a safe and direct route for the use of the disabled , children to school, commutes to the town centre, walkers, cyclists and push chairs.  I am sure you are aware that the land in question is land held in common by the Council for the benefits of all residents.  I therefore offer our support to the proposed scheme".

 

This is one of a number of e-mails.  I will ensure that all users are consulted as we design this valuable path.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Kelly Owen asked whether there was no intention to consult with the public again.

 

The Cabinet Member reiterated the opening remark of her initial reply in terms of currently looking at consulting on the possible options for delivering this important scheme to upgrade a valuable long-standing active travel route, in early June.  She would be making all those with an interest in the scheme aware of the dates and methods of consultation once arrangements had been finalised.  She also added that, when concerns from local residents were first alerted to her, she had personally hand delivered letters to houses in the area concerned.

 

 

(xvii)    Question from Councillor Mrs. M. Kelly Owen

 

Would the Cabinet Member for Life Long Learning please provide figures for the take-up of the inoculation against the current measles epidemic within the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services

 

I would refer you to my detailed reply / statement in respect of Councillor Bertin’s earlier question.

 

 

(xviii)   Question from Councillor J.W. Thomas

 

Can the Cabinet Member tell me:

 

(a)       How many potential building plots, which are part of Section 106 agreements, are currently frozen because developers say they cannot afford to deliver them in the current economic climate?

 

(b)       How many developers are currently trying to negotiate reduced numbers of affordable dwellings on schemes which are already approved?

 

(c)        I am aware that our officers have been approached regarding a scheme promoted by RCT Homes which could deliver affordable homes in the Vale, could you tell me whether there is any possibility that this scheme could be used to deliver much needed affordable accommodation in the Vale of Glamorgan?

 

 

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

 

Can I indicate at the outset how critical it is that this Council does everything in its power to deliver much needed affordable housing for the Vale of Glamorgan.  The planning system is a key part in this.

 

Part A

 

It is impossible to answer this with any certainty as there are a number of reasons why development sites do, or do not, come forward immediately following the granting of planning permission, most of which are driven by market forces. There are a wide number of matters that affect development viability including land values, build costs, abnormal site conditions, sales values, finance availability and cost and section 106 costs and the impact of these vary from site to site and from developer to developer.

 

The Council is currently experiencing an increase in applications for major housing developments, a number of which have recently been negotiated and subsequently been resolved to approve by Planning Committee. 

 

For example:

  • Land off Pentir-Y-De, Rhoose (350 homes),
  • Fferm Goch (40 homes) and,
  • Land at Trem Echni, Rhoose (87 homes).

All of this recent activity and negotiation suggests developers are starting to get more active in the market following the market downturn in 2007/8 and are satisfied with the level of s106 agreements being negotiated by the Council.

Whilst most developers will cite development viability as an issue for them whilst carrying out s106 negotiations, these matters are fully appraised and considered by officers when undertaking site specific negotiations and when setting planning obligations policy to avoid circumstances where such requirements are unreasonably fettering development. The Council is currently in negotiations with developers on a number of pending planning applications in respect of s106 matters, which will be reported to Planning Committee in due course.

 

Part B

 

None. We do not currently have any schemes that have been approved subject to a s106 agreement with affordable housing provisions where the developers have come back to us to re-negotiate the terms because of affordable housing. The Council recently approved amendments to the White Farm development s106 agreement including affordable housing provisions and this was to reflect the changes in policy, social housing grant availability and housing need since the original planning permission.

 

There are a number of schemes under construction where developers are providing affordable housing in accordance with our standard requirements e.g. Pencoedtre Lane and Cowbridge Lower School Site.

 

Part C

 

Housing officers have received a presentation from Bellerophon on behalf of RCT Homes. However, following this, it was concluded the model would be unlikely to deliver the high levels of social rented units that are needed in the Vale of Glamorgan. It was apparent from the presentation that the units being delivered would all have to be rented out at local housing allowance levels (materially higher than social rent levels) in order to be financially viable, with the possibility of a handful of social rented units. This would not represent truly affordable units and would not address the affordable housing need in the Vale.

 

Officers currently negotiate s106 agreements on the basis of a mix of affordable housing of 80%/20% in favour of social rented units, with 20% low cost home ownership. Based on the Bellerophon model that was presented to housing officers, there are concerns that the company would not be able to

deliver this mix of affordable housing on sites. Furthermore, RCT Homes are not zoned to develop in the Vale of Glamorgan and have no other stock here, as such they are not a partner of the Council and would not be the Vale’s preferred RSL partner. However, officers have sought further clarification from the Developer as to whether this model can be used to deliver the much needed mix of affordable housing required and their response is awaited.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Thomas alluded to RCT homes having an agreement currently with Cardiff Council, despite also not being zoned in Cardiff.  As there was no social housing grant requirement for these schemes he believed there was no requirement for them to be zoned to actually work in the Vale and asked whether the Cabinet Member would look into that further and inform him of the outcome.

 

The Cabinet Member reiterated that the Council had gone back to them to see if the model could actually be used and a response was awaited.  When she was shown that response, she would update Councillor Thomas accordingly.

 

 

(xix)     Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

I have been contacted by a resident who uses a wheelchair.  She is upset that a commercial property that has been extensively refurbished is still not wheel chair friendly.  Building Regulation staff state that the internal modifications do not fall within the Disability Discrimination Act or the Equality Act. 

 

As you will are aware the Equality Act 2010 requires service providers to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ however what is deemed reasonable by the council and by disabled individuals can and very often does vary; it's a grey area.

 

The Equality Act 2010 requires that providers of goods and services e.g. the premises

  • not treat disabled people less favourably for a reason related to their disability
  • make 'reasonable adjustments' for disabled people, such as providing extra help or making changes to the way services are delivered
  • make 'reasonable adjustments' to the physical features of premises to overcome barriers to access.

What actions are you taking to encourage, or even ensure, owners and tenants of commercial premises to address such issues in a positive manner?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

I also have concerns and this matter has been raised with me, albeit I am unaware where the property is.  Specifically in terms of the Building regulations, guidance is provided on the Council’s website and is given to all applicants who make applications through the Council’s Building Regulations Section.  Unfortunately, because the Council competes with private providers of Building Regulations, we cannot guarantee that all such providers give the same advice as part of their services (although they should).

 

The statutory requirements in relation to access to buildings are set out in a document known as ‘Approved Document M’; relating to buildings other than dwellings.  I can read out full details if you want me to.

 

There are other separate requirements for dwellings.

 

I would confirm that from October 2004 the Disability Discrimination Act places a legal duty on all those who provide services to the public to make reasonable adjustments to the physical environment of their premises to ensure that disabled people can access their goods, services and facilities.

 

Therefore, businesses and service providers need timely, accurate and authoritative advice and information to help them meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.

 

I can confirm that all schemes submitted to the Council’s Building Control section will conform with the requirements of the Approved Document M, as should all development assessed by any private inspector.  However, it depends on the Building Inspector carrying out the work as it is an open market.

 

 

(xx)      Question from Councillor S.T. Wiliam

 

What measures are the Council taking to support schools in lower bands either directly or through the consortium?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services

 

Schools in lower bands trigger additional support and challenge from the Consortium and the Local Authority.  Each school is allocated additional time from either their dedicated System Leader or from further commissioned support.

 

Additionally, schools in Band 4 or 5 attract £10,000 worth of support from the Welsh Government.  One System Leader works with the school to devise an action plan, which aims to make best use of this funding to secure better pupil outcomes.

 

Supplemental

 

Referring to such a Panel having recently met in Llantwit Major, Councillor Wiliam asked whether there were plans for any other meetings and, if so, when?

 

The Cabinet Member reminded Members that the Cabinet requested the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) some months ago to establish a Panel to visit schools in Band 4, 5 and those schools who might need additional support and challenge within Primary and Secondary Schools’ albeit there were no Band 5 schools in the Authority.  The first meeting had been held in Llantwit Major.  The Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Hodges, and one of the Independent Members, Councillor Hamilton, had attended with himself and Education officers.  He considered the meeting to have been successful.  The work schedule was led by the Scrutiny Committee and he was only a “member” of the Committee in the sense that, with the permission of the Chairman, he could ask questions.  However, he did not take part in the decision-making process that followed the discussions and, in fact, as Councillor Hodges could confirm, both he and the Chief Learning and Skills Officer left the meeting at the point where the members of the Panel actually agreed a way forward. 

 

He understood the Panel would revisit the school in September and October, with the actual schedule of meetings very much based on the challenge as seen moving forward.  Requests for visits to any other schools would be made to the Chairman of the Committee and his understanding was that there would be around six a year.  It did not necessarily mean it would only relate to schools in need of challenge, but also to look at best practice as there were many high performing schools in the Vale of Glamorgan.  From Llantwit Major’s perspective, it was a very positive meeting and very good to see the senior management team at the school working to improve outcomes for this year’s GCSEs and A Levels.  He looked forward to working with the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee over the coming months as part of the further work of those Panels.

 

 

(xxi)     Question from Councillor S.T. Wiliam

 

Since the matter was raised in the public meeting organised by Plaid Cymru and local residents before Easter, can you update us as to what progress has been made concerning the proposed second road to the Island?

 

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

 

I find the discussion on the road link quite astonishing.  I read in the press and find out that Mr. Alun Cairns M.P thinks that he is driving it forward.  I now find that the meeting I arranged following the protest by local residents before Easter was actually arranged by Plaid Cymru.  It is good that there is such cross party support and let us hope that we can use that support to the advantage of Barry. 

 

There have been many discussions on this issue in recent months.  By way of an outline, the Director of Development Services has met with Welsh Government officials and the consortium to discuss options on several occasions.  These discussions are ongoing.  I also know from discussions that the Local Assembly Member and Minister for Finance is hugely supportive and very keen that the link road is brought forward as soon as possible.  The key is how this can happen, and these are matters that will be the subject of continued discussion over the next few weeks. 

 

I have also met with traders on several occasions and was on the Island last Friday discussing parking and traffic management issues with the traders, police, the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Arts and Culture and Sports Development, the Director of Housing and Visible Services and the Director of Development Service.  I was also in contact with officers over the Bank Holiday weekend to hear how traffic was being managed, and learn lessons for the future.  The increased car parking and traffic managment schemes worked effectively over the weekend until Monday when all car parks were full.  We will be looking further at the issues as a matter of urgency.

 

It is clear to me that we need a two-pronged approach.  We need to continue to work with the Consortium and the Welsh Government to do everything possible to bring forward the road connection and we need to continue to look at ways of managing traffic in the interim so that those who visit the Island can leave with a positive experience and a desire to return.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Wiliam understood the developer to have been offered a loan to build a road and asked, if that was true, what were the reasons given by the developer for turning down the offer and whether the conditions attached to it were so stringent as to render the offer prohibitive.

 

The Cabinet Member responded that in an update given by Welsh Government officials to the Barry Regeneration Area Board, it was stated that an interest free loan had been offered.  The developer was not present at that Board meeting so she had no knowledge of his reason for declining the offer at that stage, but the Board would continue to seek progress and negotiations were ongoing.

 

 

(xxii)    Question from Councillor S.T. Wiliam

 

The threatened B3 bus service is a lifeline for many elderly people who live in the Garden Suburb and Knap; these are areas which contain an increasingly high number of elderly people who can no longer drive.

 

Every time this service has been under threat we have managed to save it. What representations will you make to save this service this time?

 

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

 

Firstly, my understanding is that the B3 service is not currently threatened.  We are under pressure on a number of supported services and, on my request, all Members will have received e-mail updates on the current position with many services in the Vale.  However the B3 service is not one of those services that are currently at risk.

 

That said, we are in a position where we will need to react to the current pressures on key services and I will be bringing a report to Cabinet and to the Working Group to be established by the Leader in the next few weeks on these pressures.  That report will also set out how I intend to review all supported services in light of current pressures.

 

In responding, I would, however, add that the excellent Greenlinks Community transport initiative is now extended to serve both Barry and Penarth.  Members will be aware that this rural regeneration initiative has been extended to cover the entire Vale of Glamorgan.  I can recommend membership, as it provides an excellent demand responsive service for residents who do not have access to a car or other means of transport.  There are currently 770 members.  Most journeys are within the Vale of Glamorgan and are used for shopping, visiting, social life or for health issues.  The majority of the journeys outside of the Vale are for hospital appointments. In addition, a new hybrid service is set to be launched in the very near future based in Barry and I will be providing details of this in my Cabinet report.

 

 

(xxiii)   Question from Councillor C.P. Franks

 

When the last Council administration proposed a reduction of school crossing patrols we both stood on a platform of opposition to these cuts.  There was widespread coverage of this opposition citing dangers to children crossing the road.  Will you give an update of the situation?

 

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

 

A full review of the SCP service will be undertaken to establish how best to deliver a reliable service at a time when there is huge competition for scarce resources.  I don’t necessarily see this as a reduction in service, but more a consideration of how we can provide a good level of service but more effectively. The review will also need to factor in the fact that it is extremely difficult to fill vacant posts and we need to think carefully how we can ensure that we get more interest in this work.  I have my own ideas as to how we provide an ongoing service in this key area and I know that this has been an area of particular interest in Dinas Powys.  I am happy to meet with Councillor Franks to discuss his ideas should he feel that this has merit.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks sought clarification in terms of reinstating the crossing patrol at Dinas Powys Infant School.

 

The Cabinet Member pointed out that the crossing patrols in Dinas Powys were some of those where difficulty in recruiting had been experienced.  A recruitment exercise was underway for the second time, having initially received no applications for those posts.  The relative risk attached to crossing patrols at Murch and on the Dinas Powys Infant School had been assessed and it had been decided to move the school crossing patrols to the  more dangerous Murch School crossing, a move that was supported by parents in the area.  Today, having checked with the Chair of Governors of Dinas Powys Infant School, there had been no complaints from parents, so she would continue with this course of action, but was mindful and very aware of the current situation.

 

 

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

 

What progress has been made on proposals for the re-introduction of the mobile library services in conjunction with community councils?

 

Reply from the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Adult Services

 

The Council’s Corporate Plan includes a commitment to ‘reintroduce a mobile library service in partnership to improve access to library services following consultation about how the service will be delivered’.

 

A letter was sent out to Town and Community Councils and all Vale Schools in January 2013 to assess the level of interest in reinstating and funding the service. Responses were received from eleven Town and Community Councils and eleven schools.

 

Interest was expressed by Barry Town Council (as you will be well aware) in reinstating and funding a mobile service. Service delivery options are currently being identified and these will be assessed with the Town Council.

 

The consultation exercise has also resulted in a number of schools taking a more proactive approach to accessing their local library services, with some organising scheduled trips to the library for their pupils.    

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson asked what would happen with regard to the mobile library services if not all Town and Community Councils were on board and queried the cost to them and the timescales involved.

 

The Cabinet Member again indicated that the responses received were being looked at.  Personally, he was disappointed that only Barry Town Council had indicated that they were willing to support the scheme, albeit some other Councils he believed were willing to look into it further.  He acknowledged one of the biggest concerns related to cost, with a lot of Town and Community Councils unable to afford to provide funding, given their limited precepts.  The reintroduction of a mobile library service would require people collaborating with the Council and trying to deliver a service within the funding that was available.  Different service options were also being explored. 

 

 

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

 

How many households in the Vale of Glamorgan had made (a) successful or (b) unsuccessful applications for Discretionary Housing Payments because of the bedroom tax?

 

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

 

To date we have received a total of 379 applications for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). Of these, 273 have been actioned, 88 are awaiting action, 18 are waiting on further information before they can be actioned.

 

Out of the 273 DHPs actioned, 149 have been successful and 124 have been unsuccessful.  To date,14 appeals have been received from unsuccessful applicants.

 

205 of the applications actioned relate to under-occupation.  107 were successful and 98 not.   66 of the applications awaiting action relate to under-occupation.  11 of the appeals relate to under-occupation.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson referred to being aware of a number of people having received DHP for six month periods, which he had been told was the result of budgetary uncertainty and he asked whether, over time, that period would be extended or whether the six month period only related to a couple of individual examples.

 

The Cabinet Member referred to DHP having had an increase in its budget for 2013/14.  Acknowledging the number of unknown factors relating to Welfare Reform changes, the impact on budget holders would be monitored and reported to Scrutiny.  She had also asked for a report to Cabinet in June regarding Welfare Reform, which obviously would include the DHP.

 

 

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

 

How many households in the Vale of Glamorgan to which the bedroom tax was applied as of 1st April 2013 included a disabled resident?

 

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

 

A total of 308 households have been affected by the under occupancy reduction where a member of the household is in receipt of the Disability Premium. 

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson referred to the Disability Wales report on the impact of the bedroom tax and other changes from UK Government on disabled people which included in its recommendations for local government a suggested accessible register to help people looking to downsize or to change house for people who required disabled adaptations.  He asked whether the Council had an accessible register or was working towards having one.

 

The Cabinet Member considered the receipt of Disability Premium to be the best indicator in terms of households with a disabled resident.

 

 

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

 

What action is being taken to maintain or increase public transport connectivity between towns and villages within the Vale of Glamorgan, particularly with regards to proposed cuts in the X45 service between Barry and Llantwit Major which will make it more difficult for residents without car access to work or shop in other parts of the Vale of Glamorgan?

 

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

 

All Members will have recently received an e-mail on this service, advising I recall that the Council has received formal notice from EST Coach limited that they are terminating this commercial service in its entirety with effect from 19th July 2013.

 

Although this is a commercial service, we are considering the options open for its future, including discussing whether any other operator might take over the route commercially. A report is due to be presented to Cabinet in the near future which I mentioned in response to the earlier questions on bus services.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson, referring to the X45 service, alluded to the areas where fewer people could access the rail network and asked whether consideration would be given to connectivity between places.

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that the whole purpose for actually asking for a Cabinet report was to look at bus services in their entirety, rather than dealing with one service at a time.  Taking a whole look at public transport and the options available was something that was crucial.

 

 

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

 

In response to a question I asked on Council of 5th December 2012 regarding the regeneration of Barry town centre (question xxx), I was informed that a report on Town Centres Framework would be going to Cabinet “in the very near future” and the framework document would be launched “in the New Year at a Town Centre stakeholders meeting”.  Can the Cabinet Member confirm when this report went to Cabinet and the outcome of the stakeholders meeting?

 

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

 

I am very pleased to report that the framework report was finally received in its final form some two weeks ago.  The delay has been regrettable and extremely frustrating and these delays were outside the control of this Council - they related to drafting and presentational matters on behalf of the consultants commissioned to carry out the work.

 

As a result of having now received the document, it will be reported to the next available Cabinet meeting.  I hope to report to the 20th May meeting.  It will then be discussed at a stakeholder event this side of the summer recess.  The document and its ultimate outcome will also help inform our Viable and Vibrant Places regeneration bid.

 

 

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

 

At the Council meeting of 6th March 2013 it was indicated that I would receive a written reply to my supplementary of question i to the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety (Councillor Brooks) regarding alternative options to the bedroom tax being proposed by Knowsley Housing Trust and an update from the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services (Councillor Elmore) regarding his meeting with Stonewall Cymru on homophobic bullying (question xxxv). I expressed my concern to the Head of Democratic Services on 17th April 2013 that I had not yet received either.  Could the Leader please explain the failure of these Cabinet Members to respond and how this will be addressed in future so that Councillors can get the responses that they expect and deserve from the Cabinet?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

I understand that you asked the Head of Democratic Services how long he considered you should wait to receive written replies to Council questions and that he indicated it depended on the complexity of the question, which I consider reasonable.  I understand that he subsequently e-mailed all Directors’ secretaries and asked that each Director check within their respective areas and respond accordingly if necessary although he was not aware of the specific subject matters, as they had not, in fact, been mentioned by you to him.

 

I do not understand why you did not actually contact the relevant Cabinet Member or the Cabinet office as I would have thought that would have been reasonable if you had some concerns.

 

I have researched the questions you refer to and they are contained within the minutes agreed tonight.

 

In relation to the issue referring to Councillor Elmore, there was in fact no supplementary question which is why you did not have a response.  What was said was that he would happily update you or any Councillor who was interested in the outcome of his meeting.  You clearly did not ask for an update and nor did any other Member.

 

In relation to the supplementary to Councillor Brooks I understand that all the information needed to give a full response has not yet been collated and that we are awaiting a response from the DWP.  When that is received you will have a full response.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson considered the response to be very disappointing, stating that he had been promised a written reply on one issue and an update on the second, which had not been provided.  He asked that a protocol be put in place to ensure updates were provided as opposed to having to wait two months for such.

 

The Leader indicated he would not agree to the need for a protocol, reiterating the fact that Councillor Elmore had offered to provide an update on the meeting with Stonewall; an offer which Councillor Dr. Johnson had not taken up.

 

He stated that a Member should not expect an answer unless the Cabinet Member had obtained the full response.  In relation to the “Knowsley” question, legal clarification was awaited regarding various aspects of the matter and, once that information had been obtained, a written answer would be provided.

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