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 VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 7th May, 2014.

 

 

Present:  Councillor Margaret Wilkinson (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, Eric Hacker, 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, Rhodri Traherne, Steffan Wiliam, Clive Williams, Christopher Williams, Edward Williams and Mark Wilson.

 

 

1089   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

The following Members declared an interest in the Agenda Items shown.  Given the nature of their interest, Councillors Jonathan Bird, John Thomas and Rhodri Traherne left the meeting for the duration of those items:

 

Name of Member

Agenda Item/Nature of Interest

Councillor Jonathan Bird

  • Agenda Item 6(c): The Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan 2011-2026 - Review of Delivery Agreement Timetable
  • Agenda Item 8: Notice of Motion regarding Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan

Interest relates to ownership of land within the Draft LDP.

Councillor Geoff Cox

  • Agenda Item 6(c): The Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan 2011-2026 - Review of Delivery Agreement Timetable
  • Agenda Item 8: Notice of Motion regarding Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan

Interest relates to capacity as Clerk to the Trustees of the Evan Jenkins Charity, which had a Candidate Site in Ystradowen.  Dispensation to speak and vote, save on matters relating to the Evan Jenkins Charity Candidate Site, had been granted by the Standards Committee.

Councillor John Thomas

  • Agenda Item 6(c): The Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan 2011-2026 - Review of Delivery Agreement Timetable
  • Agenda Item 8: Notice of Motion regarding Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan

Interest relates to ownership of land within the Draft LDP.

Councillor Rhodri Traherne

  • Agenda Item 6(c): The Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan 2011-2026 - Review of Delivery Agreement Timetable
  • Agenda Item 8: Notice of Motion regarding Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan

Interest relates to ownership of land within the Draft LDP.

 

 

1090   MINUTES -

 

The Minutes of the meeting held on 5th March, 2014 were approved as a correct record.

 

 

1091   ANNOUNCEMENTS -

 

The Mayor made the following announcements:

 

  • In April she had represented the Council and attended the Installation of the Chancellor of the University of Wales, the Right Reverend and Right Honourable Lord Williams of Oystermouth. 
  • Last week, she had the honour of greeting HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Phillip when they visited the United World College at St. Donats. 
  • She thanked all who had supported her charity Greek Evening recently.  The event raised £460.00 for the Mayor’s charities.   
  • Her thoughts were with the families of Captain Thomas Clarke and Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas, both of whom had been killed in action in Afghanistan.

 

1092   AMENDMENTS TO THE TERMS OF REFERENCE OF AUDIT COMMITTEE (REF) -

 

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) had published 'Audit Committee’s - Practical Guidance for Local Authorities and Police 2013 Edition’.  This publication set out CIPFA’s guidance on the function and operation of Audit Committees in local authorities.  The guidance represented CIPFA’s view of best practice for Audit Committees and recognised that Audit Committees were a key component of governance.  Within the publication, it stated 'the purpose of an Audit Committee was to provide those charged with governance independent assurance on the adequacy of the risk management framework, the internal control environment and the integrity of the financial report and annual governance process’.

 

Taking into consideration the suggested terms of reference as outlined in the CIPFA publication, together with the necessary regulations including the Accounts and Audit (Wales) Regulations 2005; the Accounts and Audit (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2010; the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 and CIPFA’s Delivering Good Governance in Local Government Framework; the current Terms of Reference for the Audit Committee were proposed to be amended as set out in Appendix A to the report.

 

The proposed amendments had been necessary to ensure that the Audit Committee’s Terms of Reference were aligned to those outlined in the CIPFA publication and to ensure compliance with the Public Sector Internal Audit Standards.  The amended Terms of Reference had been approved by Audit Committee on 28th April, 2014 and were presented to Full Council for approval, following which the Constitution would be amended accordingly.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the following amended Terms of Reference of the Audit Committee be approved:

 

(1)       To consider the external auditor’s annual report and other relevant reports; and to make recommendations on their implementation to Cabinet and/or Council as appropriate;

 

(2)       To consider specific reports as agreed with the external auditor and to make recommendations on their implementation to Cabinet and/or Council as appropriate;

 

(3)       To maintain an overview of Contract Procedure Rules, Financial Regulations; and officers’ Codes of Conduct and behaviour and to make recommendations to Cabinet and/or Council as appropriate;

 

(4)       To monitor Council policies on 'Raising Concerns at Work' and the anti-fraud and bribery strategy and the Council’s complaints procedure and to make recommendations to Cabinet and/or Council as appropriate;

 

(5)       To oversee the production of the Council’s Annual Governance Statement and to recommend its adoption;

 

(6)       To review the annual Statement of Accounts.  Specifically, to consider whether appropriate accounting policies have been followed and whether there are concerns arising from the financial statements or from the audit that need to be brought to the attention of the Council;

 

With delegated powers:

 

(1)       To approve the Internal Audit Charter.

 

(2)       To approve the risk-based Internal Audit Plan and to approve significant interim changes to the risk-based Internal Audit Plan.

 

(3)       To oversee the Council’s Internal Audit arrangements (including the performance of the providers of Internal Audit);

 

(4)       To contribute to the Quality Assurance and Improvement Programme and, in particular, to the external quality assessment of Internal Audit that takes place at least once every five years;

 

(5)       To consider and approve the Head of Internal Audit’s annual report and opinion, and a summary of internal audit activity (actual and proposed) and the level of assurance it can give over the Council’s risk management, internal control and corporate governance arrangements;

 

(6)       To consider and approve summaries of special internal audit reports as requested;

 

(7)       To consider and approve reports dealing with the management and performance of the providers of internal audit services;

 

(8)       To consider reports from internal audit on agreed recommendations not implemented within a reasonable timescale and approve necessary remedial action;

 

(9)       To comment on the scope and depth of external audit work and to ensure it gives value for money;

 

(10)     To commission work from internal and external audit;

 

(11)     To review and determine on any issue referred to it by the Head of Paid Service, Section 151 Officer, Monitoring Officer or by a Director, or any Council body;

 

(12)     To approve measures to ensure the effective development and operation of risk management and corporate governance in the Council;

 

(13)     To consider the Council’s arrangements for corporate governance and to approve necessary actions to ensure compliance with best practice;

 

(14)     To approve the external auditor’s report to those charged with governance on issues arising from the audit of accounts.

 

 

1093   HOLTON ROAD COMMERCIAL RENEWAL AREA GRANT SCHEME - REVIEW AND OPTIONS APPRAISAL (REF) -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the proposals of the Cabinet, as set out in Cabinet Min. No. C2239, 10th March, 2014, be approved.

 

 

1094   WHISTLEBLOWING POLICY AND PROCEDURES (REF) -

 

In addition to considering the recommendations of Cabinet on 24th March, 2014, consideration was also given to an associated Reference from Audit Committee of 28th April, 2014.  Whilst endorsing the Whistleblowing Policy, the Audit Committee had requested that Council give an assurance that Contact One Vale would deal with calls relating to the Protection of Vulnerable Adults by a suitably qualified member of staff.

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the proposals of the Cabinet as set out in Cabinet Min. No. C2254, 24th March, 2014, be approved; the policy to reflect the fact that Contact One Vale would deal with calls relating to the Protection of Vulnerable Adults by a suitably qualified member of staff.

 

 

1095   THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2011-2026 REVIEW OF DELIVERY AGREEMENT TIMETABLE (REF) -

 

The Leader informed Members that the reference from Cabinet of 24th March, 2014 would be considered later in the meeting, following the debate on the Notice of Motion submitted.

 

 

1096   CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL, 2013 TO 31ST JANUARY, 2014 (REF) -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the proposals of the Cabinet, as set out in Cabinet Min. No. C2285, 28th April, 2014, be approved. 

 

Councillor Franks sought clarification as to the reasons for the requests to carry forward expenditure in respect of the following schemes:

  • Vehicle Replacement Programme (£369,000)
  • Data Centre at the Civic Offices (£420,000)
  • Security Software Data Loss Prevention (£120,000).

The Leader indicated that, had Councillor Franks submitted his request prior to the meeting, he could have provided a response.  Consequently, he stated he would provide a response to Councillor Franks in due course, with a copy of that response also being circulated to all Members.

 

 

1097   IMPROVEMENT PLAN PART 1 (IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2014/15) (REF) -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the proposals of the Cabinet, as set out in Cabinet Min. No. C2295, 28th April, 2014, be approved.

 

 

1098   CIVIC SALARIES (MD) -

 

Currently, under the Council's Members' Allowances Scheme, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor received Civic Salaries in line with the determination of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales, as follows -

 

Office

 

 

Civic Salary

£

Mayor (Chairman of Council)

21,375

Deputy Mayor (Vice Chairman of Council)

16,625

 

The Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales had reviewed the Civic Salaries and had determined that -

  • Having regard to the time, role and senior responsibilities of civic heads and deputy civic heads, the Panel had determined that (where paid) Civic Salaries within the following levels were payable and would be applied by authorities as each considered appropriate, taking account of the anticipated workloads and responsibilities.
  • Civic Salaries (where paid) should be payable as follows to members of principal councils.

Remuneration of civic heads and deputy civic heads (inclusive of basic salaries)

 

 

Civic heads

Deputy civic heads

a)

£24,000

£18,000

b)

£21,500

£16,000

c)

£19,000

£14,000

 

  • A Council may decide not to apply any Civic Salary to the posts of civic head and/or deputy civic head.

The Council had the option to set the level of Civic Salaries in line with either Band a), b) or c) or not to pay Civic Salaries.  Band b) was closest to the existing Civic Salary levels, so it was considered appropriate to pay the Civic Salaries at that level.  Provision for payment of Civic Salaries was allowed for in the Members’ Allowances budget.

 

Councillor Penrose, Leader of the Independent Group, moved an amendment, which was duly seconded, that the Council should not apply Civic Salaries to the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor.  The view of the Independent Group was that the two posts should only receive a Councillor’s Basic Allowance. 

 

Upon being put to the vote, the amendment was lost and it was

 

RESOLVED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Civic Salaries for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor be set in line with Band (b) of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales’ table.

 

(2)       T H A T the Council’s Members’ Allowances Scheme be amended accordingly.

 

 

1099   NOTICE OF MOTION -

 

Councillors Jonathan Bird, John Thomas and Rhodri Traherne declared an interest in this item and left for the duration of its consideration.

 

The following Notice of Motion (submitted by Councillors Dr. Ian Johnson and Chris Franks) had been included on the agenda for discussion:

 

`The Vale of Glamorgan Council agrees that Policy SP3 of the Local Development Plan shall be amended so that 'land is available in sustainable locations for the provision of 5600 new residential units up to 2026’, in order to meet the residential requirement identified by the 2011 based Welsh Government household projections for the Vale of Glamorgan, published on 27th February, 2014.'

 

Councillor Dr. Ian Johnson, in introducing the Motion, referred to his having previously expressed significant concerns at Council meetings in both January and October last year about the level of housing required by the LDP on the basis that population figures appeared not to justify the target figure.

 

He alluded to Members having been told in the then-draft deposit LDP and at the October meeting that new household projection figures from Welsh Government were due shortly.  He referred to those figures having now been issued, and to this being the Council’s first opportunity to debate them.

 

He again thanked the officers for their hard work on preparing the LDP.  However, he felt it had been clear, at least since the publication of 2011 census population figures for the Vale of Glamorgan, that the population estimates had been greatly exaggerated.  He alluded to the principal projection for the growth of households between 2011 and 2026 as being 5,600 – an anticipated increase in households from 53,600 to 59,200.  That was based upon an estimated private housing population of 130,000 people at the end of the LDP period, and an average household consisting of 2.20 people.  The principal projection figure was 4,350 fewer houses than the current SP3 target in the Local Development Plan.  The Plaid Cymru Group, therefore, believed that this target could not be justified.

 

He stated that the new figures suggested the need for a 10% increase in housing in the Vale of Glamorgan, and to the Vale of Glamorgan being the fifth fastest growing county in Wales after Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham and Newport.  However, the current LDP target was for building nearly 20% more houses in the Vale.

 

He referred to the UDP period from 1996 to 2011, when there were around 7,000 houses built in the Vale at an average of 468 houses per annum, and to that occurring during an economic and housebuilding boom that lasted until almost the end of those 15 years.  A consistent 15 year build for the 9,950 target would be 663 per year.

 

Given the level of build in the last 2/3 years, he suggested that meeting the target would necessitate the building of almost 800 houses per year until 2026 (i.e. almost double the level quoted above). 

 

Turning to the proposed adoption of a smaller housing figure, he alluded to the level of planning permissions already granted.  Taking into account various sizes of permissions already granted, he calculated a total figure of around 3,600 planning permissions given.  He suggested that, once anticipated windfall and small sites that would be developed were factored in, the figure was likely to already be close to, or even beyond, the level of housing possibly anticipating needing to be built.

 

He considered that a growing economy might well create greater migration to the Vale than anticipated.  He referred to two 'growth sites’ – the Waterfront and St. Athan, and to planning permission already having been granted for the Waterfront. As the success of the St. Athan Enterprise Zone was yet to be quantified, he considered it made sense for those sites to be marked as contingencies in the case of substantial growth.

 

He suggested there was no need or call for a large number of developments that were in the LDP or suggested as alternative sites and considered the same to be true of many of those planned for rural villages.  Referring to the latest statistics published by Welsh Government, based on actual figures from the beginning of the fifteen year LDP period, he felt that a proper evidence-based LDP required those figures to be the starting point.

 

Councillor Franks, in seconding the Motion, considered the credibility of the LDP process to be 'in tatters' and fundamentally flawed.  He was not criticising the officers who he felt were simply finding the required area of land to fit the number of houses. He considered the responsibility lay with the Cabinet and the Welsh Government.  He felt many residents were furious with the 'discredited' LDP process.  He felt that the way that the Cabinet had simply gone along with, and not challenged, the numbers demanded by Welsh Government had not reflected well on the Council.

 

He referred to there being no evidence that transport requirements had been addressed or, indeed, could be addressed.  He felt this to be one of the most serious charges against the LDP.  It seemed to him that Ministers and the Cabinet were content to have long lines of slow-moving cars grinding their way through the Vale’s communities.  There was no indication that public transport would be improved – in fact, given the cut in support for the bus network he felt the situation was deteriorating.  He also felt that lack of progress from the Welsh Government and Westminster over electrification of local lines indicated the low priority that transport was given.

 

He referred to an increasing number of sites that were included in the former LDP and the current version being submitted by developers and suggested there might be a risk of all earmarked sites eventually being targeted for housing.  Given that the Welsh Government’s own statistics had shown that demand was significantly less than anticipated, he felt it was time to review the numbers proposed.  

 

Councillor Penrose indicated that the Independent Group were in support of the Motion as submitted.  The Group considered the figure contained in the Local Development Plan of 10,450 houses to be excessive and felt the revised figure proposed within the Motion was more appropriate. 

 

The Cabinet Member indicated she was disappointed to have to respond to this Motion, the content of which was governed by statutory processes and on which she had answered a question from Councillor Dr. Johnson at the last full Council meeting.  However, for clarification, the draft LDP as written contained in SP3 a requirement of 9,950 units of accommodation up to 2026.  This figure was arrived at following a consideration of several options, not just one.  It had been informed by the 2008 base local authority level housing projections.  Having arrived at housing requirements of 9,950, sites were subsequently allocated under policy MG2.  In drafting the replacement Deposit Plan in 2013, the Administration made it clear (in paragraph 5.42), that the more up to date household projections for 2011 were unlikely to be released before the end of 2013.  However, it had been necessary to move on with an LDP.  Indeed, as Councillor Dr. Johnson had acknowledged, the figures were not released until the end of February 2014.  At that time, therefore, it was appropriate that, in order to make progress on the LDP, the most up to date projections were used (those projections being based on the 2008 base projections).  The Deposit Plan was informed by the 2008 projections.  The 2011 projections suggested the provision of 5,600 units of accommodation based on the last five years migration rates, but she stated it had to be borne in mind that that was during a period of significantly poor development rates.  She referred to the updated information as only very recently having come to light, alongside a series of consultations on the Deposit Plan, the replacement Deposit Plan and the more recent consultation on promoted Alternative Sites.

 

More recently as Cabinet Member for Innovation, Regeneration, Planning and Transportation she had received a letter from Carl Sargeant, sent to all Cabinet Members with a responsibility for planning across Wales in respect of the Welsh Government’s Planning Policy.  The Minister actually supported this Administration in that, if a plan had regeneration or economic aspirations, there must be consideration of the associated levels of housing to accommodate this.  The Plan should reflect all aspects of the evidence base and it was not prudent for a Plan looking 15-20 years ahead to replicate a period of exceptionally poor economic performance.

 

As far as the next steps were concerned, the Cabinet Member indicated that, as previously stated, forward planning and preparing the LDP was a complex statutory process and not the simplistic one that had been suggested by some.  She felt it would be totally inappropriate to agree to the Motion before Council and to the 2011 projections without a full and proper consideration of the issues relevant to the Vale of Glamorgan as requested by Welsh Government.  Firstly, it would be premature to seek to amend Policy SP3 as suggested without proper and full consideration of all the representations made on the Deposit LDP and on the alternate sites consultation.  There had been a significant number of representations made on several aspects of the LDP.  Secondly, all new relevant information would need to be considered and a view taken.  The consideration could not, and should not, be focussed on the 2011 household projections, just as it should not have focussed solely on the census as argued by Councillor Dr. Johnson.  The Council needed to consider other issues that were highly relevant, such as the need for affordable housing right across the Vale, the ambitions and aspirations for employment and economic development, the need to provide for improvement and infrastructure as well as the consideration of other key issues, such as the impact of recent reduced build rates.  The Plan needed to be ambitious. 

 

Thirdly, until all relevant issues related to housing need had been considered, it would be premature to amend a strategic policy in isolation to any other necessary changes to the Plan.  This was especially the case as amending Policy SP3 would have ramifications for other policies, namely housing allocations, environmental policies, infrastructure and transport policies. 

 

In terms of the impact on the LDP itself, she stated that amending Policy SP3 to such an extent would mean arguably re-writing the Plan.  Given the significant nature of the change this would not be a focussed change and would need consideration to be given to new strategic options and sustainability appraisals.  She argued that promoting the Motion could be viewed as reckless as it would derail the Plan, mean starting again, whilst, in the meantime, creating a 'free-for-all’ for developers in the Vale at a time of uncertainty and concern for residents.   

 

Once all factors and representations had been considered the Cabinet Member intended to present to the Cabinet in early Autumn a revised population household projection paper for the LDP, which would be used to assist the Inspector at the LDP Inquiry due to be held in late summer 2015.  That paper would take into account all the factors that needed to be considered to produce any revised dwelling requirement figure.  She felt strongly that responsibility for political leadership required the Council to support and help local residents to understand and engage in statutory processes which often appeared complex and confusing.  That was why briefing sessions had been held across the Vale before the draft LDP consultation process.  She found those who were stirring up peoples’ concerns in such a simplistic and negative way hugely disappointing.

 

Councillor Dr. I. Johnson reiterated the point that the Administration had not challenged the figures of the Welsh government, notwithstanding the facts had changed.  He referred to the later LDP as being very similar to the previous Draft.  In October 2013, based on the census figures from 2011, he had estimated that around 3,500 fewer houses would be required, a figure which now turned out to be even higher.  He questioned how the figures in the LDP had been arrived at. 

 

He reiterated the Plaid Cymru Group’s view that the figure of 9,950 was excessive, and that around 5,600 (including approximately 3,600 where planning permission was already approved) would suffice.

 

Upon being put to the vote, the Notice of Motion as submitted was lost. 

 

 

1100   THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2011-2026 REVIEW OF DELIVERY AGREEMENT TIMETABLE (REF) -

 

(Councillors Jonathan Bird, John Thomas and Rhodri Traherne declared an interest in this item and left the meeting for the duration of its consideration.)

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the proposals of the Cabinet, as set out in Cabinet Min. No. C2264, 24th March, 2014, be approved.

 

 

1101   SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND STAFFING REVIEW - CORPORATE AND CUSTOMER SERVICES AND RESOURCES DIRECTORATES (REF) -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the use of the Urgent Decision Procedure (Cabinet Min. No. C2228, 24th February, 2014) as set out in Article 13.09 (a)(ii) of the Council’s Constitution, in order that recommendation (3) in the Part II report could be progressed without delay, be noted.

 

 

1102   WASTE MANAGEMENT AND CLEANSING - TENDERS FOR THE REPROCESSING OF CO-MINGLED RECYCLABLE MATERIALS - 1ST APRIL, 2014 TO 31ST MARCH, 2017 (OPTION TO EXTEND TO 31ST MARCH, 2018) (REF) -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the use of the Urgent Decision Procedure (Cabinet Min. No. C2242, 10th March, 2014) as set out in Article 13.09 (a)(ii) of the Council’s Constitution, in order to facilitate a contract start date of 1st April, 2014, be noted.

 

 

1103   QUESTIONS PURSUANT TO COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 8.2 -

 

Due notice had been given of the following questions:

 

(i)         Question from Councillor Geoff Cox

 

In March this year it was announced that the Welsh Government was to publish a new draft law that will place the responsibility on local authorities to ensure that there are enough public toilets. Local authorities will be required to assess, regularly review and meet the demand for the conveniences.    

 

Does the Cabinet Member know whether additional money will be provided by Welsh Government to carry out this work?

 

Can he tell me how he proposes to fulfil the additional responsibilities, whether or not additional funds are provided?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

I have paid visits to over half of our public conveniences with our staff, to actually inspect each individual toilet.

 

The provision of, and access to, public toilets is a matter contained within the Government White Paper entitled 'Listening To You: Your Health Matters’.  The Council is required to respond to this consultation by 24th June 2014 and whilst I very much recognise the importance of maintaining sufficient numbers of good quality public conveniences, our officers will be making the point that this is one of many currently non-statutory services that we are seeking to retain under ever increasing financial pressures.

 

If standards or the numbers of public conveniences are to increase or if their provision is to be made statutory, we will be seeking the relevant additional funds to support this service change going forward.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Cox, referring to a scheme under the previous Administration providing a small financial contribution to businesses to encourage them to open up their facilities for public use, asked whether the Cabinet Member would look at regenerating interest in the scheme to fill any shortfall there might be in Council provision?

 

The Cabinet Member alluded to a reply he would be giving to a subsequent, related question.  He had no problem in trying to increase business interest.  However, there were some onerous conditions that the scheme required businesses to accept.

 

 

(ii)        Question from Councillor Geoff Cox

 

Many of the problems with road surfaces are associated with highway reinstatement following work by utility companies. Under the code of practice, the guarantee period for excavations is 2 years for those that are under 1.5 metres deep and 3 years if over this depth. Often it is only after the guarantee period expires that problems come to light. I am aware that a number of years ago officers from this Authority sought to have the period extended. Will the Cabinet Member ask his officers to put pressure on the Welsh Government, via the County Surveyors Society Wales, to have the guarantee period extended?

 

If successful this should reduce the cost of road repairs, especially important in this period of financial constraint.

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

The reinstatement of Street Works is a devolved matter. The statutory guidance for the performance requirements for utility reinstatements within the adopted highway is therefore currently set down to Unitary Authorities in Wales and utility undertakers under 'The Specification for the Reinstatement of Openings in Highways 2nd edition 2006’, produced by the Welsh Government.

 

A Working Group has been set up, on behalf of the Welsh Government, to review and update this document, comprising representatives from Welsh Unitary Authorities and utility undertakers. The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Highway Maintenance Manager is an integral part of this Working Group.

 

I can confirm that the Working Group are committed to reviewing the guarantee period for the reinstatement for excavations as part of the overall review and update of the abovementioned document. However, any revision to these guarantee periods will be subject to consultation with over 120 organisations, mainly comprising other highway authorities and utility companies. It is anticipated that the revised document will be released for consultation in draft format in approximately 9 months’ time.

 

I very much support and agree the principle of extending the guarantee period in order to reduce the extent and cost of future road repairs, but unfortunately there is some way to go before such extensions could be put in place.

 

 

(iii)       Question from Councillor Jonathan Bird

 

It is clear from the reaction of Members of this Council, 'Local People’ throughout the Vale, the Trade Unions and our superb staff that the decimation of our 'Library Service’ by this Administration is completely unacceptable.  What is more the manner in which the matter has been handled by the Administration has clearly been completely shambolic.  The Cabinet Member may not be aware but local people were promised investment in the Library Service in Wenvoe.  This investment was to come from the 'Section 106 Agreements’ reached as a result of the granting of planning permission for two large housing developments in Wenvoe, which will almost double the size of the village.  Can the Cabinet Member explain how this is now going to take place in view of the fact that he has all but closed the Library?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Adult Services

 

It is not the intention of this Administration to close libraries.  The Library Strategy sets out a positive and challenging way forward which will secure the future of the Vale’s library network and will see the expansion of our digital offering. The delivery of the proposals will be dependent on both the Council’s and the public’s commitment to the future of the library service.

 

A review of practice in other areas has revealed that the involvement of communities in the running of our libraries can sustain services and could result in services being more focused on the needs of the community.  In many cases the move to community managed libraries has allowed the library to remain open and has often seen increased opening hours, together with innovative service development and that might not otherwise be possible.  I can confirm that a community facilities contribution has been negotiated for two developments in Wenvoe. The terms of the clause relate solely to community facilities and it is reasonable to assume that the library would benefit from the contribution.

 

The establishment of a community supported library in Wenvoe would secure the future of the library, ensuring that it will benefit from this investment in the future.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Bird’s understanding from the librarian in Wenvoe was that the Cabinet Member had admitted he had never had a library card and seldom read a book.  It seemed that the only time he visited the library was to close it.  As such, Councillor Bird asked whether he thought that he was best placed to preside over the future of the library service in the Vale?

 

The Cabinet Member produced his library card, stating he had had the card for quite a while.  He indicated he had visited all of the libraries and met with all of the staff and he did not think any Member would dispute the good work that they undertook.  However, this Council along with every other Council in Wales had to make savings. 

 

He felt that Councillor Bird had not researched the subject, whereas a lot of Members had and they had seen the actual benefits that community-managed libraries could achieve.  There were many successes throughout the United Kingdom where these services had been introduced.   He alluded to the action of the previous Administration in withdrawing the mobile library service in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

He indicated he had been told by the Vale of Glamorgan AM that, at her recent surgery in St. Brides, the volunteers that had taken over the service that the previous Administration had stopped, were willing to help any community group to set up and support them in alternative provisions.

 

 

(iv)       Question from Councillor Rhodri Traherne

 

On 13th March this year a BBC Wales Investigation revealed that the service which treats children and young people with mental illness in Wales was in a state of crisis.  A number of experts were clear that CAMHS or Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services was significantly understaffed and unable to cope with demand.  Dr Elspeth Webb, a Reader in Child Health at Cardiff University said that there were many good staff in CAMHS but that services across Wales were operating at between 20% and 40% of recommended staff levels.  The Welsh Government has acknowledged that waiting lists are an issue and I understand that the number of children in Wales waiting more than 14 weeks for psychiatric services rose from 199 to a staggering 736 in the 12 months up to January 2014.  In view of the increasing integration of Social Care and Health, and I include here Mental Health, it is clearly of significant interest to Members if indeed CAMHS is in crisis.  Apart from anything else if children and young people in the Vale, who have mental illness, are being failed by CAMHS; it will be Social Services and in certain cases potentially the Youth Offending Service that will have to try and provide some support.  There is also a potential ‘Child in Need’ and 'Safeguarding’ issue here, which I know we all take most seriously. I have two questions:

 

How many children and young people with mental illness in the Vale have been treated by CAMHS in the last 12 months?

 

How many children and young people with mental illness in the Vale are waiting for treatment by CAMHS?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services

 

Councillor Traherne very properly draws attention to concerns about the extent to which CAMHS across Wales is able to meet the need for help from children and adolescents with emotional and mental health needs. 

 

In this area, the service is the responsibility of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.  It commissions the service from another Local Health Board and this has made it difficult to ensure proper accountability.  However, in October last year, the UHB started a work programme to agree a more sustainable service model for emotional and mental health services and staff from the Council have been engaged in work to develop this model.  I understand that our Social Care and Health Scrutiny Committee will be receiving very soon an update on this programme and on efforts to manage pressures on the service in the short term.

 

Regarding his specific questions, I can provide the following details.

 

We have information about the number of contacts seen by the generic CAMHS team (excluding specialist tertiary services).  The figure for April 2013 to March 2014 is 1848.  This does not correlate with the number of children, as a child may have been seen more than once.

 

The number of children on the waiting list at the end of March 2014 was 92.

 

Supplemental

 

Given the seriousness of the issue, Councillor Traherne asked that the Cabinet Member write to the Minister expressing his concerns and his fears for the wellbeing of children and young people in the Vale suffering from mental illness in view of the poor staffing levels in CAMHS and its failure to cope with the demand for its services.

 

The Cabinet Member stated he had already raised concerns with the Minister and, indeed, in his role as an independent member of the Health Board in relation to CAMHS services.  He would continue to raise those concerns and attempt to ensure that good delivery existed for children and young people that were suffering from mental health problems.

 

 

(v)        Question from Councillor Rhodri Traherne

 

I noted from a Cabinet Report of 24th March 2014 that, as part of the ongoing review of the European Union’s Assisted Areas Map, the Wards of St. Athan, Rhoose and Peterston-super-Ely have been included in the Draft Map.  As I understand matters, the reason that my Ward has been included is due to the Strategic Employment Site at Junction 34 of the M4.  Whilst I appreciate that the Map is still in Draft, it does seem likely that the Peterston-Super-Ely Ward will become an Assisted Area.  As such, can I ask the Cabinet Member two questions:

 

Firstly, does she have any plans to increase the size of the Strategic Employment Site at Junction 34 as part of the ongoing LDP Process in order to increase its attractiveness to potential investors.

 

And secondly does she have plans to designate additional employment sites within the Peterston-Super-Ely Ward as part of the ongoing LDP Process in order to encourage investment and job creation in other parts of my Ward.

 

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

 

If Councillor Traherne would like to consult the LDP Delivery Plan he will find that the Council is at the stage of having recently consulted on a detailed list of Alternative Sites which were put forward by a range of interested parties during the consultation on the Draft Deposit Local Development Plan carried out in the autumn of last year.  Councillor Traherne will appreciate that the LDP follows that specific delivery timetable as agreed by the Welsh Government.  I cannot prejudge in any shape or form the outcome of the LDP process.  The consultations on the Alternative sites closed on 1st May and we have received a significant number of representations, which will need full and proper consideration. 

 

Supplemental

 

Referring to the 'Renishaw' planning application, Councillor Traherne felt there to be very real and complex geographical flooding and other ecological limitations associated with the current Junction 34 site.  He asked whether the Cabinet Member would ensure that local people were fully consulted at an early stage prior to any decision to increase the size of the Junction 34 site or, indeed, designate any new employment sites in the Ward as a result of potential Assisted Area status.

 

The Cabinet Member assumed the site mentioned to be site ASA 39 to extend the strategic employment site at Land South of Junction 34 of the M4.  This site was proposed as a minor amendment to the LDP, and had been consulted on as part of the Alternative Sites consultation and she was sure that local residents would have made their views known in that consultation process. 

 

 

(vi)       Question from Councillor Richard Bertin

 

Will the Cabinet Member please tell us what interest has been expressed by volunteers to run our libraries, and does he believe we will have the sufficient number needed under the review?

 

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Adult Services

 

The review group was keen to ensure that stakeholders’ views shape the future of the library service. The results of an extensive consultation exercise influenced the development of the draft library strategy. An initial public consultation was held between 12th November and 15th December 2013 in which 42% of library users offered to volunteer in numerous capacities in order to support the service.

 

Should the Library Strategy be approved, it will be important to consult and work with local communities to determine the details of service delivery. To ensure a smooth transition to any new model it is important the local community is fully supported and equipped with the necessary skills and the knowledge to deliver community library services. Initial work would involve the identification and development of the volunteer base in the relevant communities.   

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Bertin referred to Question 20 of the stakeholder consultation undertaken, which stated that, in order to extend and improve library services, it might be necessary to increase the number of volunteers who supported members of staff.  Volunteers would not replace paid members of staff and he asked whether that meant that there would be no redundancies in this service.

 

The Cabinet Member stated that a lot of work had gone on with the library strategy.  He reminded Members that a number of positions within the library service had only ever been filled on a temporary basis.  The intention of this Administration and, he trusted, the Council as a whole, was that, wherever possible, any compulsory redundancies would be avoided.  However, it was impossible to say there were not going to be any compulsory redundancies throughout the Authority in any service given the ongoing budgetary pressures facing the Council.

 

 

(vii)      Question from Councillor Fred Johnson

 

I was really delighted to hear the good news of the £1 million regeneration funding from the Welsh Government.  Realising that this is a very recent announcement has a decision yet been reached as to how the money will be allocated in Barry.

 

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

 

I agree that the allocation of a £1 million for regeneration activity within Barry is very welcome news and will assist this Council in maintaining the good work carried out in Barry over the last 2 years.  You are correct that this is a very recent announcement and no decision has yet been made as to how to use this additional funding and which part of the overall regeneration plan will be delivered.  Indeed, only last week the Director attended a meeting with WG officials to discuss what type of projects will be eligible to benefit from this funding.  The feedback from those discussions is that criteria will be set and that any projects taken forward will need to meet those criteria. 

 

 

(viii)     Question from Councillor Rhodri Traherne

 

Members may be aware that the Vale of Glamorgan Council has agreed to lease a piece of ground to Cardiff City Football Club near the hamlet of Hensol Villas.  This ground is open countryside and is not designated for residential development, economic use, sports pitches or indeed any other use under either the UDP or the Draft LDP.  Members may also be aware that Cardiff City Football Club has submitted a planning application to the Vale of Glamorgan Council to turn this piece of open countryside into sports pitches, together with a large building with the associated necessary infrastructure.  Members will understand that we have a situation here where the Vale of Glamorgan Council as Landlord will clearly benefit financially should planning permission be granted.

 

Now, in view of the fact that this is without doubt 'development in open countryside’, it is difficult to imagine why planning permission might be granted.  However, there is a suspicion amongst the community that I represent that 'the deal has been done’ and that planning permission is merely a formality.  It should be noted that, when Cardiff City Football Club representatives attended a Pendoylan Community Council Meeting, they were keen to point out that they had had various meetings with the Vale Council to ensure that the planning application would be acceptable.  I have three questions:

 

Firstly can the Cabinet Member reassure local people that 'our planners’ will approach this application in a truly objective manner and apply the same criteria that would be relevant to any other application where there is a proposal to promote development in open countryside?

 

Secondly how can she reassure local people that this is not a 'done deal’ and that there will be no undue pressure on 'our planners’ for this application to be recommended for approval?

 

And thirdly how can she reassure local people, should this clear development in open countryside be recommended for approval by planning officers, that there will not be a rash of other planning applications promoting development in open countryside as a result of the clear precedent that will have been established for such development to take place.

 

 

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

 

In answer to your first question, Councillor Traherne, I am somewhat surprised that you feel the need to question the integrity and impartiality of our planners.  I have no doubt whatsoever that the application will be closely scrutinised and considered in detail not only by our officers but also by members of the Planning Committee.

 

In answer to your second question, I would merely point out that in addition to my confidence in the expertise and impartiality of the Planning Committee, the current Administration took the very sensible step of ensuring that Cabinet Members are not members of Planning Committee.  In that way key decisions such as those relating to the potential disposal of land are kept entirely separate to planning decisions.  I appreciate that this was not the case during the previous Administration, when boundaries were perhaps slightly less clear, but I trust the situation is now perfectly clear and your constituents should have every confidence that the processes are now entirely separate.

 

In response to the third question, I suggest that this is somewhat premature as no decision has been made in relation to the application as yet.  That said, irrespective of the decision, this Council is charged with dealing with all applications submitted to it, irrespective of their potential merits.  In this regard, I suggest that we will always be in a position where we will need to deal with a range of proposals, given that we are in an area where there are significant planning pressures for development.  The role of our officers and the role of Planning Committee are to deal with all proposals in a fair and transparent manner, and I have no doubt of their capabilities in this regard.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Traherne confirmed he had the very highest regard for the professionalism and integrity of the Council’s Planning staff.  However, he was concerned about pressure put upon Planning Officers from elsewhere within the Council.  Should planning consent be granted, his understanding was that the lease from the Council to Cardiff City Football Club would bring in the initial sum of £1.2m and an annual rent.  He asked the Cabinet Member to reassure local people that this money would have no bearing on the consideration and determination of the planning application.

 

The Cabinet Member reiterated her previous answer and stated she considered the question to be disgraceful.

 

(ix)       Question from Councillor Peter King

 

We all recognise that austerity cuts by the Tory-led, Westminster Coalition are passed on by the Welsh Government, leaving Councils struggling to provide public services. Once our statutory obligations are properly funded, there is insufficient for all the non-statutory services the public has grown to expect from Councils. The Library Service is just one example, much valued by its users but, not a formal requirement in its current form and level of provision.

 

Will you please state that you will do all you can to maintain a library service at all the existing locations and not deprive residents of this valued facility and for their free use?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Adult Services

 

The library review group explored practice across the Country to establish what others are doing to sustain and develop library services in challenging financial circumstances.

 

Some Councils have elected to close libraries, whereas others have developed community managed libraries. The involvement of community groups and volunteers in library services is not new and has been a feature of most library services for decades. In the past few years communities have been involved in library service delivery in more significant ways, not only to support and enhance services, but also in many places, to manage them.

 

The community managed library model is one which has proved successful elsewhere and has enabled Councils to retain libraries which would otherwise have faced closure.

 

To sustain the Vale’s current library network the draft Library Strategy proposes the development of community managed libraries at Dinas Powys, Sully, St. Athan and Wenvoe.   We want all our libraries to stay open and to prosper.

 

The model of community library we would seek to develop in consultation with local communities will be one in which the branches operate under a service level agreement and within a framework of policies set by the Council.  The free loan of books will continue to be at the heart of the service.  This model has the advantage of supporting community libraries within the framework of the Council’s Library Service, ensuring users have access to similar services, whilst supporting community led developments at libraries.

 

The draft Library Strategy seeks to strike a balance between providing a solution to the requirement for the Library Service to reduce costs and helping the library service evolve and remain a relevant and vibrant community resource.

 

Supplemental

 

Acknowledging that the topic had already been raised, Councillor King asked whether the Cabinet Member would promise to do all he could to avoid compulsory job losses from amongst, generally speaking, the modestly paid staff concerned?

 

The Cabinet Member reiterated his earlier comment that the Administration would do all it could to avoid any compulsory redundancies and would follow every policy and procedure of this Council.  He believed that there would be people who would come forward who would be seeking to leave the employment of this Council (as generally happened during any form of change within services) and, again, stated everything possible would be done to avoid making anybody compulsorily redundant.

 

(x)        Question from Councillor Dr. Ian Johnson

 

Since the implementation of new legislation in November regarding the display of food hygiene ratings, how many inspections have been carried out in the Vale and how many of these have seen an (a) increase, (b) decrease or (c) retained their level?

 

Reply from the Leader

 

The Commercial Team of Environmental Health have carried out 257 food hygiene inspections to date (02/05/14) that are within the scope of the Food Hygiene Ratings (Wales) Act 2013, which was implemented on the 28th November 2013:-

 

Of these 257 inspections of food businesses in the Vale of Glamorgan:-

 

(a)          107 have increased their rating

 

(b)          37 have decreased their rating

 

(c)          64 have stayed the same

 

Note – 49 were new businesses who received their first food hygiene inspection.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson asked whether the Leader thought it was clear that the legislation was working.  He alluded to there being some places where the ratings were not always visible on displays as people entered and queried what the Council was doing to ensure that premises complied with that requirement.

 

The Leader confirmed that part of the legislation required that anyone, before they entered the premises, should be able to see the rating on at least one of the doors.   If anyone knew of anywhere where information had not been properly displayed, they should inform the Council and officers would take appropriate enforcement action.

 

 

(xi)       Question from Councillor Dr. Ian Johnson

 

What are the Vale of Glamorgan Council doing to promote take-up of the Public Facilities Grant Scheme amongst businesses, and how many businesses currently participate in the scheme?

 

Reply from Cabinet Member for Environmental and Visible Services 

 

The 'Public Facilities Grant’ scheme, otherwise known as the 'Community Toilet Scheme’ was a specific grant available to Welsh Councils to support local businesses who were prepared to open up their toilets to the general public.  In 2013/14, the last year of the grant scheme in its original form, £17,500 was made available to this Council to assist in contributing to the costs of private businesses opening up their establishments for this purpose.  The maximum grant per business application was £500 per annum.  Despite this Council advertising this scheme via its website and the local press, the take up from businesses was unfortunately limited, with only £3,000 paid out in total.  The maximum number of businesses taking part in any one year was three and there was only one business benefitting from the scheme during 2013/14/  The low numbers were in part due to the stringent requirements imposed by Welsh Government, including the necessity to have disabled accessible facilities from the highway.  The scheme was administered by Council staff with no funding assistance from Welsh Government. 

 

Welsh Government indicated that this grant (£400,000 for Wales) would be subsumed into the 2014/15 Revenue Support Grant settlement to Councils.  However, I am advised that this had not been shown as a transfer into the settlement for any Welsh Councils and hence no funding is currently available to continue with this scheme in the Vale of Glamorgan during 2014/15.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Ian Johnson referred to the principle behind the scheme as being a very good one but felt implementation had not been effective.  He asked the Cabinet Member to clarify what had taken place regarding the transfer into the RSG, and, also, to inform Members what plans he had in future for implementing a similar scheme and ensuring that public conveniences were 'convenient and public'.

 

Reply

 

The Cabinet member indicated he would provide a written reply to all Members.

 

 

(xii)      Question from Councillor Dr. Ian Johnson

 

What plans does this council have for improving sporting facilities in Barry?

 

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

 

Since the Leisure Management Contract with Parkwood started in August 2012 approximately £3 million has been invested in Leisure Centres across the Vale of Glamorgan.  A significant amount of this investment has been spent on Barry Leisure Centre, which has seen a new improved fitness facility provided, a completely refurbished reception area, a new cafe, refurbishments of the dry changing rooms and the remodelling of the former bar into a dance studio.  In addition, a significant amount of work has been completed, providing a new heating and ventilation system, upgrading of the electrical system and major work providing a new roof covering.  Additional works have also been completed at the new hall at Barry Sports Centre and Holm View Leisure Centre to ensure that these facilities are compliant with current regulations. 

 

It is recognised that additional works are still required to the wet changing facilities at Barry Leisure Centre and opportunities to fund this work are currently being investigated.

 

I am also aware of the Sports Wales recent 'Call for Action’ grant funding announcement and Council officers are currently investigating possible schemes in the Barry Area that may attract this funding.

 

In addition, the Council also produces an annual LAPA (Local Authority Partnership Agreement) Plan that is available on the Council’s Website, which sets out targets for the year across the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan in terms of Sport and Physical activity.

 

I would also like to take this opportunity to inform Council that the Vale of Glamorgan Constituency area is, according to the recent Sport Wales Active Adults survey, the highest ranking area in Wales for regular adult physical activity.  This builds upon  the success of the Vale of Glamorgan Council area being ranked equal second in Wales in the Sport Wales School Sports Survey last year for regular physical activity participation amongst  young people.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson referred to Jenner Park being adjacent to land (i.e. the Court Road Depot) which was currently part of the LDP and set aside for housing.  He asked what discussions the Cabinet Member might have had with colleagues or any other organisations regarding turning the Court Road Depot into some sort of sporting facility that linked with Jenner Park next door?

 

The Cabinet Member stated that it was too premature to respond.  The Council, given the financial situation prevailing, was looking for alternative support from outside as already mentioned.  Sport Wales had certain schemes coming forward which officers were in discussion with Sport Wales regarding prospects of funding in the future.

 

 

(xiii)     Question from Councillor Rhodri Traherne

Will the Leader inform Members as to whether the Administration has any plans to outsource the delivery of any services to the Private Sector?

 

from the Leader

 

The Council’s services have always been delivered via a mixed economy arrangement, utilising the private, and voluntary, sectors and other partners, where necessary, to provide best value.  There are no plans to change this service delivery model, and I am not aware of any new outsourcing being considered. 

 

 

(xiv)     Question from Councillor Chris Franks

 

Will you indicate what additional measures you have introduced since 2012 that will enhance bio-diversity across the Vale, detailing the progress made?

 

Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

Here are some examples of what we do to promote biodiversity.  

  • Resurrected and promoted the Awards for Wildlife Scheme – to encourage greater up-take
  • (through planning), requesting larger developments to provide onsite measures for priority species such as hedgehog
  • Incorporating the use of wildflower mixtures in council planting schemes to tie-in with Outcome 2 of the Welsh Governments’ Action Plan for Pollinators. This will also result in a reduced cutting regime, and therefore the knock on effect of being more biodiversity aware = cost savings for the council
  • Attempting to secure biodiversity measures on all planning sites through Council adherence to the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2010) as amended, the SPG Biodiversity and Development and the new BS42020 British Standard for Biodiversity.
  • Attempting to include measures to ensure the councils’ compliance with section 9A of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations which puts a duty on local authorities to preserve, maintain and re-establish a sufficient diversity and area of habitat for birds.
  • Working with local schools and our Play Team to run a series of biodiversity modules in the Ecoschools programme.
  • Completed our audit of our Local Wildlife Sites, and included extra, now taking the total to nearly 400 in the Vale
  • We are taking part in a regional pilot study to enhance the quality of habitat in the Local Wildlife Sites – a study which has the aim of securing medium term funding to support enhancements
  • Developing a schools resource pack to be used at Cosmeston and Porthkerry Country Parks to engage children in wildlife survey, monitoring and trapping.
  • Encouraging all developments to retain hedgerows on site and where hedgerows are removed, to try to ensure a replacement of 50% greater than the loss.
  • Requesting Newt-friendly drainage on all new residential schemes, regardless of whether newts are currently present on the site or not.    

I would also like to add that last year we held for the very first time a World Environment Day Forum, which was very successful and, most importantly, we held a State of Nature Report event, which was very well supported.  I know that our Ecology Officers are also coming to speak to a business Cabinet meeting.  We have just published the first Animal Welfare Charter in South Wales, so I think we are doing quite a lot about diversity, but I am sure you will agree that we can still do much more.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks asked what further progress the Cabinet Member hoped to be able to report in 12 months’ time.

 

The Cabinet Member referred to World Environment Day being on 5th June 2014 and he hoped that Councillor Franks would attend the event, which was being organised around the theme of wildlife crime, a very important subject.

 

 

(xv)      Question from Councillor Chris Franks

 

How many jobs have been created or retained in the enterprise zone in the Vale of Glamorgan since its inception?

 

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

 

I have already been asked this question previously and my answer remains the same.  I cannot provide that information as this is data that will be collected by the Welsh Government across all Enterprise Zones.  I can advise that new companies have invested in the Zone and, in addition, investment has been made in the Airport as a result of the ownership by Welsh Government.  That said, I cannot provide you with figures as we do not hold that information.  The inclusion of the Enterprise Zone into the Assisted Areas maps will clearly be beneficial in terms of moving forward. 

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks asked how, if numbers of jobs were not known, the success, or otherwise, of the Enterprise Zone could be quantified.

 

The Cabinet Member referred Councillor Franks to the response given to his Assembly Member colleague when he asked the same question of Welsh Government.  Since the approach in Wales was different to that in England, the Welsh Government focused on a range of options impacted by different conditions.  Early release of job figures for individual Enterprise Zones would not be helpful to their ambitions in the longer term to deliver the wider economic benefits that they would deliver.  The Welsh Government had said that nearly £12.8m had been spent on grants in some Enterprise Zones, of which £7.3m was in Business Financial Grants and funding had also been provided for road improvements etc. 

 

The Welsh Government Spokesman had said the Welsh economy was clearly out-performing the rest of the United Kingdom on a range of indicators and Enterprise Zones were contributing to that success.  Welsh Government had already published performance indicators for Enterprise Zones and would be reporting progress on these in due course.  This would include total figures for jobs supported across the Enterprise Zone.  Welsh Government considered their indicators to be a more realistic approach to measuring performance than those used in the English Enterprise Zones.  It was necessary to look at a whole range of factors when assessing success of Enterprise Zones.  It would be quite easy to look at hundreds of jobs provided in minimum wage 'sweat shops' and try and measure those against a fewer number of high skill, high tech positions in an Aerospace Enterprise Zone.  The Cabinet Member stated that the Welsh Government approach of taking account of a range of factors was one she supported.

 

 

(xvi)     Question from Councillor Chris Franks

 

Will you give a progress report on the provision of energy efficiency measures associated with the Civic Offices and all other non-domestic council buildings?

 

 Reply from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services

 

Since 2007, more than 96 energy efficiency projects have been carried out on our non-domestic buildings within the Vale of Glamorgan Council stock.  The largest number of a particular project type has been insulation.   41 buildings have been insulated, with 18 having cavity wall insulation and 23 having loft insulation.

 

Other projects that have been rolled out across a significant number of buildings have been automatic lighting controls (6 buildings), combined heat and power units (2 buildings), swimming pool covers (3 buildings), voltage optimization (2 buildings).  However, the range of projects is diverse and can only really be appreciated by looking at the complete list (which I will arrange to be circulated to Members).

 

The 96 listed projects mentioned do not include the regular capital improvements works carried out by the property section, which includes new lighting schemes and boiler system upgrades.

 

I have also asked for our Energy Manager to give a presentation to informal Cabinet on this subject.

 

Supplemental

 

Councillor Franks asked whether the Cabinet Member could remind Council of the Energy Performance Operating Rate of the Civic Offices and inform Members of what additional measures had been taken to improve energy efficiency.

 

The Cabinet Member stated he would ensure that a written reply was sent to Councillor Franks and all Members.