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Agenda Item No.

 

VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL ACCESS FORUM

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 28th July, 2010 held at the Heritage Coast Centre, Southerndown.

 

Present:  Mr. F. Coleman (Chairman); Mr. G.D. Cubbin, Ms. A. Duddridge, Mr. J.J. Herbert, Mrs. H. March, Mr. H.S. McMillan, Mr. N. Moss, Mr. M. Parry, Ms. A. Phillips, Mr. R. Pittard and Mr. R. Simpson.

 

Mr. J. Wyatt, Mrs. T. Cottnam, Mr. G.W. Teague and Mrs. S. Thomas (Vale of Glamorgan Council).

 

Ms. S. Tindal (Countryside Council for Wales).

 

 

Action

(a)       Apologies for Absence -

 

These were received from Councillor A.M. Ernest, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Mrs. L. Stuart, Mr. R. Traherne and Mrs. V. Warlow.

 

 

(b)       Minutes:

 

AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 21st April, 2010 be approved as a correct record subject to the addition of Ms. A. Duddridge to the list of apologies.

 

 

(c)        Presentation from Mr. G. Simpson, Valeways -

 

The Chairman welcomed Mr. G. Simpson to the meeting. 

 

Members received short presentations in respect of the inaugural Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival and the Heritage Trail Accommodation Database.


The inaugural Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival had taken place from 14th to 16th May, 2010 and comprised 20 different walks.  The rationale behind the Festival was:

 

·           to raise the profile of the Vale of Glamorgan, both as a county and walking destination

·           to encourage participation in the Festival and subsequent walking activities by residents and visitors

·           to develop a quality event to underpin the Vale tourism product.

 

A grant of £2,500 had been provided by the Vale of Glamorgan Council. 

 

A total of 329 individual walkers had booked places, with an eventual attendance level of approximately 75%.  The event had also been featured in the magazine 'Country Walking'.  Excellent feedback had been received, a summary of which was presented to the Forum.

 

With regard to the Heritage Trail Accommodation database Mr. Simpson stated that, in essence, it represented simply a list of accommodation as it should appear along the various sections of the Heritage Trail.  The work had been undertaken by volunteers and, ideally, it would be necessary to identify a publisher/distributor if a wider circulation was to be achieved. 

 

Mr. D. Knevett, who was in attendance, considered the concept of the 'Visit the Vale' website to represent good linkage between the Council and the excellent work undertaken by Valeways.  He pointed out, however, that much of the accommodation mentioned in the database was not graded by Visit Wales, albeit this was not a representation of the quality of such accommodation. 

 

AGREED - T H A T the Forum's appreciation of the work which had gone into organising and holding the inaugural Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival be placed on record.

 

 

(d)       Presentation from Mr. D. Knevett, Vale of Glamorgan Council -

 

The Chairman, on behalf of the Forum, welcomed Mr. D. Knevett, Operational Manager (Leisure and Tourism), Vale of Glamorgan Council.

 

Mr. Knevett addressed the Forum on the following specific issues:

 

·           Vale of Glamorgan Tourism Strategy

·           Health and Leisure

·           Penarth Town Trail Signposting.

 

(i)         Tourism Strategy -

 

The draft Strategy had been produced 'in-house' within the Council and Mr. Knevett expressed his appreciation for comments received.  The thrust of the Strategy was one of promoting opportunity, maximising benefits and minimising associated problems.  He considered the Glamorgan Heritage Coast brand to have been particularly beneficial.  Mr. Knevett pointed out that the Council employed just one specialist Tourism Officer and one member of staff within a Tourist Information Centre, together with an Events Team.  The Council was looking to establish Service Level Agreements with organisers with a view to ensuring sustainable events.  The Tourism Strategy looked to maximise partnership working and was considered to be ambitious and challenging, particularly given the budgetary pressures prevailing.  Mr. Knevett considered tourism to be an important product for the Vale of Glamorgan generally and one which could assist in driving the rest of the economy. 

 

(ii)       Health and Leisure -

 

Mr. Knevett referred to a considerable amount of work having been undertaken within the field in recent years.  Activity no longer centred around the concept of 'sport', but more in terms of all round physical activity.  The Council worked with many groups, including Valeways.  An increase in focus on encouraging involvement of older people had also developed.  Approximately £0.5 million of funding had been achieved through a Local Authority Partnership Agreement with the Sports Council for Wales.  This had led to the introduction of various schemes, each receiving approximately £60,000 - £70,000 of funding, designed to address local priorities. 

 

(iii)       Mr. Knevett circulated copies of a Town Guide/Trail for Penarth.  Referring to earlier discussions which had taken place at Forum meetings, he pointed out that no specific funding mechanism existed for signposting.  He did, however, allude to various interpretation boards located in Penarth, which were due for a revamp and which would need to reflect changes which had occurred. 

 

AGREED - T H A T the Forum's appreciation be conveyed to Mr. Knevett for his presentation.

 

 

(e)       Performance Indicator Results 2009 -

 

The Forum received a summary sheet in respect of the performance indicators in respect of paths signposted from the road (P6A) and paths that were easy to use (P6B). 

 

In 2009/10, 10.26% of the Vale of Glamorgan Rights of Way network had been surveyed with 49.88% identified as being easy to use.  This related to a position of 15th of the 22 Welsh Local Authorities. 

 

With regard to 2009/10 targets, the following information was submitted:

 

CMT/001 - The percentage of total length of Rights of Way which are easy to use by members of the public (target = 67%)

 

The pass rate was marginally down on last year.  However, each of the criteria that were the bases for the indicator showed a slight improvement on the previous year.

 

The 2009/10 results showed that 8.26% of paths failed due to failure of a single criteria compared to 12.5% in 2008/09.  There was an overall improvement in ease of use of the path network; unfortunately this had yet to be reflected in the CMT/001 target figure.

 

L223 - The percentage of footpaths and other rights of way which are signposted where they leave the road.  (Target = 69%).

 

The Council's Public Rights of Way Section was undertaking a Vale-wide programme of signpost installation, having recognised the continual problem of reaching this Performance Indicator target and how the figures subsequently reflected on the CMT/001 target.  Surveys for 2009/10 were undertaken after the first phase of this programme (installation of 150 posts March 2009); this was reflected in the 7.9% improvement in the PI figures between 2008/09 and 2009/10.

 

The second phase of the programme (installation of 150 posts February 2010) should be reflected in the 2010/11 results.  The final phase of the programme would be the installation of approximately 300 posts in late 2010.

 

AGREED - T H A T the position be noted.

 

 

(f)         Synopsis of Key Points of the Meeting of the National Access Forum for Wales: 9th March, 2010 -

 

With regard to the Coastal Access Update alluded to in the synopsis, Mr. Pittard referred to a number of sections of the Wales Coast Path having opened with little apparent co-ordination in terms of the overall promotion of the path.  Mrs. Cottnam understood a draft promotion plan to have been finalised and indicated she would clarify whether it had yet been approved by the Welsh Assembly Government.  She also indicated that the Wales Coast Path website was not yet live but her understanding was that, once it was operational, a 'traffic light' system would be used to indicate paths open, due to open or due for longer term opening.  The aim was for the coast path to be open by June/July 2012, prior to the London Olympics.  Until more of the path was open, it was difficult to introduce particularly comprehensive promotion.

 

AGREED - T H A T Mrs. Cottnam provide an update report to the next meeting.

 

 

(g)       Local Access Forum Conference 2010 -

 

Members received a summary note regarding the Local Access Forum Conference held in Builth Wells on 20th May, 2010.  Copies of the various presentations were available to Forum Members if required.

 

 

(h)        Permissive Access Under Tir Gofal -

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council had been supplied with mapping detailing permissive access under existing agri-environmental schemes (Tir Gofal).  Tir Gofal, along with three other existing agri-environment schemes (Tir Cynnal, Tir Mynydd and the Organic Farming Scheme) was due to be replaced by the Glastir scheme.

 

Glastir would comprise an All Wales element and a targeted element.  In order to enter into the targeted element a landowner must already have entered the All Wales element, following which criteria would be applied to relevant land and an invitation to the targeted scheme extended if sufficient criteria were identified as affecting it.  Strategic access delivery would comprise one such criterion. 

 

The Welsh Assembly Government had requested that the Forum assist by identifying:

 

·            which of the existing permissive paths were considered valuable and should be continued in the Glastir Scheme.

·            potential strategic routes that did not currently exist and which could be established under new permissive access in Glastir.

 

During the discussion, reference was made to the reluctance of many farmers to allow permanent access to routes along the coast.  Mrs. March suggested that the new scheme might well make things more difficult in this respect.  In general, members of the Forum agreed that the Tir Gofal permissive paths near the coast were considered valuable and worthy of retention.  Acknowledging that the timescale for the submission of comments regarding existing routes was somewhat tight, it was

 

AGREED - T H A T members submit any comments regarding existing routes to G. Teague within 7 days.  Comments regarding strategic routes were to be submitted to G. Teague by the end of August, following which a small Working Group of Forum members would be established to consider the comments if considered necessary.

 

 

(i)         Public Rights if Way Orders Update -

 

Members received a report summarising the current situation in relation to the above.  The Secretary stated that he considered the format in which the information had been presented to require improvement and it was

 

AGREED - T H A T the information be presented in A3 format to future meetings.

 

 

(j)         Update on Coastal Access and Rights of Way Improvement Programme -

 

Mr. G. Teague advised that the first spend period of ROWIP grant for this year had come to an end and that the Vale had procured a stock of posts to be installed during the next period (August - November).  This was in keeping with the projected work under the ROWIP programme.

 

Mrs. T. Cottnam indicated that she had commenced work with the Vale of Glamorgan Council on 16th July, 2010 for one day a week until, potentially, the end of the project in March 2013.  She confirmed that a formal offer of funding had recently been received from the Countryside Council for Wales in respect of the Council's plans for 2010/11.  Match funding would be required to be agreed, following which work schemes would proceed.  The current full programme would be revised to include any changes to schemes and to add any others considered feasible.  Project proposals for the remaining term of the project were about to be finalised.  Discussions had been held with a number of land owners and/or tenants regarding potential compensation payments in respect of certain path sections. 

 

AGREED - T H A T Mrs. Cottnam submit a progress report to the next meeting.

 

 

(k)        Draft Annual Report 2009/10 -

 

The Secretary submitted for comment/approval the Draft Annual Report for 2009/10. 

 

Members were very supportive and appreciative of the format in which the information was presented.  A number of minor comments were made regarding the report, together with reference to the need to amend certain of the fonts/headings in order to comply with the comments made at the meeting.

 

AGREED - T H A T, in addition to the comments agreed to be incorporated, Members submit any further comments to the Secretary by Friday, 6th August, 2010.

 

 

(l)         Feedback from Forum Members - 

 

Ms. S. Tindal (CCW) referred to a recreation survey undertaken by the Bridgend Local Access Forum in consultation with the Forestry Commission. 

 

AGREED - T H A T a report on this matter be submitted to a future meeting.

 

Ms. Tindal also referred to an interesting presentation at the Bridgend Local Access Forum regarding level crossings with footpaths over railway lines.

 

AGREED - T H A T G. Teague discuss with officers in Bridgend Council.

 

 

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