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Agenda Item No.

 

VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL ACCESS FORUM

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 10th November, 2010.

 

Present:  Mr. F. Coleman (Chairman); Councillor A.M. Ernest (Vice-Chairman); Mr. G.D. Cubbin, Ms. A. Duddridge, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Mrs. H. March, Mr. H.S. McMillan, Mr. R. Pittard, Mr. R. Simpson, Mrs. L. Stuart, Mr. R. Traherne and Mrs. V. Warlow.

 

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

 

 

 

Action

(a)     Apologies for Absence -

 

These were received from Mr. J.J. Herbert, Mr. N. Moss and Ms. A. Phillips.

 

 

(b)     Ms. S. Tindal -

 

Both the Secretary and Chairman referred to correspondence from Ms. S. Tindal, Countryside Council for Wales (CCW).  Ms. Tindal, who had been involved in liaising with the Forum for many years, had indicated that, due to staff restructuring and the general financial situation, she was unlikely to be able to attend any of the meetings of the Forum for the foreseeable future.  However, she wished to assure the Chairman and members that CCW continued to fully support the work of Local Access Forums and that she was keen to continue the role of observer, albeit whilst being unable to actually attend meetings.

 

AGREED - T H A T the Secretary convey the Forum’s appreciation to Ms. Tindal for her support to date and her ongoing commitment to the work of the Forum.

 

 

(c)     Minutes -

 

AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 28th July 2010 be approved, with the following updates being provided to members:

 

(i)     Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival

 

Mrs. V. Warlow indicated that provisional dates of 13th - 15th May 2011 had been identified for next year.  She pointed out, however, that no funding had yet been identified or been made available towards the event.  Members were informed that a bid would need to be submitted through normal channels to the Council. 

 

AGREED - T H A T the Chairman write to the Leader of the Council expressing the Forum’s wish that the Council again provide financial assistance towards the Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival in 2011.

 

(ii)     Penarth Town Guide

 

The Vice-Chairman informed members that he had spoken to the Council’s Head of Planning and Transportation and hoped that some modest funds might be available to assist regarding the provision of signposting. 

 

(iii)    Wales Coast Path

 

Mrs. T. Cottnam informed the Forum that she had been in touch with the Countryside Council for Wales with a view to ensuring appropriate marketing as the Coast Path developed / opened.  There was still currently no website in place promoting the Coast Path.  However, the overall programme for marketing had been revisited and she understood that a secondment was to be arranged within CCW, with the development of a website having been identified as a priority. 

 

Mr. R. Pittard understood that responsibility for marketing would be based within “Visit Wales” (albeit possibly using external resources).  He further understood European funding of £315,000 to be available through to 2012/13 for marketing.  However, he referred to being aware of concern regarding marketing as sections of the path were opened.  In response, Mrs. Cottnam indicated that CCW and the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) were concerned regarding the need to ensure that marketing was balanced with the fact that the path was currently, and would be for some time, incomplete. 

 

(iv)    Annual Report 2009/10

 

The Secretary confirmed that the Annual Report 2009/10 had been circulated to the Countryside Council for Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government, neighbouring Local Access Forums, Town and Community Councils and libraries within the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

 

(d)     Synopsis of Key Points of the Meeting of the National Access Forum for Wales: 13th July 2010 -

 

It was agreed that an electronic version of the presentation made at the above meeting in respect of the Wales Outdoor Recreation Survey would be forwarded to members. 

 

With regard to the research project proposal in respect of “The Economic Value of Walking / Hill Walking in Wales”, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey referred to an element of funding for the project having become available and her hope that it could now proceed.

 

Mr. G. Teague referred to the demonstration of a web-based geographic information system resource developed in Pembrokeshire and South West Wales along the coast.  National Geographic had recognised Pembrokeshire as the second best coastal destination in the world because of its being in excellent shape, relatively unspoiled and likely to remain so.  He understood that once the Wales Coast Path was completed, the rating would be upgraded to the best in the world. 

 

The Chairman alluded to the Council’s programme regarding the Local Development Plan.  He understood a consultation period would be commencing in Spring 2011 and informed members that an item would be placed on the agenda for the meeting on 27th January 2011.

 

Mr. R. Pittard informed members that he had attended the latest meeting of the National Forum, which had taken place on 9th November 2010.  As was normal practice, a synopsis of the issues raised would be submitted to the next meeting of the Forum.  However, Mr. Pittard briefed members on the following specific issues.

 

·      the future of British Waterways, which was likely to become a trust

·      reference to concern which had been expressed at the Local Access Forum Chairmen’s meeting regarding the future funding of Rights of Way Improvement Programmes.  He referred to a manifesto discussed by the National Access Forum for Wales (NAFW) and to the fact that many members of the National Forum had wished it to go forward as a NAFW policy statement.  This had not been possible as the Government Member of NAFW was unable to lobby.  It therefore remained a matter for individual organisations to progress.

·      Coastal Access Improvement Programme funding - Mr. Pittard’s understanding being that funding of £2.9m. and £2m. was to be made available by the European Union and the Welsh Assembly Government respectively

·      walking / cycling - capital funding was likely to be hit particularly hard.

 

Reference was made to the ongoing Glastir programme.  Mr. Traherne expressed his view that, across Wales, a lot of permissive paths might well be lost if take up of the scheme by farmers was low, as seemed possible. 

 

Mr. Pittard referred to an item discussed at the NAFW meeting of 9th November in respect of “Living Wales”.  He considered the consultation document should be looked at by relevant bodies.  The document related to proposals regarding future environmental structure / organisation. 

 

AGREED - T H A T the National Access Forum Wales manifesto be circulated to members of the Council’s Forum.

 

 

(e)     WAG Consultation on Planning Application Forms -

 

A communication had been forwarded to LAF Chairmen by Jean Rosenfeld of Flintshire LAF in relation to the above consultation.

 

In summary, a discussion had taken place at the LAF Chairmen’s meeting centred around “the unsatisfactory way in which the current model planning application form (1APP, dating from 2008) deals with public rights of way.”

 

This form was not at present mandatory in Wales and some Local Authorities used their own variants.

 

Mr. Rosenfeld had urged all LAFs to respond to the consultation, especially regarding the importance of having a specific question on the form as to whether or not a Public Right of Way (PROW) crossed, or was adjacent to, the site, and any other pertinent questions it was considered would be helpful in ensuring that PROW issues were properly considered in all cases when they should be.

 

Mr. Teague informed the Forum that the Vale of Glamorgan Council used the forms referred to and would be affected by the proposed changes.

 

Within the Vale, Public Rights of Way GIS layers appeared by default on appropriate mapping systems available to Development Control officers. These systems were used as a matter of course in considering all planning applications.

 

Consultation with the PROW Section regarding development was formally undertaken where PROWs were either identified by the applicant as affecting the development or where they were observed in the vicinity (crossing or abutting) of sites by Development Control Officers upon processing the application.

 

In practice, it was not, therefore, considered that consultations failed to be made to the PROW section as a result of ambiguous wording on the standard forms.  It was unlikely that any proposed change to improve that wording would introduce an additional burden on the operation of Development Control in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

AGREED - T H A T the position be noted.

 

 

(f)     Law Commission Consultation on Level Crossings -

 

A joint consultation paper had been published by the Law Commission and Scottish Law Commission regarding level crossings.  The paper related to proposals for legal reforms relating to the creation, closure and safety of level crossings, with responses invited by 30th November 2010.  The full consultation comprised to 220 pages, with a summary of 28 pages.  Both documents outlined, to varying degrees, the existing regime and proposed legal reforms.  Given the technical content of the documents, the Rights of Way Officer had prepared for members’ assistance a guide to some of the salient points.  Members were asked to consider whether, given the detailed nature of the document, an officer response would be more appropriate. 

 

During the ensuing discussion, a number of members referred to the apparent preference shown towards the rail sector / Network Rail.  Specific reference was made to the section of the document relating to apportionment of costs.  One proposal was that Orders should be capable of apportioning costs between the statutory authorities concerned.  The proposals rejected the notion that the promoter of an order should, by default, meet the full costs.  Instead, it was suggested that an arrangement be used similar to that used to the apportionment of bridge costs between a Highway Authority and a railway owner.  Reference was also made to issues relating to health and safety.  For example, it was considered that Network Rail should bear all costs of making safe crossings.

 

Mr. Pittard indicated that similar concerns had been expressed at the meeting of the National Access Forum for Wales. 

 

AGREED -

 

(1)     T H A T the concerns outlined above be incorporated within the response submitted by the Rights of Way Officer on behalf of the Forum.

 

(2)     T H A T any further comments be submitted to the Rights of Way Officer for incorporation in an overall response to be submitted by 30th November 2010.

 

 

(g)     Public Rights of Way Orders Update -

 

Members received a report summarising the current situation in relation to the above. 

 

AGREED - T H A T the position be noted.

 

 

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

 

Coastal Access Improvement Programme Update (CAIP)

 

·      Works at Porthkerry to repair the Golden Stairs and improve the handrail had commenced on site.  Repairs had been completed and the banister was to be resited to the side of the stairs.

·      A scoping exercise had been carried out at Porthkerry Pebble Beach into the repair of a drainage pipe.  Quotes were currently being gathered for the works, which would provide significant improvement to the availability of FP 43, Barry, which otherwise crossed land prone to flooding.

·      The grant allocation for improvement of a section of the same path (FP 43, Barry) further west at the Bulwarks had been transferred into the drainage scheme referred to above.  Surface improvements at this point were not considered necessary or cost effective following investigation of options with contractors.

·      Initial discussions had taken place with the Environment Agency regarding the possibility of incorporating a wildlife scrape / small pond within the park.  Mrs. Cottnam acknowledged the need for any further discussions to include consideration of any issues (if indeed there were any) regarding flight paths for Cardiff Airport.

·      Maps and schedules sufficient for creation of public footpaths under Section 25 of the Highways Act had been drafted for use outlining the Council’s offer during negotiations.

·      Funding for this year’s CAIP had been confirmed at 100%, backdated to the start of the financial year.

 

ROWIP Update

 

·      Two contracts had been let for installation of Roadside Posts previously procured.  Works for these were continuing and estimated to be completed shortly.

·      Exegesis had been confirmed as contractors to undertake a full condition survey of the PROW network within the Vale of Glamorgan.

·      St. Georges cross border walk was currently in draft.  The route had been surveyed and practical works remained to be completed.  A diversion was possibly needed around a boggy area on this walk.

·      Leckwith Woods cross border walk had been produced in draft.  Dedication of a footpath was needed as part of the scheme.  Practical works had been surveyed.

·      The final cross border walk had been dropped as it closely overlapped with an existing publication.

 

 

(i)     Feedback from Forum Members -

 

The Chairman thanked Mr. R. Simpson for attending the Local Access Forum Chairmen’s meeting on 12th October 2010 on behalf of himself and the Vice-Chairman, both of whom had been unable to attend. 

 

 

(j)     Dates of Future Meetings -

 

AGREED - T H A T a schedule of proposed dates for future meetings be submitted to the next meeting of the Forum on 26th January, 2011.

 

 

 

 

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