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Agenda Item No.

 

 

VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL ACCESS FORUM

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 27th July, 2011.

 

Present:  Mr. F. Coleman (Chairman); Mr. G.D. Cubbin, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Mr. J.J. Herbert, Mrs. H. March, Mr. M. Parry, Ms. A. Phillips, Mr. R. Simpson, Mrs. L. Stuart and Mrs. V. Warlow.

 

Mr. J. Wyatt, Mr. B. Guy, Mr. G.W. Teague and Mrs. S. Thomas (Vale of Glamorgan Council); Mrs. T. Cottnam (Coastal Access Officer).

 

 

Action

(a)     Apologies for Absence -

 

These were received from Ms. A. Duddridge, Councillor A.M. Ernest, Mr. H.S. McMillan, Mr. N. Moss, Mr. R. Pittard and Mr. R.L. Traherne.

 

 

(b)     Penarth Walk -

 

Prior to the meeting a number of members of the Forum undertook a circular walk in Penarth.  The purpose of the walk was to illustrate to members the current coast path route, a proposed route and an alternative route for a circular walk.

 

 

(c)     Minutes -

 

AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 20th April 2011 be accepted as a correct record.

 

The following updates were provided to members:

 

(i)     Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan (LDP)

 

The Chairman indicated that approval was still awaited from the Welsh Government of a revised LDP timetable which showed consultation as being scheduled for November / December 2011.

 

(ii)     Current Position Relating to the LAF and CCW

 

As agreed at the last meeting, the Chairman had written to Jean Rosenfeld regarding whether he would make representations on a national basis regarding Welsh Government proposals for a review and potential merger of various environmental bodies, including CCW. 

 

The current position was that there was a business plan still in the process of being drawn up and that it would potentially be some time before a final report was placed before the relevant Minister, who would then determine whether / how to proceed.  No specific timetable was currently available.  Currently, no mention had been made of anyone outside the affected organisations being consulted although J. Rosenfeld would follow up the suggestion that such consultation take place. 

 

(iii)    Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival

 

Mrs. V. Warlow referred to the success of the second Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival held in May 2011.  A total of 285 walkers had participated, with 16 different walks taking place.  Excellent feedback had been received and, subject to available funding, she hoped that the event would take place again, and hopefully evolve further, in 2012. 

 

Mr. B. Guy indicated that it would be advisable for an application to be submitted for funding to the Council at the earliest opportunity.

 

(iv)   Walking and Cycling Action Plan for Wales

 

A report on this matter would be submitted to the November meeting.

 

(v)    Sustrans

 

An invitation would be extended to Sustrans to give a presentation to the LAF at its November meeting.

 

 

(d)     Funding of Valeways -

 

The Chief Executive Officer of Valeways, Gareth Simpson, was in attendance to address the Forum regarding the fact that there would be no more core funding provided from the Vale Council for Valeways after March 2012. 

 

He circulated details of the type of activities undertaken by Valeways on behalf of / in conjunction with the Council.  He indicated that the core funding currently provided from the Council was not going to be renewed from April 2012.  Similarly, an indication had been received from CCW that they were unlikely to continue their funding (currently £15,000).

 

In response, Mr. Guy referred to a letter of 26th July to Mr. P. Gibbins, Chairman of Valeways Trustees.  Mr. Guy stressed the value of Valeways and the partnership between the organisation and the Council.  However, he reminded members that, when Valeways was provided with its current three year grant, assistance was provided on the strict basis that it was a final period of support and that the organisation would need to achieve financial viability during that period.  As this had not been achieved, other options had been explored during a meeting between Mr. Guy and Mr. Gibbins. 

 

In essence, the most viable option appeared to be the possibility of the Council absorbing responsibility for maintenance and volunteer co-ordination.  It was important to note, however, that should this be deemed feasible, given the limited budget available within the Council, it would have to be funded from within Mr. Guy’s existing service budget.  Any employment issues relating to the existing full time employee would be taken into account.  Mr. Guy indicated that, should the above occur, Council would continue to support wherever possible the remaining areas of work undertaken by Valeways. 

 

Whilst Valeways could, nevertheless, submit an application for further funding, Mr. Guy felt it important to point out that, given the position outlined above, he would be unable to support such an application. 

 

Mrs. Warlow, in her capacity as a Trustee of Valeways, thanked Mr. Guy for the Council’s candidness as the Trustees needed clarity as to the future funding / structure of Valeways.

 

On behalf of the Forum, the Chairman expressed the hope that, whatever the outcome, Valeways would continue, and evolve, in some form, and offered the support of the Forum to this end. 

 

 

(e)     Coastal Access Improvement Programme: Update -

 

Mrs. Cottnam updated members on the following specific projects:

 

·       Porthkerry Drainage - work was now complete and construction had been done as aesthetically as possible.  When looking out from the Porthkerry park side, the work was barely noticeable.  Currently, the project was proving successful.

·       Gilestone - Kissing Gates - negotiations had been concluded with the landowner to replace the existing stiles with two kissing gates, which would be installed shortly.

·       Negotiations - negotiations for dedications were continuing where necessary.  It was anticipated that Dunraven Estates’ creation agreements would be completed shortly.  Progress had also been made at Lavernock Point and a further draft agreement was being considered, together with a redraft of the Mitchels and Butler agreement at Swanbridge.

·       Cwm Mawr Steps - the design specifications for improvements had been completed.  Consultation on design was ongoing with the landowner and Heritage Coast wardens.  The relevant authorisations of CCW would be requested in due course.

·       People counters had been put in place at 11 coastal locations, and interim results over a two month period were presented. Members were impressed with the daily and weekly statistics produced, and in the volume of usage. Ogmore, Dunraven and Porthkerry were clearly shown to be the most frequented sites.

 

Mrs. Cottnam alluded to the walk undertaken by a number of members prior to the meeting.  She pointed out that only one official route could be signed as part of the Coastal Path.  Local / alternative routes could be signposted on other localised mapping.  A number of members expressed a preference for the route marked blue on the map provided.  Views of Forum members would be welcomed and were to be submitted either to Mrs. Cottnam or Mr. Teague by the end of August.

 

 

(f)     Public Rights of Way Orders Update and Definitive Map Modification Order Tracking -

 

The regular update report in respect of the above was submitted.

 

 

(g)     Update on Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) -

 

Members received an update on the three projects covered within the ROWIP funding programme for 2011/12:

 

(i)     Employment of an officer to complete quality assurance of the Definitive Map to facilitate its republication and provide analysis of the condition survey results.

Andrew Tovey had been appointed as ROWIP assistant, although work on the project had been ongoing since May.  Quality assurance was 85% complete.  An initial summary of condition survey results was provided to members, with a full set of data to be provided in due course.  Mr. Teague pointed out that, of the network survey so far, only approximately 10% had been deemed to be unusable.

 

(ii)     Match funding of Rural Development Plan Community and Cycleways Links Project.

Mark Cottray had been appointed as Rural Regeneration Officer (Countryside Access).  Mr. Cottray, in his role, would have access to potentially significant grant funding possibilities.  He would be invited to make a presentation to the next meeting of the LAF.

 

(iii)    Establishment of a wildlife walk, including onsite interpretation and facilities for group activities. 

The initial planned route had proved not to be viable and discussions with the Council’s biodiversity team were ongoing. 

 

 

(h)     Any Other Business -

 

(i)     Mr. Simpson asked whether some kind of local promotional event would be arranged to commemorate the eventual opening of the Coastal Path.  Mr. Teague indicated that this would be considered on a wider basis as part of events planned for the path as a whole. 

 

(ii)   Mrs. March referred to the stone stiles project recently undertaken and to the unsatisfactory nature of some of the work carried out, which had led to a number of complaints within the Llantwit Major area.  She referred to the type of stone and installation methods used.  Mr. Guy indicated that a meeting was scheduled shortly with the contractors to discuss certain issues which had arisen. 

 

(iii)   Mrs. March was still concerned regarding the potential implications for certain paths within the Llantwit Major area should national proposals in respect of railway crossings be progressed following the Law Commission’s consultation exercise.