(a) Apologies for Absence -
These were received from Mrs. V.M. Hartrey Mr. J.J Herbert, Mr. H.S. McMillan, Mr. R. Pittard and Mr. C. Short; Mr. B. Guy and Mr. J. Wyatt (Secretary).
The Chairman notified Members at this juncture that Anthony Ernest would no longer attend meetings as the Council’s nominated representative. The Council’s Cabinet would be requested, in due course, to nominate a new representative.
AGREED – THAT the Chairman write to Mr. Ernest thanking him for his support and wishing him well for the future.
(b) Presentation from Chris Heaps, CCW on Open Access -
Chris Heaps referred to the duty imposed upon CCW to review the maps of open access every 10 years. He referred to the fact that most of the access land within the Vale related to registered common land and that CCW needed to know if there were any changes required to the current maps, such as the deletion or inclusion of areas. Discussion was ongoing with a variety of interested parties, including LAFs. He drew attention in the course of his presentation to the limited resources CCW now had available to undertake such a review compared with when the process had first been undertaken.
The proposed timetable indicated that CCW would issue all Wales draft maps of open access on 16th July, 2012, the date from which the consultation period would commence. The consultation would conclude on 23rd November, 2012. CCW would issue all Wales provisional maps on 7th August, 2013 following which there would be an appeals process. CCW anticipated that an all Wales conclusive map would be issued in September, 2014.
He concluded his presentation by reminding Members of the appropriate website, namely email@example.com, following which the Chairman thanked him for the information provided.
(c) Minutes of the meetings held on 22nd February, 2012-
AGREED – T H A T the minutes of both meetings held on 22nd February, 2012 be accepted as a correct record subject to the numbering of minute no. (l) on page 7 relating to the Countryside Code being amended.
The following updates were provided to members:
(i) Valeways: Gwyn Teague indicated that the request for grant aid from Valeways of £20k. had been approved by the Council’s Cabinet ( a reduced figure from that previously approved) and that there would be a consequent reduction in the level of maintenance work undertaken. Cabinet had also asked the appropriate Director to carry out a full review of the services offered by Valeways to the Council.
Reference was made to the change in the political leadership of the Council since the local government elections earlier in the month. Members accepted that the Council’s priorities might also change and that a further update would be given at the next meeting should that, indeed, occur.
(ii) Appointment of additional Member to represent Disabled People: whilst the Access Group Co-ordinator from Diverse Cymru had reaffirmed his interest in attending the LAF in early May, no further contact had been made. The Chairman asked that his intentions be clarified.
(iii) Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan, Sustaining a Living Wales and Natural Resources Wales (single body): the responses to the consultation processes in respect of each of the above as collated and submitted by both the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman on behalf of the LAF were appended to the minutes. Also attached was a response sent by the National Representative of LAFs in Wales to the single body consultation.
(d) Briefing Note for New Members -
Gwyn Teague had updated the briefing note from that previously circulated for Members’ information to reflect the current position.
(e) Communication (Web Content) –
The report briefly outlined the position in relation to what was currently available, and where, and the opportunities for the enhancing the information provided. A matter Members deemed of paramount importance was the amalgamation of the information into one site, the view being expressed by several that the site was difficult to navigate. Another suggestion made related to an on-line form being published to assist in the reporting of, for example, the need for footpath repairs (as was currently the case for potholes). Members were requested to forward any suggestions for improvement to Gwyn Teague.
(f) Maintenance Priorities -
Gwyn Teague presented the report which indicated the background relating to the Council’s 554.34 kilometres of Public Rights of Way (PROWs). Maintenance issues had been divided into 6 categories and breakdowns showing issues in relation to those categories were contained within the report. Members were requested to identify those issues the LAF considered required to be addressed as a priority. The following discussion included apparent anomalies in respect of certain geographical areas, the rationale for commissioning independent surveyors and the criteria for grant funding which meant that grant monies could not be expended on work the Council was required to undertake, Members were asked to consider the survey findings further prior to the next meeting. At that meeting, Gwyn would submit suggestions as to a list of priorities based on the likely budget available and the evidence collected on the ground.
(g) Definitive Map Modification and Public Path Orders – Update –
The report covered both live and closed cases in respect of the above. Members agreed that, in future, closed cases should be removed from the report. It was anticipated that the Definitive Map would be published during 2012 with the outstanding issues relating largely to cross border links and a redrafting of some of the statements. Gwyn Teague confirmed that, for the most part, the map had been quality assured and that only minor matters remained to be finalised.
(h) ROWIP and CAIP – Update –
Gwyn Teague took Members through the ROWIP element of the report illustrating the way in which the grant funding of £39k. would be mainly expended. The bulk of the funding would be used to match fund various projects under the Rural Development Plan, further details in respect of certain of which were given at the meeting.
Trisha Cottnam amplified the details given in the report relating to the CAIP. She indicated, for example, that the alternative route referred to at St. Mary’s Well Bay was already well walked and displayed samples of both urban and rural signage together with pavier signs relating to the Coastal Path, requesting Members with any suggestions as to the desired location of the same to contact Gwyn. She continued by referring to the opening of the Coastal Path on 5th May and to the ongoing promotional events, drawing specific attention to the website (http://www.walescoastpath.gov.uk/) where one could find information such as downloadable maps. Any feedback relating solely to the Coastal Path Website should be directed to Anna Mullarkey at firstname.lastname@example.org. At this juncture Gwyn showed Members the interim leaflet produced within his team which illustrated the route of the path within the Vale together with useful information such as the nearest parking and refreshment facilities. Trisha also made available a leaflet produced by the Penarth Tourism and Visitor Association which showed the route of the path from Cardiff Bay through Penarth. In response to a question relating to the development of circular routes, Gwyn Teague indicated that, where feasible, that could be considered with the next tranche of CAIP funding.
(i) Highways and Transport (Wales) Bill –
Since the papers for the meeting were despatched, the Welsh Government had produced a white paper entitled Consultation on Active Travel (Wales) Bill which replaced what had been known as the Highways and Transport Bill. Hard copies of the consultation document were tabled and it was noted that the consultation period would end on 14th August. Members were notified that officers within the Transport Division of the Council would be submitting a report to Cabinet for consideration and asked if they would prefer to feed any comments back to the Welsh Government through the Council or independently as the LAF. Gwyn Teague indicated that the key proposals within the white paper related to the opening up of and enhancing the network of routes to non-motorised users (simply, pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians). The desirability of increasing the routes available for horse riding was fully accepted but it was recognised that there was a need to take a practical approach as to what might or might not be achievable and to ensure a balance of interests. Gwyn understood that consultation events were being run and undertook to make the Chairman aware of the same where possible. Members subsequently agreed that the most appropriate way to make representations to the Welsh Government was for the LAF to respond on its own behalf. Gwyn would circulate comments to all Members based on his understanding of the consultation document to assist in the formulation of individual responses which he would collate. The Chairman would then consider the optimum way to proceed in order for a composite response to be made to the Welsh Government by the due deadline.
(j) Use of Volunteers –
To be considered at a future meeting
(k) Stepping Forward – the Stakeholder Working Group on Unrecorded Public Rights of Way : Report to Natural England –
Gwyn Teague drew attention to the above consultation which recommended a package of legal and procedural changes in England.
(l) Glastir Woodland Management Consultation –
To be considered at a future meeting.