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VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL ACCESS FORUM

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 14th November, 2013.

 

Present: Mr. F. Coleman (Chairman); Mr. M. Dunn, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Ms. K. Lucas, Ms. E. Nash, Mr. R. Pittard, Mr. R. Simpson, Mr. G. Thomas, Mr. R.L. Traherne and Councillor E. Williams.

 

 

Also present:  Mr. J. Wyatt, Mr. G. Teague and Mrs. S. Thomas (VoGC).

 

Ms. S. Tindal, Natural Resources Wales.

 

 

(a)       Apologies for Absence

 

These were received from Mr. J.J. Herbert and Mr. H.S. McMillan.

 

(b)       Minutes

AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 24th July, 2013 be accepted as a correct record.

 

Mr. Dunn informed the Forum that the Steering Group on Promoting Walking in the Rural Vale, scheduled to have met earlier in the day, had not, in fact, met.  As such, he had nothing further to report regarding the suggestion that Travel Line Cymru be approached to promote the Green Links Sunday Bus Service. 

 

As far as Glastir Maps were concerned, Mr. Teague indicated that officers from local authorities across Wales had met with a contact in Natural Resources Wales to discuss the existing datasets.  It appeared that much of the PROW data used as a basis for Glastir emanated from 1997 and, consequently, was out of date.  Discussions would be continuing with the Glastir contact with a view to exchanging more informative/up to date data.  He indicated that the data was unlikely to cover farms not yet approved under the Glastir Scheme.  In addition, those that had been approved would simply be identified by means of a reference number. 

 

The Chairman alluded to the completion of the consultants’ review in respect of ROWIP.  He would comment further under the Agenda Item covering the Local Access Forum Chair’s meeting on 15th October, 2013.

 

In the Minutes of the last meeting, Members had been informed of the Wales Coast Path having been awarded the Jubilee Cup which was one of the annual awards presented by the Royal Town Planning Institute.  Tabled for Members’ information were two press articles covering the award.

 

(c)        Modification and Legal Orders Update

 

The standard report provided the Forum with progress in respect of tracking information of Modification Applications, together with details of live cases where applications had been received.

 

Responding to Members’ specific questions, Mr. Teague commented that:

  • with regard to Ref. No. 8 – Pontypridd Road to Nant Talwg Woods, Barry – he understood the decision of the Planning Inspector not to confirm the Order had been on the grounds of insufficient evidence of actual use being established to meet the statutory provisions/common law requirements to justify the granting of an Order.
  • Ref. No. 9 – 63 Romilly Park Road, Barry and Ref. No. 10 - Backway House, Peterston Super Ely - were being actively worked on.  Reference number 9 was currently with officers in Legal Services who were considering how to progress the matter for consideration by the Planning Inspectorate. 

(d)       Maintenance Update

 

The report detailed the number of issues logged since 18th July, 2013 and those issues resolved and remaining unresolved since 27th January, 2011.  Members were pleased that the backlog continued to reduce.  Responding to a question on the 9 remaining obstructions, Mr. Teague indicated that some would need to await the re-publication of the Definitive Map.  A concerted effort had been made to quality assure all the data contained in the Definitive Map.  Re-publication was anticipated in the near future. 

 

(f)        ROWIP Update

 

A report was tabled detailing progress on the current year’s schemes.  The report covered the following:

 

(i)         Definitive Map/CAMS Data – preparation of a new Definitive Map for republication and the analysis and reporting of CAMS data had proceeded and was almost complete.  Work on Legal Event Modification Orders was being undertaken to take account of adoptions (where necessary) and to update the Definitive Map as a result of recent Public Path Orders and Agreements.  CAMS had been updated to the latest release.

 

(ii)        Public Right of Way (PROW) Links – the creation and improvement of PROW links between communities and within the coastal zone to the Wales Coast Path, including ecological surveys and biodiversity interpretation where necessary, was ongoing.  With regard to specific schemes :

  • there had been some movement on the Twyn-yr-Odyn scheme, following resolution of differences with the landowner on an unrelated matter. 
  • pre-order consultation was complete in respect of Marcross 12
  • funding had been reallocated to the scheme to improve drainage on the Wildlife Trust Reserve footpath at Cwm Colhuw in order to satisfy the biodiversity requirement of the funding.

(iii)       Coastal Links/Coastal Loop – an offer of compensation for a Creation Agreement at Gileston had been rejected. As a result, it was intended to reallocate the funding for use on the Barry Heart Walk (a promoted route being developed in conjunction with the British Heart Foundation and the NHS Trust).

 

(iv)       Annual Clearance – the review and 2013 cut/clearance had now been completed.

 

(v)        Low Use Groups – initial discussions had been held with Communities First regarding the Focus Group established to develop and deliver improvements for Low Use Groups.

 

Mr. Teague confirmed (as alluded to earlier) that the Definitive Map was almost ready for re-publication.  This would mean that certain parts would be re-published for the first time since 1954.  He informed Members that current legislative provision did not provide for the formal Definitive Map to be produced electronically.  Whilst electronic versions would be accessible, the paper version would continue to be regarded at the 'legal’ version.

 

Responding to a specific question, he confirmed that discussions with the landowner were ongoing in respect of the Section 106 path at Hensol/Pendoylan. 

 

(g)       Coastal Access Improvement Programme Update

 

A report was tabled detailing progress on the projects listed below.  Offer letters had now been issued and accepted for the projects.  However, delays in receipt of offer letters and the need to seek authorisation to proceed on practical projects before commencing spend had resulted in a lack of progress during the first two quarters of the year. 

 

Ref no

Description of works/
Location

Update

VG101

Ogmore - Realignment study

Study commenced

Footway/cycleway proposals unsuccessful

VG102

Atlantic College - Surface improvements

Indicative quote received

VG103

Llantwit Beach - Legal diversion onto walked route

Pre-order consultation complete

VG104

Cwm Colhuw - Surface improvements

Scheme specification proposals acquired.

VG105

Gilestone - Diversion Order and ground works

Pre-order consultation complete – 1 objection received.

VG106

Rhoose Point - Surface improvements

Indicative quote received

VG107

Little Island & Nell's Point/ Barry island - Legal creation

Resolving dedication authority

VG108

Sully - Move stone stiles to safer location

Indicative quote received

VG109

Captain's Wife - Creation Order, minor groundworks

Agreement terms agreed.

VG110

Bay Caravan park - Legal diversion onto walked line

Pre-order consultation complete – 1 objection received. To be considered by Council’s Rights of Way Sub Committee on 27th November 2013.

 

In addition to the above schemes a further offer letter had been received more recently in respect of the Community Links element of the programme. These included links that access rather than comprise the Coast Path

 

Ref no

Description of works/
Location

Update

 

Dunraven Park

Offer received

 

Boverton Mill

Offer received

 

Responding to a question regarding available funding, Mr. Teague confirmed that ROWIP match-funding totalled £30,391 and that, with regard to the CAIP, the Council had received a grant offer of £59,080 against total project costs of £75,400 for Coast Path Improvements and an additional £22,530 for Community Links projects

 

(h)       Rural Development Plan Update

 

Members received an update on the following projects to be considered by the Rural Development Plan Panel in November 2013 and other 'pipeline’ projects. 

 

November 2013

 

St. Andrews Major Footpath Improvements

  • Application submitted by Dinas Powys CC and Ramblers Association.  Scheme to improve accessibility on the Right of Way by replacing 17 stiles with kissing gates and carrying out surfacing improvements in key locations Widespread support came from Michaelston Community Council, Valeways, All Saints Walking Group and Woodlands Trust

Cross Common Bridleway

  • Creation of a new bridleway improving links to key services and facilities on Sunnycroft Lane.  Widespread support from local residents as well as the British Horse Society and the Ramblers’ Association

Nash Point Footbridge Improvements

  • Application submitted by the PROW Section as a follow-up to the footpath improvements carried out along the right of way network linking Nash Point / Lighthouse with the village of Marcross. improvements to existing footbridge now on the Rights of Way network due to the diversion that is the desired line by walkers.  People counter installed as part of the original application had demonstrated an increase in usage since the works from 8 users a month to an average of 150 users a month

Pipeline Projects

 

Boverton Mill to Summerhouse Point

  • Llantwit Major Town Council looking to put in an application to secure funding to progress this key link to the coast as a Right of Way.

 

Penllyn Bridleway Project

  • Creation of approx. 15km of bridleways on the Penllyn Estate, providing links to numerous communities; Cowbridge, Llangan, Colwinston, Penllyn, Llansannor and Llysworney

 

(i)         Local Access Forum Conference – 12th June, 2013 -

 

Members received the notes of the above Conference.

 

(j)         Local Access Forum Chairs’ Meeting – 15th October, 2013

 

(i)         New Dog Walking guidance –

 

The above guidance was being prepared by Natural Resources Wales and was intended to be produced by the end of 2013, with a consultation period (including with LAFs) taking place between January and March, 2014.  The guidance would be reported to the February meeting of the Forum.

 

(ii)        In respect of the ROWIP Evaluation Project, the Chairman alluded to the emerging recommendations which included:

  • a continuation of the statutory process
  • reconsideration of the ROWIP remit and legislation
  • Natural Resources Wales to continue with staff support and facilitation
  • Local Authorities to agree staffing and better monitoring
  • LAFs to scrutinise and monitor the process.

Ms. Tindal indicated she was unaware of any specific documentation produced for LAFs as yet but would check and inform the Secretary.

 

(iii)       The Chairs’ Meeting had included a workshop to discuss the Welsh Government’s Access and Recreation Legislative Review.  This was intended to inform the development of proposals to improve the existing legislative framework to secure increased opportunities for access to land and water.  Mr. Pittard updated the Forum in that he was aware that the Minister had indicated that the document would now be issued in the New Year (meaning there had been a degree of slippage).  Given the importance of the issue, it was agreed that, if necessary, a special meeting of the Forum be held to consider the document within the consultation period provided. 

 

Mr. Pittard referred to a series of new Codes being produced by NRW in respect of a number of countryside activities, including Dog Walking as mentioned above.  He considered there to have been a lack of publicity regarding the Codes.  Ms. Tindal undertook to clarify the position and respond to the Secretary accordingly.

 

(k)        Local Access Forum Draft Annual Report 2012/13

 

As agreed by the Forum when approving the previous year’s report, the current draft had been produced in a much more concise and 'user-friendly’ format.  Members expressed their satisfaction with the new style.  It was agreed that the website link to the Local Access Forum section on the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s website would be included as well as an additional photograph showing one of the specific improvements undertaken during the year.

 

(l)         Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan 2011 – 2026

 

Members received for information details of the Consultation Period in respect of the above.  The Local Development Plan (LDP) would eventually replace the Council’s current Adopted Unitary Development Plan (UDP) and would form the basis for decisions on planning applications submitted to the Council.  The Council had published its Deposit LDP, which set out policies for managing development in the Vale of Glamorgan and made provision for the use of land for the purposes of housing, employment, retailing, recreation, transport, tourism, minerals, waste and community uses.  The six week public consultation period commenced on Friday, 8th November, 2013 and would end on Friday, 20th December, 2013.

 

It was agreed that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman would jointly consider the Deposit LDP and circulate their comments for consideration by the remaining Forum Members for onward submission to the Council.

(m)      Any Other Business

 

Mr. Pittard informed Members that the next meeting of the National Local Access Forum was taking place in Cardiff on 19th November, 2013.

 

(n)       Natural Resources Wales: Review of Local Access Forum Working Practices

 

Natural Resources Wales (NRW)was seeking to gather information from all Local Access Forums (LAFs) in Wales about how they operated and, in doing so, identify what measures could make LAFs more effective.  NRW acknowledged some variation in how LAFs operated as each had adapted to the area it was working in.  Whilst there were many examples of LAFs  working well, some LAFs were struggling to maintain membership and in other cases LAFs were not being re-established when they were disbanded at the end of a membership term. NRW hoped that by better understanding how LAFs operated and by sharing good practise and determining where changes were needed, the effectiveness of LAFs in Wales could be improved.

 

The information collated in the review would be used to update the guidance originally issued by the former Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) when the requirement to establish LAFs first came into force..

 

A set of questions covering key areas had been issued to LAFs.  As many of the questions related to how the LAF was administered, the first part of the questionnaire was for the Secretary to complete. The second part comprised a series of joint questions to be discussed and considered by LAF members.

 

Questionnaires were required to be returned to NRW by 30th November 2013. 

 

At this point, the Chairman indicated that the formal meeting of the Forum had now ended.  As indicated on the agenda, Members then discussed the NRW questionnaire in a workshop setting in order to enable the Secretary and Chairman to respond by the deadline of the end of November.