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Agenda Item No.

 

VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL ACCESS FORUM

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 5th February, 2014.

 

Present:  Mr. F. Coleman (Chairman); Mr. M. Dunn, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Mr. J.J. Herbert, Ms. C. Lucas, Mr. H.S. McMillan, Mr. M. Parry, Mr. R. Pittard, Mr. G. Thomas and Mr. R. Traherne.

 

Also present:  Mr. J. Wyatt, Mr. B. Guy and Mr. G. Teague (VOGC).

 

 

(a)       Apologies for Absence -

 

These were received from Mr. S. Lait, Ms. E. Nash, Mr. R. Simpson and from Ms. S. Tindall (Natural Resources Wales).

 

(b)       Minutes -

 

AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 14th November, 2013 be accepted as a correct record.

 

Mr. Dunn informed the Forum that the Steering Group on Promoting Walking in the Rural Vale had met recently and had discussed a series of trails associated with the history of the Galilee Chapel (the restored west end of Llanilltyd Fawr church.  He indicated that the Promoted Routes themselves had still to be finalised and that a proposal would be submitted to the Steering Group in the near future. 

 

As far as Glastir was concerned, Mr. Traherne indicated that, along with many others, he was waiting to assess the details of the funding that was to be made available.  His understanding was that take-up to date was very low but that it would increase once the impact of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was were known.  Mr. Dunn alluded to the recent Glastir consultation document issued by Welsh Government and to there being very little content regarding access. 

 

Mr. Pittard referred to his understanding that a 'major' development/drainage works scheme was being considered at Cwm Colhuw.  Mr. Teague clarified the position in that a scheme had been considered (albeit it was not one he would consider to be a major scheme) but that the Wildlife Trust had since indicated that they were unlikely to proceed with the scheme within the funding timescale due to the recent weather. 

 

With regard to the Rural Development Plan schemes, Mrs. Hartrey informed the Forum that the Cross Common Bridleway Scheme had recently been 'signed off' in terms of the acceptance of the finance.

 

Mr. Pittard indicated that he was still unaware of any significant progress regarding the Welsh Government’s Access and Recreation Legislative Review.  It had previously been agreed that, if necessary, a special meeting of the Forum would be held to consider the document within the consultation period provided.  Mr. Teague indicated that he had been advised recently that the matter was unlikely to be looked at within the Welsh Government’s current legislative timetable.

 

As agreed at the last meeting, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman had jointly considered the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Deposit Local Development Plan and circulated their comments for consideration by the remaining Forum Members for onward submission to the Council.  No comments had been received and the reply as submitted had been circulated with the agenda for the meeting.

 

(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.  An updated schedule of both the Legal Orders and Modification Orders was circulated at the meeting.

The Chairman asked whether delays in processing of Legal Orders resulted in implications for Coastal Access Improvement Programme (CAIP) or Rural Development Plan (RDP) grants.  Mr. Teague responded that this was an ongoing factor in that it was generally unusual for the process to be completed within the same grant year.  However, Natural Resources Wales (formerly the Countryside Council for Wales) had always approved ongoing Grant Orders in respect of the CAIP.  As far as the RDP was concerned, the criteria was not as strictly set in terms of restricting schemes to a specific financial year (unless a scheme was match-funded by, for example, the Rights of Way Improvement Programme (ROWIP)). 

 

Mr. Guy confirmed that the current (extended) RDP programme ran until the end of the calendar year.  The Council had submitted expressions of interest in terms of ongoing funding and had been given an 'interim year' in light of delays in discussions between the Welsh Government and European Union regarding funding arrangements. 

 

Referring to his understanding that the 'Leader' criteria were extremely strict, Mr. Traherne asked whether it would be difficult to allocate future funding to Public Rights of Way (PROW) Schemes.  Mr. Guy indicated it was difficult to say at present, albeit there might be scope to continue to obtain grant monies under the replacement to Axis 3.  The Council had recently submitted an Expression of Interest to form a new Local Action group (LAG) to deliver 'Leader' and was awaiting further information from Welsh Government on the replacement regime for Axis 3.

 

(d)       Maintenance Update -

 

The report detailed the number of issues logged since 5th November, 2013 and those issues resolved and remaining unresolved since 27th January, 2011.  It was noted that, generally, the backlog of schemes continued to reduce, albeit the recent bad weather had hindered progress. 

 

During the discussion, Mr. McMillan asked whether the LAF Members might be able to assist in terms of the identification/monitoring of maintenance issues.  Responding, Mr. Teague indicated that this was an area that he would be happy to explore.  He referred to existing arrangements which the Council had entered into with Valeways in terms of that organisation’s walks.  He agreed to look into the matter and report to the next meeting.

 

It was agreed that, should any Members of the Forum be interested in the above concept, they contact Mr. Teague accordingly.

 

Mr. Traherne pointed out that he was aware that certain Community Councils were very proactive in terms of this area of work. 

 

(e)       Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) Update -

 

Members received the report detailing progress on the current year’s Schemes.  The Council was set to benefit from an additional allocation from Natural Resources Wales.  It was also anticipated that ROWIP funding was very likely to continue in 2014/15. 

 

The report covered the following schemes:

 

Project

Update

Preparation of new Definitive Map,

analysis and reporting of CAMS

data

Legal Event Modification Orders relating to adopted highways and recent public path orders had been completed.

 

Seeking quotes for publication (printing and binding

Creation and improvement of PROW links between

communities and within Coastal Zone to the Wales Coast Path, including ecological survey and biodiversity interpretation where necessary.

Marcross - Works on bridge complete, order progressing.

 

Twyn yr Odyn – further delays tied to landowner locating and producing the land title.

Improvement of Coastal Link and

negotiation towards Coastal Loop

Project for coastal loop at Gilestone dropped following unsuccessful negotiation with landowner.

 

Improvement to Heart Walk at Porthkerry Park to satisfy coastal loop grant criteria instead.

Review and support of annual

clearance arrangements

Complete.

Improve path through wildlife

Trust reserve by installing drainage.

Wildlife Trust advise that they would be unable to complete this year due to wet weather.

 

Reallocate funding to Cosmeston Access Improvement.

 

Establish focus group including

Communities First and Health

Agenda representatives to develop and deliver improvements

for Low Use groups

Initial discussions undertaken. Funding to be reallocated to Barry Heart Walk this financial year.

Barry Heart Walk - establish

promoted walk aimed at improving health. Supported by BHF and NHS Trust

Improvement of a section of the walk to provide steps and stoned surface within Porthkerry Park had been contracted. Proposed Route would satisfy both coastal loop and low user group grant conditions.

Cosmeston Access – Improvement and relaying of access track into Cosmeston Lakes

Improvement of surface of track at north of Cosmeston Country Park. This would satisfy grant conditions relating to enhancement of biodiversity (SSSI and Local Nature Reserve). A contractor had been appointed and instructed to commence work.

 

Mr. Pittard referred to the recent consultation exercise undertaken regarding Active Travel.  He queried whether the Active Travel Programme and the associated funding would relate to footpath work (given that this might be the only funding stream available for ROWIP Schemes).

 

The Chairman pointed out that the intended definition of “urban areas†was being questioned by Council officers.  He understood the grants would be provided direct to local authorities (once the South East Wales Transport Alliance no longer existed).  Officers had been told not to progress plans until such issues had been resolved. 

 

Responding to a question from Mr. Pittard as to whether the Forum would play a part in the future process, Mr. Guy confirmed that this would be the case.  It was agreed that there would be a presentation to a future meeting once the position was clearer.  Guidance from Welsh Government was anticipated to be issued during the summer of 2014. 

 

Mr. Guy undertook to liaise with colleagues in the Planning Department with a view to providing the Forum with a copy of the Council’s response to the consultation document.

 

A discussion ensued as to the Council’s understanding regarding future funding.  Mr. Teague reiterated his understanding that funding was highly likely to continue and that the funding would be administered by Natural Resources Wales.  Mr. Pittard asked whether NRW was likely to combine ROWIP and CAIP funding.  Mr. Teague felt that those schemes already in place would probably be allowed to run pending the outcome of the review exercise.  He pointed out that the current CAIP funding provision ran to the end of 2014/15.

 

Referring to the review and support of annual clearance arrangements, the Chairman asked Mr. Teague to supply details of the work undertaken to a future meeting.

 

 

(f)        Coastal Access Improvement Programme (CAIP) Update -

 

A report was tabled detailing progress on the projects listed below.  Offer letters had now been accepted, albeit 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.  Alternative schemes were being considered, with the result that the scheme might slip to the following financial year.

VG102

Atlantic College - Surface improvements

Contractors instructed to proceed on site

VG103

Llantwit Beach - Legal

diversion onto walked route

Order being referred to legal for making

VG104

Cwm Colhuw - Surface improvements

Quotes acquired. Authority to proceed sought

VG105

Gilestone - Diversion Order

and ground works

Pre-order consultation complete – 1 objection received.

VG106

Rhoose Point - Surface improvements

Contractors instructed to proceed on site

VG107

Little Island & Nell's Point/ Barry

island - Legal creation

Dedication authority resolved though unlikely to progress project this financial year

VG108

Sully - Move stone stiles to safer location

Contractors instructed to proceed on site

VG109

Captain's Wife - Creation Order, minor groundworks

Agreement requested for signature by landowner

VG110

Bay Caravan park - Legal diversion onto walked line

Objection considered at committee, order to be made.

 

In addition to the above schemes a further offer covered the Community Links element of the programme.

 

 

Ref no

Description of works/ Location

 

Update

 

Dunraven Park

Dedication of route rejected by landowner

 

Boverton Mill

Progress made with negotiations though still ongoing

 

Following storm damage NRW had provided for reallocation to cover repair costs in addition to identifying that larger projects resulting from storm damage would be funded in next year’s programme at 100%. The immediate repairs made under CAIP were:

 

 

Ref no

Description of works/ Location

 

Update

VG111

Sully - Removal of debris, Reinstatement of collapsed

path

Removal of debris complete.   Contractors instructed to commence. rollback of path

VG112

Porthkerry - Reinstatement of shingle bank

Coordinating with Porthkerry Park Rangers.

VG113

Porthkerry - Repair of outlet

Highways engineers instructed to proceed.

 

Mr. Teague’s understanding was that there would be an overall underspend by NRW across Wales.  Consequently, the Council would be looking to apply for funding towards other remedial schemes in addition to those listed.  He was unsure whether the very recent storm damage would qualify for such funding as it had occurred following the date for submission.

 

(g)       Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan (LDP): Response of the Local Access Forum -

 

As agreed at the last meeting, the Chairman and Vice-Chairman had jointly considered the Council’s Deposit LDP and had circulated their comments for consideration by the remaining Forum Members prior to onward submission to the Council.  No comments had been received and a copy of the response sent had been included with the agenda for the meeting.

 

(h)       Proposed Re-structuring of Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Countryside Section -

 

Mr. Guy informed the Forum that he was currently undertaking early informal  consultation with relevant staff with a view to a reorganisation of the Countryside element of the Division.  Basically, the proposal could result in four existing separate teams being restructured to provide for more flexibility and integration into fewer teams Footpaths maintenance could be provided through a team integrated with the Country Park and Heritage Coast Ranger service. A number of options were under consideration and would be subject to formal consultation as provided for within the Council’s procedures. 

 

(i)         Natural Resources Wales (NRW): Review of Local Access Forum Working Practices -

 

Members received for information the two questionnaires submitted to NRW (i.e. from the Secretary and the Forum itself, together with the notes of the workshop held after the last LAF meeting) in response to the above Review.

 

(j)         Dates of Future Meetings -

 

The following dates were agreed:

 

·                next meeting – date to be determined

·                Wednesday, 22nd October, 2014

·                Wednesday, 21st January, 2015

·                Wednesday, 22nd April, 2015.

 

(k)        Catchment Plans -

 

Mr. Pittard referred to having recently attended a Natural Resources Wales meeting where their intention to develop a series of new Catchment Plans had been announced.  The area incorporating the Vale of Glamorgan would be entitled the Tawe to Cadoxton Plan.  He considered it important that the Plans included reference to the importance of access.  He indicated that the Plans would be put out to consultation at some point. 

 

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