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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 4th October, 2011.

 

Present: Councillor C.J. Williams (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. M. Kelly Owen (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. M.E. Alexander, J.C. Bird, R.F. Curtis, G. John, Mrs. A.J. Preston, R.P. Thomas and M.R. Wilson.

 

Also present: Councillor J.F. Fraser.

 

 

473     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors Mrs. S.I. Sharpe and Ms. M. Wright.

 

 

474     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 6th September, 2011 be approved as a correct record subject to it being noted that the extraordinary meeting (Min no 324) had been proposed by the Chairman.

 

During consideration of the above Members requested the details for the Extraordinary meeting and were advised that invitations had been extended as requested to relevant witnesses and all elected Members for 17th October 2011 and arrangements were in hand for the film Gasland to be shown. The Committee considered that it would be appropriate for the film to be shown in the afternoon of the meeting and 3.00pm was agreed. The film showing would be open to all Elected Members of the Council, witnesses and the public albeit on a first come first served basis. Given that a drilling application was likely to be considered at the Planning Committee meeting on 20th October 2011 Members were reminded by the Scrutiny and Committee Services officer of the Code of Conduct and that any Member of the Planning Committee should be aware not to give the impression that they had pre-determined any application .      

 

 

475     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations had been received.

 

 

476     REVIEW OF THE CORPORATE PLAN 2010 -14 (REF - MIN. NO. C1411) -

 

The draft revised Corporate Plan 2010 -14 had been referred to the Scrutiny Committee by Cabinet on 7th September, 2011 for comment.

 

The current Corporate Plan had been approved in 2010 and set out a four year vision for the Council.  The Plan was structured around seven corporate priorities and 34 Improvement Objectives and had been updated to inform service planning for 2012/13 which would commence in October 2011 and to assist with the drafting of the Medium Term Financial Plan.  The update had taken account of the revised Community Strategy for 2011-2021 with a more comprehensive review and consultation to be undertaken in 2012. 

 

A revised Corporate Plan was attached to the report to ensure clarity over what objectives needed to be undertaken to deliver the agreed Improvement Objectives, what activities needed to be revised and any changes in timeframes.  The Plan had also been amended to include reference to a number of new initiatives e.g. working with Bridgend County Borough Council and a greater emphasis on partnership working and area working.

 

An open session for all Members had also been held on 21st September, 2011.  The revised Plan would be submitted to Council for approval on 7th December, 2011.

 

In considering the report Members referred to the following:-

 

Issue

Response

Council’s Carbon Footprint

Improvement Objective 27 -  Page 19

Add action R.8

 

To reduce the Council's carbon footprint by supporting the Council's Carbon Reduction Plan wherever possible.

 

Page 20 -  Improvement objective 29 - R15  -  Implement the consent for the Barry Waterfront Scheme including a new road link to Barry Island

Reference was made to an EIA addendum and the Director agreed to look into the issue and to respond to Members via email as to whether the addendum had been referred to the Planning Committee.

 

Page 20 – Improvement Objective 29

Add in action Improve cycle links between Barry and Cardiff Bay.

Fair Trade status

The Council should be seeking to renew the status for the County.

Page 21 – Corporate Priority

“To manage the Council’s workforce, money, information and assets efficiently, effectively and securely.”

Also consider adding in the word “ethically”.

Page 25 – CS3 - Co-locate key agencies - it being noted that in relation to the status detailed in the report the police had now withdrawn from Cadoxton House and the secure unit would be leaving Barry for Cowbridge. 

Although not within the remit of the Committee the matter was raised to provide Members with information on issues that would have an affect on services within the Vale.

Page 35  - CL8 - Dealing with emergency situations

Members requested that they be briefed on the recent incident at Dow Corning and that the information be e‑mailed to all Members. They considered that when such incidents take place all Members should be briefed asap following the incident.

 

Having discussed the above it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the comments and recommendations as detailed above be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise the Cabinet of the views and comments of the Scrutiny Committee as requested.

 

 

477     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL, 2011 TO 31ST AUGUST, 2011 (DEER) -

 

The revenue budget and protected outturn for 2011/12 was shown at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

The Visible Services Highways Maintenance & Engineering Design & Procurement budget was currently showing a £50k adverse variance to the profiled budget. This was mainly due to increased spend on pot-holes due to the condition of the highway.

 

Visible Services Waste Management - There was currently a £37k favourable variance to the profiled budget. The current underspend was mainly due to tonnages to landfill dropping as the food waste programme was rolled out therefore saving on costly landfill disposal. Officers had also had to renegotiate the contract for recycling treatment which meant a lower spend than was budgeted.

 

Visible Services Grounds Maintenance - The £51k adverse variance to the profiled budget was reported as mainly due to the increased spend on utility bills and repair costs to buildings owned by grounds maintenance.

 

Visible Services Support - The favourable variance of £12k budget would be used for any cost pressures within Visible Services throughout the financial year and would be held until later in the financial year.

 

Economic Development and Leisure - The adverse variance of £59,000 was mainly attributable to pressure on both expenditure and the continuing falling income within the Leisure Centres.  Every effort was being made to contain these variances and it was anticipated that the Division would outturn on budget.

 

Planning and Transportation - There was currently a favourable variance of £35,000 to the profiled budget attributable mainly to savings on employee costs that were offsetting the adverse variance on the transportation budgets.

 

Appendix 2 to the report detailed the financial progress on the capital programme as at 31st August, 2011.

 

The Committee were also advised that Cabinet had approved the inclusion of a WG grant from the Barry Regeneration Area Funding of £160,316 on 6th July, 2011 for the establishment of an Addizone multi-sports facility designed in the shape of the London 2012 Olympic logo and sponsored by Adidas on Barry Island.  A vacant site adjacent to Paget Road had been identified as offering the best location for ease of access and proximity to existing leisure facilities. 

 

In response to a question regarding the external investigation into various allegations within a leisure centre, the Director responded by stating that the investigation was currently ongoing and referred the Member to the Head of Human Resources for further information.

 

Reference was also made to the Procurement Partnership Project and Committee was advised that this was currently out for tender with a closing date of 14th October, 2011.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the position with regard to the 2011/12 Revenue and Capital Monitoring be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

For Members’ awareness.

 

 

478     WATCH HOUSE BAY WATER QUALITY (DLPPHS) -

 

The report had been prepared in response to a Request for Consideration of Matter from Councillor R.F. Curtis.  Councillor Curtis had requested that the Scrutiny Committee investigate why Watch House Bay had been included in the Marine Conservation Society's 2011 Failed Beach Guide and what action the Council and/or its partner agencies needed to undertake to ensure all the Vale of Glamorgan beaches passed future water quality tests.

 

The Principal Housing and Pollution Officer advised that designated beaches were part of the sea or inland lakes in England and Wales that had been designated by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) or the Welsh Government for people to swim in.  These waters were then sampled by the Environment Agency to check the water quality and reported annually to Europe.  However, it was noted that non-designated beaches did not have the same status as sampling was not a statutory requirement and Watch House Bay was identified as a non-designated beach.

 

However, the Council's Public Protection Division in partnership with Keep Wales Tidy undertook proactive sampling of non-designated sites in the Vale of Glamorgan in order to inform the public and published the results of these locations via the public internet site.  The samples were analysed for bacteria that indicated the presence of faecal pollution derived from humans or animals, which could contain viruses, parasites and bacteria (such as E-coli) that could cause illness if the water was swallowed.  Watch House Bay had been part of the sampling programme undertaken by Public Protection. A number of sampling results for the Bay in 2010 had been assessed as poor in line with EU Bathing Water Regulations.  Appendix 1 to the report provided a summary of all the results for non-designated beaches sampled in the Council's area during 2010.  Watch House Bay had recently been included in the Marine Conservation Society's 2011; Failed Beach Guide' as a result of the Council's sampling programme.

 

The officer further advised Members that the sampling programme was currently under review and would be the subject of a separate report to Cabinet in due course.  Cabinet would need to consider whether a sampling programme should continue to be undertaken for non-statutory, non-designated beaches in view of budget constraints.  Notwithstanding this, investigations had been undertaken to determine the cause of the faecal contamination of both public and private drainage, water courses and land drainage and these had been undertaken by the Engineering Projects, Drainage Team of Visible Services supported by the Pollution Control Team and Public Protection.  There were also a number of storm sewage overflows and emergency overflows that discharged into the Bay and these were regulated by the Environment Agency via discharge consents.  One of the overflows had caused concern where Council Officers had noted discharges from the Harbour Road Storm Sewage Overflow during dry weather and other periods when there had not been heavy rain.  There were two water courses that discharged into the Bay, one ran through Romilly Park and another through Birch Grove Wood and alongside the rail track.  Pollution control had sampled both streams on numerous occasions for bacteria indicative of sewage contamination.  The microbiological results indicated that the stream running through Birch Grove Wood had e-Coli and coliforms present but not at a level to indicate a problem.  However, the results from the stream through Romilly Park indicated a presence of high levels of e-Coli and coliforms indicating faecal contamination.  For these results an investigation into the source of the contamination had been undertaken. 

 

Contamination had been evident in the private drains between Old Village Road and Romilly Park Road, however CCTV surveys of the drain had failed to identify to actual source of contamination or any misconnections to enable enforcement action to be taken although the CCTV survey of the surface water drains provided evidence of fracturing due to age and root penetration.  The officer advised that it was possible that a leak in a main foul sewer had found a way to the surface water pipes thus contaminating the water discharge into the stream.  Investigations into the issues were still ongoing. 

 

The report also highlighted that water sampling of the Bay in 2011 had shown the water quality as excellent in line with the EU bathing water regulations.  At the time of the report the water quality in the Bay remained excellent indicating the contamination experience in 2010 had been resolved.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the reasons why the water quality at Watch House Bay failed during 2010 and the actions undertaken by the Council to address the failure at the beach be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the report and the minutes of the meeting be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection) for consideration.

 

(3)       T H A T the Cabinet report referred to above be also presented to the Scrutiny Committee in due course.

 

(4)       T H A T the Public Protection section continue to discuss further ways of improving the current situation with Welsh Water as detailed above.

 

(5)       T H A T in future all Councillors within the Vale of Glamorgan Council be informed immediately any failures of any of its beaches occur within the County.

 

(6)       T H A T the above comments and recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In view of the information contained within the report and provided at the meeting.

 

(2)       For further consideration by the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection).

 

(3)       In order to apprise Members.

 

(4)       To consider further ways of improving the situation.

 

(5)       To inform Members.

 

(6)       For Cabinet consideration.

 

 

479     TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS (DLPPHS) -

 

Members were advised of progress in relation to recommendations made by the Scrutiny Committee for the Municipal Year April 2010 to March 2011, the period April to June 2011 and for the month of July 2011.  The views of the Committee on the status of the actions listed at Appendices A to C to the report were sought.

 

In considering the report Members referred to the feasibility study for the museum/heritage centre for the Vale of Glamorgan and were advised that consultants had been appointed and were meeting with relevant groups.  No details had as yet been received but Members were also advised that the issue of the Pumphouse would be included in any future report.

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the following actions detailed as completed within the report be approved.

 

5 April 2011

Min. No. 1091 - Visible Services - Winter Service Provision and Highway Repair Procedures - Request for Consideration of Matter (DEER)

Recommended

(2)       That a further report following the Head of Service's assessment of gritting routes and grit bins etc. be presented to the Committee in due course.

Added to work programme schedule.  Completed

(3)       That an invoice be forwarded to Cardiff Council for the reimbursement of the cost of 80 tonnes of salt that had been provided by the Vale, as a matter of urgency.

Monies received.

Completed

Min. No 1095 - Tracking of Recommendations (DLPPHS)

Recommended

(3)       That notwithstanding Min. No. 1001 had been completed in light of the above information an officer from Network Rail be further invited to attend a meeting of the Committee to discuss various other issues that Members may have in relation to the railway network within the Vale of Glamorgan.

Network Rail representative attended Scrutiny Committee meeting on 19th July, 2011.

Completed.

7 June 2011

Min. No. 91 - Changing Economic Circumstances - Supporting Businesses and Local Economy (DEER) -

Recommended

(2)       That the Rural Communities pilot project Explore and More be given a direct link on the front page of the Council's website. 

Referred to Cabinet on 22nd June, 2011.  Cabinet did not support the suggestion for a 'stand alone link' but arrangements have been made for 'banner headed' link on the front page (Min. No. C1346) refers.

Completed

(3)       That the views and above recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

Cabinet on 22nd June, 2011 noted the views of the Committee (Min. No. C1346 refers).

Completed

5 July 2011

Min. No. 145 - Vale Cycling Strategy -

Recommended

(1)       That Cabinet be requested to undertake a 'mind mapping exercise' to establish recommendations for proposals for cycling within the Vale.

Cabinet on 7th September, 2011 noted the recommendation and resolved that a report on the subject be brought before a future meeting of the Cabinet (Min. No. C1409).

Completed

(2)       That the Scrutiny Committee receives a presentation to a future meeting on the bike project.

Presentation to Committee took place on 6th September, 2011.

Completed

19 July 2011

Min. No. 210 - Closure of Accounts (DEER) -

Recommended

(2)       That further reports be presented to the Scrutiny Committee as soon as possible on the progress to date on various schemes including the Pumphouse and Pont y Werin Bridge.

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 214 - Scrutiny Committees' Draft Annual Report May 2010 - April 2011 (DLPPHS) -

Recommended

That the Request for Consideration of Matter statistics be added as an appendix to the report and the Chairman consider re-wording part of his comment as discussed above.

Statistics added and Chairman's comments reworded.  Annual Report to be reported to Full Council on 28th September, 2011.

Completed

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To reflect the views of the Scrutiny Committee.

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