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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)

 

Minutes of an extraordinary meeting held on 27th March, 2012.

 

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, Mrs. S.I. Sharpe, R.P. Thomas and M.R. Wilson.

 

Also present:  Councillors G.A. Cox, C.P.J. Elmore, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, G.C. Kemp, and N. Moore.

 

 

1051   APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Councillor Ms. M. Wright.

 

 

1052   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

1053   REVIEW OF SUPPORTED LOCAL BUS SERVICES 2011 - AWARD OF SUPPORTED LOCAL BUS CONTRACTS AND LOCAL TRANSPORT SERVICES GRANT 2012/2013 - CALL-IN -

 

Cabinet received a report on 29th February 2012 which:

 

-         advised on the current position in respect of the Supported Bus Service Review and which sought approval for the award of tendered service Contract Agreements and continued service provision

-         informed of the Local Transport Services Grant made available from the Welsh Government (WG) for 2012/13 and the implications for continued service provision following a reduced grant compared to recent years.

 

and subsequently made the following resolutions

 

(1)       T H A T the proposed award of Contract Agreements for supported local bus services as detailed above be approved.

 

(2)       T H A T the sum of £328,139 Local Transport Services Grant for 2012/13 be accepted and that the implications for continued service provision be noted.

 

(3)       T H A T a fundamental inter modal review be carried out and reported to Cabinet in six months time.

 

The Scrutiny Committee was requested to consider four call-ins received in respect of the above Councillors C.P.J. Elmore, G. John, N. Moore and M.R. Wilson.  Councillor Wilson's call-in referred to the concern about no Sunday services for the 88, 89A and 89B, whether an examination of sponsorship for route 87 with organisations that had a presence in Cardiff Bay could be examined and that the withdrawal of bus route P1 would be a significant loss to the tourism of Penarth and whether commercial support could be considered.  Councillor Wilson also referred to the limited time given for consultation on the matter.

 

The Head of Planning and Transportation advised that the withdrawal of the Sunday service on route 88 and 89A and B had been considered due to lower passenger numbers on Sundays compared to Monday to Saturdays which had resulted in a saving of £30,000 per annum.  With regard to the proposed evening 87 service, the service did not currently operate, it had been a proposed suggestion that the service be considered to be provided but this had not materialised, due to the reduction in Local Transport Services Grant from Welsh Government.  If this service was to be agreed an additional provisional cost of £40,000 per annum would be required.

 

With regard to sponsorship no organisations had been approached but it was suggested that the summer service P1 may be further considered by Penarth Town Council in partnership with the Council although the service duplicated existing services but was seen to be a tourism merit for Penarth.  The provision was reported to cost £149 per day.  The Head of Service also advised a full consultation on the report had been undertaken and some responses had been received.  He further reiterated the detail as contained within the report that the proposals to withdraw certain Sunday services and to withdraw the direct service from Llantwit Major to Bridgend was a consequence of the reduction in the local transport services grant of 27% with the original date for this to  be effective from as 1st April 2012.  However, a copy of a letter received from the Minister dated 16th March advised that the Minister was reinstating existing funding for a period of up to three months to assist with transitional arrangements.  The Head of Service advised that clarification was to be sought on the content of this letter, in terms of how this funding would be administered.

 

Councillor Elmore's call-in referred to the cut in services for residents within the Bendricks and Hayes Road which he stated was an isolated community in Barry and residents without their own transport would be totally cut off.  He further advised that he had received complaints from concerned residents and requested that the decision be reviewed with a view to reinstating the service.  The report stated that the cost of reinstating the service would be £11,000 per annum and it was further highlighted that a number of years previously a taxi bus had been provided to the Bendricks on a Sunday on request, it had been subsidised by the Council but not been well used. 

 

During consideration of the report Councillor Elmore and other Members referred to the utilisation of Section 106 monies but were advised by the Head of Service that a protocol existed for Section 106 monies in respect of options for spends but that the money could only be realised when houses were developed.  This was in specific response to Councillor Elmore’s comments that planning permission had been granted at the Bendricks with Sustainable Transport money being due.  As these permissions had not been implemented, the Head of Service explained that the S106 money was not as yet available.

 

In Councillor John’s call in he referred to the lack of public transport in general and in particular to the Llantwit Major, to Cardiff and Bridgend service in relation to the proposed property developments that were anticipated.  He also queried whether the Rhoose to Cardiff Airport service was well used stating that he had received reports of limited usage.

 

Attached to the report was a list of all supported bus services in the Vale of Glamorgan including school services and the direct bus service 146 Llantwit Major to Bridgend was proposed for withdrawal with an hourly service 145 being extended in Llantwit to Pentre Cwrt including the operation via Bedford Rise.  The report highlighted that to retain the 146 service would cost £27,000, the evening service 95 under the proposals had two journeys from Llantwit Major to Cardiff and one journey from Cardiff to Llantwit Major withdrawn.  Again, to reinstate these would be at a cost of £26,316 per annum.  Officers advised that on figures that had been received there were 4,000 customers for the service per month and as a result of the statistics it was suggested that the service remain, as the level of use was considered to be high.

 

Councillor N. Moore’s call in referred to the massive gap in the routes that were available for the most deprived areas in Cadoc and that the area had a high proportion of elderly residents.  The Cabinet report also suggested that the X46 would be cancelled from 12th April whereas he had been aware it had been cancelled from 12th March.  He also referred to the re-routing of the 88 to travel along Vere Street and Little Moor's Hill and that the service did not replace the X46 as it did not travel to Cardiff but Penarth and would not take effect until sometime in April when the new contract took place.  As a result the only way that some residents would have of getting to Cardiff would be via the 88 to Penarth and to change there and there a direct bus to Cardiff was on a Sunday using the X5.

 

Although aware that the X45 and X46 were not subsided transport routes and had presumably been lost to the cut in the BSOG he considered the route to be one that should be reconsidered as a subsidised route to replace the lost service in view of the isolation issues for that part of Barry.

 

The Officer advised that the X46 service had been withdrawn from 12th March 2012, the service was operated commercially by Cartel and was, in part, a casualty of a reduction in the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) paid to operators.  He stated that it would be difficult to justify the replacement of the service X46 as a subsidised route as much of the route is competing with other commercial services operated by Cardiff Bus and the supported service 88 would cater for Vere Street and Little Moors Hill.  However, he suggested that the Cartel may consider extending service 88 to Cardiff on a commercial basis but that would be a company decision and would need the introduction of an additional vehicle into the cycle.  The cost implications to reinstate the Sunday services 88, 89 and 146 would cost £57,000 per annum and the provision of a summer service P1 on the same days and timetable as those operated in 2011 would cost £8642 running from May Day Bank Holiday weekend to the first weekend in September.  The report however did suggest that Penarth Town Council may wish to consider this further in partnership with the Council in due course.

 

The Officer further advised that the only other service adversely effected by the proposals was the reduced frequency of the evening service 95 Llantwit Major to Cardiff via Barry and this would cost £26,316 to reinstate per annum.  Officers were also currently seeking clarification from Carl Sargent, Minister for Local Government and Communities on the terms of the offer as detailed in his letter attached to the report of 16th March, 2012. 

 

The Head of Service concurred with the Members in relation to the reduction of funding and advised that the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation had previously written to the Minister expressing such concerns.   A meeting had taken place on 20th February with Members, Chief Officers and the regional transport consortia and subsequently the letter of 16th March had been received.

 

Following considerable discussion Councillor Wilson recommended that the services be maintained for 2012 but that an in-depth review of bus services to include an equality impact assessment especially for services run on a Sunday be undertaken and that sponsorship of services such as the P1 and 87 be investigated. 

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED 

 

(1)       T H A T existing services be maintained for 2012.

 

(2)       T H A T a review be undertaken to include an equality impact assessment in particular for services on a Sunday.

 

(3)       T H A T alternative funding sources be investigated for such services e.g. sponsorship, particularly for the P1 and 87 services.

 

(4)       T H A T further clarification be sought from the Minister in respect of his letter dated 16th March, 2012 in relation to the extension of funding referred to therein and that clarification also be sought in respect of the Bus Service Operators Grant.

 

(5)       T H A T the above recommendations be referred to Cabinet.

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In order that there is no cut in services.

 

(2)       That a full review be undertaken of the bus services in order to make informed decisions.

 

(3)       In order that further funding opportunities can be pursued.

 

(4)       To seek clarification from the Minister.

 

(5)       For decision.

 

 

1054   PROSIECT GWYRDD PARTNERSHIP - WASTE PROFILE - CALL-IN -

 

Cabinet had, on 29th February, 2012 been requested to endorse and approve the Council's residual waste contribution to the overall Prosiect Gwyrdd contract waste tonnage profile.  Following Cabinet approval Councillor Wilson had called the decisions in for consideration by the Scrutiny Committee for the following reason

 

“The residual waste tonnages seem too high and the assumptions seem to be unrealistic in that more and more people are recycling and retailers and manufacturers re bound to cut back on the amount of non-recycled waste going to land fill.”  Councillor Wilson also sought clarification in relation to the minor amendments that may be required as referred to in Cabinet Resolution (4) and the use of the word 'substantive in the report.

 

The report before the Scrutiny Committee detailed the response to Councillor Wilson's call-in and stated that any forecast of future residual waste data was somewhat subjective due to the many variables involved.  The report also highlighted that officers would have to use the best available data at the time, along with their professional expertise and experience in order to demonstrate that due diligence was required and only then would the forecast be put before Members for inclusion into any business plan.

 

The Prosiect Gwyrdd Waste Profile was based on a number of variable factors that changed with time with the result that predicting the single tonnage trend line was challenging.  Some of the factors taken into consideration in development of the profile included

 

·         Anticipated Population Population/housing growth trends;

·         Economic growth;

·         Consumer behaviour;

·         Changes in retailer materials use (e.g. packaging types/weights);

·         Legislative drivers;

·         Waste minimisation initiatives;

·         Future recycling performance;

·         Changes in the Commercial Waste markets.

 

Based on the data sources and information from the “Statistical Directorate for Wales” the anticipated rate of growth of waste per head was assessed using the industry standard of one tonne per head of population multiplied by the change in population over the contract period.  This had resulted in the forecast of a general decline in waste residual reduction due to the present adverse economic climate and the increased success in municipal waste recycling with zero growth onwards, the details of which were shown at Appendix 3 to the report.  The report also highlighted that any delegated authority under Resolution (4) of Cabinet would be subject to prior consultation with the Cabinet Member for Visible and Building Services and could only be utilised when dealing with Prosiect Gwyrdd waste flow matters but would not make the material change to the procurement process.  The change would also not be permitted to incur the Council in any cost variation above that which would result from the agreed data provided to the two final bidders.  The delegation was therefore necessary to prevent delays and the increased costs of reporting small, inconsequential variations in the tonnages provided at the final tender stage.

 

It was also highlighted that the use of the word 'substantive' within the report was incorrect and should have read as substantial. 

 

Councillor Wilson's concerns related to the long term viability of Prosiect Gwyrdd and that in his opinion less and less waste will be available as people recycle and this will have a consequence for Authorities in their inability to meet the targets required.  Councillor Curtis also stated that he had concerns in relation to attaining the targets and that the process may have the opposite affect on recycling in general. The Operational Manager advised that the calculations to date showed that future developments in the area would result in an increase in the population of the Vale equating to more people more waste.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the recommendations of Cabinet be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To allow the Council's tonnage to be used within the final stages of the Prosiect Gwyrdd Residual Waste Treatment Procurement Process.

 

 

1055   TRAFFIC IMPACT FROM PLANNED HOUSING DEVELOPMENT -

 

Councillor C.J. Williams had requested that the above matter be considered as detailed in his request that “ the Committee consider the potential impacts on traffic flow between the main arterial roads feeding into the Cogan Spur from Barry, Penarth, Sully, Dinas Powys and Llandough from the inevitable increase in vehicle movement from the 2000 dwellings at the Waterfront, Barry and the extra thousands of dwellings proposed in the Deposit Plan for the LDP planned for the aforementioned communities”. 

 

The Head of Service advised that the Deposit LDP was currently the subject of a six week consultation following which any responses would be considered by the Council.  The planning applications referred to in the request had been considered by the Planning Committee in 2011 who resolved to grant planning permission subject to conditions and a Section 106 Legal Agreement.  The Legal Agreement had been signed and the decision issued on 2nd March, 2012.  In terms of transport impact the planning applications for the development at Barry Waterfront were accompanied by an Environmental Statement and a Transport Assessment.  The full suite of information and data submitted as part of the application and full suite of information in relation to the application could be accessed via the website link as detailed in the report.  The officer referred to Section 7 of the report to Planning Committee which dealt with the issue of movement access and the report made reference to the fact that highway issues would arise as a consequence of development but that there were also a number of junctions and routes that would be affected in future years due to the natural growth of traffic.

 

In response to the Transport Assessment the Council in negotiating with the applicants had considered the works necessary to enhance the sustainability of the scheme but promoting sustainable transport and public transport.  The Section 106 Agreement detailed the funding to be made available for improvements to off-site highways which amounted to £2,618,000 which was payable in instalments.  In addition a sum of £835,000 had been negotiated to promote sustainable transport facilities.  A further £993,000 for off site highway works and a further £800,000 for sustainable transport would be payable in the event of an improvement in the development viability.

 

The Head of Service also referred Members to Planning Policy Wales Technical Advice Note 18 (TAN18) which set out the Policy of the Welsh Government with reference to transport and planning.  This Policy document was available via the website link: http://wales.gov.uk/topics/planning/policy/tans/tan18/?lang=en calls for integration between land use planning and transport by, amongst other things:-

 

·         Promoting resource and travel efficient settlement patterns and

·         Ensuring new development is located where there is or will be good access by public transport, walking and cycling.

 

In the document, the Welsh Government stated that there was a need for Planning Authorities to provide a choice of a means of travel other than the private car.  In planning for housing, TAN18 stated that sites should be identified where public transport services have the existing or planned capacity to absorb development, and where there is access to services by walking and cycling.  TAN18 also goes further, by stating that in accessible locations, there should be sufficient density of development to 'fully utilise the accessibility potential' of sites.

 

In terms of assessing the transport impact of a new development, developers are requested to submit Transport Assessments to accompany planning applications for development.  Thresholds of development are set within TAN18 and for housing schemes a threshold of 100 units is suggested, above which a Transport Assessment would be required.  The Transport Assessment process would form an integral part of the consideration of any future application for planning permission.

 

The Chairman advised that he had undertaken research into the traffic impact assessment for Barry Waterfront and queried whether that traffic impact assessment was still relevant to the LDP in relation to that planning application.  The Head of Service advised that the assessment would have been relevant at the time at which the application was submitted.  The assessment was prepared for that particular development and for future developments further assessments would be required to be undertaken. 

 

In response the Head of Service also advised that the Council's CSP 11 Policy that referred to the Llysworney and Cardiff to Barry Waterfront Link was no longer a strategic policy in the Deposit LDP.  The Waterfront application had been determined with regard to the findings of the assessment at the time.  In addition, any new development is only expected to mitigate the impact of that development.  

 

Members referred to the concerns for the A4050 link road and to the future traffic issues that would be forthcoming, they suggested that further consideration was needed to be undertaken in relation to the transport links in general for the Vale.  In view of the forthcoming developments referred to within the LDP they considered that the Council should reconsider the issue of infrastructure.  The Head of Service however, advised that the issue for the LDP was to present a sound and reasoned justification for proposals which would be a matter for the Inspector to consider. Officers were unable to refer in the LDP to matters which could not be delivered and did not have the funding in place to do so. 

 

With regard to the status of the LDP, Committee was informed that the consultation was due to end on 2nd April, the information would be collated and publicised following which details of any alternative sites would then be consulted on.  Those responses again would be collated and any necessary focussed changes made accordingly.  The LDP would then be referred to the Inspectorate for consideration.

 

In discussing the issue of consultation, Members sought clarification on whether letters could be accepted to which the Head of Service replied that this would be acceptable. 

 

Councillor Hartrey, with permission to speak from the Committee, asked whether the Inspectors would undertake site visits to contentious sites the Head of Service advised that this had been the position with regard to the UDP but that the LDP was a different process and he expected this to be the case with the LDP.

 

Having fully discussed the report and the request for consideration it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee's concerns be referred to Cabinet in respect of the amount of developments that are proposed for the future within the LDP and the delay in vital transport infrastructure required.

 

(2)       T H A T no housing developments listed for Dinas Powys contained within the LDP be considered until the effects of the Barry Waterfront development are known.

 

(3)       T H A T any development over 10 houses be subject to a Transport Impact Assessment.

 

(4)       T H A T the draft Deposit LDP include an investigation relating to the   development of the Barry to Cardiff Road through Dinas Powys.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1) In view of the significant proposed developments likely to take place.

 

(2)       In view of the impact of the proposed developments for Dinas Powys.

 

(3)       Ensure appropriate TIAs are undertaken as required.

 

(4)       In order that the matter can be investigated further.

 

 

1056   RECYCLING PERFORMANCE SINCE INTRODUCTION OF THE CO-MINGLED RECYCLING KERBSIDE COLLECTION SERVICE IN SEPTEMBER 2011 (REF) -

 

Cabinet had referred the report on 14th March, 2012 for the Scrutiny Committee's information, which provided details of the success of the new co-mingled kerbside recycling service which had been in operation since September 2011.  The report highlighted that it was anticipated the Council would exceed the Welsh Government's 52% statutory target for 2012/13 although the revised collection service had only been in place since September 2011 and additional recycling materials had only recently been included in the kerbside collection arrangements.  One of the main concerns that had been expressed with regard to co-mingled collections was that of increased contamination.  However Members were advised that the recycling contamination rate for the last full year of source segregated collection had been 5% and the contamination rate for the first two quarters of 2011/12 had been 2.1%.  For the first quarter for co-mingling the contamination rate was reported as 3.1% and the statistics compared favourably with the Council's previous source segregated recycling collection method.

 

Reference was made to a previous request by the Committee for a report on recycling incentives, the Operational Manager advised that research was currently being undertaken by Glamorgan University in relation to direct participation and on receipt of that study a further report would be presented to the Committee.

 

Members of the Scrutiny Committee took the opportunity to congratulate all officers involved with the success of the co-mingled service and it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the increased recycling rate achieved since the introduction of the change to co-mingled recycling collections in September 2011 be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To advise Members.

 

 

1057   3RD QUARTER PERFORMANCE MONITORING REPORTING -

 

The following reports were submitted for consideration:

 

·         Strategy and Support

·         Leisure and Tourism

·         Planning and Transportation

·         Visible Services.

 

In referring to the Local Play Strategy under Leisure and Tourism Members were advised that changes to Cymorth funding had meant that the Strategy could not be progressed as planned but that the Department would consider partnership arrangements if any proposals were forthcoming.  With regard to the St. Paul's Church premises the Operational Manager advised that instructions for a Valuer to be employed had been presented and leases were also in the process of being drawn up.  Officers were due to meet with both Clubs involved to update them and their architects on the current situation. 

 

In considering the Leisure and Tourism monitoring report Members requested that their thanks be recorded to the officers and volunteers who support the Community Centres around the Vale in particular to Ms. Sian Vaughan (Community Development Officer) for her dedication, support and professionalism

 

Having considered the reports it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the 3rd Quarter performance monitoring reports be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In undertaking its Scrutiny role.

 

 

1058   SERVICE PLANS -

 

The Service Plans for Strategy and Support, Leisure and Tourism and Planning and Transportation were presented to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration. Members were advised that the Visible Services Service Plan was one of three pilot service areas currently being developed in line with the new format required by the Wales Audit Office and would be reported to the Committee in due course.

 

Following consideration of the Service Plans presented it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Service Plans for Strategy and Support, Leisure and Tourism and Planning and Transportation be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T Action PT/A26 (Annually review Planning and Transportation service areas with British Standards accreditation and undertake necessary work to maintain accreditation) be deleted with the approval of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In undertaking the Scrutiny role.

 

(2)       It being noted that whilst similar standards of work were still undertaken the Service no longer maintained its accreditation status.

 

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