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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 9th October, 2012.

 

Present: Councillor R.L. Traherne (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. A.J. Moore (Vice-Chairman); Councillors P.J. Clarke, G.A. Cox, Mrs. C. Curtis, Mrs. P. Drake, P.G. King, A.G. Powell and C.J. Williams.

 

Also present: Councillor L. Burnett, C.P.J. Elmore, G. John, N. Moore and J.W. Thomas.

 

 

403     APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Councillor E. Hacker. 

 

 

404     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 4th September, 2012 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

405     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

Councillor G.A. Cox advised the Committee that he had recently received a dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on the Local Development Plan, save for the Evan Jenkins candidate site.

 

Councillor Mrs. C.L. Curtis declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 6 advising that should any discussions take place in relation to the Gibbonsdown Community Centre she would withdraw from the meeting. 

 

Councillor R.L. Traherne advised that he had recently received a dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak only, during any debate that may take place at meetings of the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) regarding the (Draft) LDP.  He also stated that should any discussions take place at any time regarding specific housing allocations, he would withdraw from the meeting.

 

 

406     GYPSY AND TRAVELLER SITE PROVISION IN THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN (DDS) –

 

Prior to the commencement of discussions the Chairman stated that the order of proceedings would be as contained within the agenda at item 4.  He further advised that a letter had also been received from Councillor R.J. Bertin who could not be present at the meeting and which was also contained within the papers. 

 

Councillor R.A. Penrose, the first speaker, referred to his Request for Consideration as follows:- “When is the Authority proceeding with a permanent travellers camp, shortlisted to Llangan, thus complying with Westminster Parliament legislation recommendations of 2005, and recent Welsh Government “White Paper – Housing” at present at consultation until August 2012”.”  The reason for the request was that in Sully “we have had an illegal travellers camp since December 2011, and we are informed that the occupants may not be relocated or evicted until the Authority have established a permanent travellers site in the Vale of Glamorgan”.

 

During the presentation Councillor Penrose also referred to a number of questions / issues of concern which had been circulated prior to the meeting.

 

“Why should the Vale of Glamorgan Council proceed with a permanent travellers’ site?

  • Firstly because the Vale of Glamorgan has deliberated too long on this matter and now needs to implement action.
  • To comply with Westminster Government recommendations of 2005 in recommending all local authorities throughout the U.K. to facilitate a permanent travellers’ site in their area.
  • To comply with Welsh Government “White Paper on Housing”, under consultation until August 2012, which states the need for every local authority in Wales to facilitate a resident travellers’ site in their area.
  • To comply with the Vale of Glamorgan Council Local Development Plan (LDP).
  • To deter the numerous planning applications from the Gypsy and Traveller Community for Gypsy / Travellers’ Sites in the Vale of Glamorgan, such as recently received in Wick and Bonvilston.
  • To comply with humanitarian and Equality legislation towards the Gypsy / Traveller community.
  • To establish a controlled suitable site for the Gypsy Traveller Community.
  • A site has already been chosen as the most suitable site by the Vale of Glamorgan Council from a list of 50 possible sites.
  • Consultation exercise has already taken place in that chosen location.
  • The site is already owned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Why the travellers illegally occupying the recycling site at Hayes Road, Sully should be moved to a permanent travellers’ site?

  • They are illegally occupying the site, and accordingly should be moved off the site.
  • The site is inside the ‘red’ safety zone of the nearby chemical plant, and as such is not suitable for residency.
  • The site was previously a refuse recycling centre, and as such must have a degree of pollution making it unsuitable for resident occupation.
  • There are no basis amenities on the site, such as toilets etc.
  • The site has a waste licence to the Vale of Glamorgan Council which is unlikely to be transferrable to another location, and is a necessity to the waste disposal operation of the Council.
  • The site will be required as a Waste Transfer Site by the Vale of Glamorgan Council from January 2013, and an application has been submitted for planning permission for this operation.
  • An application has been made by Sully Community Council for 47 allotment plots to the adjoining land (including an application for 32 allotment plots from Beechwood College for their students).
  • Objection from Beechwood College, which is the next site to the illegal travellers’ camp, which is hampering expansive development plans for their operation, as well as causing disruption to their students.
  • Large numbers of objections from local residents.
  • The illegal travellers’ camp is in a close proximity to the Ty Hafen Children's Hospice.”

Councillor K.P. Mahoney (second speaker) advised that he fully concurred with the representations made by Councillor Penrose but stated that, in his view, the site was unsatisfactory particularly because it was too small for a travellers’ site.  Research had also been undertaken in relation to the site at Llangan, that site was working well and he had noted that the size of the travelling vehicles used was not an issue for the roads within that area.  He urged the Council through the Scrutiny Committee to address the issue of the travellers’ site within the Vale as a matter of urgency.

 

Councillor C. Tatt (Vice-Chairman, (Sully and Lavernock Community Council) thanked the Committee for the opportunity to speak, and endorsed the comments made by Councillors Penrose and Mahoney.  He referred also to the fact that the Sully and Lavernock Community Council residents had been lobbying for the removal of the travellers on the site, in view of the fact that they were illegally occupying the site.  He was, however, aware that the Vale of Glamorgan Council had to consider the legal issues involved and was appreciative of the fact that any action to remove the travellers from the site would take some time.  He stated that the community had followed and adhered to all the advice provided by the Vale of Glamorgan over the last 10 months and he strongly urged the Council to take action to remove the travellers from the site. 

 

Mr. R. Jones (Director of Beechwood College) stated that the College was adjacent to the travellers’ camp in Sully and that his responsibility was to ensure that the best interests of the College, including its students and staff were taken into account.  He formally endorsed all the points that had been raised by Councillors Penrose and Mahoney.  Mr Jones informed the Committee that the site had been acquired from the Vale in 2001 with the specific aim of developing a service for Welsh young people with autism, a provision that had not existed previously.  He further advised that the nature of people with autism was that social interaction could be challenging and the location of the Beechwood site with no residential neighbours was key to the decision to redevelop what was a derelict site.  The College cared for just under 50 young people and employed over 170 staff, the majority of whom were local. The College had established itself as a centre of excellence for the further understanding of and improvement for people with autism.  The College had become part of the community and due to the success it had achieved the service had expanded to meet the increasing demand for places.  The company had so far invested £6m. into the site and had recently received planning permission to provide additional classrooms, a new visitor reception centre and increased car parking to allow for the growth in student and staff numbers over the next few years.  The primary concerns of the College were as follows:

  • “we need to ensure that we provide a safe and secure environment for students and staff
  • we need to cater for the psychological wellbeing of students, including their right to quiet enjoyment of their surroundings, the rural location for the site being one of the primary reasons the College was situated where it was
  • the need to protect the economic viability of the College in order for it to continue to offer the service in Wales and to be able to generate the additional 70 jobs from the next phase of development. “

For the traveller site to be in such close proximity to the College raised a number of questions for all those involved in placing students as it had the potential to threaten the long term future viability of the service and the economic benefits to the local community.  He stressed that the choice to attend the College was not made primarily by the students, it was also made by parents, Social Services commissioning authorities and local councils in considering the right placement for a particular student.  It was the College’s view that to allow the traveller camp to remain in its present location would be detrimental to the service and the ability to attract new placements. 

 

Although he advised Members that no problems had been experienced to date, it was the view that as there was already no control over any future expansion by the travellers on the site, this had the potential to worsen.  The College would also have to consider additional security against the possibility of the travellers’ dogs accessing the site and, if they were aggressive, could cause a huge amount of distress to the students.  The continuing presence of the travellers camp also has the potential to put off future placements to the College simply by way of association.  He ended his representations by advising that the College supported the view that the temporary traveller camp should be moved from the site and relocated to a more appropriate permanent and well structured environment. 

 

The Chairman then took the opportunity to read out for those present the letter received from Councillor R.J. Bertin as detailed below. 

 

“I wish to register my concern about the former recycling area in Hayes Road, Sully being used as a Travellers Site.

 

Having considered the matter, being in a blast area for the local chemical works I feel for the safety of these Travellers.  This area has also been designated for other council functions and I feel should only be used for industrial purposes. That said, we do have a duty to provide Travellers sites throughout the county and would kindly request that the council seeks to provide such sites at the earliest opportunity in other areas.

 

I request that you take this into account and help find these Travellers a more suitable site in another location.”

 

Following the representations as above the Chairman requested the Director of Development Services to present his report.

 

The Director commenced by referring to the background to the report as contained within paragraphs 2 to 21, the statutory requirements of the Council and the research that had already been undertaken with a range of gypsy and traveller groups within the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff.  The data that had been provided for the draft LDP had been quantitative as it had been based on the views and experiences of accommodation provisions and wider service issues.  The table below illustrated the estimated requirements for pitches and housing for the Vale of Glamorgan between 2008 to 2018:

 

Type

Additional Units

per Annum

Total Additional Units over the

10 year period

 

Authorised pitches 

0.6

6

Unauthorised pitches 

0

0

Transit pitches (where Gypsies and Travellers may legally stop in the course of travelling) 

1.5

15

Housing

0.1

1

 

The Welsh Government Circular 30/2007 “Planning for Gypsy and Caravan Sites” (December 2007) provided guidance to local authorities in Wales on the planning aspects of finding suitable sites for Gypsies and Travellers. It also required that where a Local Housing Market Assessment (LHMA) identified an unmet need for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in an area, Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) should allocate sufficient sites in LDPs to ensure that the identified pitch requirements for residential and transit use can be met.

 

The Council had also as part of the LDP process the duty to identify sites where developments such as housing, employment or other uses may occur during the lifetime of the plan.  The report detailed that between 4th December 2006 and 31st January 2007 the Council had invited developers, land owners, other interested parties to nominate candidate sites for development for potential inclusion in the emerging LDP.  Leading on from this, 51 sites in total had been considered with 2 warranting a more detailed investigation against a range of environmental and land use constraints that might impact upon their suitability and deliverability for use as a site for gypsies and travellers. 

 

Following consideration of the available sites, the site at Llangan owned by the Council, had been included in the deposit Local Development Plan for use as a gypsy and travellers site.  A copy of the Gypsy and Travellers Site Assessment background paper which provided more detail on the site assessment methodology had also been made available in the Members’ room for information. 

 

Public consultation on the LDP and accompanying documents, including the various background papers had taken place for the statutory six weeks prescribed by the Regulations between 20th February 2012 and 2nd April 2012.  Significant representations and objections had been received on many of the elements of the LDP including the allocation of a Gypsy and Traveller Site at Llangan.  The background to the LDP, the deposit plan consultation, an outline of the objections and the possible way forward would be the subject of a separate report to the Scrutiny Committee on 6th November 2012.

 

The Director informed the Committee that an issue that had emerged from the consultation was whether the matter could be progressed outside of the LDP process.  However his view was that the document had been out for consultation and to take the issue forward outside of the strategic document would be a difficult challenge in view of all the issues involved.

 

In answering a comment in respect of the lack of time taken to progress the LDP the Director referred to paragraph 34 of his report which detailed the range of legislation, national policies and guidance concerning Gypsies and Travellers which placed obligations on local authorities in Wales when exercising their functions and responsibilities.  The Director also took the opportunity to inform Committee of the Inspectors comments (paragraph 34 of the Inspectors decision attached as an Appendix to the report)  in relation to the appeal decision at Bonvilston, which stated that the “Circular explained gypsies may wish to find and buy their own sites to develop and manage.  An increase in the number of approved private sites may also release pitches on Council sites for gypsies most in need of public provision.  Further, Councils should encourage the provision of private sites.”

 

The Director of Visible Services and Housing also advised Members that to remove the travellers from the site would be difficult for the Council in view of the fact that no permanent site had been earmarked within the Vale and the Council would be reluctant to take legal action that it knew it would have little  chance of winning.  In response to a question as to whether the site could be required for recycling purposes, he stated that this was a possibility but that it was dependant upon the tendering process that was jointly being undertaken between the Vale and Caerphilly Borough Council, it being noted that if the company Biffa won the tender they had their own site in Cardiff.  He would also not be in a position to confirm whether the site would be required or not until the end of December when the tendering process was completed.  In further response to a question of how the travellers had conducted themselves on the Sully site, the Director advised that the travellers had not caused the Council any concerns to date.

 

It was noted that following the consultation process, in relation to the Llangan site a number of responses had been received but the Director of Development Services was of the view it was premature to make any comments in view of the number of stages the Plan had to go through.

 

Councillor Penrose being afforded the opportunity to respond advised that his purpose in raising the issue was because it was a delicate matter and that, in his opinion, it would be better dealt with outside the LDP process as in the case of some other housing developments.  The Director confirmed that there were examples of sites that had been brought forward outside the LDP process but that these had to be considered having regard to relevant policies contained within the adopted UDP.  With regard to the Llangan site specifically, there had been a considerable amount of consultation undertaken, a number of responses received and in view of the strength of feeling he would not advocate dealing with the issue outside of the LDP.  It was again noted that a report regarding a way forward for the LDP would be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in November and he estimated that it would take between 15 and 18 months before the final document would be ready to go before the Inspector to determine the Plan

 

Members, having considered the report and the representations received, were of the view that the issue of a Travellers and Gypsy site should remain within the LDP, however, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the report be referred to the Cabinet for consideration with the request that Cabinet establish a permanent travellers site for the Vale of Glamorgan as soon as possible.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In recognition of the representations received and the urgent need to establish a traveller site within the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

 

407     OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC LEGACY IN THE VALE IN GLAMORGAN (DDS) –

 

Councillor Mrs. C.L. Curtis had requested the report to allow the Scrutiny Committee to investigate whether the Council could build on the success of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and achieve the goal to “inspire a generation”.  At the meeting a copy of a colour version of Appendix A was tabled for Members’ information.  The report advised of the many initiatives that were being undertaken throughout the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Sports Development Section together with schemes in partnership with Parkwood Leisure.  The schemes included school based initiatives such as 5 x 60 and Dragon Sports initiatives which often provided the platform to introduce new sports to an area such as handball, volley ball and basket ball.  The Council had also sought to support talented young people with the potential to achieve full international honours via the Sports Academy Scheme with the report concluding that it was also acknowledged that the infrastructure of clubs and volunteers was vital in ensuing sustainable opportunities continued to exist.  The Operational Manger advised that many meaningful partnerships existed between sport and leisure organisations in the Vale and with the Council and the opportunities that existed to increase these would probably be the route to success.

 

Members expressed their appreciation in respect of the impressive work that was currently being undertaken.  In response to a view, that a recommendation should be put forward that the area of St. Cyres School should be used as a centre of excellence and referred to Sports Wales.  It was agreed that as the issue of the area of St. Cyres School was currently out for consultation, this would be premature.  However, Members welcomed the report and its appendices which detailed the significant amount of work being undertaken to date and agreed that the information should be circulated as widely as possible within the public arena.  It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the significant amount of work already being carried out in the Vale of Glamorgan to increase physical activity participation be referred to Cabinet and circulated as widely as possible for public information.

 

(2)       T H A T the Committee receives a sports development project report on an annual basis detailing physical activity statistics in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to carry out an audit of the use of school facilities for the general public, to also include details of whether the school was appropriate to be used for outside activities. 

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To inform Cabinet and the public of the work being undertaken.

 

(2)       To inform the Scrutiny Committee

 

(3)       To advise on usage 

 

 

408     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2012 TO 31ST AUGUST 2012 (DDS AND DVSH) –

 

The purpose of the report was to bring to the attention of the Scrutiny Committee the position in respect of the revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April 2012 to 31st August 2012 regarding the revenue and capital budgets which formed the Committee’s remit.

 

The report noted that there was currently an adverse variance of £26k on the Highways Maintenance and Engineering Design and Procurement profiled budget which was mainly due to a slight overspend on employee costs. The budget would continue to be monitored.  For Waste Management there was currently an £89k favourable variance with the underspend being mainly due to tonnages to landfill dropping as the food waste and co-mingled recycling programmes increased in popularity.  With regard to Grounds Maintenance the £63k adverse variance was attributed to an overspend on new machinery as new legislation had come into force for Hand Arm Vibration.  It was noted that Support services had a favourable variance of £48k existed which would be held for any cost pressures within Visible Services that may arise throughout the financial year.

 

With regard to the Economic Development and Leisure department, the Leisure Partnership agreement had been finalised on 1st August but there had been a shortfall in achieving the £1m efficiency savings target set for the year which equated to £333k in 4 months.  The budget for Economic Development and Leisure would be increased to reflect the change which would be compensated by a corresponding reduction in the Policy budget.  However, notwithstanding the above, there was also an adverse variance on Leisure Services of £255k which had been partly due to timing issues whereby some staff costs, such as those paid on timesheets, were paid a month in arrears and as such, when the centres had transferred an additional month was paid i.e. £55k.  Income received via direct debits on a monthly basis also partly covered a period in advance for a future month and likewise an adjustment had to be made to reduce income at the point of transfer (£95k).  This had led to an overspend of £105k arising as a result of the general uncertainty prior to the start of the contract leading to a reduction in income, an increase in staff costs and additional work undertaken due to the transfer.  The Head of Service advised that the figures shown were based on leisure service estimates and further work would be undertaken to clarify the position and any funding towards the adverse variance which would be addressed in the revised estimates to be reported to the Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet in November/December 2012. 

 

For Planning and Transportation a favourable variance of £137k was reported which was predominately due to income from planning fees for major schemes which were being progressed in advance of profiled estimate.  Although it was noted that the timing of their receipt would impact on the budget variance. 

 

Members were concerned to note the significant adverse variance for Leisure Services but were advised that this should not recur in future years following the transfer of the management of the leisure centres to Parkwood.

 

Appendix 2 to the report detailed the financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st August 2012.  Members referred to the structural repairs of the Eastern Shelter public convenience block and queried the estimates reported. The Director subsequently advised that the estimates had been arrived at after comparing them with similar works that had been undertaken on the Western Shelter.

 

Reference was also made to the Pont y Werin and NCN88 - South East Wales Transport Alliance (SEWTA) had approved the transfer of a grant of £17k for the National Cycle Network Route 88 budget to the Pont y Werin Cycleway budget.  Cabinet would therefore be required to approve the amendment to the Capital budget.

 

Whilst referring to Appendix 2 of the report, Members queried the reduction figure of £75k for energy and street lighting with the Director of Visible Services and Housing advising that this was in relation to the installation of LED lights. He confirmed that there was no recommendation at present to reduce street lighting but that he would be reporting in the New year on suggestions for savings and ways to generate income.  In response to a query regarding the detail for a request for change of use under parks buildings and play equipment improvements (Appendix 2) the Director agreed to email the information to Members following the meeting.

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the position with regard to the 2012/13 revenue and capital monitoring be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider approving a virement from the Policy Budget to Economic Development and Leisure of £333,000.

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to approve the proposed amendment to transfer £17,000 from NCN88 to the Pont y Werin capital scheme and to also increase the Pont y Werin scheme by a further £6,000 funded from SEWTA grant.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       That Scrutiny Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2012/13 revenue and capital monitoring.

 

(2)       To fund savings not achieved due to delay in transfer of leisure centres.

 

(3)       That Scrutiny and Cabinet approve the proposed amendment to the Capital Programme.

 

 

409     LDP STUDY AND NELL’S POINT, BARRY ISLAND (DDS) –

 

Members were updated on progress with regard to the project and the completion of the two stages of the LDP / Collins Leisure Consultants’ report regarding possible investment in leisure uses at Nell’s Point, Barry Island. 

 

The Director outlined that officers had reported previously to Cabinet on 12 December 2007 regarding Nell’s Point and future land uses.  That report had subsequently been agreed together with the recommendation for the appointment of consultancy support.  Humberts Leisure were appointed in June 2009 and following completion of the Humberts Report and prior to moving into the marketing stage of the project, officers fed the completed report through to the various stakeholder groups and to general consultation with the intention of reporting comments back to Cabinet for resolution on marketing in the summer of 2010.  At that time a number of respondents suggested that the discussion of Nell’s Point should be within the wider context of a master plan for Barry Island in order that a wider consolidated approach might be taken.  However, others had suggested that this wider contextual approach should be considered as part of the work of the Barry Regeneration Area as funding might be available from the Welsh Government under that banner for the work.  As a result of these discussions the site remained unmarketed and officers moved forward with two further pieces of work.  Firstly with the initial work required to develop a contextual master plan for the Island and, secondly, with consideration of the marketing options available for Nell’s Point.

 

Following the procurement exercise in August 2011, consultants LDP / Collins Leisure Consultants had been appointed with the remit of providing a further report on Nell’s Point.  An update report had been provided to Cabinet on 21st July 2012, it being noted that an imminent presentation of the work of LDP / Collins Leisure Consultants to the Barry Regeneration Area Partnership Board, Cabinet and the relevant Scrutiny Committee would be made and would allow the Council an opportunity to consider the findings of the consultants and whether or not these findings should inform and feed into the Master Plan for the Island.

 

The final report from LDP / Collins Leisure Consultants had been deposited in the Members’ Room and, given the size of the report as well as its complexity and detail, LDP / Collins Leisure Consultants had reviewed its content and summarised both the content and conclusions.  The background to the report and an executive summary of the LDP / Collins Leisure Consultants’ report was attached to the report as Appendix A.

 

The LDP / Collins Leisure Consultants’ report had concluded that a mixed development including a family activity centre linked to a destination attraction such as an aquarium and a “blackbox” or support accommodation was a solution that would be most marketable given the analysis. 

 

John Dent, Major Projects Manager, presented his view to Committee in relation to the report in that he considered that LDP / Collins Leisure Consultants were best placed to bring forward a range of uses although the end product would need to be considered in light of investment and / or joint ventures, etc.  To progress the Nell’s Point scheme the Council would need to also consider the appointment of consultants to take forward the Stage 3 element of the programme as detailed in the study.

 

Members welcomed the report and concurred that progress needed to be made as soon as possible for the development of Nell’s point and future uses for the land.

 

Whilst considering the report a suggestion was made that an audit of coastal buildings owned by the Vale Council should be undertaken. However, following advice from officers that an audit would automatically be undertaken in respect of Barry Island during the process, the suggestion was not accepted.

 

Having fully considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the views of the Barry Regeneration Area Board be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be endorsed and referred together with the recommendations below for consideration by Cabinet.

 

(3)       T H A T officers prepare a Consultancy Brief in order that Stage 3 of the master planning, marketing and investment plan for Nell’s Point can proceed and that the Director of Development Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation, the Director of Resources, and the Leader procure such services.

 

(4)       T H A T following the preparation of the Consultancy Brief and, if considered appropriate, the Council procure the work directly from LDP / Collins Leisure Consultants with the appropriate exemption from financial regulations.

 

(5)       T H A T the costs of such Consultancy Services be financed via the Barry Regeneration fund element of the Council’s Capital Programme.

 

(6)       T H A T officers utilise the recommendations of the report and incorporate such proposals into a draft Barry Island Master Plan.

 

(7)       T H A T officers complete the draft Barry Island Master Plan and report firstly to Scrutiny Committee and then to Cabinet, prior to a formal consultation exercise being undertaken.

 

(8)       T H A T officers report the outcome of the Stage 3 report when available.

 

(9)       T H A T an update report on progress be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in six months.

 

Reasons for the Recommendations

 

(1)       In consideration of the programme and funding requirements associated with the project.

 

(2)       To note the views of the Committee and that the report referred be Cabinet for consideration.

 

(3)       To allow progression of the third stage of the Consultancy work involving the actual marketing of the land and negotiations with a specific group of investors in accord with an agreed brief.

 

(4)       Cabinet may consider it appropriate to request LDP / Collins Leisure Consultants to progress this work given their input into Stages 1 and 2.

 

(5)       To finance the work.

 

(6)       To progress the Barry Island Master Plan to a draft stage for Members’ views via Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet prior to consultation.

 

(7)       To provide a contextual framework for the regeneration of Barry Island.

 

(8)       To provide details of progress.

 

(9)       In order to apprise Members and update them on progress.

 

           

410     PROPOSALS TO AID THE REGENERATION OF BARRY ISLAND (DDS) –

 

The report considered the strategic context for the proposals, together with the funding opportunities and timescales available to deliver the proposals and the revenue implications for such proposals. 

 

The Director informed the Scrutiny Committee that Barry Island exhibited significant landscape and townscape features that gave it a distinctive sense of place and which could contribute materially to the broader character and identity of the town.  The Barry Regeneration Area Partnership Board had also prioritised the delivery of a substantial legacy project for Barry Island in 2013/14. The report before Committee detailed the next stage to develop the concept plan together with funding implications and timescales for delivery in relation to Nell’s Point.  The legacy it was noted deserved to be preserved and enhanced through the conservation and adaptation of period buildings, surviving relict structures and improvements to public spaces.  The following options aimed to address the declining condition of the public realm and to reinvigorate key sites.  Indicative plans and photographs of the proposals were displayed at the meeting for illustration purposes for Members’ information.

 

The options considered were :

 

a)         Eastern Promenade - This was an important resort feature which required substantial public realm improvements including repairs and alterations to existing structures with re-surfacing, improved lighting and seating. The condition of the promenade had increasingly deteriorated and viewed from the west appeared derelict and uninviting. The whole area required urgent attention to provide a more suitable setting for the Nell’s Point site and future visitor attractions. The aim was to reconnect the promenade with the land above and extend the seafront character of the resort along the full length of the beach to exploit its unique setting. This approach it was reported would encourage greater access and appreciation of Nell’s Point headland, the refurbished Coastwatch Station and Jackson’s Bay which were key visitor destinations to the east.

 

b)         Harbour Road Causeway – As a key gateway route this could be substantially improved by a co-ordinated approach to the public realm including new street lighting, road surfacing and boundary improvements. Provision of a segregated cycleway the Director advised would be assessed to provide a safer environment for cyclists and also to promote Barry Island as a destination in the context of National Link 88 of the Sustrans route.

 

c)         Footpath improvements and interpretation - Key footpath routes would benefit from re-surfacing with finger posts and interpretation located at arrival points. Improved lighting using LED lanterns could result in significant energy savings as well as creating a more welcoming environment. Members were advised that the provision of such lighting would be explored further during the design and feasibility stages.

 

d)         Street furniture - A new suite of co-ordinated furniture was proposed across the Island to include new shelters, seating, railings, bollard, bins, cycle stands.  Hereto it was noted that amenity and Highway lighting could also be upgraded together with tourist information signage and opportunities for public art explored to further enhance the public realm. 

 

e)         Enabling works Nell’s Point site - Enabling works such as breaking out and crushing concrete building slabs, grading to even contours and spreading the aggregate would benefit the site for future development. This would also provide an overflow parking option with scope for hosting events in the interim and pending the bringing back of the site to a permanent beneficial use.

 

It was noted that the engineering and building works described above would require planning consent and in order to minimise impact and disruption to the tourism trade these works would need to be carried out between September 2013 and March 2014.   

 

Cadw would also be consulted at an early stage to agree the scope of the improvement proposals and to discuss any potential funding support. Listed Building consent would be required for repairs to the former conveniences and as the Eastern Shelter and the Eastern Promenade lay within the wider Barry Marine Conservation Area the Countryside Council for Wales would need to be consulted as part of the site lies within the Barry Island geological SSSI.  

 

Members welcomed the report in particular the proposals suggested in order to enhance the area.  However, during its consideration Councillor C.J. Williams, on behalf of one of the local Ward Members, requested that an audit be undertaken of the “toy factory” area with a view to assessing its future suitability for use, that a feasibility study be undertaken to consider widening the causeway for a regeneration project and that an holistic development and regeneration of the Island be considered to include a study regarding accessing Jackson’s Bay via the Waterfront.  Members of the Scrutiny Committee in considering the suggestions stated that as discussed under the previous agenda item, officers had advised an audit would be undertaken in respect of Barry Island.  With regard to the other two requests Members were of the view that considerable discussion and further information on the issues would be required and agreed that the request for consideration of matter procedure was the appropriate route for such discussion to take place.  Councillor Williams however, requested that “the recommendations” be put to the vote and as there was no seconder no vote was taken. 

 

The Director of Development Services took the opportunity to also advise Members that there would be further opportunities to consider the Master Plan and the key works suggested, at future meetings resulting in further consultation for options and ideas to be put forward. 

 

Having full regard to the information presented by the Director, the officers at the meeting and the detail contained within the report, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the report be endorsed and the same referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider approving the regeneration options at Barry Island as outlined within the report.

 

(3)       T H A T external consultancy services be appointed to provide initial design and costings in accordance with Minute No. C1783.

 

(4)       T H A T a further report be submitted to Cabinet to confirm the outcome of feasibility works and discussions relating to the development options for Nell’s Point and the regeneration options for Barry Island as contained within the report.

 

(5)       T H A T opportunities to attract additional match funding for the regeneration options be explored.

 

(6)       T H A T a further report on the progress of the proposals to aid the regeneration of Barry Island be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in six months.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In order that the views of the Committee are forwarded to Cabinet together with the report for Cabinet consideration.

 

(2)       To facilitate further feasibility and design work.

 

(3)       To facilitate the implementation of the project and provide sufficient lead-in time should funding opportunities arise.

 

(4)       To apprise Cabinet of progress and to seek approval as required for a funding application under the Barry Regeneration Area programme 2013/14.

 

(5)       To maximise the benefits of regeneration to Barry Island.

 

(6)       In order that the Scrutiny Committee can consider the progress to date.

 

NB:      Councillor C.J. Williams tendered apologies on behalf of the Ward Members of Baruc stating that they were unable to be present at the meeting for items 7 and 8.

 

 

411     TO REVIEW THE COST OF ANNUAL PASSES FOR DEDICATED MAINSTREAM SCHOOL TRANSPORT (DDS) –

 

The Director stated that where pupils were not entitled to free school transport by virtue of distance, it may be possible if places were available, to purchase direct from the Council a pass that would allow travel on the dedicated contracted school bus.  However, this option was not available on “Fare Paying” school buses as these season tickets were purchased direct from the bus operator, who retained the revenue.

 

The report outlined that the current charge for the pass was £180 per pupil for a full academic year with officers recommending that it be increased to £225 from the start of the academic year 2012/13 as the current charge had not been increased for some five years.  As a result of these charges the current rates were not in line with charges on Fare Paying school buses and were significantly below the commercial fare pattern.  It was noted that applications already received would be honoured at the current rate.

 

During discussion concern was expressed as to the perceived substantial increase for passes, however it was noted that these had not been increased for some five years.  Having considered the report it was subsequently agreed that the recommendations contained within the report be endorsed with an additional recommendation as detailed below.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the report and the proposed increase in the cost of passes sold for use on dedicated school transport services from £180 to £225 per academic year per pupil be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the proposed increase, at (1) above be endorsed and referred to Cabinet for consideration, it being noted that an increase would be applicable to all purchased transactions received after the proposal was approved.

 

(3)       T H A T in future the passes be reviewed on an annual basis at the same time as the annual fees and charges review is undertaken for the Directorate.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To seek the views of the Committee.

 

(2)       To bring the charge for the passes in line with a comparable charge on the “Fare Paying” school buses for those not entitled to free school transport.

 

(3)       In order to ensure an appropriate review of fees and charges is undertaken.

 

 

412     INDIVIDUAL DISABLED PARKING BAYS – UPDATE (DVSH) –

 

Members were informed of the current position regarding the provision of Individual Disabled Parking Bays within the Vale of Glamorgan and that the Director of Visible Services and Housing had been requested by the Leader of the Council to consider how the backlog of approved requests for Individual Disabled Parking Bays could be addressed.  The Director advised that the Council’s Traffic Management Team received many applications for Individual Disabled Parking Bays to be provided in residential areas on the highway network.  Each application was considered strictly in accordance with the agreed Policy and a copy of the procedure for dealing with such applications was attached at Appendix A to the report.  Funds from the Traffic Management Annual Operational Budget were allocated to progress 10 bays per year, with the cost of the provision of one Individual Disabled Parking Bay currently being approximately £1,300. 

 

The report detailed that the provision of an Individual Disabled Parking Bay required a Traffic Regulation Order with the total cost of the provision of one bay including the cost of two Legal Notices as well as the costs of erecting of signs, the laying of road markings and appropriate traffic management.  The estimate for the cost of the backlog of 24 bays was reported as approximately £18,200.  This would mean that if all were addressed at the same time the costs of advertising would be reduced.  The Chairman also referred to the cost of Traffic Regulation Orders in general and following consideration by the Committee, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the proposal to address the backlog of approved requests for Individual Disabled Parking Bays, as detailed within the report, be approved and referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to review the costs involved in making all Traffic Regulation Orders, in order to investigate whether they could be carried out more efficiently online and by letter.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To support the proposal to address the backlog.

 

(2)       In the interests of value for money and the Council’s budget.

 

 

413     VALE OF GLAMORGAN VISIBLE SERVICES SERVICE PLAN 2012/13 (DVHS) –

 

The Director of Visible and Housing Services presented the Service Plan for 2012/13 advising that the department had been one of three pilot projects  that had been undertaken with the Local Government Data Unit.  The Council had been requested to revise service plans following recommendations from the LGDU it being noted that in the future plans for all service areas of the Council would follow the same format for 2013/14.  The Director considered that the document was far more user friendly than the previous document advising that it contained information on the service areas within the Visible Services, the department’s objectives for 2012/13 and how the work of the service area linked to the corporate priorities and objectives.  Clear statements as to the work undertaken in 2011/12 were noted and the impact of the actions detailed.  Attached at the end of the document was an action plan which covered the various objectives listed within the detail of the report.

 

In considering the report the following was discussed:

 

VS1.1 – Undertake an assessment of recycling participation and capture to establish the geographic areas where performance can be improved.

It was noted that recycling performance was not available for each ward but work patterns. A piece of work was however, currently being undertaken on this aspect, which would be reported back to the Committee in due course.  There was no reference in the document to collaboration with Cardiff and the AD Plant.  The Director responded by advising that the document had been produced 4-5 months previously and would require updating.

Coastal awards – it was noted that with the increase in standards to be imposed on Local Authorities there was a possibility that the status of Blue Flag beaches could be removed. 

The service department was currently speaking with ENCAMS (Keep Wales Tidy) in relation to this matter and Members would be apprised accordingly. It was noted that a number of Local Authorities in Wales could be affected by the proposed changes.

Coastal Car Parking Charges

The Director advised that coastal car parking charges would not be imposed but that a further report would be presented in due course in relation to the possibility of off-street car parking charges.

VS4.2 – Address traffic safety schemes on a prioritised basis using available funding.  £1.3m. for File Mile Lane

This referred to improvements at Sycamore Cross for a new redesigned junction which had recently received approval for delegated authority to appoint consultants for the scheme. A report would be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in due course.

 

Having fully considered the Service Plan it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the Visible Services Service Plan for 2012/13 be noted and the reports, as indicated above, be referred to the Scrutiny Committee when available.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members.

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