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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 4th December, 2012.

 

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

 

Also present: Councillor L. Burnett, C.P.J. Elmore, C.P. Franks, N.P. Hodges, Dr. I.J. Johnson and N. Moore.

 

 

599     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 6th November, 2012 be approved as a correct record subject to it being noted that the recommendation in relation to Gateway Wales would be referred to Cabinet as the Chairman had been made aware that N. Baker (Gateway Wales) wished to meet with Councillor N. Moore and the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science. 

 

 

600     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

Councillor R.L. Traherne stated that he had a dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak only during any debate that may take place at meetings regarding the draft Local Development Plan (LDP).  However, should any discussions take place at any time, regarding specific housing allocations as both he and his wife owned a small piece of land, he would withdraw from the meeting.. 

 

Councillor G.A. Cox stated that he been granted a dispensation from the Standards Committee to speak and vote on the LDP save for the Evans Jenkins candidate site. 

 

 

601     THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2011 TO 2026: WAY FORWARD AND REVISED DELIVERY AGREEMENT (REF) –

 

Following introductions by all present, the Chairman stated that he considered that it would not be helpful to spend a great deal of time discussing specific issues in relation to the previous Deposit Plan on 25th January 2012 as that Plan was no longer relevant.  It was also important not to speculate at this stage on aspects such as the number of houses and specific areas as the information was not yet available.  The purpose of the report before the Committee was to consider the options available to the Council in producing a sound and sustainable Local Development Plan (LDP) for the Vale of Glamorgan.  The Cabinet had considered the matter at its meeting on 19th November and referred the report to the Scrutiny Committee for comment.  Members were reminded that the work on producing the LDP for the Vale of Glamorgan had been underway for some six years and that the LDP had passed through several stages.  The first stage had been to prepare a Delivery Agreement made up of a timetable for the production of the Plan and a Community Involvement Scheme.  The second stage was to prepare a vision and in January 2007 the Council had agreed to adopt the vision contained within the Vale of Glamorgan’s Community Strategy 2003-13.  Between December 2006 and January 2007 all those with an interest in the LDP had been invited to submit “candidate sites” for potential inclusion in the LDP which had been included in a register.  Stage 3 of the process had involved developing and consulting on a Draft Preferred Strategy for the LDP.  This had been subject to a statutory six week public consultation during early 2008 with the Strategy endorsed as the basis for preparing the Deposit LDP during early 2009.  The Council was at Stage 5 of the LDP process having produced a Deposit LDP, with consultation on the same, being undertaken between 20th February and 2nd April 2012. 

 

Members were advised that the consultation had resulted in approximately 1,600 respondents and over 1,500 representations in respect of the various proposals in the Plan.  Of the representations, circa 4,700 were objections with 220 expressing support and over 210 offering comments.  The report detailed the various options open to the Council in producing an LDP and having reviewed the situation and having regard to legislation, the three possible options in progressing an LDP for the Vale of Glamorgan, were reported as follows:

 

Option 1 – Continue with the current Deposit LDP

 

National Policy indicated that Local Planning Authorities could make changes to the Deposit LDP following public consultation on it and the Alternative Sites consultation (the next stage).  However, these changes should not impact on the overall LDP Strategy and the advice was that such changes should go forward with the submitted Plan for examination rather than supplant it.  The Council had to also explain why any changes were being put forward and what new evidence there was for each change since the agreement of the Deposit Plan in early 2012.  The introduction of changes should be subject to the same process of publicity as the Deposit LDP to allow interested parties to comment on those changes.  The Council would need to carefully consider the impact of the changes on the soundness of the LDP, taking account of its overall consistency and its Strategy as well as of the Sustainability Appraisal.  The guidance on LDPs recommended that any changes at this stage were evidenced by sound reasons for making those changes.

 

Option 2 –Start the entire process again, including a reconsideration of strategic options

 

Section 66 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 allowed the Council to withdraw the LDP at any time before it was submitted to Welsh Government and the Planning Inspectorate for independent examination.  After the Plan was withdrawn, Regulation 26 of the Town and Country Planning Local Development Plan (Wales) Regulations 2005 required the Council to advertise this fact and remove all documents made available for inspection.

 

Option 3 – Cease work on the Deposit LDP as approved in January 2012 and commence work on a replacement Deposit Local Development Plan

 

As a result of discussions with Welsh Government, it had been confirmed that it was possible to produce a replacement Deposit Local Development Plan and consult on it.  The Town and Country Planning (Local Development Plan) (Wales) Regulations 2005 did not cover this option of issuing a second Deposit LDP as the regulations were written on the assumption or understanding that the LDP continued to progress to the next stage in the process (see Option 1 above) unless the LDP was withdrawn (see Option 2 above)’.

 

The Director advised that normally the next stage of the LDP process would be to consult on alternative development sites which had been submitted as part of the Deposit Plan.  However, there had been concerns that the Deposit LDP had failed to meet the expectations of Welsh Government and the concerns were detailed as follows:

 

-       Minerals - this was regarded by Welsh Government as making the Plan potentially unsound (a Category A objection)

-       Infrastructure and the need for the LDP to secure the necessary infrastructure to support growth.  This concern had also been raised in a significant number of representations and was a concern that had been acknowledged.

-       Other issues that needed to be considered included reference to the spatial distribution of housing, the deliverability of growth and employment as well as some site specific issues relating to certain allocations.

 

The Welsh Government had also referred to the fact that it was imperative “that the Council secured the infrastructure necessary to facilitate the development proposed in the Local Development Plan”. 

 

The changes to be made to the Deposit Plan as a result of the representations received and the recommendations of the Welsh Government, the Director stated, went beyond what was considered the process allowed the Council to do at this stage.  Given the concern expressed on the Deposit LDP as approved in January 2012, it was considered that any changes required would go well beyond what could reasonably be considered to be focused or minimal.  Even if the Council was to produce focused changes, there would be no guarantee that the changes would be accepted by an inspector because they would be submitted with the Deposit Plan for his / her consideration at examination.  It would be up to the inspector to decide whether to incorporate the changes into the Final Adopted LDP and not the Council. 

 

At the Cabinet meeting on 19th November 2012 a letter had been received that day from the Welsh Government that had been tabled which referred to the disappointment that the recommendation had been not to progress the current LDP Plan to submission. The Chief Planner had also requested that all the implications of not progressing the current Deposit Plan be considered carefully when the Cabinet discussed a way forward on the Plan. A Member in noting that the letter had only recently been received requested that in future reports to Committees and / or Council the contents of both letters of 30th March 2012 and 19th November 2012 be included in order that a balanced view was relayed.

 

Councillor Burnett (Cabinet Member) emphasised that the document was an important statutory document which determined the allocation of various land uses and, as such, it was essential that the Final Adopted LDP contained the right mix of development for the Vale of Glamorgan that was fully supported by the necessary infrastructure. Cabinet had also been advised of a new issue, air quality within the Vale of Glamorgan, which needed to be taken into account.  The Director informed the Committee that it had been considered to be the most appropriate option to replace the Deposit LDP with a new version which would allow the Department to build on previous work and to relook at the candidate sites consultation that had been undertaken.  Although advising that the new preferred way was not without risk, to produce a replacement Deposit LDP was considered to be the most appropriate and reasonable option for the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Following the presentation of the report, the Chairman then introduced Mr. Dennis Harkus who had requested permission to speak to the Committee.  Mr. Harkus stated that he supported a new LDP and that in his opinion, the existing strategy could not be the starting point.  He stated that he had also been campaigning on the consequences of the strategy on the infrastructure for over four years.  He referred to the Barry stakeholders’ meeting where he considered that there had been an under-representation of stakeholders.  In again referring to the infrastructure he stated that 12 junctions to date on the Vale roads were forecast to exceed capacity and reiterated the potential problems that a further 9,000 homes could bring.  He also considered that there had been little thought to the Severn Barrage as, in his opinion, a Severn Barrage would have a massive impact on the Vale with huge consequences on housing and provision. 

 

In response to issues raised during the debate, the Director advised that the soundness of the LDP was a matter for the inspector.  The strategy would have to be backed by firm evidence and had to sit within planning policy as indicated by the Welsh Government.  The strategy focused on the Enterprise Zone business park and the Council was aware that the First Minister had set up a task group to look at issues affecting the airport.  There was also currently no permission in place for the Severn Barrage and the LDP could not take into account things that did not exist.  With regard to the infrastructure, this was a valid issue which had been raised throughout the consultation of the previous LDP and would be addressed in the new Draft LDP.

 

In referring to a Member’s comment as to whether the Welsh Government sought information to reduce the number of houses in the LDP, the Director advised that such a discussion had not taken place. 

 

In also referring to page 3 of the report the concerns of residents was raised in that there had been little road planning considered in the Deposit LDP.  The Cabinet Member advised that infrastructure included other issues for example schools, hospitals, etc. and that it was important to ensure that they were in the right place to support the communities. 

 

Following discussion on the consultation process for the ”new” Draft LDP as detailed within the report, the Director advised that it was too early to confirm where the sessions would be held but that engagement with local communities would take place and comments taken on board.

 

Having considered the report, the representations and discussions at the meeting, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the recommendations of Cabinet be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To progress the matter.

 

 

602     INITIAL REVENUE BUDGET PROPOSALS 2013/14 (DDS AND DVSH) –

 

The Head of Accountancy and Resource Management presented the report to the Scrutiny Committee advising that the purpose of the report was for consultation on initial budget proposals for 2013/14 and to inform the Committee of the amended original budget for 2012/13 for services within the Committee’s remit.  Appendix 1 to the report set out the necessary adjustments to the original estimate for 2012/13 and the following table compared the amended original budget with the projected outturn for 2012/13:

 

 

2012/13

2012/13

Variance

 

Amended

Original

Projected

 (+)Favourable

Directorate/Service

Budget

Outturn

 (-) Adverse

 

£’000

£’000

     £’000

Visible Services

 

 

 

Environment and Visible Services                  

17,645

17,662

                 17

Parks and Grounds Maintenance

3,284

3,267

              (17)

Building Services

0

0

                  0

 

 

 

 

Development

 

 

 

Planning and Transportation

         5,044

         4,985

              (59)

Leisure

         4,932

         5,100

              168

Economic Development

856

892

36

 

 

 

 

Grand Total

31,761

31,906

145

 

The report also detailed the following:

 

Visible Services – The projected outturn for Visible Services showed a net zero variance when compared to the amended original budget.  Even though the overall budget had been balanced there were variances within individual Services.

 

Highways and Engineers – It was projected that the Highways and Engineers section would have a favourable variance of £15k.  The employees’ budget would however, be £88k overspent which had been mainly due to an overspend on agency staff in the Engineers section.  The Premises and Repairs budgets was projected to be overspent by £426k which was mainly attributable to the level of repairs required to the highways network as a consequence of previous severe winters.  To offset this, the income estimate had increased by £529k mainly due to the increased level of work done for capital schemes.

 

Waste Management - It was projected that the Waste Management section would have a favourable variance of £48k with employee costs projected to have a favourable variance of £123k due to vacant posts.  The Supplies and Services budget had a projected overspend of £189k mainly due to payments made for the new litter enforcement service.  However the majority of this expenditure would be offset by increased income from fines.  The revised income estimate had a favourable variance of £114k.

 

Parks and Grounds Maintenance - It was estimated that overall the Grounds Maintenance section would have a favourable variance of £17k.  Employee Costs were projected to be £30k underspent due to vacant posts.  Premises costs were projected to be £25k overspent and was reported as largely due to the repair of the Beachcliff Wall at Windsor Gardens.  Transport costs were projected to be £47k overspent due to the high number of vehicles required during the summer season.  Supplies and Services budgets were estimated to be overspent by £55k mainly due to increased levels of work done for other departments, which was offset by additional income.  The income estimate was projected as a favourable variance of £114k to the original budget.

 

Support – It was estimated that there was a £80k overspend compared with the original budget and this was due to the transfer of staff into the support section from elsewhere within Visible Services.

 

Building Services – The Service was expected to outturn on target and it was noted that overall the recharge to Building Services clients for management costs had reduced by £19k.

 

Planning and Transportation - The projected outturn for Planning and Transportation showed a favourable variance of £59k when compared to the amended original budget.

 

Leisure – The projected outturn for Leisure showed an adverse variance of £168k when compared to the amended original budget. There was increased expenditure of £243k on supplies and services primarily due to the inclusion of anticipated expenditure not previously reflected in the estimates, mainly relating to corporate events and grants.  Customer receipts had also fallen £103k and there had been an increase on third party of £4k and on internal recharge expenditure of £3k. This had been offset by savings on employee costs of £104k.  There was an increase in grant income of £81k as it had not previously been fully reflected in the accounts.  There was also an increase in contributions from reserves of £53k., an underspend on premises costs of £50k, savings on transport costs of £14k and an additional internal recharge income totalled £13k.

 

In addition there was a further adverse variance of £130k in relation to the Leisure Centres, due to increased employee costs of £89k, reduced income of £56k, increased supplies and services costs of £34k, a net increase in premises and contributions to funds of £22k and increased transport costs of £4k.   This was offset by a saving of £75k relating to third party management payments. Part of the adverse variance within Leisure would be met from the savings from Planning and Transportation £59k.

 

Economic Development – The projected outturn for Economic Development showed an adverse variance of £36k when compared to the amended original budget. Within Economic Development there was a favourable variance of £4k and there was a net increase in internal recharge income and expenditure of £31k and an increase on customer receipts of £25k.

 

Community Enterprise Centre, Employment and Training Services and Communities First grant funding transferred from Lifelong Learning to Economic Development during the financial year showed a £40k adverse variance against the amended original budget.  There was a projected staffing adverse variance (£28k) within Community Enterprise Centre following the withdrawal of the Community services provided within the Centre, this variance was to be funded from reserves and partial use of the Communities First Management fee.  In addition, the Employment Training Service was projected to outturn with an adverse variance of £120k due to a shortfall in income receipts from the Work Programme contract resulting from lower than anticipated job outcomes to date, this variance would be partly offset by provisions and reserves of £80k set aside in previous years.  A review was being conducted on the Service to improve performance.

 

Cabinet had also approved the Budget Strategy and the Interim Medium Term Financial Plan on 9th July 2012.  The Budget Strategy outlined that, in order to establish a baseline, Services should prepare initial revenue budgets for the following year based on the cost of providing the current level of service together with any approved policy decisions and including any net savings target.  Services would also be expected to identify and achieve recurrent efficiency and other savings including, but not restricted to, those identified in the Medium Term Financial Plan.  Directors had been requested to prepare initial revenue budgets for 2013/14 in accordance with the timetable agreed with the Director of Resources with preparation on the following basis:

  • Capital charges, central accommodation costs and central support costs to be estimated centrally;
  • Services to prepare baseline budgets on current service levels as set out in the 2012/13 final revenue budget report;
  • Budgets to be broken down subjectively and objectively in as much detail as deemed appropriate by the Director of Resources;
  • Budget reports to include revised estimates for 2012/13;
  • Full account to be taken of the revenue costs, other than debt charges, of new capital schemes coming into use.

A summary of the overall base budget for 2013/14 was attached at Appendix 2 to the report.  Members noted that the final revenue budget proposals for 2012/13 included corporate savings targets for services to 2014/15.  The table below showed the savings targets:

 




Efficiency Savings Targets

2013/14

2014/15

TOTAL

 

£000

     £000

     £000

Visible Services & Housing

595

250

845

Development Services

130

47

177

Total Required for the Year

725

297

1,022

 

A detailed list of the saving targets was attached at Appendix 3 to the report and at Appendix 4 a list of 2013/14 cost pressures.  The report also highlighted that the budget review proposals for 2012/13 set initial corporate savings targets for 2013/14 and 2014/15 of £3.175m and £2.950m respectively with the exact level of savings required, together with their impact from 2013/14 onwards, to be considered as part of a Budget Review to be undertaken following the Council elections in May 2012.  The results of the Budget Review process would inform the 2013/14 budget process, with the purpose of the review being to ensure

  • A sustainable budget is achieved within predicted funding levels
  • The budget is aligned to the Council’s priorities as set out in the Corporate Plan
  • Best value for money is being obtained, i.e. identifying efficiency savings, opportunities for income generation and better use of external grants.
  • The outcome of the Review would also be to put in place a four year financial strategy for the period to March 2017.  The 2013/14 Review had been supported by Cost Centre Analyses, a copy of which was attached at Appendix 5 to the report.

Each cost centre had been awarded a rating that measured relative risk under a risk assessment matrix.    

 

The shortfall in the 2013/14 budget for the Council as a whole was £8.426m assuming all cost pressures were met.  Future resource requirements for the whole Council had also been assessed having regard to the likely future revenue settlements and cost pressure information provided by services to 2016/17 as shown below:

 

Matching Predicted Resources to Expenditure

2014/15

£000

2015/16

£000

2016/17

£000

Total

£000

Real Term decrease in resources

   702

1,934

1,963

  4,599

Cost Pressures

6,173

4,644

4,272

15,089

Existing Corporate Savings Targets

(2,133)

       0

       0

(2,133)

Shortfall

4,742

6,578

6,235

17,555

 

The initial projections showed a cumulative shortfall of some £25.981m by 2016/17 including the shortfall on 2013/14.  In view of the difficulty in predicting future levels of inflation and cost pressures, the above table needed to be treated with a degree of caution as the eventual position could be better or worse than stated.  The Review would further develop the above projections and in addition would examine the cost pressures to determine which would require funding.

 

As a starting point to assist in dealing with the funding gap the savings areas previously put forward by Directors to meet the 2013/14 and 2014/15 targets were being analysed with a view to their implementation with effect from April 2013.  These were included at Appendix 3 to the report. It was however, clear that these would be insufficient and consequently Directors had been advised to formulate additional options for savings, additional income etc. over the next 4 years.  This included outlining the service implications and estimated HR implications (including potential redundancies, reductions in headcount and FTEs).

 

In order to provide some guidance to Directors it was suggested that a target be set for each Director.  Initially, it was proposed each Director should identify savings equivalent to their pro rata share of the shortfall based on their controllable expenditure.  Over the four year period, this approximated to an average annually recurring reduction of about 6.5%.  It was extremely unlikely that this would be the eventual outcome of the budget review but it should help officers focus and provide Members with options.  Schools had been excluded from the target and would be looked at during the Review.  

Members were informed that following submission to Scrutiny Committees, any comments which had been referred to the lead Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) by no later than 20th December 2012, with the Cabinet Budget Working Group holding a series of meetings before they make final recommendations on 28th February 2013.  Progress on the Budget Review would be reported to Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee in January 2013.

 

During consideration of the report, the following matters were raised:

 

Question

Response

The Director was asked to elaborate on the provision of the Community Enterprise Centre paragraph 27

The Director advised that there had been a threat of withdrawal of the service but the threat had now been met.  The team were currently based at Holm View and it was the intention to restructure the service to make the service more sustainable in the long term.

Adverse variance under Leisure to be met from savings from Planning and Transportation £59k.  Was this a realistic variance?

The savings of £59k. were primarily due to increased planning fees.  Despite the recession quite sizeable fees had been paid in to the Council in the last two months.

Leisure Centre variance.  Concern was raised as to the increase in the variance for Leisure Services from previous meetings. 

The Director advised that when the original budget had been set, the transfer date for the service had been  1st April 2012, however due to various circumstances the transfer did not actually take place until 1st August 2012.  This, in addition to staffing and agency costs and issues with the direct debit system, had resulted in the deficit increase. Members subsequently requested that they be e-mailed full details of the breakdown of the costs involved.

 

Reference was also made to the Leisure Centre Working Group, with the Director advising that this Group no longer existed following the transfer with Parkwood.

What are Directors being asked to do with regard to savings?

 

 

Could the Directors provide a brief outline of their suggestions for savings.

The Head of Audit and Accountancy advised that Directors were being asked to provide four years savings. 

 

The Director of Development Services stated that in the first instance they would be considering statutory and non statutory services and assessing risks and collaboration initiatives. There were also a number of services that, although not statutory, may be considered essential to the Vale of Glamorgan communities.  It was noted that most Councils, including the Vale, would have to look hard at their service provision and consider ways of managing services more flexibly.  The Director of Visible Services and Housing advised of some of the suggestions he was considering were in relation to car parking charges, street lighting and innovative ways in providing the various collection services. In respect of car parking charges, he stated that he would be bringing a report to the Scrutiny Committee in February 2013 for Members’ consideration.  He advised that it would be a balance between getting the level of fees right without causing major issues for town centres.  Some Members stated that in order to consider any suggestions, they would need to see the detail.  The Chairman, although aware of the budget process requested that an update from Directors on their proposals be submitted to the Scrutiny Committee in February 2013.

 

Having fully considered the report, and having regard to the above comments and requests for further information, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the initial revenue budget proposals for 2013/14 be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T a further report be submitted to the Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 12th February 2013 to include details of the Directors’ savings proposals.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To incorporate the changes to the budget.

 

(2)       In order for the Scrutiny Committee to consider the proposals in details.

 

 

603     INITIAL CAPITAL PROGRAMME PROPOSALS 2013/14 (DDS AND DVSH) –

 

The report provided the Committee with an update on the progress of the Capital Programme for 2012/13. Submitted for consultation was also the initial capital proposals for 2013/14.  Appendix A to the report detailed financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 30th September 2012.  The report then referred to specific schemes within the Directorates of Visible and Development Services as follows:

 

Visible Services

 

The report outlined that an allocation of £250k was included in the 2012/13 Capital Programme for sub-standard bridges along with further allocations each year thereafter, currently to 2016/17, to cover safety issues with the Authority’s various sub-standard bridges.  Officers had advised that there had been no call on this year's allocation but that it would be needed as part of the Council's 86% contribution to Network Rail's proposed safety works to Ewenny bridge, anticipated during 2013/14, which could reach £1m.  As there was only £500k in the 2013/14 budget currently, the slippage of this year's £250k into 2013/14 would bring the budget to £750k so a further £250k was required from the 2014/15 budget.  It had been requested that Cabinet and Council approve the re-profiling of this budget to reflect the need for £1m for Ewenny Bridge in 2013/14.

 

Earlier in the year the Authority had also received the sum of £100k from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the construction of a new crossing (Toucan) over the B4265 to assist pedestrians and cyclists travelling between Boverton and West Gate, St. Athan.  The works were required under the terms of condition 18 of the planning permission 2002/01244/CROWN for the new DARA integrated maintenance facility.  The works had been completed but, in addition to the funding received from the MoD, a further £40k was required to complete the works.  It had been proposed that this be funded from the existing allocation for Highway Safety Schemes.  As such, Cabinet had been  requested to approve the inclusion of a £140K budget for the toucan crossing into the current Capital Programme, funded from £100k (as a result of the payment received by MoD to meet their obligations under the terms of the planning permission) and a £40k virement from the Highway Safety Schemes capital budget.

 

An application for residential development at Andrew House, Llantwit Major was granted planning permission subject to a s106 agreement which required payment of £10,792 to improve sustainable transport facilities serving the development.  It was proposed to use this contribution to establish a traffic calming scheme (speed cushions) on Durell Street to slow traffic and increase road safety for pedestrians and cyclists on a key route into the town centre. As such, it had been requested that the sum be included in the current Capital Programme.

 

Development Services

 

Pont y Werin Cycleway - WG had recently awarded an increase in their existing Regional Transport Consortia Grant allocation of £25k in order to fund the completion of the Dingle Road element of the scheme which was already receiving grant funding for 2012/13.  On the completion of a detailed design a more accurate forecast cost would be identified and WG informed.  It had been requested that the existing Pont y Werin Improvement budget be increased to reflect this additional funding.

 

A48 Bus Stop Improvements - WG had offered an additional grant of £25k to augment the current allocation of £25k on bus stop improvements along the A48 which had already been spent in full.   It had been requested that the existing budget be increased to reflect this additional funding.

 

Railway Walk, Penarth - WG had also offered the Authority the sum of £15k pre-delivery funding to complete the detailed design stage of this cycleway scheme.  It had been requested that the existing budget be increased to reflect this additional funding.

 

Highways Making Better Use Study: Barry Docks Roundabout A4050 / A4231 - WG have offered a grant of £10k towards a study into possibilities of improving the roundabout at the junction of Port Road and the Barry Docks Link Road.  Officers within our Highways Division will be preparing the study. Cabinet had been requested to include a budget of £10,000 in the current Capital Programme.

 

Greenlinks Minibus - Under delegated authority, the Managing Director had approved the inclusion of a £42k budget in this year's Capital Programme to fund the purchase of a second minibus for the Authority's community transport initiative.  The funding for the vehicle would come from an £18k South East Wales Transport Alliance (SEWTA) grant, a £16k allocation from the Authority's Local Transport Services Grant from the Welsh Government as well as a contribution from revenue budgets of £8k. This budget was included in Appendix A to the report.

 

St. Pauls Church - Cabinet on February 29th 2012, (minute no. C1646), approved the inclusion of a £250k budget for remedial works at St. Pauls Church, Penarth, in order to secure the building to allow occupation of the former St. Paul's Church in Penarth by Penarth Gymnastics Club and Penarth Boxing Club.  The building had been closed since early 2011 when its condition was deemed dangerous.  Since the budget approval however, it had become evident that £250k may not cover all works required to the building, increasing the budgetary requirement for the project.  Funding for the works was to be taken from the s106 monies received for the Penarth Heights development.  The scheme had been put on hold, pending further consultation with local residents and it was now highly unlikely that any expenditure could be achieved this year.  As such, it had been requested that the £250k budget be slipped forward into 2013/14 while the situation was being reviewed.  Members would be informed of the outcome of the consultation exercise.

 

Disabled Facility Grants - Expenditure had been behind profile all year on the grants budget. Committee was advised that although numbers of grants in the system had not fallen noticeably, the average cost of each grant had reduced from previous years and some high value cancellations had been received. These factors combined to reduce the anticipated final spend on grants by some £200k and, as such, it had been requested that the budget be reduced to £1m in order to reflect the maximum expenditure that could now be achieved on this budget.

 

Coronation Street Green Space Improvements - The Authority had recently accepted funding of up to £31,400 for improvements to the open space at Coronation Street, Barry.  The funding was awarded from the Welsh Government's 'Tranquil, Greener and Cleaner Places Grant' and works had to be completed and claimed in full by the end of this financial year or funding would be lost.  The works would be project managed by our Landscape Section and include additional seating, repainting railings and re-surfacing paths, new tree planting and native perennial and wildflower planting as well as additional path illumination to address safety concerns and new bollards along the boundary of the upper section with Coronation Street to avoid unauthorised vehicular access.

 

The report also referred to providing further information where schemes with a value of over £500k. and showed a variance of 20% or more between actual spend and the profile.  The following schemes meet this criteria:-

 

Penarth Pier Pavilion - The capital budget represented the Council's contribution to the Penarth Arts and Crafts (PACL) led scheme.  

 

Barry Island Footbridge - Works were currently ongoing and proceeding well.

 

Dyffryn Gardens Refurbishment and National Trust Contribution - Both  originally planned as September expenditure, to coincide with the anticipated transfer to the National Trust.  Delays in the process had been incurred due to finalising the transfer agreement.  

 

Leisure Centres Refurbishment - It was originally anticipated that refurbishment works would commence during August and a profiled spend of £661K was originally anticipated by the end of September.  The Parkwood Partnership arrangement had however not been finalised until 1st August and as such was several months behind the original profile. Though works had commenced, the profile would be reviewed to reflect the August agreement date.  

 

The Welsh Government had announced the provisional 2013/14 General Capital Funding on 16th October 2012.  The 2013/14 capital settlement represented a 10% cut in funding over the previous year’s allocation, though no further cut was identified for 2014/15. 

 

Appendix B to the report outlined the proposed 2013/14 Capital Programme for those services covered by the Scrutiny Committee.  The following table detailed the General Capital Funding and internal resources required to fund the proposed schemes for the whole of the Council:

 

Analysis of Net Funding Required for the Indicative 2013/14 Capital Programme

GENERAL FUND                                                                £’000               £’000

Welsh Government Resources 

Supported Borrowing                                                           3,180

General Capital Grant                                                          2,106

                                                                                                                          5,286

Council Resources

Capital Receipts                                                                   5,120

Reserves/Leasing                                                                 3,417

                                                                                                                          8,522           

Net Capital Resources                                                                              13,823                       

 

HOUSING REVENUE ACCOUNT                                £’000                  £’000

Housing Reserves                                                        13,402

Housing Capital Receipts                                                  392

Supported Borrowing                                                               280

                                                                                                                          

Net Capital Resources                                                                                14,074

 

Capital bids had been invited for return by 28th September with an extremely high number of bids being received.  The bids were evaluated by the Corporate Asset Management Group (CAMG) and it had been necessary to reduce the number of bids actually discussed by the Group in order to allow meaningful discussion for each bid.  The method of prioritisation used by the CAMG was as below:

 

A

 

Health and Safety Legislation

B

 

Other Legislation / Statutory requirement

Ci

 

Economic Sense

Cii

 

Corporate Plan

Ciii

 

Sufficiency

D

 

Condition / Suitability

E

 

Welsh Government objectives

F

 

Low Priority

 

The Budget Working Group prioritised bids based upon the recommendations of the CAMG.  The next stage of the process was for the estimates to be submitted to the Scrutiny Committee for consultation and any comments forwarded to the Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee as the lead Scrutiny Committee.  Cabinet’s final Capital Programme proposals would be considered by Cabinet no later than 11th March 2013.

 

In considering the issue of St. Pauls Church in Penarth Members queried whether spending £250k. would be appropriate.  The Director advised that consultation was to be undertaken in the new year re uses for the property but that a small amount of money would be provided for remedial roof repairs.  A further report would be presented to Cabinet in respect of these issues.

 

With regard to the Toucan Crossing, it was noted that the original estimate of £100k. had actually been costed at £140k., the Director advised that he would provide the detail to Members via e-mail.  It being noted that funding was limited, the Director of Development Services advised that in some instances Section 106 receipts had been used to assist with Capital Programme initiatives and that in the future it was proposed that the detail of Section 106 agreements be included in Capital Programme reports.  Members agreed that it was important for the public to know where the money had been spent and that the Council should utilise the PR office to publicise such works.  Following a request that monies be placed in reserve accounts for grant funded initiatives, it was agreed that it would be difficult to set aside money as the department would not necessarily know what grant funding would be available in advance.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the initial Capital Programme proposals for 2012/13 be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the information requested as above be forwarded to Members in due course.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       That Members note the position with regard to the 2012/13 Capital Programme.

 

(2)       To provide further information to Members.

 

 

604     CORPORATE PLAN: CONSULTATION DRAFT (REF) –

 

Cabinet had referred the Plan for comments to the Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 19th November 2012.  Committee was informed that the Corporate Plan helped the Council deliver the aims of the Community Strategy and provided a focus for the Council’s approach to corporate governance and community leadership.  The Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan also outlined how the Corporate Plan was to be funded and consequently it was vital that these plans were aligned and reflected the priorities of the Vale.

 

In order to develop the priorities and objectives in the draft Plan, workshops had been held with Cabinet Members and officers.  Following these workshops, the Corporate Management Team produced a draft Plan for consultation ensuring that it was aligned to the Community Strategy 2011-21, Improvement Objectives, the Outcome Agreement and reflected the results of the Public Opinion Survey 2011/12.  The Corporate Plan provided a foundation for the annual Service Plans and the annual Improvement Objectives.  The Plan was structured around eight priority outcomes that were carried forward into Service Plans to ensure consistency and focus.  For every objective in the Corporate Plan there would be at least one action in one Service Plan. In terms of monitoring the Plan, all Scrutiny Committees regularly received reports on progress in delivering Service Plans and performance indicators which would continue.

 

The Council would be consulting with residents on both the draft Corporate Plan and the Budget Review process as both of these would focus on similar issues, a combined consultation was therefore being planned.  It was noted that a brief summary of the Corporate Plan would be compiled and presented to residents and also be available on the Council’s website, e-news and social media accounts.  The Corporate Consultation Officer would also be available to visit local consultative forums such as the Older People’s Forum to facilitate an open discussion.

 

During the discussion reference was made to :

  • page 13 (point 5 of sustaining vibrant communities) which stated “complete the Rural Development Strategy by supporting schemes for more sustainability of rural communities”.  It was suggested that this be changed to read “complete existing Rural Development Plan and promote a new Rural Development Plan”.
  • Page 15 (environment) include in the section reference to monitoring for tree diseases. 

Having considered the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –  T H A T the following recommendations be forwarded to Cabinet for consideration:

 

(1)       T H A T the reference to the Rural Development Plan be amended to read “to complete the existing Rural Development Plan and promote a new Rural Development Plan”.

 

(2)       T H A T under the Environment, reference be made to “including monitoring  for tree diseases”.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To clarify the current Rural Development Plan and note that a new one would have to be developed.

 

(2)       To recognise the current situation in relation to tree diseases.

 

 

605     QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE AND ACTION MONITORING REPORTING ( ) –

 

In considering the reports for the service areas Economy, Planning and Transportation, Leisure and Tourism, Strategy and Support, and Visible Services the following queries were discussed:

  • PT/A109 (implement a programme of liaising with schools on biodiversity). It was noted that the Council’s ecologist had recently left the employment of the Council and a new appointment would have to be made.
  • LT/A51 (Implement the Vale of Glamorgan Local Play Strategy) it was accepted that due to funding issues and the play strategy not being adopted, the action would be deleted.
  • LT/A95 (Extend Destination Management System training to all tourism businesses in the Vale) it was noted that the training was being undertaken in-house.

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the quarterly performance and action monitoring reports for the above service areas be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members.

 

 

606     ANNOUNCEMENT –

 

The Chairman advised that he had been made aware of the need for the Committee to consider a report on the Barry Regeneration Strategy prior to responses being forwarded to WG by 14th January 2012.  It was subsequently agreed by all that a special meeting be held on Wednesday, 19th December 2012, at 6.00 p.m. to consider the report.

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