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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 12th March, 2013.

 

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, P.G. King, A.G. Powell and C.J. Williams.

 

Also present: Councillors R.F. Curtis, Dr. I.J. Johnson and N. Moore.

 

 

968     INTRODUCTION –

 

The Chairman took the opportunity to welcome Members and officers from Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and officers from the Wales Audit Office who would be observing the Committee meeting as part of the WAO scrutiny study – process of scrutiny committees in local authorities.  Following introductions all round, the Chairman, with the Committee’s agreement, advised that at the close of the meeting Members would also receive feedback from the observers.  On referring to the minutes of the last meeting, he advised that, as the meeting had only been held on 28th February, they had not been available to be despatched with the agenda but would be reported to the April meeting.   

 

 

969     APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE –

 

This was received from Councillor E. Hacker.

 

           

970     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

The Director of Visible Services and Housing declared an interest in agenda Item 4, in that his partner managed a play group at the Colcot Sports Centre and he would leave the room when the report was to be considered. 

 

 

971     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2012 TO 31ST JANUARY 2013 (DDS AND DVSH) –

 

The report outlined the position in respect of revenue and capital expenditure for the period 1st April 2012 to 31st January 2013 together with proposals for changes to the Capital Programme.  The Head of Accountancy and Resources Management in presenting the report advised on the following:

 

Highways Maintenance & Engineering Design & Procurement - There was currently a £24k adverse variance to the revised profiled budget due to an overspend on potholes as a result of the recent cold weather and snow. The budget would be monitored closely to ensure any overspend was limited. However, it was projected that the Highways section could have an adverse variance of £75k at year end due to the increase in potholing costs.

 

Waste Management – The current £95k favourable variance to the revised profiled budget was reported as mainly due to a continuing decrease in the level of waste taken to landfill, which had resulted in savings on costly disposal. The Waste Management section had also received levels of income higher than anticipated. 

 

Grounds Maintenance – The £37k adverse variance to the revised profiled budget was attributed to an overspend on new machinery as new legislation had come in to force for Hand Arm Vibration. The revised budget for 2012/13 took account of the efficiency savings required.  It was anticipated that this current adverse variance would be at a similar level at the end of the financial year.

 

Support – A favourable variance of £143k to the revised profiled budget would be held for any cost pressures within Visible Services that might arise throughout the financial year, such as those described above. The report noted that the budget was projected to outturn with a favourable variance of £125k to offset the overspend within Highways Maintenance & Engineering Design & Procurement and Grounds Maintenance. For Building Services the service was currently anticipated to breakeven at year end.

 

Economic Development – The current £26k adverse variance to the revised profiled budget was reported as primarily attributable to the Employment and Training Services, as a result of the Government Work Programme receipts having not reached the profiled income targets to date.   This service was under review to enable a return to within budget in 2013/14.  Members were informed that it was anticipated that the outturn at year end would be an adverse variance of £36k.

 

Leisure - There was currently a £168k adverse variance to the revised profiled budget, primarily due to overspending in the leisure centres as had been previously reported.  It was anticipated that the outturn at year end would be an adverse variance of £168k.  Part of this variance would be offset by savings from within Planning and Transportation.

 

Planning and Transportation – The current £199k favourable variance to the revised profiled budget was predominately due to income from planning fees for major schemes now being in advance of the profiled estimate.  It was anticipated that the year end outturn would be a favourable variance of £59k, which would be used to fund overspends elsewhere in the division.

 

In noting that there had not been a considerable change in the revenue budget since the last meeting, the Committee then considered Appendix 2 which detailed the financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 31st January 2013.  The report referred to schemes where it was evident that the full year’s budget would not be spent during the year and that relevant officers had been required to provide an explanation for the shortfall as contained in the report. 

 

S106 Penarth Heights Highways Works – The work required at Windsor Road and Terra Nova Way needed a full consideration of options and subsequently a detailed design.  Whilst initial feasibility had been undertaken, changes to the sequencing of the traffic controlled junction at Barons Court were set to take place in February/March 2013.  These trials would assist in informing the options for the Windsor Road/Terra Nova Way junction.  Members were advised that it was important that these trials took place first, prior to money being spent on initial design work that may prove fruitless.  The report therefore requested that Cabinet and Council be asked to approve slippage of £61k into 2013/14. In line with other s106 agreements the scheme would be included within the Development Services Directorate in 2013/14.

 

Coldbrook Flood Management Scheme – As previously reported, the flood management scheme had been delayed due to re-design and problems with obtaining consent from the Environment Agency to undertake works on the Main River, which had still not been granted.  As a result there would therefore be further delays in this complicated scheme as a re-tendering exercise would need to be carried out. As the issues with the part Welsh Government (WG), part Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) grant funded scheme were so varied, the Director of Visible Services and Housing advised that he would provide a separate report on the issue to the next available Scrutiny Committee to inform Members of the progress to date and the way forward for the project. Cabinet would be requested to approve the reduction of the existing budget to £150k in order to reflect what could now realistically be achieved on the scheme in the current financial year.

 

Vehicle Replacement Programme – The procurement of vehicles had been behind profile for much of the year and as such it was acknowledged that a full spend on the budget would not be achieved. Although more vehicles had been ordered and were expected to be received by the end of March there would be an under spend on the budget as several Building and Highways vehicles were currently out to tender and would not be received by the year end.

 

Pencoedtre Park Improvements –  Works on this part funded Welsh Government grant and part funded s106 scheme had been completed below budget with the request that Cabinet be asked to approve the reduction in the budget to £272k to reflect the projected outturn. The completed scheme involved the establishment of a new 'Splashpad' water activity facility and refurbished play area with new lighting installations and a new toilet/changing room facility on site.  The under spend had resulted from savings achieved in procurement of the equipment for the facility.

 

Barry Comprehensive School Cycleway – The scheme funded by a 100% WG grant had been used to extend the current cycleway provision through the Butts area of Barry. All planned approved works had been completed below the £308k budget, due to cost savings, and WG had been advised accordingly.

 

National Cycle Network Route 88 (NCN88) and Measures to Assist Cyclists near Llanmaes – The South East Wales Transportation Alliance (SEWTA) had recently approved additional grant funding of £48.5k for the existing NCN88 scheme to extend the off road cycle route around the Rhoose airport roundabout to Penmark. In addition they had allocated £93k towards 'Measures to Assist Cyclists near Llanmaes' which would be used to upgrade the Llanmaes/Llantwit road junction to incorporate a toucan crossing. Works were commencing on site in early March and it was anticipated that the allocation would be fully spent by the end of March.

 

In response to a query with regard to Welsh Government funding for the  Coldbrook Flood Management scheme the Director advised that he was confident that WG would make this provision and that the Council should receive the money fairly soon.  A further report would be brought to the Committee.

 

Having fully considered the report, the Scrutiny Committee :

 

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 and Council be requested to approve the proposed amendment to reduce the S106 Penarth Heights Highways Works capital budget to £1k. (carry forward £61k. to 2013/14).

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet and Council be requested to reduce the Coldbrook Flood Management Scheme capital budget to £150k. (carry forward £692k. WG/WEFO/Council funding to 2013/14 to be spent only once WG/WEFO approval was received).

 

(4)       T H A T Cabinet and Council be requested to reduce the Vehicle Replacement Programme capital budget to £1.982m. (carry forward £394k. into 2013/14).

 

(5)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to reduce the Pencoedtre Park Improvements capital budget to £272k.

 

(6)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to reduce the Barry Comprehensive School Cycleway capital budget to £258k.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To inform Scrutiny Members.

 

(2-6)    The Scrutiny Committee supports the referrals to Cabinet and / or Council as appropriate, in view of the contents of the report.

 

 

972     COLCOT SPORTS CENTRE OPTIONS APPRAISAL (DVSH) –

 

The report was presented to the Committee for consideration and following a recent site visit at the premises on 22nd February 2013 by members of the Committee, the Chairman of Corporate Resources and the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sport Development.

 

The Chairman informed the Committee that he had agreed to a request by Mr. T. Williams of the Vale of Glamorgan Football league to speak on the matter and subsequently invited Mr. Williams to make his representations.

 

In commencing with his representations, in the first instance, Mr Williams with the permission of the Committee, read out a letter that he had been handed by a local resident, Mr. J. Hardman, who had been involved in the Colcot Centre for some time.  The letter referred to a meeting with the local Assembly Member who had stated that the Centre was a good centre and should receive assistance.  However, the letter advised that investments to date at the Centre had in the main been to “patch and mend” the facility.  There were currently 96 football teams using the facility and both the Referee Society and a local Boxing Club met there on a regular basis.  From both Mr. Williams and Mr. Hardman’s point of view the Sports Centre was a local necessity and an excellent facility for the community and had many advantages for all in particular for health reasons.  The facilities were well used but required refurbishment.  The fabric of the building in particular the lack of toilet and changing room facilities which were inadequate and in disparate need of an upgrade.  In his address Mr. Williams drew Members’ attention to the 300 houses proposed at White Farm and the future implications for facilities for young people and also raised the following concerns in relation to the report :-

 

1.                  Why is the Council agreeing to a 12 month lease with the playgroup when the premises “is a sports centre and Alexandra Gardens seems to be coming on line.”?

2.                  The report stated that a building condition survey had indicated a need for repairs in the region of £450k.  This could be much better utilised by building an extension and to date little evidence of any spend could be seen as the building was in much need of refurbishment.

3.                  In referring to the need to develop 3G pitches Mr. Williams advised that these could cost approximately £300,000 per pitch and he could not imagine the Vale affording such a facility. Drainage issues on the fields also needed to be addressed.  

 

The Chairman thanked Mr. Williams for his contribution and for providing the Committee with the details of Mr. Hardman’s letter, advising that the Committee would take note of the representations when considering the report.

 

As the Director of Visible Services and Housing had declared an interest in the item, the Operational Manager for Parks and Grounds Maintenance presented the report to the Scrutiny Committee noting that any recommendations were for Cabinet approval and or decision. 

 

The report referred to the fact that the Colcot Sports Centre had once been a thriving vibrant facility but that due to changes in public use, reductions in funding and the recent transfer of a number of buildings and other assets to Parkwood, it was now used primarily as a changing pavilion for local football teams.  The sports hall was occupied by Cylch Bethesda Playgroup during the week and Wendy Summerell’s School of Dance in the evenings and weekends under a short term licence. 

 

The Operational Manager informed Members that prior to May 2012 it had become clear that a number of the centre’s users and an element of the local community had become concerned about the centre’s future and a local “Save Colcot Sports Centre Campaign” had been launched.  In order to reassure the Community and users of the Council’s commitment to the facility and to obtain some broad ideas for the centre’s long term future, an Options Appraisal Study had been arranged during 2012.  Funding for the appraisal had been made available from the Barry Regeneration Partnership Project Fund and had involved stakeholders with Butlins Consulting having undertaken the work.  A copy of the final report was attached at Appendix D to the report. 

 

Paragraphs 8-15 of the report provided a précis of the details contained within the Executive Summary with Members being informed that the report looked at the context of the facility and indicated a number of issues with regard to its future use.  The appraisal advised that whilst the overall strategic position was excellent and the facility worked well, the centre itself was not in the best location, was too far from schools, was not adjacent to the grass pitches it served and not in the heart of any particular community.  It was also evident that any future investment decisions should be considered in the context of a changing environment and priorities and should be part of a much wider vision addressing the needs of the area in order to secure optimum value for money and the greatest long term amenity. 

 

The Operational Manager also advised that although the options appraisal had made a number of suggestions, these were aspirational as funding was not available.  He referred to one of the recommendations contained within the report being that a feasibility study be set up involving key stakeholders to develop the most suitable proposals for the medium and long term users of the facility.  Local Members at Committee considered that it was essential to engage with the community in a proactive way to consider their views on what was required and that football usage should also be part of the study.  A Local Member also stated that, in his view, one of the problems in the past had been that the Council had not maintained the properties as they should have been and hence the state of disrepair that the sports centre now found itself in. The facility had in previous years offered a number of recreational activities e.g. tennis, volley ball, football amongst others and was a focus for the community.  The fact that a 40 year old boiler remained in the facility was proof enough to the local Member that the maintenance issues had not been addressed.  He further stated that the Assembly Member had worked hard in supporting the local group and their initiatives, having met with them in March 2011 regarding the facility.  The Local Member also stated that in his opinion there had been no need for an options appraisal as the local community were fully aware of what they needed, although he could conclude that the appraisal had come up with some suggestions.  There were a number of willing volunteers in the area who wished to see the sports centre improved and he felt that consideration should be given to encouraging the volunteers together with identifying other ways of attracting funding.  

 

In response to a query on whether the drainage issues at the sports centre were a unique problem, Members were informed that the Buttrills playing field had always had issues with drainage and in light of the recent inclement weather, these had been exacerbated.  The Operational Manager referred to the department commissioning a study on the future viability of all of the Council’s football pitches in relation to drainage with recommendations to be considered in due course for improvement.

 

In response to a further query as to whether the building lent itself to modernising, the Operational Manager advised that the report indicated that the building was sound. 

 

In conclusion Members considered it important that consultation was undertaken with the local community and that the Council should be clear as to what it required from the feasibility study.  The Chairman was of the view that the terms of reference of the feasibility study should be agreed by the Cabinet and that the Committee should receive a progress report in 12 months on the issue.

 

The Committee, having fully considered the representations made at the meeting, the views of Members and the contents of the report subsequently,

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to submit a bid to the Barry Regeneration Partnership Project Development Fund for £20k. in 2013/14 for a feasibility study to identify a range of possible future uses for the centre in consultation with the local community and that Cabinet agree the Terms of Reference of the study.

 

 (2)      T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider that on conclusion of the feasibility study (1) above, a steering group be set up involving key stakeholders to develop the most suitable proposals for the medium and long term users of the facility.

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider authorising the Director of Visible Services and Housing to undertake basic improvement works to the centre building during 2013/14 to increase standards for existing users and to protect the building from weather damage (as outlined in paragraph 23 of the report).

 

(4)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider that the Head of Legal Services and the Director of Development Services negotiate 12 month extension leases with Cylch Bethesda Playgroup and Wendy Summerell’s School of Dance.

 

(5)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider that the Head of Legal Services be authorised to execute the new leases on behalf of the Council and register the same.

 

(6)       T H A T a progress report on the Colcot Sports Centre be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in 12 months from the date of this meeting.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To improvement current facilities for the users and to protect the building from further weather damage and to agree a Terms of Reference for the study.

 

(2)       To develop appropriate options for future use in the medium and long term.

 

(3)       To provide the necessary funding to undertake a feasibility study into the possible future uses for the facility, taking into account the community’s aspirations.

 

(4)       To support the work of the Cylch Bethesda Playgroup and Wendy Summerell’s School of Dance.

 

(5)       To secure the completion of the new leases.

 

(6)       To provide the Scrutiny Committee with a progress update.

 

 

NB:  The Director of Visible Services and Housing vacated the room whilst this item was being considered.

 

 

973     FLOODING WORKS CARRIED OUT SINCE JULY 2007 (REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION OF MATTER) (DVSH) –

 

Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson and Councillor C.J. Williams had requested that the matter be considered by the Scrutiny Committee for the following reasons:

  • “The Vale of Glamorgan suffered from heavy rainfall on two occasions during November and December 2012, leading to localised flooding and road closures.
  • Heavy rainfalls have become more frequent in recent years, with the flooding of 20th July 2007 being the most significant.
  • However, more than five and half years later, many residents of areas flooded at that time still feel vulnerable at times of heavy rain, having suffered terrible losses that day.
  • The recent report sent to Councillors regarding the rainfall of 24th / 25th  November was very helpful in updating us all based on that particular occasion.
  • A fuller report concisely updating Councillors on flooding prevention actions which have taken place since 20th July 2007 to the present day would be very helpful in reassuring residents across the Vale that the Council is working in their best interests.
  • This could include works which have taken place, plans which have been proposed but not yet enacted, funding proposals made and grants received for works, as residents with whom I have spoken appear to have difficulty comprehending the ‘behind-the-scenes’ delays which have prevented some works from taking place that would protect their properties from flooding.”

The Chairman advised that he had also received a request to speak from Mr. Steve Blakeman.  He had acceded to the request and then proceeded to advise those present of the format which the representations would take. 

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson, the first speaker, presented the Request for Consideration advising that he represented the Buttrills Ward, with the main emphasis for his request being to confirm what was actually taking place, what initiatives were being put forward, what lessons could be learned and advised that the issues and actions that had been a problem in 2007 remained the same issues today. 

 

Councillor Williams confirmed his agreement with the views expressed by Councillor Dr. Johnson and took the opportunity to seek clarification and update on the local issues within his Ward. 

 

Mr. Blakeman commenced his representations by advising the Committee that he had been a flood victim in 2007 in the Lundy Park area.  He had been part of and fully committed to a 4½ year campaign to try to resolve flooding issues and had been fully involved in discussions with the Council as well as the Minister and the Environment Agency.  He had provided information to the Flood Inquiry Wales, Cardiff University and had also spoken on the matter on the radio and TV.  He praised the Flood Risk Management Group for the work but took issue with the delays that had been involved.  He stated that he fully understood from the Environment Agency that there were legalities that needed to be addressed, but unfortunately these details had not been conveyed to local residents who had found it difficult to understand why the delays were taking place.  In his view the issue of 177 further houses at White Farm would exacerbate the problem and the situation therefore needed to be looked at as a matter of urgency.

 

The Director in presenting to Committee referred to the number of highway and other drainage schemes that had been implemented over recent years, some of which were contained within the report. He stated that the Council had specific records of the schemes but acknowledged that there may well have been other routine drainage maintenance works undertaken that would not necessarily have been recorded in detail.  Some of the works that had been undertaken were reported as:

  • Sully Road – verge drainage
  • Main Road, Ogmore-by-Sea – additional drainage installation
  • Robbins Lane – additional drainage installation
  • The Herberts – raised road level.

In providing background to the report, the Director stated that the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (FAWMA) had been introduced with the aim of improving the way councils managed water resources.  It created clearer roles and responsibilities and instilled a more risk based approach. In conjunction with the FAWMA the Flood Risk Regulations (FRR) placed other certain responsibilities on councils.  Primarily, the identification of any areas classified as being of significant flood risk and following this exercise, it had been reported to Welsh Government that no areas categorised as significant flood risk existed within the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

A detailed report on the FAWMA and the FRR had been presented to Cabinet on 8 June, 2011 which explained in some detail the requirements and the findings in relation to these pieces of legislation.  (Minute No. C1336 refers).  Copies of both the report and the Minute could be found at Appendix A to the report.  A detailed report had been approved by Cabinet on 14 January, 2013 in respect of the requirements to produce a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy and was currently subject to consultation (Minute C1976 refers). This report had also been presented to Scrutiny Economy and Environment Committee on 12 February, 2013 Minute 853 refers and Corporate Resources Committee on 8th February 2013 (Minute 828 refers).

 

As part of the requirements of the FAWMA the Highways and Engineering Department were also collating a data base of flooding incidents that had occurred recently.  The data base would allow events to be risk assessed and categorised in priority order should funding be identified to undertake works in the future. An extract from the assessment process was included in Appendix B for information. A substantial amount of other flood and water management work was also being undertaken by the Highways and Engineering teams which included:

  • Drainage Coast General Enquiries / Advice
  • Pre Planning Application Advice
  • Planning Observations (Drainage)
  • Building regulations Observations (Drainage)
  • Consenting (Ordinary Watercourse) and enforcement
  • Record and Register of Assets
  • Designation of third Party features and appeals
  • Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) Implementation and Policy
  • Operational Maintenance
  • Preliminary Investigations
  • Detailed Investigation of Local Significant Flooding
  • Reporting of any Significant Flooding
  • Feasibility Study
  • Local Flood Risk Management Strategy
  • Flood Risk Regulations - Preliminary Flood Risk Assessments
  • FRR - Flood Hazard and Risk Maps
  • FRR - Flood Risk Management Plans
  • Keeping of records and accounts
  • Meeting with other Flood Risk Management Authorities
  • FRM Training
  • Coastal Inspections
  • Coastal Preliminary Investigation

In referring to the Coldbrook Flood Management project the scheme had received funding from both Welsh Government, the Welsh European Funding Office with match funding by the Vale of Glamorgan.  There had been some unfortunate delays predominately due to design legislation changes and approval from the Environment Agency in relation to the main river elements.  A meeting of the Coldbrook Catchment Flood Risk Management Group had been held on 22 January 2013, where residents and local members had received a presentation from the consultants managing the scheme.  In addition confirmation had been received from Welsh Government (WG) on 28th February, 2013 confirming that WG had made provision for the scheme in their 2013 / 2014 budget.  Works on the scheme are due to start in the new financial year.  Officers were also looking to install certain 'personal' flood risk measures to certain properties at higher risk in the Lundy Park area of Barry.  A further more detailed report on this project would be presented to the Committee in due course.

 

A further Scheme had also been proposed at Llanmaes which included flood alleviation works incorporating surface water pipes and alterations.  This Scheme would be grant funded by Welsh Government to 85% of the cost with the Council providing match funding at 15%.  Detailed design had commenced for the project and it was anticipated that the works would commence during the 2013 / 2014 financial period.

 

A number of other highway drainage and flood alleviation Schemes were also proposed, although full funding had not yet been fully identified for these projects.  These included:

  • Boverton Flood Alleviations - to address the recent flooding of a number of properties in the vicinity of the main river Hoddnant / Boverton Brook.
  • Lavernock Road / Fort Road - New Drainage Pipes Inspection Chambers and Highway Drainage
  • Llancadle - Highway Drainage and Land Drainage Improvements.
  • Hayes Road - Highway Drainage Pipes Installation
  • Cross Common Road Bridge - Officers were currently reviewing the Bridge propping arrangements to establish if greater flows beneath the structure could be obtained from an alternative prop design.

During his presentation the Director took the opportunity to thank Mr. Blakeman for his help in assisting the Authority in obtaining funding for the Coldbrook Catchment scheme.

 

The Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services, with permission to speak, advised that he too himself had been a flood victim in July 2007.  He confirmed that the Flood Strategy was currently out for consultation and urged those present to respond on the document in order that the Council could ensure that it had a correct management strategy for forthcoming years.  In his opinion it was a matter for the whole Council in particular it had implications for the planning department and future planning applications.

 

In referring to the propping works at Cross Common Bridge, the local Member advised that in his opinion changes to the propping design would increase water flow under the bridge, thereby reducing flood risk upstream. The Director advised that consultants had been engaged to review the propping arrangements and that a report on this would be made available to local Members and residents by the end of March 2013.  He informed Members of his concerns that the cost of changing the props was likely to be disproportionate to the flooding reduction benefit that may be obtained and that removing the bridge in its entirety was the only real cost effective option to reduce flood risk in the area.  This also addressed the issue of the sub-standard bridge structure and traffic safety problems with the Cross Common Road Bridge / Cardiff Road junction. 

 

Members agreed that it was important to ensure that all flooding issues were reported immediately to the relevant department in order that an initial assessment and visit could be arranged to view the flooding as it happened.

 

With regard to the delays referred to by Mr. Blakeman, the Chairman queried with the Director whether he was optimistic that there would be no further delays. The Director in response stated that although there had been some disruption caused by changes to the river modelling requirements and problems with legal agreements between the Environment Agency and the Council, he had personally taken over control of the issue and would be dealing with the matter himself.  The Council would also be considering providing extra prevention measures for 67 properties in the Red Park and Lundy areas although the funding would not be available until April.

 

Councillor Dr. Johnson in his summation said that he was pleased to note the quality of work that had been undertaken and welcomed the additional money that would be available. However, he considered that the information and any lessons learned were relevant for residents and that the Council should ensure that the appropriate information was available on the website to inform people.  In response the Director stated once all the relevant work was completed, he would ensure that the information was widely available.  Councillor Williams also took the opportunity to thank the Cabinet Member for all the work that had been undertaken to date, but referred to the need for the Council to maintain its assets or future bills could be larger than initially thought.   

 

The Chairman, in conclusion, stated that the report had not only outlined all the issues for the Council, but in addition it had highlighted the works that had been undertaken to date.  He also concurred with the view that members of the public should be fully informed of the issues and of the work undertaken.  The Chairman thanked Councillors Dr. Johnson and Williams for bringing the matter to the attention of the Committee and Mr. Blakeman for his representations.

 

It was subsequently

 

 RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for information and that Cabinet be requested to consider that the details of the flood and drainage schemes (as detailed in the report) are placed on the Council’s website for public information.

 

(3)       T H A T a progress report on current and future drainage issues throughout the Vale is brought to the Scrutiny Committee in 12 months following the date of the meeting.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In noting the contents of the report.

 

(2)       To inform Cabinet of the contents of the report and to seek approval for the details of flood and drainage schemes to be placed on the website.

 

(3)       In order for the Scrutiny Committee to monitor progress.

 

 

974     LEISURE CENTRE PARTNERSHIP PROJECT (DDS) –

 

The report provided the Committee with an update on the progress of the Leisure Management Partnership Contract with Parkwood Community Leisure.  The Chairman advised that prior to the meeting, on 22nd February 2013, Members of the Committee together with the Cabinet Member and Chairman of Corporate Resources had undertaken site visits to Barry, Cowbridge, Llantwit Major and Penarth Leisure Centres in order to witness the work that had been undertaken and the ongoing work being undertaken.  As a result of the visit the Operational Manager advised that a request had been made for the Committee to receive details of recent energy saving initiatives that had been introduced into the Centres and this information was attached at Appendix A to the report.

 

The report  further outlined that the tender submitted by Parkwood Community Leisure fully complied with the requirements detailed in the Invitation to Tender documentation and as a result several major initiatives had been introduced during the first seven months of the partnership. These included a major investment of £1,000,000 in Barry and Penarth Leisure Centres, funded by the Council, which was available to all potential partners on the proviso that the overall contract price would benefit in excess of £1,000,000 during the ten initial years of the partnership.  Parkwood Community Leisure had used this money to create new fitness suites in both Barry and Penarth, the creation of a new exercise studio in Penarth and significant work on the development of a café in the foyer of Barry Leisure Centre (due to open in April 2013).

 

In addition, Parkwood Community Leisure had also provided new gym equipment and created a new catering service in Penarth.  The catering area was not included in the contract submission but had been provided as an additional facility.

 

Work had also been completed on a new fitness suite for Llantwit Major Leisure Centre which had been funded by the Council, again on a payback principle, which had been detailed in the completed contract documentation.

 

The £2,000,000 allocated by the Council to address issues associated with the condition surveys commissioned as part of the contract process had been partly spent on items such as roof repairs and electrical works.  Discussions were currently ongoing between Parkwood Community Leisure and Council officers on how the remainder of this allocation would be spent. 

 

Other significant initiatives introduced by Parkwood Community Leisure since the commencement of the partnership agreement included a new fitness class timetable at all sites, with more classes now being offered than previously, the introduction of (Sway) dance classes for children and young people, significant investment from Parkwood on new spin bikes, a refreshed learn to swim programme and new branding initiatives such as Café Vita and "Expressions" health and fitness.

 

The Operational Manager advised that as a result of the above usage of the  Centres was increasing at significant rates and more staff were employed by Parkwood Community Leisure, in the Vale of Glamorgan, than the Council employed at the point of transfer. Complaints had also been low, with possibly the greatest difficulty being experienced with pitch bookings, which were a late variation to the contract.

 

The Chairman and Committee Members took the opportunity to thank the Operational Manager and Democratic Scrutiny Officer for the arrangements made for the site visits which they had found extremely helpful and useful and which had given an excellent insight into the partnership with Parkwood.

 

In addition the Operational Manager advised that it was important to note that the Barry and Penarth Leisure Centres were the two busiest facilities owned by the Council.  The Chairman stated that the report was positive and that Parkwood had made great strides with the refurbishments that were being undertaken.   However, whilst undertaking the site visits Members had become aware of recharging issues within the Council but, as the matter was not within this Scrutiny Committee’s remit, the Chairman suggested that he discuss the matter with the Chairman of Corporate Resources.

 

Following consideration of the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Chairman, with the approval of the Scrutiny Committee, be requested to discuss the issue of Council recharges with the Chairman of the Corporate Resources Scrutiny Committee.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for information in view of the good progress that was being made at the Centres.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In order for the Council to consider a way forward to progress any recharge issues.

 

(2)       The Committee considered that the report provided a good update on the partnership with Parkwood and that the Cabinet should be informed accordingly of the progress to date.

 

 

975     VISIBLE SERVICES – PROPOSED FEES AND CHARGES FOR 2013/2014 (DVSH) –

 

The proposed charges for Visible Services were set out in the appendices to the report as below:

  • Appendix 1: Waste Management and Cleansing
  • Appendix 2: Highways and Engineering
  • Appendix 3: Parks and Grounds Maintenance
  • Appendix 4: Parks and Grounds Maintenance and Porthkerry Cemetery.

The Director of Visible Services and Housing presented the report by advising that due to ongoing increases in landfill charges it was proposed to increase commercial waste charges for residual waste by 10%.  Whilst these above inflation level costs may detrimentally affect a number of commercial businesses, the private sector had a choice as to whether to use the Council’s refuse collection and recycling service or an alternative service provider. 

 

With regard to kerbside recycling, it was proposed not to increase the cost of reusable green bags which are currently priced at £1.  the charges for biodegradable sacks would also be set at the same value as the last six years at three sacks for £1.  As part of the continued Waste Awareness Campaign and the wish to limit the future use of plastic carrier bags, it was also being proposed to keep the cost of the jute reusable shopping bags at 50p each. 

 

The report proposed to increase all other waste charges by 3%. 

 

It was not proposed to increase the charges for coastal car parks but to keep these charges the same as in 2012 / 2013 at £4.00 / day. 

 

It was proposed that all other charges in this area be increased by 3%.

 

Parks and Grounds Maintenance (Appendix 3)

 

It was proposed that all charges in Parks and Grounds Maintenance, with the exception of cemetery costs, be increased by 3%. 

 

Parks and Grounds Maintenance and Porthkerry Cemetery (Appendix 4)

 

As in previous years, the charges proposed were those put forward by Barry Town Council who manages this Cemetery on our behalf.

 

There were a number of senior football clubs who benefit from additional maintenance and facilities due to their positions within higher leagues. A number of these clubs have bespoke licence agreements with the Council which in most cases result in them paying less per game than clubs in the local Vale of Glamorgan League. In return these clubs usually undertake limited pitch preparation work and provide staffing cover for certain pavilions. It was proposed that all these agreements now be reviewed and a policy established which assists in controlling the numbers of pitches set aside for higher league football for the future, whilst also ensuring that the full costs of the increased standards of provision are recovered. A draft policy in this regard would be submitted to this Committee for consideration during 2013/14.

 

Parkwood Leisure was responsible for taking bookings for football matches on an interim basis. This was currently under review and it was proposed that the Director of Visible Services and Housing be granted delegated authority to agree any suitable alternative pitch booking arrangements and to vary the fees for senior football for 2013/14 in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks Culture and Sport Development; should a more reliable, lower cost pitch booking arrangement become available.              

 

It was the general consensus that the fees and charges proposed were reasonable and, as such, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee supports the charging and fee proposals for Visible Services as set out in the report.

 

(2)       T H A T that the fees and charges be forwarded to Cabinet for approval.

 

(3)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider that a further report detailing a draft policy for the future arrangements for the playing of high league football on Council owned pitches be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in 2013/14.

 

(4)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to consider that the Director of Visible Services and Housing be granted delegated authority, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sport Development, to agree an alternative arrangement for the payment of football pitch booking fees and any variation to such fees required as a result.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To demonstrate the Committee’s support for the charge increases proposed for 2013/14.

 

(2)       For Cabinet approval.

 

(3)       In order to establish a policy for the use of Council owned pitches for higher league football in the future and to ensure that all additional costs of such are appropriately recovered.

 

(4)       To permit a prompt decision on any changes to the current booking system and any resulting variation to pitch fees for the 2013/14 period.

 

 

976     QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE MONITORING REPORTS –

 

The following reports were submitted for Members’ consideration:

  • Economy, Planning and Transportation
  • Leisure and Tourism
  • Strategy and Support
  • Visible Services.

In presenting the reports both the Director of Visible Services and Housing and the Operational Manager for Leisure and Tourism advised that in relation to sickness absence officers were adhering to the Council’s Management of Attendance Policy.  With regard to future reporting on the Strategy and Support Members were advised that following a restructuring exercise these would be incorporated into the Directorate of Visible Services and Housing monitoring reports at the year end.  Members noted the increase in leavers under L938Q, aware that this was primarily due to restructuring and savings that had been made.  However, Members raised concerns in respect of a number of PIs that they considered were not meaningful and it was agreed for the Chairman to discuss with Directors and the Improvement and Development Team any PIs that could be considered for deletion at year end. 

 

It was subsequently,

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the reports be noted and that the Chairman, on behalf of the Scrutiny Committee, discuss meaningful PIs with the Directors and the Improvement and Development Team as outlined above.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In consideration of the contents of the reports.

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