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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 16th April, 2013.

 

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

 

Also present: Councillors L. Burnett and G. John.

 

 

1055   APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE

 

This was received from Councillor P. J. Clarke.

 

 

1056   MINUTES –  

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meetings held on 28th February, 2013 and 12th March, 2013 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

1057   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

Councillor G.A. Cox declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 4 in that his wife was a member of the Cowbridge Food Festival Committee and he would leave the room when the item was to be discussed. 

 

 

1058   PROPOSED EVENTS PROGRAMME 2013 – 2014 (CALL-IN) –

 

Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson had requested that the matter be called in for the reasons below:

 

"Tourism is considered an important economic driver in the Vale of Glamorgan with public leisure events attracting visitors from within the county and outside.

 

It therefore seems inappropriate that there is no discussion of economic cost benefits for 2013-14 Events Programme that can be used to determine the success of events supported by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

 

The decision to lower support for the Tall Ships Festival, despite the organisers already planning for the event and instead being replaced by an as yet underdetermined event earlier in the season on Barry Island suggest a need to examine forward planning principles.

 

I request that Scrutiny calls in this decision at its next meeting on 16th April, 2013."

 

In presenting the reasons for the call - in Cllr Johnson stated that his concerns related to the moving of events from the Waterfront, the fact that the budget was lower than the previous year, although he was aware that the Council had been heavily involved in the Eisteddfod and he also sought clarification on the bidding process for events.

 

The Director of Development Services in response advised that the rationale behind the report was to set a programme of events for the year, provide details of the types of events and funding issues e.g. whether by grant or in kind assistance. The report to Cabinet on 18th March 2013 at Appendix A had detailed a suggested events programme and sources of funding for 2013/14.  The Director advised that some of the costs had been included in order for the Council to meet its obligations in terms of traffic management, road closures etc., with other costs being in the form of a direct grant to the organiser.  The report highlighted that in addition and regardless of any grant award the Council would also try to assist organisers with other support for organising, marketing and implementing events.  The Council would of course require recognition of such support which would be written into any agreement to fund or support the said event.  Some funding would however, be kept back in order to be used for other events that may come up during the year

 

On 1st and 2nd September 2012 the Tall Ship Festival had taken place on the Goods Shed site, Hood Rd and on Arno Quay at Barry Waterfront (opposite Morrisons).  The Goods Shed site housed the Fairground, catering and the vintage vehicle area, and the Dock area had been the setting for the Tall Ship, a range of stalls, children's activities, small acoustic stage and a large live stage with a two day music programme.  This area had also housed a bar and catering area.  Visitors' figures for the 2012 festival had been down on previous years as the weekend had been hit by inclement weather.

 

The Director further advised that in 2013  construction works would take place on and around the Goods Shed site which would mean the area would not be available for a full 2013 Tall Ship Festival.  This would leave only the dockside site for such an event, it was reported that over the last few years the grassed area on the dockside site had become more difficult to use particularly in wet weather.  The site had no drainage and in 2012 a trackway temporary road surface had been brought in to stop the stage vehicles getting stuck, which had been costly.  In addition, the site was very close to residents and even though the Council implemented road closures and resident permits for the festival weekend, residents were increasingly affected by noise and traffic during the event.  This dockside area was also not owned by the Council and development could start on the site at any time in the future.

 

With reference to the above and working within the budget of the festival, it had been suggested that the Tall Ship Festival in its previous form had therefore come to a natural end and a new event be developed in its place.  It was anticipated that this new event would take place on Barry Island and rather than using the same dates as the Tall Ship Festival, which was at the end of the summer season, the replacement event it was considered should mark the start of the summer event season on Barry Island.  In 2012 the Tall Ships Youth Trust who attended the festival with its vessel Stavros S Niarchos, had been made aware that its previous level of funding may not continue in 2013 as the festival itself may not take place beyond 2012.

 

A number of Members concurred with the sentiments that the event had “come to the end of its life” in its current form and that it was necessary for a new site to be considered.  The flooding issues at the site had also been overwhelming in the previous year and it was therefore time to move on.

 

However, Committee was informed that the Tall Ships Youth Trust had indicated that despite the Council's current thinking they intended to visit Barry at the same time as previous years.  The report had therefore recommended that the Council planned for a small event around the presence of the tall ship, albeit not on the same scale and to the same extent as in previous years.  The Council would also need to plan for such an event in the usual manner through the Events Group and Safety Advisory Group.

 

In referring to resource implications it was noted for the Corporate Events budget the Council had committed in 2012/2013 £250,000 to events whereas in 2011/2012 the spend for the budget stood at £193,000.  The report however, also indicated that the Director was seeking to commit £97,000 from the budget with the scope for seeking further funding if necessary upon consideration of potential additional events and additional requests for support. The devolved events budget stood at £31,000 per annum and in 2012 the budget had been used to fund and support a number of events ranging from the Cowbridge Food Festival, the Barry Transport Festival to Vale wide firework and Christmas events. 

 

In response to a query as to whether events in Dinas Powys had been sponsored by the Council the Director advised events like the Dinas Powys Victorian Fayre and festivals throughout the Vale had been supported by the Council.  He however, pointed out that not all support was financial as much of the support was assistance and advice from officers and staff in kind i.e. traffic management issues, litter picking etc.

 

The Director also advised that some grants for events had been reduced as some events were now sustainable on their own which meant that other events and organisations could be supported.

 

In response to a Member query as to how visitor numbers were recorded the Director explained that various devices were used to record visitor numbers e.g. clicker systems, tickets and head counts. 

 

Having fully considered the report and the call-in it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the resolutions of Cabinet be accepted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In view of the information provided.

 

(N.B. Councillor G.A. Cox vacated the room whilst this item was being discussed)

 

 

1059   INNOVATION QUARTER (BARRY WATERFRONT) – UPDATED INDICATIVE IQ MASTER PLAN AND CONSOLIDATION PAPER (CALL-IN) –  

 

Cabinet, at its meeting on 18th March had been informed of the progress and achievements of the Innovation Quarter to date which were outlined at Appendix A to the report.  Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson had subsequently requested that the resolutions of Cabinet be called-in for consideration by the Scrutiny Committee for the following reasons:

 

"The future development of the Waterfront area, including the Innovation Quarter, is an important part of the regeneration and economic development of Barry.

 

Substantial changes to the character of the southern development site as agreed by Cabinet on 18th March 2013 should therefore be a matter for consideration by the appropriate Scrutiny Committee prior to Cabinet action.

 

Local members tabled comments expressing concerns regarding the process, including that the weighting applied was inappropriate in determination of a preferred option.  These comments are appended for the benefit of Committee members.

 

The Cabinet decision should be 'called-in' to scrutiny at the next meeting on 16th April 2013 to determine whether the process and final decision are appropriate."

 

Cllr Johnson advised that he had been concerned about the criteria that had been used, the limited consultation that in his opinion had been undertaken and the future of the waterfront and the role of Tourism and Leisure. Although he was aware that the Chairman had raised the issue of the Pumphouse at a recent Council meeting he wished to receive further details from the officers of the intentions for the site and in particular the rationale for the decisions made for the Waterfront and the vision for the future.

 

The Consolidation Paper attached at Appendix A to the report identified the purpose, it included an introduction which set out the progress and achievements and Section 3 described the delivery since 2004 of the following development projects:

  • The BSC (with its offices and workshops)
  • The West Quay Medical Centre
  • The Skills Training Centre (with its Training Centre and adjoining railway workshop)
  • The Premier Inn and Brewers Fayre Restaurant
  • The restored and occupied Hood Road Goods Shed
  • The restored Grade II Listed Hydraulic Pumphouse (currently on the market) and
  • The recently adopted Hood Road highway (linking the IQ to Broad Street / High Street shopping centre to the north and to the south the Waterfront via Ffordd y Mileniwm).

Section 3 of the Consolidation Paper also identified the economic, environmental and social / community regeneration benefits generated by the above completed projects.  It was reported that the IQ had attracted £25.7 million of public and private investment leading to c14 acres of the 19 acre site being regenerated, creating and safeguarding 184 operational jobs (full time and part time), creating an estimated 600 construction jobs, constructing 8,900 sqm of new floorspace, 1,800m² of historic buildings externally restored and the delivery of 22,673m² of adopted highway.

 

The Consolidation Paper also proceeded to identify for the IQ its “Remaining Development Opportunities” (Section 4), firstly the ongoing challenge of securing an end use for the grade 11 Listed Hydraulic Pumphouse and secondly a requirement to redevelop the 4 acres of undeveloped land in front of the Hood Road Goods Shed referred to as the Southern Development Site. 

 

Section 4 of the Consolidation Paper referred to the status of the ongoing marketing of the Hydraulic Pumphouse (due for completion April 2013) and provided an options appraisal for the future of the undeveloped 4 acres in front of the Hood Road Goods Shed, i.e. the Southern Development Site.  The options appraisal compared and evaluated (in Figures 8a and 8b on Pages 69 and 70) two alternative options for the Southern Development Site:

  • Option 1 – Building Development Site, Public Car Park and Primary School; and
  • Option 2 – Events Area, Public Car Park and Primary School.

The conclusion of the options appraisal and Section 4 identified that the temporary events area should be redeveloped as a Building Development Site (as per the original 2004 master plan), alongside the proposed school and a 56 space public car park (required to serve the IQ). In conclusion Option 1 was noted as the preferred option. 

 

Section 5 of the report incorporated the Hydraulic Pumphouse being brought back into beneficial use and Option 1 for the Southern Development Site.  

 

The Consolidation Paper emphasised that the updated master plan was indicative and provided a flexible framework for guiding the co-ordinated completion of the 19-acre IQ development area.

 

The Director advised that it had always been the intention for the Waterfront, to be an urban quarter.  Included in the development proposals he advised was a school, the Premier Inn and a Medical Centre had already been established, aswell as housing developments and the BSC and the Pumphouse had also been put out to tender.  He stated that the vision remained to ensure that a high quality urban scheme was produced and that progress was ongoing.   The majority of Members concurred with the Director that the key issue was for progress to be maintained and that the document was an excellent document which addressed a number of issues.

 

With regard to consultation the Project Manager advised that no consultation on the document itself had been undertaken but various consultations on the schemes delivered to date had taken place as part of the statutory planning process   In referring to the Pumphouse he reported that tender submissions had been received on 15th April 2013 and would be considered by the Project Board in due course. In response to a query raised by Members as to the capital receipt for the Triangle he would seek legal advice and if able to would advise Members accordingly. 

 

The Project Manager also advised that with regard to the options although option 2 was discounted as not practical he felt it had to be incorporated in the report for completeness.

 

Following no further queries from Cllr Johnson, and it being the general consensus of opinion that progress was required on the development it was

 

RECOMMENDED

 

T H A T the Cabinet resolutions be accepted.

 

Reason for Recommendation

 

Having regard to the information provided. 

 

 

1060   CONSIDERATION TO BAN DOGS FROM VALE PLAY AREAS –

 

Councillor R.J. Bertin had submitted a request for consideration for a report   to consider proposals to prohibit dogs from entering children’s play areas across the Vale of Glamorgan.  Full details of the request were included within the agenda.

 

In presenting his request Councillor Bertin stated that many members of the public had been eager for a debate to take place on the matter and that in view of the fact the Council could now make its own dog control orders due to changes in recent legislation, he asked for the Committees support for a review of the issue to be undertaken.  Councillor Bertin had also advised the public of his intentions in respect of the request via the local press and a number of responses had been received from residents which were attached at Appendix B to the report.

 

The Director of Visible Services and Housing in referring to the report advised   that in 2001 the Vale of Glamorgan Bye-Laws for “Dog Ban, The Removal of Faeces and Dogs on Leads for Public Walks, Pleasure Grounds and Open Spaces” had been sealed and confirmed by the National Assembly for Wales.  This had enabled the Council to ban dogs from a number of sites in the Vale which were listed at Appendix A to the report.  To date, enforcement of the Dog Ban Bye-Law had only been advisory with no fines issued or prosecutions progressed.  However, recently, “Dog Control Orders” had replaced the previous system of bye-laws for the control of dogs and also the penalties, fines, etc. under the Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 as this Act was repealed by the “Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005”.  However, the bye-laws that had previously been made by the Council remained in force indefinitely and could continue to be enforced as normal. 

 

Under the legislation it was now possible for all local authorities to make a Dog Control Order to provide controls on the handling and behaviour of dogs on areas of land within their authority.  The Director further highlighted that over recent years the Council had acquired a number of new parks and open spaces but these new areas were not covered by the existing bye-laws and therefore some consideration needed to be given to regulating various activities on these sites, including dog control.

 

There were a number of options open to the Council.  One option was that the Council could consider introducing Dog Control Orders just in respect of dog exclusion in relation to play areas within parks and open spaces throughout the county.  This would mean that there would be the existing Dog Bye-laws and a series of Dog Control Orders operating side by side.

 

An alternative option would be to consider revoking the existing Dog Bye-laws and introducing new Dog Control Orders which could cover failing to remove dog faeces; not keeping a dog on a lead; not putting, and keeping, a dog on a lead when directed to do so by an authorised officer; permitting a dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded during certain times or permanently; and taking more than the specified number of dogs onto land.  Once introduced, the Council might seek to prosecute dog control offences, and a  fine of up to level three on the standard scale (currently £1,000) may be given upon conviction.  Alternatively fixed penalty notices could be given to suspected offenders, giving them the opportunity to discharge liability for the offence.

 

The Director suggested that in view of the above officers should consider the matter in greater detail and provide a report to Cabinet, in the near future, detailing the various options available. Members’ views were also requested to assist in this process.  At this point reference was also made to the service plan and action plan that were to be dealt with later in the agenda it being noted that £10,000 had been set aside in the plan to consider a review of bye-laws.  It was the general consensus of opinion to support the Request for Consideration as Members agreed that it was essential to address the issue specifically in children’s play areas.  The Cabinet Member, who was also present and granted permission to speak, reiterated Members’ concerns and advised that he fully supported the request. He referred to, in particular, the issues of dog faeces on many sports fields throughout the Vale and the continuing need to advise people of the problems that could be caused to users by walking dogs in these areas. 

 

In summation Councillor Bertin reiterated his concerns in relation to children’s play and multi use areas throughout the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

Following consideration of the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T Cabinet be advised of the Scrutiny Committees support for a more detailed report on options, in respect of the above, and the possible introduction of Dog Control Orders, to be submitted to Cabinet, in the near future.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To enable Cabinet to consider the introduction of further mechanisms to control anti social activities by dog owners in parks and open spaces and to further consider improving enforcement methods.

 

 

1061   SERVICE PLANNING 2013 / 2017 (DDS) –

 

The report outlined the new service planning arrangements for 2013/2017 as the previous arrangements had been reviewed to reflect the new senior management restructure with there now being fewer plans i.e. eight in total for 2013-14 providing a strategic overview of each Directorate.  It was noted that below this level officers would also need to develop team plans.  The new service planning template had been approved by the Council’s Corporate Management Team on 29th August 2012 and the new plans addressed a number of key questions aimed at enabling services to improve how they measure and provide evidence of their contribution to the priority outcomes identified in the Corporate Plan. 

 

Members had previously been informed of the revised format via a report to all Scrutiny Committees during February 2012.  In addition, pilot plans had been considered by relevant Scrutiny Committees during 2012/13 and had been circulated to all Elected Members. 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the new service planning arrangements as contained within in the report be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In view of the changes required.

 

 

1062   SERVICE PLAN – DIRECTORATE OF DEVELOPMENT SERVICES (DDS) –

 

For Members’ information the Director of Development Services drew attention to the fact that the plan also included reference to the elements of his service area that were under the remit of the Scrutiny Committee (Housing and Public Protection).  In considering the service plan and actions that fell within the remit of the Scrutiny Committee Economy and Environment Members referred to the ongoing work of the Welsh Government Cardiff Airport Task Force and that an action should be included under Objective 9 in recognition of the work involved for the Council. The Committee also requested to receive an update on the progress being undertaken by the Task Force to a future meeting. 

 

In response to a request for a policy on 20mph zones within the Vale, the Director advised that this issue would be addressed within team plans if appropriate.  The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation, having been granted permission to speak responded by advising that the Council currently had no policy to support 20mph zones throughout the Vale and that the consistent approach would be to listen to local people and local needs and deal with issues on a local basis. 

 

With regard to a query in relation to a cycle path between Barry and Dinas Powys and a possible feasibility study, the Director explained that this cycle path continued to be an aspirational one for the Council and as such had not therefore been reflected in the service plan.  However, he confirmed that the action plan at page 133 of the report detailed an action subject to the securing of land owner agreements, to implement improvement works to the Ash Path linking Dinas Powys to the Penarth Learning Community.

 

Having fully considered the service plan and the action plan, the Committee subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to include an action under Objective 9, in the action plan, to work with Welsh Government in administering the Cardiff Airport Task Force with the success criteria being identified as to increase passenger numbers.

 

(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee receives a progress update on the work of the Cardiff Airport Task Force at a future meeting.

 

(3)       T H A T notwithstanding recommendation (1) above the service plan and action plan be endorsed.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure that the work of the Cardiff Airport Task Force is recognised and addressed appropriately within the service action plan.

 

(2)       To update Elected Members.

 

(3)       Having been considered by the Committee.

 

 

1063   SERVICE PLAN – DIRECTORATE OF VISIBLE SERVICES AND HOUSING (DVSH) –

 

It was noted that the Visible Services draft service plan had been reported to the Scrutiny Committee in 2012 due to the fact that the service area had been part of a pilot project under the new service planning arrangements.

 

The report highlighted that Visible Services comprised a group of four interlinked service areas:

  • Waste Management and Cleansing
  • Parks and Grounds Maintenance
  • Highways and Engineering
  • Vehicle Maintenance and Fleet Management.

The Housing element of the Directorate would be addressed in a service plan to be reported to the Housing and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee. 

 

Following consideration of the plans Members made reference to the request for consideration that had been discussed earlier in the meeting in respect of “Banning Dogs from Vale Play Areas” , and subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to increase the priority under Objective 2,  in the action plan at page 43, “to review options for the introduction of “Dog Control Orders” within the Vale of Glamorgan” from a low priority to a medium priority.

 

(2)       T H A T not withstanding recommendation (1) above the service plan and action plan be endorsed 

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In recognition of the discussions that had taken place earlier in the meeting.

 

(2)       Having been considered by the Committee.

 

           

1064   IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2013/14 (MD) –

 

The Local Government Measure 2009 required the Council to set improvement objectives annually.  The Council was required to consult on the improvement objectives with it being proposed that the objectives are published on the Council’s website during April 2013 with comments invited from the public.  A summary of the results of the public consultation would be included in a report to Cabinet. The eight improvement objectives were attached at Appendix 1 to the report for completeness, with it being noted that Objectives 1 and 7 were within the remit of the Scrutiny Committee and were presented for consideration:

  • Objective 1 – to promote sustainable practices throughout our domestic waste management services with a particular focus on promoting waste prevention, reducing landfill and increasing recycling
  • Objective 7 – to manage the effect of climate change with a particular focus on local flood and coastal erosion risk management.

With regard to Objective 7 the Director advised that this now reflected a change in recognition of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010.

 

In referring to the rationale for Objective 1, Members noted that the last two lines of the penultimate paragraph should read as follows:

 

“… and this should significantly reduce the Council’s risk of not achieving national targets.”

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the proposed improvement objectives for 2013/14 within the Committee’s remit be endorsed and referred to Cabinet subject to the word “not” being inserted in the last line of the penultimate paragraph under the rationale for objective 1.

 

Reasons for recommendation

 

(1)       To ensure that the Council identifies and publishes annual improvement objectives for 2013/14 in line with requirements of the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009.

 

(2)       To ensure that improvement objectives focus specifically on those areas where there is a need for improvement, reflecting the work being undertaken across the Council to improve the quality of life for Vale residents.

 

(3)       To enable the Council to more easily demonstrate achievement of its objectives.

 

(4)       To reflect the fact that the typing error would have changed the emphasis.

 

(5)       To refer to Cabinet.

 

 

1065   SITE INSPECTIONS (DR) –

 

The report referred to the attendance of Members at recent site visit made on 22nd February to leisure centres managed by Parkwood and to the Colcot Sports Centre in Barry.  It was noted that Members visited throughout the day the Colcot Sports Centre, Llantwit Major Leisure Centre, Barry Leisure Centre, Cowbridge Leisure Centre and Penarth Leisure Centre prior to receiving a report on the progress in relation to Parkwood to its March meeting.

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the report be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To advise Members.

 

 

1066   SCRUTINY TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS (DR) –

 

Members were apprised of progress in relation to the recommendations that had been made by the Scrutiny Committee for the third quarter October to December 2012 and the fourth quarter January to March 2013 the details of which were attached at Appendix A and Appendix B to the report.

 

Having fully considered the report and the appendices, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the following recommendations be deemed as completed:

 

09 October 2012

Min. No. 410 - Proposals to Aid the Regeneration of Barry Island (DDS) – Recommended

(4)   That a further report be submitted to Cabinet to confirm the outcome of feasibility works and discussions relating to the development options for Nell’s Point and the regeneration options for Barry Island as contained within the report.

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

 

 

(4)   Cabinet, on 15th October 2012, approved the Committee’s recommendations and resolved to receive a further report in due course (Min. No. C1867 refers).

Completed

 

(5)   Cabinet, on 15th October 2012, endorsed the report and approved the Committee’s recommendations (Min. No. C1867 refers).

Completed

06 November 2012

Min. No. 506 - Vale of Glamorgan Agricultural Show - Vale of Glamorgan Council Business Breakfast, Feedback Report and Business Liaison Activities (REF) – Recommended

(2)   That the annual Extraordinary Scrutiny Committee meeting with businesses be scheduled for a date in April 2013.

 

 

 

 

Meeting to be held on 9th April 2013 at 6.00 p.m.

Completed

15 January 2013

Min. No. 730 - Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April, 2012 to 30th November, 2012 (DDS and DVSH) – Recommended

(2)   That the Scrutiny Committee recommends to Cabinet and Council to reduce the Alexandra Gardens Community Centre re-build capital scheme to £200,000 and carry forward £227,000 to 2013/14.

 

 

 

Cabinet, on 25th February 2013, endorsed the Committee’s recommendations (Min. No. C1219).

Completed

Min. No. 734 - Barry Cluster Communities First (REF) – Recommended

(2)   That a further progress report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee and that Members representing Communities First Areas be updated on a regular basis as to ongoing progress.

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 736 - Play Sufficiency Audit (REF) – Recommended

(2)    That a further report be brought back to the Scrutiny Committee in due course.

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 738 - Progress Report - XFOR (Local Authority Support Ltd.) Environmental Enforcement Services Trial (DVSH) – Recommended

(2)   That a further detailed report on the outcome of the trial, before its completion, be reported to the Scrutiny Committee.

 

 

 

(3)   That arrangements be made for all Members of the Council to receive monthly reports on the Fixed Penalty Notices issued per week and the patrolling routes taken by XFOR officers.

(4)   That the above recommendations be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

 

 

 

(2)   Added to work programme schedule.  Cabinet, on 4th February 2013, resolved that a further detailed report on the outcome of the trial be reported to Cabinet and this Committee (Min. No. C1995 refers).

Completed

 

(3&4)  Cabinet, on 4th February 2013, agreed with the Committee’s recommendations (Min. No. C1995 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 739 - Prosiect Gwyrdd Partnership - Residual Waste Treatment (DVSH) – Recommended

(2)   That a further report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in February 2013 detailing the identity of the preferred bidder and the proposed inter-Authority agreement between all partners for the contract term.

(3)   That the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

 

 

(2)   Report presented to Committee on 28th February 2013.

Completed

 

 

(3)   Cabinet, on 4th February 2013, noted the Committee’s recommendations (Min. No. C1996 refers).

Completed

12 February 2013

Min. No. 852 - End of Year Performance Report by Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) - National Strategic Indicators, Public Accountability Measures, Service Improvement Data (MD) – Recommended that the performance results be noted and the further report as requested above be presented to the Committee in due course.

[THS/011a - resurfacing work and the materials used.]

 

 

 

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 853 - Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (REF) – Recommended that the discussions above be forwarded to Cabinet for consideration and information.

 

 

Cabinet, on 4th March 2013, noted the contents of the report (Min. No. C1246 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 854 - Fees and Charges - Countryside Services (DDS) – Recommended

(1)   That Cabinet be requested to review the traffic management arrangements in Porthkerry with a view to reducing or ending the car parking charges in Porthkerry Country Park.

 

(2)   That notwithstanding recommendation (1) above the remaining fees and charges as contained within the Appendices to the report, together with the amendment to ranger led walks (adult) Porthkerry Country Park for 2013/14 of £4.25 be recommended to Cabinet for approval.

(3)   That all charges set be the maximum cost with the Director of Development Services having the ability to reduce for promotions.

 

(4)   That the above recommendations be referred to Cabinet for consideration for approval.

 

 

(1)   Cabinet, at its meeting on 4th March 2013, resolved that the Director of Visible Services and Housing be requested to review the traffic management arrangements at Porthkerry (Min. No. C1245 refers)

Completed

(2)   Cabinet, on 4th March 2013, approved the remaining fees and charges (Min. No. C1245 refers).

Completed

 

 

 

(3)   Cabinet, at its meeting on 4th March 2013, approved the recommendation (Min. No. C1245 refers).

Completed

 

(4)   Cabinet, on 4th March 2013, approved the recommendations of Committee (Min. No. C1245 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 855 - Civil Parking Enforcement - Progress (DVSH) – Recommended that the report on the progress being made and the above comments of the Committee be referred to Cabinet for consideration.

 

 

Cabinet, on 4th March 2013, noted the Committee’s recommendation (Min No. C1244 refers).

Completed

28 February 2013

Min. No. 912 - Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2012 to 31st December 2012 (DDS and DVSH) –  Recommended

(2)   That the following be endorsed and referred to Cabinet for approval:

(i)     to increase the 2012/13 budget for the Coastal Access Improvement to £92.8k (funded from a Countryside Commission for Wales grant of £11.5k and a revenue contribution of £1.25k from existing Development Services budgets)

(ii)   to include a budget of £16k in the 2012/13 Dyffryn Gardens Phase 1 Capital Programme (funded from a transfer from the Alexandra Gardens Community Centre re-build capital budget)

(iii) to increase the existing Leisure Centre Refurbishment budget to £3.290m (additional £147k funded from a repayable Salix loan),

(iv)  to reduce the Five Mile Lane capital budget to £1.123m

(v)    to increase the Gibbonsdown Children’s Centre budget by £10k (funded from a transfer from the Community Centre Asset Renewal capital budget).

 

 

 

Referred to Cabinet meeting of 8th April 2013 where Cabinet approved the Committee’s recommendations (Min. No. C1284 refers).

Completed

 

12 March 2013

Min. No. 971 - Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April 2012 to 31st January 2013 (DDS and DVSH) – Recommended

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

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

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

 

 

 

(1-6)  Referred to Cabinet meeting on 8th April 2013 whereat Cabinet noted the report as the recommendations had been dealt with in another reference i.e. Corporate Resources (Min. No. C1286 refers).

Completed

 

Min. No. 972 - Colcot Sports Centre Options Appraisal (DVSH) – Recommended

 

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

(1&2)   Cabinet, at its meeting on 8th April 2013, resolved to defer the matter for a site visit to enable the Cabinet to see the buildings first hand and to receive a full officer briefing on the further options for the centre and the associated amenities in the surrounding area (Min. No. C1282 refers).

Completed

 

 

 

 

 

(3)   Referred to Cabinet meeting on 8th April 2013, whereat Cabinet resolved that the Operational Manager of Parks and Grounds Maintenance be authorised 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) (Min. No. C1282 refers).

Completed

 

 

(4)   Cabinet, on 8th April 2013, resolved that the Operational Manager 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 (Min. No. C1282 refers)

Completed

 

(5)   Cabinet, on 8th April 2013, resolved that the Operational Manager of Legal Services be authorised to execute the new leases on behalf of the Council and register the same (Min. No. C1282 refers).

Completed

 

(6)   Added to work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 973 - Flooding Works Carried out Since July 2007 (Request for Consideration of Matter)(DVSH) – Recommended

(2)   That 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)   That 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.

 

 

 

(2)   Cabinet, at its meeting on 8th April 2013, noted the report and resolved that the Director of Visible Services and Housing ensure that the details of the flood and drainage schemes as detailed in the report are placed on the Council’s website for public information (Min. No. C1283 refers).

Completed

 

(3)   Cabinet, at its meeting on 8th April 2013, resolved that the Director of Visible Services and Housing provide a progress to Cabinet on the issues within 12 months (Min. No. C1283 refers).  Added to Scrutiny Committee’s work programme schedule.

Completed

Min. No. 974 - Leisure Centre Partnership Project (DDS) – Recommended

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

 

 

Cabinet, on 8th April 2013, noted the report (Min. No. 1281 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 975 - Visible Services – Proposed Fees and Charges for 2013/2014 (DVSH) – Recommended

(2)   That that the fees and charges be forwarded to Cabinet for approval.

 

 

(3)   That 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)   That 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.

 

 

 

(2)   Cabinet, on 18th March, approved the fees (Min. No. C1275 refers).

Completed

 

(3)   Cabinet, on 18th March, agreed that a further report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet in 2013/14 (Min. No. C1275 refers).

Completed

 

(4)   Cabinet, on 18th March, agreed the Committee’s request (Min. No. C1275 refers).

Completed

 

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To maintain effective tracking of the Committee’s recommendations.

 

 

1067   MATTER WHICH THE CHAIRMAN HAD DECIDED WAS URGENT -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the following matter, which the Chairman had decided was urgent for the reason stated beneath the minute heading be considered.

 

 

1068   CHANGING ECONOMIC CIRCUMSTANCES SUPPORTING BUSINESSES IN THE LOCAL ECONOMY – FEEDBACK ON ISSUES RAISED (DDS)

(Matter which the Chairman had decided was urgent by reason of the need to consider issues raised at the Scrutiny Meeting of 9th April 2013)

 

The Director of Development Services had prepared the report to provide initial urgent feedback on some of the issues that had been raised at the Extraordinary Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 9th April 2013 with local businesses and key stakeholders.  Prior to the Director presenting the report the Chairman took the opportunity to apologise to the Members of the Scrutiny Committee, the Cabinet Member and Director as in hindsight he considered that he should have allowed responses to queries on the night.  However, he stated that at the time he had thought that as all the issues raised would be addressed in a separate report, that a number of the attendees who had asked questions had left the meeting prior to its end and the lateness of the hour, he had considered at the time it appropriate to address the issues at a later date. 

 

With regard to similar meetings in the future the Chairman also suggested that the format of such meetings could be rearranged with one option being to appoint a sub-committee to consider ways of dealing with such issues for example the Scrutiny Committee could meet with different sectors at different times in order that more in depth discussions could take place. He also advised the Committee that he had received a number of responses from  various organisations who had considered the meeting to be a useful forum for discussion in which they had welcomed the opportunity afforded to them to speak. 

 

The Director commenced by referring to the progress since the Scrutiny meeting that had been held in June 2011, he referred to the work on the Local Development Plan advising that it was currently envisaged that a replacement Deposit Plan would be presented to Cabinet and Council prior to the summer recess. The replacement plan would seek to allocate land for business and economic development.  The previous Deposit Local Development Plan (LDP) had sought to allocate land at St. Athan and the Airport for business activities as well as other key locations in Barry, Llandow and South of Junction 34 of the M4.  The allocations would be reviewed as part of the ongoing work on the replacement Deposit LDP.  In the interim, the Council had held several discussions with Renishaw, which had acquired the former Bosch site at Miskin (South of the M4) in terms of assisting with their future plans and aspirations for the site.

 

St. Athan and Cardiff Airport had been designated an Enterprise Zone, the Council had a seat on the Enterprise Zone Board and was represented on the Cardiff Airport Task Force.  The redevelopment of Barry Waterfront had commenced and preparation works were ongoing.  Outline planning permission had been granted for the entire regeneration site with detailed approval recently issued for the phase 1 residential development.  In addition full planning permission had been issued for the new road link which served the site and provided a direct link to the Island.

 

In terms of the role of Barry Island, the Barry Regeneration Area Board had resolved to fund £3.3m worth of enhancements on Barry Island over the coming 12 months with the Council's Cabinet resolving in March to progress a master plan for the Island as well as marketing Nells Point as a site for commercial and leisure development.

 

In terms of farm diversification, the various departments within Development Services worked closely in dealing with projects relating to rural regeneration and diversification and a good example of this work was noted as the joined up approach to the Perfect Pitch or Coastal Camping project during the summer of 2012.  This had resulted in a successful trial with owners also seeking to take their sites forward on a permanent basis.  Work was also underway on a Destination Action Plan, which would build on the Council's Tourism Strategy, Members were advised that the work was due to be completed later in the year.  A framework for the future of the Town Centres in the Vale of Glamorgan was also nearly complete and the consultants undertaking the work had been asked to update their final draft to correct some drafting errors, prior to completion.

 

In addressing some of the issues raised on the night the Director referred to the report which contained a summary of some of the main points made in respect of the role of the Council as below:-

 

A number of conversations on the night had referred to the planning system being arduous and businesses having to 'jump through hoops'.  Due to the arduous nature of the process, many commentators stated that the length of time taken to determine applications was an issue.  One commentator had also suggested that the Council officers deliberately took a long time to determine applications in order to protect their own jobs and a house building representative suggested that he should not have to spend weeks arguing about "the colour of tarmac".

 

In response the Director stated that the planning process was complex and that it was more complex now than it had been in previous years and would be more complex in future years.  This was because the requirements imposed upon those wishing to develop land were increasing.  Any major scheme, involving development of land now required a series of assessments and reports to be submitted dealing with a whole host of impacts.  It was not untypical to require comprehensive traffic impact assessments, ecological reports, flooding assessments, retail impact assessments, design and access assessments, archaeological reports as well as specialised reports and submissions with structural surveys if a scheme involved work in a conservation area or listed buildings.  The planning system was a statutory service, and local authorities could not  "cherry pick" how it operated the service.  It either worked within the regulations or, if it worked outside of these there was a risk of judicial review and High Court challenge.  He stated that his officers were therefore not being obstructive when they required the submission of reports and assessments; they were merely working with the regulations.

 

The Director also stated that to suggest that officers were taking a long time to progress applications in order to protect their own careers was a claim without foundation and not backed up by evidence. 

 

In presenting statistical information the Director advised that during 2009/10 the Council consistently determined circa 80% - 85% of all applications within 8 weeks of receipt.  In 2010/11 the percentage ranged from 76% (quarter 3) to 80% (quarter 1).  In 2011/12 the figures ranged from 82% (quarter 4) to 87% (quarter 1).  In these 3 years the Vale of Glamorgan's position in the Welsh league table was consistently within the upper quartile.

 

In terms of the current year (2012/13) the returns for quarter 1 stood at 86% (2nd highest), quarter 2 at 74% (5th place), quarter 3 at 74% (8th place).  The slight drop in performance during quarter 3 had resulted in the Council falling out of the upper quartile for the first time in 4 years.  An analysis of the data had indicated that this was due to a reduction in the speed of determination in respect of householder applications which was by far the majority of the applications received by the Council.  During quarters 3 and 4 of 2012/13 87% of all householder applications were determined within 8 weeks, this compared with a performance in the mid 90% range earlier in the year and in previous years.   The drop in performance should be read against a backdrop of staffing issues that had affected the Development Control team over the last 12 months.  In particular a number of officers had undertaken periods of maternity and paternity leave during 2012, whilst one officer had left the Council in August 2012 and had only been replaced in October 2012.  Other issues which had impacted on the above performance had been an increase in the number of applications for householder and minor developments in general which had been called to the Planning Committee in the period June - December 2012. There had been 41 applications called to the Committee during this period, compared to 23 throughout 2011.  The Director stated that this had had a clear impact in that because of the frequency of committee meetings, it was unlikely that any application reported to Committee could be determined within the required 8 week period.

 

In terms of the discussions on the night regarding issues of detail (including the colour of tarmac), the Director referred to the following as being highly relevant. 

 

Planning existed to facilitate appropriate development and secure investment and development where sustainable and to this end, planning existed in the public interest.  It was important for Officers of the Council and elected Members to always stand firm against requests to reduce quality and in addition, the views of applicants and objectors and those making representations should always be balanced.  In recognising that for some the Council may take too long to determine applications, others he stated would suggest the Council doesn't take long enough and doesn't attach adequate weight to objections.

 

In response to the view expressed that the planning system prevents development the Director advised the Committee of the figures for the percentage of all applications determined that had been approved:

 

93% (1038 of 1115) 2010/11

90% (949 of 1049)    2011/12

93% (874 of 943)      2012/13

 

In addition, the measure of success should not just relate to the percentages of proposals approved and the speed of determination, but also to the quality of the decisions.  To this end there would be occasions where the speed of determination had to be compromised in order to improve the quality of the submission.  The Directors view was that the Council should not make any apologies, provided requests for improvements were appropriate and necessary.

 

In response to a view expressed at the extraordinary meeting that house builders would go elsewhere if they didn't get an efficient service, the Director  stated that the Council should always strive to provide an efficient, quality service to all those who participate in the planning system, including applicants, representors, objectors and the communities in question.  However, to suggest that house builders would not want to develop in the Vale of Glamorgan as a result of the Council wishing to carefully scrutinise new proposals and working to add quality to proposals he said was not accepted.  The Vale of Glamorgan was a viable area for house building and would always be extremely attractive to the major house builders.  Evidence for this was the fact that a number of the commentators had referred to the fact that the Vale was a wonderful place to live.

 

The view expressed by a planning consultant that saying no to new developments was no longer a sustainable option was also, in the Director’s view, not accepted.  Sometimes saying no to new development was the only appropriate course of action, especially where that development was not sustainable or was not of sufficient quality, or where schemes were ill thought out or inappropriate.  The decisions made by the Council represented a legacy for Communities and great care needed to be taken to assess all proposals. The evidence indicated that the issuing of decisions where S106 Agreements were involved could be undertaken quicker and this was acknowledged with the Director advising that he would be discussing with colleagues to establish whether performance could be improved, taking into account the staffing limitations.  However, for Members information the number of Legal Agreements and their complexity was increasing given an increased emphasis on viability issues.

 

Several consultants indicated that the Council was not willing to be flexible on S106 Agreements, and that if affordable housing was to be delivered, then the Council would have to compromise on other requirements such as education contributions and public open space.  In summary, it was stated by attendees at the extraordinary meeting that the Council could not expect to cover everything in S106 Agreements.  The Director responded stating that each case would require addressing on a case by case basis.  The evidence available also suggests that the Vale is a vibrant area, and that the Council should not concede on negotiations without firm viable evidence to the contrary. 

 

Concerns raised that for proposals relating to farming, the Council should use the prior notification procedure in favour of planning applications, Members were reminded that regulations existed and compliance had to be achieved.  The Council could not pick and chose which set of regulations to apply, as to do so would leave the Council and applicant open to challenge.

 

It was noted that there had been a number of positive remarks at the Extraordinary meeting in particular reference made to the good partnership working taking place in the rural Vale on regeneration projects, the fact that Barry was now in a very positive position on regeneration and the fact that the Council was embracing tourism in a very proactive manner when it came to planning policy and planning decisions.

 

The Cabinet Member with permission to speak reiterated her concerns that the Council had not been provided with the opportunity on 9th April to respond to questions raised and felt that this was important as the Council had a duty of care to its officers.  

 

The Vice-Chairman stated that she had been concerned that officers had not had the opportunity to reply at the time as a number of the representations that were made had not been accurate and had requested that the Committee receive the responses from the Director as soon as possible. 

 

Although a number of Members were concerned at the impression given on the night and the lack of response provided, others considered that it had been a valuable exercise in order to obtain current views from local businesses, key stakeholders and representatives of business groups.

 

In order to maximise future involvement it was suggested that consideration of the format for future meetings should be agreed by the Scrutiny Committee with a report on options, ideas, objectives and outcomes being presented for consideration prior to the next meeting of its kind. 

 

Members in thanking the Director for the responses provided and in recognising the positive impact the Council was making subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

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

 

(2)       T H A T  the Director’s responses be included in the final report of the meeting held on 9th April 2013 with copies of that report being forwarded to the attendees on the night.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In recognition of the responses to queries raised at the meeting on 9th April 2013.

 

(2)       For information and consideration by Cabinet.

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