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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 1st December, 2015.

 

Present:  Councillor Mrs. A. Moore (Chairman); Councillor P.G. King (Vice-Chairman); Councillors A.G. Bennett, P.J. Clarke, Mrs. P. Drake, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen, G. Roberts and S.T. Wiliam.

 

Also present: Councillors L. Burnett, N.P. Hodges, G. John, Dr. I.J. Johnson and N. Moore.

 

 

622            APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillors G.A. Cox and A.G. Powell.

 

 

623            MINUTES – 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 3rd November, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

624            DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

625            INITIAL REVENUE BUDGET PROPOSALS 2016-17 (DEHS) –

 

Appendix 1 to the report set out the Amended Budget for 2015/16 together with the necessary adjustments to be made to the original budget. Committee was informed that a statement on the timing of the Welsh Government’s Budget for 2016/17 had been released by the Minister for Finance and Government Business on 6th October, 2015.  The late timing of the UK Government’s Spending Review had presented Welsh Government (WG) with significant challenges for the preparation and publication of the Draft Budget 2016/17 with WG not knowing their Budget for 2016/17 until 25th November, 2015 and as WG was facing unprecedented levels of uncertainty consequently it would not publish the Draft Budget for 2016/17 until 8th December, 2015 and the Final Budget on 1st March, 2016.

 

In presenting the revenue budget proposals the accountant advised Members of the following.

 

For the Highways and Engineering division of the Department it was projected that the service would have a balanced budget at year end.  It was projected that the employees’ budget would be £338k underspent due to vacant posts currently within the service.  However due to the number of vacant posts, the anticipated spend on subcontractors was over budget by £262k as had previously been reported, the service area had an estimated shortfall on car parking income of £340k.  The introduction of additional car parking charges was to be consulted on further, with new charges therefore unlikely to be introduced within the current financial year.  There was also a projected overspend on street lighting energy costs of £106k, due to the slight delay in the introduction of part night lighting, which had commenced in July 2015.  Vehicle costs were projected to be £120k over budget which was mainly due to the increased cost of the newer Winter Maintenance fleet.  It was anticipated that other income received by the Highways and Engineering section would be £374k higher than budgeted.  This was mainly due to the amount of Highways capital works schemes undertaken for other Departments.  Departmental support costs for Highways and Engineering had also reduced by £116k.

 

The Waste Management budget was projected to balance at the year end.  However, employee costs were projected to be over budget by £256k, with the main reason being that some of the planned savings for 2014/15 and 2015/16 had been delayed as detailed in Appendix 2 to the report.  A re-routing exercise was currently underway and the service was also being reviewed by the Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP) with a view to making efficiency savings.  Vehicle costs were projected to be £207k over budget, again due to the delay in planned savings.  To offset these delayed savings, a considerable underspend of £577k was expected on waste disposal costs mainly due to the interim contract entered into with Viridor.  The Department had also projected a spend of £48k on contract monitoring costs for Prosiect Gwyrdd and £25k on the Joint Organics Procurement with Cardiff Council for which there was no budget.  The service had also reduced insurance costs which were £34k under budget.  Income to the section was also £75k less than budgeted, which was mainly as a result of the shortfall in income for the Special Collection service due to the level of concessions that were currently offered.

 

With regard to Leisure services it was anticipated that the Grounds Maintenance section would achieve a breakeven position at year end.  Employee costs were projected to be £92k under budget due to vacant posts within the service.  However, this had been offset by increased supplies and services costs which were £119k over budget mainly due to additional works undertaken by subcontractors.  Transport costs were projected to be £31k over budget, however, parks was currently reviewing the level of vehicles they used and had identified those that were surplus to requirements.  This was offset by savings of approximately £25k on the maintenance of conservation zones. The anticipated level of income from other Departments was also £33k greater than budgeted.  The Sports service was operating well within reduced grant funding budgets.  The provision of Play Activities was being funded from various sources such as Town Councils and s106 monies and costs were being monitored closely to ensure that they were contained within the funding available. 

 

For the Transportation section the expenditure on public transport was being carefully monitored in order to provide an appropriate service within the approved budget.  There had been an agreement with Bridgend and Cardiff Councils regarding the recharging of Cross Boundary bus services which would alleviate pressures on fare-paying school services that were presently over budget.  It was hoped that this agreement would continue into 2016/17 and S106 monies were being utilised to fund the community bus service, Greenlinks, which was operating well.  In referring to Building Maintenance and Building Cleaning and Security Services this area was presently expected to outturn on target. With regard to the Regeneration service area as occupancy of the Authority’s workshops had been higher than recent years, income had been higher.  Any underspends would therefore be utilised to refurbish the workshop / office space stock, aiming at generating further increased occupancy levels in order to meet the higher levels of income required in the 2016/17 budgets.  The projected outturn for Countryside Services showed a nil variance against the revised budget as delays in relation to the decision on car parking fees within country parks would mean that targeted savings for the Division had not been achievable.  A budget virement from Planning covered the shortfall on car parking and various other measures including refurbishment works on the reception area at Cosmeston, thatching works at the Medieval Village and marketing costs for the new Commercial Opportunities Officer. 

 

With regard to Development Management, the year-end projected spend on Planning showed a nil variance against the revised budget.  With planning income being ahead of profile so far in the year, a virement had been made from Planning into the Countryside budget in order to fund several refurbishments within that service. If however, demand on the Planning Service was required, it was noted that an additional temporary staffing resource would be considered. 

 

Appendix 2 to the report provided progress that had been made against the savings targets for the Committee for 2015/16.  The Appendix identified that currently there was a £478k projected surplus against the target which was reported as due to the Prosiect Gwyrdd scheme which was projected to exceed its target.  However, as there were other savings in Visible Services which would not be achieved, these would partly offset this favourable position.  The report also noted that in light of the level of savings to be found in future years, it was imperative that approved savings were achieved in the required year. 

 

As part of the initial budget proposals it had also been necessary to revisit the cost pressures facing services in order to build up a complete and up to date picture of the financial position of the Council and, as such, an up to date list relating to the Committee was shown in Appendix 3 to the report.  Details of the proposed areas for savings for 2016/17 to 2017/18 were reported at Appendix 4 to the report. 

 

The report further highlighted that for the Authority as a whole, if all identified cost pressures were funded, this would increase the shortfall for the Council to £18.601m, however, if all proposed savings were achieved, the shortfall would be reduced to £6.431m.  Committee was informed that further work would be undertaken by the Budget Working Group in order to achieve a balanced budget for the final budget proposals for 2016/17 which would include a review of the use of reserves, a possible increase in Council Tax, a review of all cost pressures, possible changes to the approved savings targets, a review of the inflation assumptions and the current financial strategy. 

 

The Committee was requested to consider the proposals and to submit any comments, recommendations to the lead Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) by no later than 15th December, 2015. 

 

All Members considered that the Council faced massive challenges, with specific reference being made to the projected shortfall of £706,000 of savings not yet achieved.  In recognising that some savings that had not progressed would be covered by savings in waste disposal via the Prosiect Gwyrdd contract Members raised concern for future budgets when this type of surplus would not be forthcoming in the future. In referring to street light and energy savings initiatives, a Member queried whether the Council should have invested more in LED lights in order to convert more street lights by investing to save.  A member referred to recent comments that had been made by local residents who appeared to now be in favour of LED lights as opposed to having the lights switched off. 

 

With regard to the proposed savings for transport Members again raised their concern regarding the proposals.  The Head of Service informed Members that there was a vision for the service and that a number of initiatives had been put in place which were starting to deliver savings.  However, it was noted that the inability to progress car parking charges etc. would have a knock-on effect to the budget, some reserves could be utilised, and the Department was considering all options in order to drive down street lighting costs.  The Committee was further informed that the vision was to ensure that all transport throughout the Council was under one service area so that any decisions could be made in a consistent way.  Officers acknowledged that the figures were indeed challenging and that a report was due to be presented to Cabinet and the Scrutiny Committee on the Department’s plans regarding street lighting.  On a positive note Members were informed that the actual number of complaints received in relation to the switching off of lights had been relatively low.

 

Members, in acknowledging the position regarding the budget and the fact that WG were unable to announce the Draft Budget until 8th December, 2015, subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T, in light of the current situation, the amended revenue budget for 2015/16 as set out in Appendix 1 to the report be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To inform Committee of amendments to the 2015/16 budget.

 

 

626            INITIAL CAPITAL PROGRAMME PROPOSALS 2016/17 (DEHS) –

 

Appendix A to the report provided the financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 30th September, 2015.  The details of the following schemes were included within the report and were outlined by the Accountant present at the meeting as follows:  

  • Weycock Cross to Barry Comprehensive Road Resurfacing – The road between Weycock Cross and Barry Comprehensive School required resurfacing with the request that the 2015/16 Capital Programme be increased by £40k, to be funded from the Visible Services reserve.
  • Wick to Ewenny Highway Improvements – Highway Improvement works were required between Wick and Ewenny with a request that the 2015/16 Capital Programme be increased by £40k, to be funded from the Visible Services Reserve.
  • Coast Protection and Land Drainage General – £50k had been allocated within this budget for works which were part of the Causeway Improvement Scheme.  In order to enable a more co-ordinated approach to the scheme,  £50k was being request to be vired to the Causeway Improvement Scheme and the budget for this scheme would then total £950k.
  • Jenner Park and Colcot Pitches – A grant of £100k had been awarded to the Council from The Sports Council for Wales it being noted that the £853k budget for the scheme was currently fully funded from the Jenner Park reserve.  It had been requested that the contribution from the reserve be reduced with the scheme now being funded by £753k from the reserve and £100k from The Sports Council for Wales grant.
  • Coldbrook Flood Risk Management – Emergency Powers had been used for the inclusion of £2,959k for the construction phase and £257k for the design and development phase into the Capital Programme in order to complete the flood risk management works.  
  • Barry Regeneration Partnership Scheme – At Cabinet on 13th July, 2015, £600k was added to the Capital Programme for the Barry Regeneration Partnership Scheme.  £361k of this sum had been allocated using Delegated Authority for various schemes as contained within the report.
  • Barry Regeneration Partnership Scheme –  under delegated authority £107k of the unallocated original budget in 2015/16 and £34k of the unallocated budget in 2016/17 for this scheme had been allocated again as outlined within the report.
  • Pedestrian Crossing across Ffordd Y Millenium and Improved Bus Access – Further studies had identified that this scheme was not attainable within the budget available, therefore alternative schemes had been identified through active travel route assessments.  It had been requested that this budget be increased by £52k to be funded from s106 monies and that the scheme was renamed “Pedestrian / Cycle improvements at Ffordd Y Millenium”.  The total budget for this scheme would be £69k.  Member consultation had been undertaken under the s106 protocol and the contribution needed to be spent by January 2016.

Members were advised that the Council’s capital budget was determined largely by the General Capital Funding Settlement and a statement on the timing of the Welsh Government’s Budget for 2016/17 was released by the Minister for Finance and Government Business on 6th October, 2015.  This however, stated that the late timing of the UK Government’s Spending Review presented WG with significant challenges for the preparation and publication of the Draft Budget 2016/17, with WG not knowing the figures until 25th November this would result in the Draft Budget would not be published until 8th December and the Final Budget on 1st March, 2016. 

 

New capital bids had been invited for return by 30th September, 2015 with the number of bids received being low (3 from Learning and Skills, 12 from Social Services, 11 from Environment and Housing and 2 from Managing Director and Resources).  Departments had been requested to rank their own bids in order of importance before submission and bids from each Department were forwarded to the Corporate Asset Management Group (CAMG) for evaluation. 

 

The CAMG used the criteria set out in the Budget Strategy so the bids were prioritised in terms of their corporate priority and the risk they posed to the Council if they were not pursued.  Following this the prioritisation of bids was reviewed by the Budget Working Group.  The risk assessment element was undertaken in line with the Council's Corporate Risk Management Strategy.

 

As part of the Transport review, the use of vehicles by the Authority had been extensively reviewed, which meant that the purchase of new vehicles under the scheme had been delayed.  In addition, an amendment to the level of expenditure in the Capital Programme was required, to reflect the continuing need to replace vehicles across the Council.  Vehicles could be funded from the Vehicle Renewals Fund or could be leased.  The level of and financing of this expenditure would be reviewed as a result of the outcome of the Transport review with the amended proposals to be brought as part of the Final Budget Proposals in February 2016.

 

The Scrutiny Committee was requested to consider the proposals and to refer any recommendations to the lead Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources).

 

Having considered the report Members again felt that in light of the current climate and the budget situation the Council was in a difficult position and subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the changes to the 2015/16 Capital Programme be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members of the position with regard to the 2015/16 Capital Programme within the Scrutiny Committee’s remit.

 

 

627            QUARTER 2 DEVELOPMENT SERVICES PERFORMANCE MONITORING REPORT 2015-16 (DEHS) –

 

Members were informed that the performance report was structured as outlined below: 

  • An overview provided a snapshot of the Directorate's progress towards achieving the objectives contributing towards its service outcomes. It also highlighted progress towards key actions in the Corporate Plan 2013-17, the Outcome Agreement 2013-16 and the Improvement Plan Part 1 2015-16 for which the Directorate has lead responsibility.  Areas of underperformance were highlighted as were the planned remedial actions to bring these back on track.
  • A brief evaluation was provided of each service outcome outlining overall progress towards achievement.
  • Detailed progress was reported for each service objective looking at all actions and measures.
  • Progress was reported for all performance indicators by allocating a performance status symbol, J related to performance that had met or exceeded target, K related to performance within 10% of target and L related to performance that had missed target by more than 10%.  A direction of travel arrow was also provided against each measure indicating whether current performance had improved, stayed static or declined on last year’s first quarter performance.  An upward arrow indicated that performance had improved on the same quarter last year, a static arrow indicated performance had remained the same and a downward arrow showed performance had declined compared to the same quarter last year.

Overall the service was well on course to achieving the objectives contributing to its service outcomes, with 96% of actions complete or on track.  There were a total of 44 actions in the plan; 1 was complete, 41 were on track, 1 had slipped, and 1 was not due to have started in the quarter.

 

96% of Corporate Plan actions were either complete or on track for completion (of the 23 Corporate Plan actions, 1 was complete 21 were currently on track and 1 had slipped this quarter.

 

In referring to indictors that had been missed, the two for the service area were reported as follows 

  • DS/M027: The average cost subsidy per single passenger journey on the Greenlinks Community Transport Service would be higher than the previous year as on-costs such as office accommodation, finance, legal etc. (£17,094) had been allocated to Greenlinks which had not occurred in previous years
  • DS/M032b: The percentage of building control applications that are submitted online.  While this target had not been met, the Council had no control over how applicants submitted applications and had limited resources to place adverts in the local press, however the Council did encouraged local businesses to apply online.

Against Outcome 1, “Residents in the Vale live in safe, healthy, prosperous and sustainable communities”, the Council had delivered a successful programme of play activities during the summer, over 1,895 children between the ages of 4 and 11 had taken part in over 32 play schemes in five different venues across the Vale.  The Play Development team linked 42 children with a disability to 413 play schemes tailored to meet their needs.  In addition seven Family Fun Days had attracted over 2,000 people and, these activities were contributing to increased levels of participation in physical activity across the Vale.  A hugely successful summer event programme on Barry Island was delivered, with over 30,000 visitors making the trip to the Barry Island Weekender alone.  The Regeneration Wall at Barry Island was named a finalist in the RTP1 Awards for Planning Excellence 2015 and the Council  continued to work with partners to promote investment in the Vale.  During Quarter 2, 16 long term unemployed people had found employment through the Council’s work programme.

 

Members noted that overall the service was well on course to achieving the objectives and in referring specifically to indicators that had been missed the two service areas as contained within the report.  With regard to the percentage of building control applications submitted online, Members were reminded that the Department had no control over submissions being made online and that if people did not want to participate in this process they did not have to, although the Council would endeavour to promote this approach as appropriate.

 

Members made reference to some of the service areas that were not within the remit of the Committee but, aware that due to restructure issues within the Council these were currently sitting within the Directorate, would be amended over the forthcoming months when new service plans etc. were developed.

 

The Committee welcomed the fact that the regeneration wall on Barry Island was nominated, and the Pump House was highly commended in the RTPI awards presented on 28th November, 2015.  The work being undertaken with partners to promote investors in the Vale, noting that during Quarter 2 16 long term unemployed people had found employment through the Council’s work programme was also commended. 

 

With regard to Outcome 1, Members queried no progress being noted in relation to energy efficiency of the housing stock and was informed that this had been due to recent departmental restructures where an oversight had taken place. The information was available, which the officer relayed to Members at the meeting as  that a local decision was being considered on the use of Salix funding to improve energy efficiency of lighting in communal areas.

 

Again in referring to street lighting issues, Members made reference to the possibility of other funding sources and the use of everyday lights which officers would consider and report on as agreed earlier in the meeting.  Members also took the opportunity to recognise the achievements that had been made with regard to the Pump House and the hard work that had been undertaken by officers and Members to develop the Pump House into the facility it was today.

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the service performance results and remedial actions to be taken to address service underperformance be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the progress to date in achieving key outcomes as outlined in the Corporate Plan 2013-17, the Outcome Agreement 2013-16 and the Improvement Plan part 1 2015-16 be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure the Council is effectively assessing its performance in line with the requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009.

 

(2)       In noting the progress to date.

 

 

628            QUARTER 2 VISIBLE SERVICES PERFORMANCE REPORT 2015-16 (DEHS) –

 

In noting that the performance report was structured as outlined in the previous minute above for the Department of Development Services, Members were informed that Visible Services was well on course to achieving the objectives contributing to its service outcomes with 88% of Service Plan actions either completed or on track and of the remaining 25 actions within the Service Plan, 1 was complete, 21 on track and 3 had slipped.

 

Of 14 Corporate Plan actions 93% (13) were either completed or on track for completion, 1 (7%) had slipped.  The 1 Outcome Agreement action for the service had been completed and there were no actions and measures relating to the Improvement Objectives.

 

Against Outcome 1, “Residents of the Vale live in safe, healthy, prosperous and sustainable communities”, work to progress the Cardiff organic waste treatment project had been completed.  Construction had commenced on a state of the art recycling facility, in partnership with Cardiff Council.  The facility would use technology that would not only treat and recycle the organic waste but would also produce sustainable sources of energy and growing medium for arable farming.  .  This project reinforced the Council’s commitment to meet the statutory Welsh Government targets as the council works towards their “Zero Waste” goal for 2050.

 

Against Outcome 2, “the Vale is a clean, safe, well maintained and sustainable place to live or visit”, we have been shortlisted by the Chartered Institute of Waste Management (CIWM) for a sustainable and resource award.  The award recognises good examples of partnership working to achieve a safer and cleaner environment. The Visible Services Task Group initiative comprising of Keep Wales Tidy, South Wales Police, the Probation Service, the Youth Offending Service, South Wales Fire Services, Fly Tipping Wales and local businesses, landlords and members of the local community, provided comprehensive advice and help on recycling and disposing of waste responsibly.

 

Members noted that three actions were reported as slipped under outcome 2 “ the Vale is a clean, safe, well maintained and sustainable place to live or visit,  as detailed within the report.  Committee were advised that limited progress was being reported in relation to work with residents and landowners to facilitate an increase in the number of allotment plots available throughout the Vale as the Council was still awaiting Welsh Government guidance on Allotments. Limited progress had also been made during the quarter in respect of the implementation of the investment programme to refurbish public conveniences.  It was anticipated that officers would be able to gain access to the lifeguard area during Quarter 3 to survey the building and design a scheme for the refurbishment of public conveniences at Jackson's Bay.  Officers were currently assessing the legal issues associated with the tenants in the old lifeguard section of the building (VS/A025).

 

Of the 18 Performance Indicators that were monitored on a quarterly basis, 10 (55%) met or exceeded target during the quarter, 3 (17%) were within 10% of target, and 5 (28%) had missed target by more than 10%.

 

The five indicators that had missed target related to WMT/010i, VS/M007, VS/M009b, VS/M010b and STS007 the details for which were outlined in the report.

 

Members welcomed the relatively good news story that the performance indicators provided, it being noted that 55% had either met or exceeded target and they welcomed this despite the circumstances with the budget position for the Council.  They also welcomed the schemes that were taking place on site at present, which included the scheme at Port Road as part of the Metro scheme and, in referring to the Active Travel Consultation, were pleased that the feedback advised by the Head of Service was that it had been quite positive.

 

Having therefore considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the service performance results and remedial actions to be taken to address service underperformance be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the progress to date in achieving key outcomes as outlined in the Corporate Plan 2013-17, the Outcome Agreement 2013-16 and the Improvement Plan part 1 2015-16 be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure the Council is effectively assessing its performance in line with the requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009.

 

(2)       To consider the Quarter 2 Visible Services performance results as at 30th September 2015 in order to identify service areas for improvement.

 

 

629            MANAGEMENT AND CLEANSING UPDATE REPORT (DEHS) –

 

The Operational Manager for the service area advised that there had been significant legislation changes within the field of waste and, as such, the report had been prepared in response to a number of requests from the Scrutiny Committee for updates in relation to the Waste Management service and contained details of the progress that the Waste Management and Cleansing division was making to achieve Welsh Government’s Statutory Recycling Targets and on the possible implications of new waste related legislation and initiatives. 

 

The significant Welsh Government (WG) legislative development and policy changes that had taken place 2015 included the new Regulation implementing Article 11 of the European Union Revised Waste Framework Directive (January 2015), revised WG waste grant allocation and proposed Welsh legislation as well as two significant waste management reviews undertaken by WG that would impact on the Council's waste management services.  The first review related to the Sustainable Waste Management Grant (SWMG) to assess the impact of the grant since its introduction in 2001/02 and whether it was considered value for money.  The second related to the Collections Blueprint that was introduced alongside the Municipal Sector Waste Plan, setting out what WG believed to be the best set of waste and recycling collection arrangements to meet and exceed the Statutory Recycling Targets with the best environmental outcomes.

 

The latest developments that may impact on service delivery were reported as follows:

 

            Single Environment Grant (SEG)

 

WG wrote to all Local Authorities explaining that a Single Grant was being introduced with applications to be submitted to them by 30th June, 2015, to demonstrate how work being proposed in the submission contributed to priorities identified by the Environment and Sustainable Development Minister, Carl Sargent, and the goals included in the Well-Being of Future Generations Act (WBFGA) which comes into force for Local Authorities in April 2016.

 

At recent meetings between Local Authorities and WG officials, officers had been advised that future WG grant payments could be subject to cuts of up 25 to 50%.  The detail for this would be provided in the UK Government's Spending Review announcement.

 

The Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services stated that he would be meeting the Minister the following day to discuss the grant with the anticipation that this would be received with the agreement of the Minister.

 

            Statutory Recycling Targets:

 

The Minister stated that he was not prepared to change the Statutory Recycling Targets set to rise to 70% by 2024/25.  However he acknowledged the scale of the challenge Local Authorities would face should such cuts as detailed above materialise.  He therefore made an offer to local government to come up with a set of proposals by which the targets could still be achieved if the grant was cut. 

 

             Guidance on Well-Being of Future Generations Act (WBFGA):

 

On 7th September, 2015 WG issued a consultation document on its proposed statutory guidance for fulfilling duties under the WBFGA.   The Act sets out a legally binding common purpose in the form of seven well-being goals for local government and other specified public bodies.  All these bodies would need to be able to demonstrate how they were working towards these goals in their waste management capacity to improve the long term wellbeing of Wales.  The essential principle of the Act was that “the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

 

            The Environment Bill:

 

The target was to achieve Royal Assent by Spring 2016 and its stated purpose was to enable the planning and management of Wales’ natural resources to be undertaken in a more coherent way.  Members were advised that the Bill included the following: 

  • The requirement for full separate collection service for segregated recyclable materials is available to all those that produce waste;
  • Businesses and the Public Sector and all other waste producers, but not the householder, will need to ensure that clean, uncontaminated recyclable material are separated before it moves onto the next stage of reprocessing;
  • Recyclable waste and organic material, including food waste, will be banned from being sent to landfill or Energy from Waste facilities;
  • Non domestic food waste will be banned from being disposed of to the sewage system.

Members were concerned about the enforcement of non-compliance in relation to waste recycling, particularly in relation to bullet point (4) as this would prove significantly difficult and would be extremely interesting to see how Natural Resources Wales would deal with this element.

 

            Compliance with Welsh Government Recycling Collections Policies:

 

Due to insufficient internal resources WG and the Waste Resource and Action Programme (WRAP) were currently assessing how the Council undertook its Waste Collection Services.  Waste Management and Cleansing were therefore currently working with WG within their Collective Collaboration Programme (CCP) and their consultants WRAP to carry out the necessary service modelling and future collection methodology.  The outcomes from this study would be reported to Members for their consideration early in 2016 following completion of WRAP's work.

 

            Residual Waste Treatment:

 

The early construction of the Prosiect Gwyrdd Trident Park energy from waste plant allowed the Council to terminate the landfill contract with Biffa earlier than anticipated (31st March, 2016) by entering into an interim contract with Viridor and this element of the Council's waste has now been diverted to the Plant.  However, there could still be occasions (such as when the Plant was not working) for the need to send waste to the City and County of Cardiff's Lamby Way Landfill site. 

 

            Organic Waste Treatment (Kitchen food and Green Garden Waste):

 

Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Councils had subsequently, in March 2015, entered into a contract with Kelda Ltd for the construction and operation of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) and Open Windrow Composting (OWC) facilities to treat food and green garden wastes respectively, over a 15 year period commencing on 1st April, 2017.  The Contract comprised a purpose built AD treatment plant for the treatment of food waste at Tide Field Road, Tremorfa, Cardiff which was now under construction  and  an OWC for the composting of garden waste at a windrow facility at Cardiff City Council's Lamby Way sited on a former OWC site which however, required extending and additional construction works.  Work on the AD plant was well underway with piling and other ground works completed, and both the AD and OWC were on programme for commission in the autumn of 2016.

 

            Recycling Performance:

 

In order to achieve the 2015/16 Statutory Recycling Target of 58% new initiatives had been introduced, including the recycling of residual waste deposited at the Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) and the procurement of future Anaerobic Digestion (AD) infrastructure for treating food and garden waste.  Waste Management and Cleansing were also currently re-procuring the management of the Council HWRCs with an aim of delivering higher contractual recycling targets.  These initiatives aimed to deliver the diversion of waste from landfill and waste recovery through recycling and composting.  However, despite the introduction of these initiatives current performance indicators suggested that the Council would still only achieve the 58% Statutory Recycling Targets for the current year.  As a countermeasure to reduce the risk of the Council possibly failing to achieve the 58% target and of WG imposed fines, Waste Management and Cleansing had entered into an agreement with Viridor for the recycling of its proportion of the PG Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA) generated during the interim contact.

 

The report which covered a number of areas within the service was welcomed by the Committee and comments were made as follows.

 

Members expressed their pleasure in respect of the work undertaken in relation to Prosiect Gwyrdd as the officer advised this had proved to be an extremely good project for the Vale.  However, they were concerned about the increase in targets required by WG in relation to recycling performance and the cost implications that this would impose.  The FOE (Friends of the Earth) would also be challenging co- mingled Local Authorities who did not comply with the law.

 

The Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure services advised that separation in any event would be difficult for the Local Authority and, as it was his view that co-mingling had proved successful in the Vale and that being forced to segregate would be a backward step.

 

Reference was made to the work that Welsh Water (WW) was currently undertaking and had done in relation to the Cowbridge area where there had been an issue regarding blocked sinks with WW placing notices in and around the area advising people not to block their sinks and toilets.  Members considered the policing of issues like this was of significant concern as to how such policing could actually be undertaken.  The Operational Manager advised of his concerns with the potential  expectation of policing the black bags, which again would have a significant impact on the Authority if undertaken.  He reassured Members that the Waste Team would endeavour to try to reach the targets put forward by WG, but the difficulties as outlined within the report and at the meeting, were significant for the Authority.  Members expressed the hope that WG would allow them to carry on co-mingling within the Vale as this was providing more recycling opportunities with the incentive being to encourage more residents to recycle in the future.

 

Having considered the report, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report be noted and the Operational Manager be thanked for an informative report.

 

(2)       T H A T the report and the views of the Committee be referred to Cabinet with the request that Cabinet continue to urge Welsh Government for the Vale of Glamorgan to carry on with its co-mingling service as it was working within the Vale and was encouraging more people to recycle.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To update the Committee on waste and recycling issues and to thank the Operational Manager for the information provided.

 

(2)       To inform Cabinet of the work currently ongoing in relation to waste management and of the concerns of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

 

630            NELL’S POINT MARKETING (CALL-IN) –

 

Cabinet, at its meeting on 16th November, 2015, considered a Part I report and a Part II report in relation to Nell’s Point Marketing which advised of the results of the marketing exercise over the summer months for the site at Nell’s Point and the adjacent toilet block. 

 

The Council's preference had been indicated as being the development of tourism and leisure based development on the Nell's Point site to widen the range of product and attractions available at Barry Island.  Cabinet at the meeting subsequently on 16th November, 2015 resolved

 

(1)      T H A T Bidder B- Bourne Holidays Limited trading as Warner Leisure Hotels, be accepted as "Preferred Bidder" in respect of the sale of the site at Nell's Point, Barry Island marketed in the summer of 2015.

 

(2)       T H A T officers be authorised to continue discussions and negotiations with Bourne Holidays Limited/Warner Leisure Hotels as the preferred bidder from the marketing exercise.

 

(3)       T H A T the Managing Director, the Director of Environment and Housing Services and the Head of Regeneration and Planning as members of the Project Board, in consultation with the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, be granted delegated authority to continue negotiating towards the disposal of the site at Nell's Point and adjacent toilet block.

 

(4)       T H A T subject to progress, as authorised under resolution 3 above, the Head of Legal Services be granted delegated authority to enter into an appropriate lease agreement, on behalf of the Council, for the disposal of the sites to Bourne Holidays Limited trading as Warner Leisure Hotels, subject to appropriate terms and conditions as may be agreed by the Project Board and complete the transaction in due course.”

 

Councillor R.J. Bertin who was unable to be present at the Scrutiny Committee had requested a call-in on the matter for the following reasons:

 

Given that Bidder B is now the preferred bidder from the marketing exercise, I would like a report to be given to the E&E scrutiny to discuss the following implications:

 

Bourne Holidays / Warner Hotels only cater for adults when in fact we do require family facilities?

 

Will we have enough parking spaces will the loss of the temporary car park given plans for development of Barry Island?

 

Bidder A has complained that the wrong paperwork was sent out during this exercise – Can this be confirmed?

 

Can all Barry members be involved and kept updated on all future developments at this site?

 

Prior to discussion the Chairman took the opportunity to inform all present of her  concerns with regard to the comments made in the call-in, some of which she had considered  could be potentially damaging  to the Council, and she had sought advice from the Monitoring Officer when considering the call-in request.  It would also be her intention to deal with as much of the call-in as possible under Part 1. Detailed appraisals of the bids were in the Part II report and should there be a need to discuss any confidential matters by the Committee these would have to be dealt with under Part II. Members of the public would therefore be asked to leave the room at that point whilst those matters were being discussed.

 

The extract of the minutes relating to Nell’s Point of the Cabinet meeting held on 16th November 2015 had also been forwarded to all Members of the Scrutiny Committee prior to the meeting and were available at the meeting for Members’ information.

 

The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, with permission to speak, advised that the brief for the marketing had specified that bids should relate to leisure and tourism uses.  Accommodation for families fell within the range of uses which would have been acceptable but the overall aim was to encourage investment which would generate tangible local regeneration benefits.  Leisure and tourism had clearly been the remit.

 

In response to the issue of the “loss of the temporary car park”, the Cabinet Member advised that Members would have been fully aware that the car park was “temporary” as it was always intended to be a “meanwhile” use to exist through the marketing and eventual disposal of Nell’s Point to an appropriate bidder.  Its construction had been seen as part of the package of works required to support the marketing initiative for Nell’s Point and to act as a catalyst for investment.

 

In referring to the call-in, and the reference to Bidder A having complained that the wrong paperwork was sent out during this exercise, the Cabinet Member confirmed for the Committee that no complaint had been received from Bidder A by the Council and that the correct procedures had been followed by the Council through the bidding process.  Two compliant bids had been received and both compliant bidders had been invited to attend the Council’s offices to present their submissions to the Project Board for the sites on 20th October, 2015.  The Project Board comprised the Leader of the Council, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, the Managing Director, the Director of Environment and Housing Services and the Head of Regeneration and Planning.  Further reference was made to that fact that the detailed appraisal of the bids had been provided in the Part II report which was later in the agenda.

 

Finally, with regard to the final question in the call-in reference relating to all Barry Members being involved and kept updated on all future developments, the Cabinet Member advised that the two reports had been presented to Cabinet within six weeks of the close of the bids which, in her view, clearly demonstrated openness and transparency and a willingness to keep Members informed of progress.  It was, however, important to recognise that the Part II report contained information of a confidential and commercially sensitive nature which could not be made publically available at this stage.  The comment made that “Bidder A has complained”  was also not the case and was a cause for concern.  The Cabinet Member stated that the call-in clearly made the suggestion that Bidder A had complained that the wrong paperwork had been sent out but the Council could confirm that Bidder A had not complained, therefore this statement was misleading.

 

In referring to “Can all Barry members be involved and kept updated on all future developments at this site?” the Cabinet Member referred to the two reports that had been presented to Cabinet which provided detailed information of the exercise.

 

With regard to the comment “only cater for adults when in fact we do require family facilities” the Cabinet Member reaffirmed that the specified brief was for a quality leisure and tourism provision with the Bidder having to comply with the strategic brief document.    The submission by Bidder B had complied.

 

Members of the Project Board had also considered the bids having due regard to the scoring mechanism as set out in the strategic brief document.

 

All Members of the Committee agreed that it was clear that the two bidders referred to in the report had been compliant with the requirements as set out in the strategic brief and that the marketing exercise had been undertaken following the appropriate procedures. 

 

Councillor S. T. Wiliam stated that he was more than happy with the way the marketing exercise had been dealt with but would like the Committee to recommend that Cabinet address the issue of the need for additional car parking and look into the feasibility of a multi-storey permanent car park on the Island.

 

Councillor N.P. Hodges, (not a Member of the Committee) with permission to speak, advised that he also had no issues with the process which he considered had been appropriately executed but was concerned by the call-in about how the misinformation contained therein could be perceived.  With regard to the issue of car parking on the Island, although not directly linked to the call-in, he considered it an opportunity to raise the issue and concurred with Councillor Wiliam’s suggested recommendation.  Local traders had also advised him of their concerns that when Nell’s Point was developed a significant loss of car parking spaces would be an issue for the Island.

 

In response, the Head of Service stated that the Council was currently in a transitional situation with the new link road through the Waterfront nearing completion, and this along with the ongoing redevelopment of the Waterfront and the position of Nell’s Point, meant that the Council would have to consider a number of issues regarding transport in general, in the future.  Other Members of the Committee considered that a wider transport study of the Island was preferential in order to fully assess what would be required and that recommending that a multi-storey be built was inappropriate at this stage.  It was subsequently suggested that a request to the Cabinet to look at traffic management fully in the area would be a more appropriate approach.

 

Following which it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T, in noting the inaccuracy outlined in the call-in in relation to the reference to Bidder A, the Committee fully recognised that the bidding process had been dealt with in accordance with procedures and that the resolutions of Cabinet be accepted. 

 

(2)       T H A T notwithstanding Resolution (1) above, Cabinet be requested to include the consideration of traffic management and the management of car parking in the vicinity of the Nell’s Point development in their current review of car parking in the Vale.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In recognition of the fact that the submissions by Bidders A and B had been compliant with the requirements as set out in the strategic brief and the procedure for the tendering process had been executed in accordance with Council Procedures.

 

(2)       In order that the issue can be considered.

 

 

631             EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC – 

 

RESOLVED – T H A T under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 4 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Act, the relevant paragraphs of the Schedule being referred to in brackets after the minute heading.

 

 

632            NELL’S POINT MARKETING (CALL-IN) (EXEMPT INFORMATION – PARAGRAPH 14) –

 

Following consideration of the earlier report and the potential implications of the call-in Members recognised that discussions and negotiations were to continue with Bidder B as the preferred bidder from the marketing exercise and to enter into agreement with the Bidder at the appropriate time. All Members unanimously agreed that Bidder A as outlined in the call-in had not complained that the wrong paperwork was sent out during this exercise and had in fact been compliant with the requirements as set out in the strategic brief.  Members were, however, concerned at the inference referred to by the call-in and it was unanimously agreed that the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee discuss this matter with the Council’s Monitoring Officer.

 

The Scrutiny Committee, in conclusion, unanimously

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T a press statement be made advising that the Committee unanimously support the marketing exercise that had recently been undertaken, is happy with the governance of the project to date and welcomes the positive steps being taken to attract an investment of such scale and quality.

  

Reason for recommendation

 

In order that members of the public can be advised that it was the view of all Members present at the Scrutiny Committee that the tendering process for the marketing exercise of the site at Nell’s Point had been dealt with in accordance with procedures as well as the positive proposals being put forward.

 

 

 

 

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