Agenda Item No.
GLAMORGAN HERITAGE COAST ADVISORY GROUP
Minutes of a meeting held on 13th October, 2011, Glamorgan Heritage Coast Centre, Southerndown.
Present: Councillors R.F. Curtis, J.F. Fraser, E. Hacker, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Mrs. A.J. Preston, R.P. Thomas; Mr. R. McLaggan (Merthyr Mawr Estates), Councillor G. Davies (Bridgend County Borough Council), Mr. S. Hand (Countryside Council for Wales), Mr. B. Acott (Friends of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast), Mrs. H. March, Mr. G. Guy (Operational Manager, Vale of Glamorgan) and Mr. P. Dunn (Glamorgan Heritage Coast Centre),
(a) Appointment of Chairman -
AGREED - T H A T Councillor Mrs. A.J. Preston be appointed Chairman for the current municipal year.
(b) Appointment of Vice-Chairman -
AGREED - T H A T Councillor Mrs. V.M. Hartrey be appointed Vice-Chairman for the current municipal year.
(c) Apologies for Absence -
These were received from Councillors J. Clifford, A.M. Ernest (Vale of Glamorgan Council) and Ms. S. Mabberley (Countryside Council for Wales).
(d) Minutes -
AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 12th April, 2011 be accepted.
(e) Announcement -
The Chairman on behalf of the Committee thanked Mr. Peter Davies of Slade Farm for providing the Group with the opportunity to undertake a tractor ride on the farm prior to the meeting. The visit had been an interesting and informative experience and Members were advised that each year similar visits were also arranged for the public.
(f) Achievements and Issues at the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Centre-
The Principal Ranger, Paul Dunn, provided the Group with a powerpoint presentation detailing the work of the team since the meeting in April 2011. The presentation showed pictures of the Heritage Coast taken over the previous months advising that it had been a particularly mixed year with visitor numbers not being as high as in previous years apart from the Easter break and two weeks in October when the whole of the country experienced significantly high temperatures. However, school visits to the Centre and the coast remained consistent and even though charging for such visits had been agreed over the last two years schools were still regularly visiting the coast. The team also continued to visit schools and assist in biodiversity work and maintenance issues. The local farm owner, Mr. Peter Davies, had provided enormous benefits to the Heritage Coast with the biodiversity improvements that he had made on his farm. Although the Centre had been without an estate worker for four months the team had managed to maintain the gardens and the Estate as best as they could. A number of local companies had also assisted with offering services to clean up the coast with a significant number of their staff being involved.
However, the group was informed that the support the Centre usually received from students at Atlantic College, for the clean up regimes, was no longer available due to the withdrawal of Welsh Government funding to the College for this area of work. Although the farm open day at Slade Farm due to adverse weather conditions had seen visitor numbers reduce all who had attended had been most impressed with the work being undertaken.
“Visit Wales” was intending to highlight three places in their Wales Coast Path promotional campaign, one being the Heritage Coast and to this end had donated a bench which could be clearly seen on the top of Dunraven Road in commencement of their advertising campaign. During the presentation other photographs demonstrated the variety of wildlife to be found in the area, together with photographs showing some activities by the Friends of the Heritage Coast.
Following the presentation it was
AGREED - T H A T Mr. Dunn be thanked for the informative update and for arranging the visit to Slade Farm with Mr. Davies.
(g) Update on Current Issues-
Mr. Bob Guy, Operational Manager - Countryside and Economic Projects, provided a verbal update for the Committee on current issues within the Vale of Glamorgan as below:
· It was the intention that the coastal path would be launched in Wales on 5th May 2012 some legal issues were being discussed i.e. public access etc. in relation to the Vale of Glamorgan but he was optimistic that these matters would be resolved in the very near future.
· The contract for the Cwm Mawr scheme which had been designed to improve access to the steps could not be confirmed until the creation of a public right of way had taken place.
· The proposed improvements behind the lifeguard building in Llantwit Major had been shelved due to insufficient funds this year.
· Signage issues were being progressed and the Department was currently mapping signage across the whole coastal path. The path had been a challenge for most of Wales due to the short lead in timescale that had been devised by the Welsh Government.
· Creative Rural Communities were involved in a number of projects and one of the issues a future Steering Group would be looking at would be the issue of branding and interpretation of the Heritage Coast as a whole. Some research had been completed on public perceptions, and Mr. Guy would be working with members of the Rural Partnership to progress the project shortly.
In considering the report Members urged officers to ensure that a sign for the Heritage Coast be considered on the M4 and that the Heritage Coast be appropriately branded in order to provide further marketing opportunities. Working closely with Bridgend County Borough Council could also be a major step forward and that they be considered to be included in discussions / consultations in developing the Creative Rural Communities project.
Having considered the report, it was
AGREED - T H A T the Creative Rural Communities team provide a presentation on current projects to the Advisory Group at its next meeting.
(h) Matters Raised by Bridgend County Borough Council -
Councillor G. Davies advised that in Porthcawl Bridgend County Borough Council had set up a Trecco Bay Management Group which was looking at all access requirements within the area. He suggested that a representative from the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Advisory Group could be invited to sit on the Trecco Bay Management Group and that he would arrange for an invitation to be extended in due course. He also concurred that both Councils needed to consider further ways of enhancing tourism within the area and welcomed the suggestion that further discussions be undertaken.
(i) Matters Raised by the Countryside Council for Wales -
Mr. Scott Hand advised that two new SSI sites had been formally designated, namely Lark Meadow and Craig Penllyn. He also took the opportunity to thank Paul Dunn, his staff and managers from the Vale, for all the work that had been undertaken at Craig Penllyn.
At the previous meeting of the group reference had been made to the proposed new single environment body, but that to date this had not formally been confirmed, however, a decision was hoped from the Minister in November 2011 which would be followed by public consultation and a new regime of legislation. It was envisaged that the shadow organisation could be formed in the Summer of 2012 with a view to amalgamating in 2013.
Mr. R. McLaggan stressed the importance that all organisations worked together to ensure the best possible access and initiatives were undertaken for the Heritage Coast.
(j) Matters Raised by the Friends of Glamorgan Heritage Coast -
The new Chairman of the Friends of Glamorgan Heritage Coast, Mr. Acott, was welcomed to the meeting. He stated that he looked forward to working with the Group and if he could be of assistance in anyway to let him know.
Mrs. Heather March raised an issue in relation to a path from Mill Road at Boverton to the Sea Watch Centre. The Friends of the Heritage Coast and Llantwit Major Town Council had discussed making a bid to the Creative Rural Communities footpaths grant fund to create a new right of way and improve the route. The Operational Manager advised that the Friends of the Heritage Coast needed to demonstrate that the footpath had broad community support but that it could be a good scheme for the grant, subject to seeing the details.
It was noted that several groups currently regularly use the path, including ramblers, and have done for many years. Mr. Guy suggested that a claim could therefore be made to the Council’s Rights of Way Group that a public right of way already exists. This would not necessarily be the easiest or quickest way forward and a discussion with Mark Cottray at Creative Rural Communities was advised in respect of the grant route.
However, he took the opportunity to advise the Friends that if any landowner asked for compensation this could not be paid out of any grants received and that other avenues would have to be explored.
(l) Date of Next Meeting -
AGREED - T H A T the next meeting of the group be arranged in April 2012, to include a Creative Rural Communities presentation, a full update on the progress on the Wales Coastal Path and a visit on the Coastal Path to be undertaken prior to or after the meeting.