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Agenda Item No.

 

 

VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL ACCESS FORUM

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 16th November, 2011.

 

Present:  Mr. F. Coleman (Chairman); Mr. G.D. Cubbin, Mr. J.J. Herbert, Mrs. H. March, Mr. H.S. McMillan, Mr. N. Moss, Mr. R. Pittard, Mr. R. Simpson, Mrs. L. Stuart, Mr. R. Traherne and Mrs. V. Warlow.

 

Mr. J. Wyatt, Mr. B. Guy, Mr. G.W. Teague and Mrs. S. Thomas (Vale of Glamorgan Council); Mrs. T. Cottnam (Coastal Access Officer).

 


 

 

(iii)  Walking and Cycling Action Plan for Wales

 

It was noted that a report would be submitted to the next meeting, as opposed to this meeting as original intended. 

 

 

(iv)   Stone Stiles in Llantwit Major

 

Mrs. March indicated that problems still existed.  Mr. Teague stated that safety measures would continue to be rolled out. 

 

 

(c)   Presentation by Vinny Mott, SUSTRANS -

 

Members received a presentation from Vinny Mott, Senior Project Manager, SUSTRANS.  Her presentation included giving a general background and an indication of how SUSTRANS worked.  Specific projects alluded to included:

 

·                walking / cycling network

·                street redesign

·                volunteer projects

·                outdoor artwork (representing the largest collection in the United Kingdom)

·                school cycling

·                National Cycle Network - associated health benefits and zero-carbon activity

·                personalised travel information.

 

In terms of the Vale of Glamorgan, various projects had been initiated over the years, including

 

·                Safe Routes to Stations (2002)

·                National Cycle Network Route 88 feasibility study (2008)

·                Pont y Werin (Connect2 Steering Group)

Ø          cycle links

Ø          Arcott Street - contra-flow cycle lane

Ø          National Cycle Network - existing / proposed routes (rural sections).

 

After a series of questions and answers, on behalf of the Forum, the Chairman thanked Ms. Mott for her interesting and informative presentation.

 

 

(d)   Rural Footpaths Grants -

 

Members were addressed by Mr. M. Cottray, Rural Regeneration Officer, in respect of the Rural Footpaths Grant Scheme.  The scheme aimed to enhance or provide additional basic services for the Vale of Glamorgan rural economy and population.  It also sought to address social exclusion by improving access to a range of services and to develop better links between communities and remote areas.  He indicated that funding for the scheme was available until 31st December 2013.

 

The grant scheme could provide new or improved footpath links:

 

·                between communities

·                between communities and the coast / coastal path

·                between communities and service centres

·                to encourage community use of footpaths in lieu of other less sustainable transport methods.

 

Mr. Cottray outlined the decision-making process which took place in respect of funding.  He also provided an outline of the Creative Rural Communities Scheme.  He explained to whom assistance was potentially available, the level of assistance available and how applications needed to be submitted.

 

The Chairman, on behalf of the Forum, thanked Mr. Cottray for attending and providing members with a summary.

 

 

(e)   PROW Condition Survey -

 

Mr. Teague updated members on the ongoing work in respect of the above.  The two databases involved had now been “joined up” and officers were continuing to work through the data set. 

 

AGREED - T H A T a further report be submitted to the next meeting.

 

 

(f)   Coastal Access Improvement Programme (CAIP) Update-

 

Mrs. Cottnam updated members on the following specific projects:

 

·                Programme

Ø          Research assessing economic impact of path underway.  The research had been commissioned by CCW and was looking at locations around Wales, including a number in the Vale of Glamorgan.  Mrs. Cottnam felt that this would add value to the work already underway utilising people counters. 

·                Gileston Beach

Ø          Project to improve furniture on links connecting Summer House Point to Gileston

Ø          Kissing gates required, to be installed by Heritage Coast Wardens.

·                Cwm Colhuw

Ø          Dedication of paths as Public Right of Way sought from landowner.  Practical works required to improve path behind surf lifesavers club

Ø          No response from landowner.  Considering options to create by order.

Ø          Practical works funding to be diverted into compensation payments for dedication agreements.

·                Cwm Nash - Dunraven Improvements

Ø          Various stile, gate and stonework improvements along the Heritage Coast

Ø          Materials ordered for new gates near Dunraven Park

Ø          Stone work completed near Nash Point.

·                Signage

Ø          Wales Coast Path branding and waymarkers required across route

Ø          Mapping exercise identifying signage locations complete

Ø          Waymark and branding in stock

Ø          Waymark posts to be ordered based on mapping exercise.

·                Cwm Mawr

Ø          Scheme to improve access down valley sides at Cwm Mawr including steps where necessary

Ø          Conservation authorities acquired (SSSI etc.)

Ø          Access negotiations complete

Ø          Progressing with costs

Ø          Work dependent upon dedication agreement being signed.  Dedication agreed in principle, lawyers discussing particular clauses.

·                Atlantic College

Ø          Project to roll back path away from cliff edge

Ø          Useful discussions with Atlantic College had continued, with approval now obtained from the Principal and the Trustees

Ø          Work would include provision of a path, fencing (as one off compensation arrangement) and provision of signage.

·                St. Mary’s Well Bay

Ø          Provision of paths around caravan site

Ø          Welsh Government legal officers awaiting advice from clients

Ø          CCW contacted to request assistance be provided internally through the Welsh Government to move this issue on.

 

Penarth

·                Agreement had been reached with the Penarth Tourism Association for the route preferred by the Local Access Forum as the most appropriate / aesthetic within the Coast Path.

 

Events

An official Wales Coast Path launch would take place on 5th May 2012.  One event would be held in the Roald Dahl Plass (the former Oval Basin) in Cardiff, one in Aberystwyth and one at Flint Castle.  Officers were endeavouring to maintain momentum and six potential locations in the Vale had been identified for events intended for 25th May.  Mrs. Cottnam also referred to the fact that a group of several hundred walkers from Holland would be walking the Coastal Path on 25th August 2012.  She also alluded to the fact that the Wales Coast Path website was intended to be fully in place by February 2012 and that she would update members at the next meeting.  She was pleased to inform members that the Wales Coast and Coast Path had been nominated as the No. 1 place to visit in Wales in 2012 in the latest edition of the Lonely Planet Guide.

 

Mrs. Warlow indicated that, subject to funding being obtained, it was intended to again hold a Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival, to take place on 12th May 2012. 

 

 

(g)   Public Rights of Way (PROW) Orders Update and Definitive Map Modification Order Tracking -

 

The regular update report in respect of the above was submitted, referring to a composite map displayed which would be updated and made available at each LAF meeting. 

 

 

(h)   Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) Funding Programme Update -

 

Members received an update on the three projects covered within the ROWIP funding programme for 2011/12. 

 

(i)   Employment of an officer to complete quality assurance of the Definitive Map to facilitate its republication and to provide analysis of condition survey results.

 

The final stages of quality assurance of the Definitive Map were underway.  A number of cross-border issues had been identified that were likely to require rectification by Order.  As a result of the work so far, the Public Rights of Way Network had been published on the Vale of Glamorgan website via My Maps and could be found at: http://myvale.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/myGlamorgan.aspx

 

The layer shown was a direct copy of the electronic mapping maintained by the Rights of Way team and would be updated weekly.  It included a disclaimer indicating that it was not the Definitive Map itself and that work to correct certain minor anomalies was still continuing.  CAMS data had been provided in full.  Training to enable analysis of the data and use of software as a resource for managing the network was being undertaken throughout November. 

 

 

(ii)   Match funding of Rural Development Plan Community and Cycle Ways Links Project

 

ROWIP money had been allocated to match the first scheme to be agreed in association with delivering a Rural Development Plan project for the improvement of links between communities.

 

 

(iii)   Biodiversity

 

The biodiversity element of the grant would be met through the procurement of otter halts and owl boxes, to be installed near public rights of way. 

 

During the ensuing general discussion on this item, Mr. Pittard referred to the targeted element of Glas Tir (scheduled for 2013).  His understanding was that, should LAFs suggest rights of way improvements they considered appropriate, the Welsh Government would consider including in the process.  The Chairman referred to a meeting held with Tir Gofal officers to discuss whether any existing permissive footpaths / bridleways should be included as criteria for the new Glas Tir scheme. He understood that each Local Authority would soon be provided with maps to facilitate an update of the issues.  In essence, he felt this to be largely a rerun of the earlier exercise undertaken. 

 

AGREED - T H A T a further report on this matter be submitted to a future meeting.

 

 

(i)    Synopsis of Notes of the LAF Conference, 7th June 2011 -

 

With regard to item 8 regarding ROWIP funding, the Chairman indicated that this item had arisen due to the fact that certain LAFs did not seem to enjoy good relationships with their respective local authorities.  This was not the case within the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

In terms of funding, Mr. Pittard indicated that, having been at the National Local Access Forum meeting, he was hopeful (based on the Minister’s statement) that funding would continue on the same basis as for the current year.

 

 

(j)    LAF Chairs’ Meeting, 13th October 2011 -

 

The Chairman referred to the following:

 

(i)    Glas Tir

 

He indicated that some 973 expressions of interest had been submitted in respect of Level II Glas Tir, with 500 applicants having qualified and some 300 in reserve.  Mr. Traherne was aware that take up had been reasonable in upland areas.  However, he considered that it would be interesting to see the position once the level of interest in areas such as the Vale of Glamorgan had been ascertained. 

 

AGREED - T H A T a further report be submitted to a future meeting.

 

 

(ii)    Highways Bill

 

The Chairman referred to the current drafting by the Welsh Government of a new Highways Bill.  This would include placing a duty on local authorities to designate traffic free routes.  If the Bill evolved as anticipated, consultation would take place in the Spring of 2012. 

 

 

(iii)    Countryside Code

 

The Chairman alluded to the issuing by CCW of a revised Countryside Code.  It would be different in format in that it would comprise a series of Codes for specific activities, covered by one overarching Code. 

 

 

(k)     Annual Report -

 

The Secretary reminded members that hard copies had been circulated to them in advance of the meeting in order that any comments could be submitted and considered. 

 

AGREED - T H A T the Annual Report 2010/11 be endorsed.

 

 

(l)     Reappointment of the Local Access Forum-

 

Prior to outlining the reappointment process, the Secretary took the opportunity of thanking members for their contribution to the work of the Forum during its current three year tenure.  In particular, he expressed his appreciation to Mrs. H. March, Ms. A Phillips and Mrs. V. Warlow, all of whom had indicated that they would not be reapplying to remain a member of the Forum.  Mrs. March had served on the Forum since its original inception nine years ago.  Both Ms. Phillips and Mrs. Warlow had been members for six years.  At this point, Mrs. Stuart indicated that she would also not be reapplying for membership.  The retiring members each indicated that they had enjoyed, and learned from, their time on the Forum. 

 

The Chairman added his own sentiments, reiterating those of the Secretary. 

 

With regard to the reappointment process, the following had taken place,

 

·                all existing members had been notified of the process for reapplying

·                notices had been displayed at the Civic Offices and Dock Office

·                notices had been forwarded for display at Cosmeston Lakes and Country Park, Dyffryn House, the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Centre, Vale of Glamorgan Leisure Centres, libraries and to all Town and Community Councils

·                notices had been published in the Western Mail and Gems

·                a notice had been published on the Council’s website and internal StaffNet

·                letters had been forwarded to “interested parties”.

 

 

(m)    Feedback from Forum Members -

 

(i)     Mrs. Warlow updated members on the position with regard to the funding / future existence of Valeways.  She pointed out that the Vale of Glamorgan Council had, traditionally, been the main funder of Valeways.  However, a number of funding streams, including that from the Council and CCW, were coming to an end.  As a result, one employee had been given notice of redundancy and cutbacks had already taken place in terms of the Project Manager’s hours.  Trustees were working on a new business plan. However, she pointed out that the existing five day week volunteer workforce would no longer be available.  She thanked members of the Forum for their support and ongoing interest and hoped that Valeways would, in some form, continue. 

 

Mr. Guy pointed out that the core funding provided from the Council had come, not from the Rights of Way budget, but from the Finance Department (i.e. as charity funding).  He felt it important to inform the Forum that no application had been received for that type of funding from Valeways for 2012.  Whilst reiterating his comments from a previous meeting that he could not support funding from a Rights of Way perspective, an application could still have been submitted for core funding under the element described above.  He also reminded members that, whilst funding had been provided by the Council to Valeways for 2011/12, the organisation had been unable to deliver the intended services through to the end of the financial year. 

 

 

(ii)    Ogmore River

 

Mr. Cubbin referred to an issue he had raised at an earlier meeting regarding illegal vehicular access.  He indicated that the problem had not been alleviated by Dunraven Estates, albeit he was aware that action had been taken at a location further along the river.  He also mentioned the fact that a “clean-up” had taken place during September of the sea bed and along the river bank, which had considerably improved matters. 

 

 

(iii)   Wales Environment Link

 

Mr. Pittard, having attended a recent meeting of the above, informed members that the whole of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast had been designated as “good” under the Water Directive. 

 

 

(iv)   Mr. Teague indicated that Mr. Russ Church, a long serving member of the Council’s Rights of Way team, would be retiring in December. 

 

AGREED - T H A T the Forum’s appreciation of Mr. Church’s contribution be conveyed to him.

 

 

 

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