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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting:  15th October, 2012

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sport Development

 

Pedestrian Access to Llantwit Major Beach

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To update Cabinet on progress with the funding application to construct a new concrete slipway on the Llantwit Major beach foreshore to enable safer access to the beach.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet note the current position.

2.         That a further report be presented to Cabinet when the grant position is known.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure that Cabinet are kept up to date on this matter.

2.         To review progress with this project and to schedule the construction works if the grant application is successful.

Background

2.         Llantwit Major beach (Cwm Colhuw) was once a busy bathing beach popular with both locals and visitors to the Vale.  The beach has always featured a mix of sandy areas and large rocks, which were mostly firmly located in the sand, but over recent years the amount of loose stone material on the foreshore has greatly increased.

3.         This issue has been exacerbated somewhat by the shape of the large rock armour sea defences constructed to protect the Surf Lifesaving Building.  The defences effectively creating a focal point for the collection of the excessive loose stone material, which is now concentrated at the base of the current pedestrian ramp.

4.         This loose material has to be crossed before access can be gained to the sand or even the more stable larger rock areas and this is very problematic, particularly for the elderly, the infirm and visitors with small children.  Effectively this issue denies suitable beach access to large numbers of the local community and visitors.

5.         A number of surveys have been undertaken of the area over recent years aimed at providing a solution to this public access problem, and action to remove the loose stone materials from the base of the access ramp has been undertaken on many occasions.  However, due to the tidal action and the shape of the rock armour defence this work has only ever been of limited success.

6.         Cabinet considered a report on 18th April 2012 which detailed the work of the local Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, who wished to apply for a 'Splash' grant from the Environment Agency Wales to build a new pedestrian access to the beach (Minute C1711 refers).

Cabinet resolved as follows:

(1)  THAT the Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Visible and Building Services, be authorised to enter into an Agreement with the Llantwit Major Surf Lifesavers Club for the Council to arrange construction of a new slipway subject to the Surf Lifesavers Club successfully obtaining a sufficient amount to provide a suitable slipway, and the Council obtaining an appropriate lease from the Crown Estates. 

(2)  THAT the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services, in consultation with the Director of Finance, ICT and Property and the Cabinet Member for Visible and Building Services, be authorised to enter into an appropriate lease with Cooke & Arkwright, Agents for Crown Estates, in respect of the land upon which the slipway was proposed to be built, subject to the Surf Lifesavers Club successfully obtaining a sufficient amount to provide a suitable slipway. 

(3)  THAT the Llantwit Major Surf Lifesavers Club be awarded a grant of £10,000 towards the costs of constructing the slipway subject to the balance of funding required being obtained from the Llantwit Major Surf Lifesavers Club. 

Reasons for decisions 

(1)  To ensure that a sufficient guarantee of payment is in place and that any construction is appropriate and to the required engineering standards. 

(2)  To ensure that suitable terms and conditions are agreed with Crown Estates with regard to the construction and ownership of the proposed new slipway. 

(3)  To assist the Llantwit Major Surf Lifesavers Club in funding the construction of the proposed new slipway should their grant application be successful.

Relevant Issues and Options

7.         This project is currently dependent on the Llantwit Major Surf Lifesaving Club obtaining the necessary permissions from both Crown Estates as the landowner, and the Environment Agency Wales, as the proposed new construction would run parallel to the river line.

8.         The Club also has to be awarded the £25k 'Splash' grant in order to release the Council's funding contribution of £10k.

9.         Officers have been in discussion with an official of the Club this month and he has advised that their initial 'expression of interest' for the project was favourably received by the Environment Agency Wales, though the proposal is still subject to funding between Welsh Government and the Environment Agency Wales for 2013 / 2014.  The official further advised that the result of the application should be known in November 2012.  At which time more detailed plans for the construction would be submitted to the Environment Agency Wales.

10.      As advised in the previous Cabinet report, should all permissions be forthcoming and the grant funding be received, the Council's Highway Maintenance Team will design and construct the new access, similar to a scheme they recently successfully completed at Ogmore, for the Pen y Bont Surf Life Savers Club.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

11.      The Council's initial financial commitment to this scheme is £10k and this will be made available from the 'small grants fund'.

12.      In addition, Visible Services will set aside a revenue sum of up to £5k per annum for ongoing maintenance of the new access.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

13.      It is hoped that a new beach access will assist in regenerating Llantwit Major beach as a visitor and recreational attraction.  Increased visitor numbers will assist the local economy and in particular the on site café and ice cream parlour.  Also, safety of beach users will be improved by reducing the risk of injuries that could be caused by walking over loose stone material and providing the Surf Life Saving Club with easier access to the sea for rescue situations.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.      As advised in the previous report of 18th April 2012, there will be a need to enter into formal lease agreement with the land owners for construction and maintenance of the slipway.  Should the slipway be adopted the Council will be liable for ensuring the safety of all users but there would be no greater implications than exist on the Council’s current operational slipways in Sully, Penarth or Barry.

Crime and Disorder Implications

15.      None

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.      Any improvements to the current access arrangements will increase opportunities for less able citizens to gain access to the sea and sand areas of the beach.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.      Corporate priority:  To work with partners to develop a sustainable community with maximises opportunities for economic growth, social improvement and environmental regeneration and protection.

18.      Improvement Objective 3:  Promote through partnership working greater co-operations that deliver services in the Vale, thereby improving the quality of life of its citizens.

19.      Action R14:  Implement a Strategy for Tourism, Marketing and Events to encourage visitors to the Vale.

Policy Framework and Budget

20.      This report is within the Policy Framework and Budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

21.      No local Member consultation has been necessary with this report as it is well known that all local Members are in favour of improving access to the beach at Llantwit Major and have been for some considerable time.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

22.      Economy and Environment

Background Papers

None

 

Contact Officer

Colin Smith - Works Manager

Tel:  02920 673 223

 

Officers Consulted

Operational Manager, Legal Services

Accountant, Visible Services and Housing

 

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing