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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 15th October 2012

 

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

 

National Eisteddfod 2012 - Llandow, Vale of Glamorgan - Closing Report

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To provide an update of the Council's involvement in hosting the National Eisteddfod at Llandow during August of this year.  The report will serve as a Closing Report.

Recommendations

1.         That the content of the report and the Council's involvement be noted.

2.         That a copy of the report be referred to the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Committee and the next Community Liaison Committee for information.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         The report contains information regarding the Council's involvement and is for noting.

2.         To apprise Scrutiny Committee and Community Liaison Committee.

Background

2.         The National Eisteddfod was held at Llandow in the Vale of Glamorgan between the 4th and 11th August.  The site totalled some 120 acres and included the main Eisteddfod field, 'The Maes' and the neighbouring car parks and caravan and camping field.  The Youth event field or 'Maes B' was also located in very close proximity.

3.         A suite of earlier reports were presented to Cabinet on the 16th March 2011, the 4th January 2012 and 23rd July 2012.  These reports detailed the Council's involvement in terms of working with the Eisteddfod on organisation for the event as well as the Council's own direct involvement.

4.         In terms of the run up to the event, the following key milestones were relevant, in terms of the Council's involvement:

·                The Proclamation Ceremony was held in June 2011 in Barry and was considered to be a successful event.  It was at this event that the official announcement was made that the 2012 Eisteddfod was to be held in the Vale of Glamorgan and the Ceremony involved a procession along Holton Road from King Square and a Ceremony and events at Gladstone Gardens.

·                The Council also had a presence at the 2011 Wrexham Eisteddfod.  A Council display area was set up, the main purpose being to give information in advance of next year's event in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The Stand was well received and a large number of people visited, with information being given on local attractions and accommodation.  Contact numbers and web information was also given and there followed a period of significant demand for local accommodation for the period during the event.

·                The Council had also agreed to sponsor and procure the Eisteddfod Crown and the Crown was presented to Dr. Dylan Jones, Chair of the Local Executive Committee at a reception on the 30th May hosted by the Major of the Council.

5.         In terms of the Eisteddfod itself, the attendance figures stood at 138,767 for the week, nearly 2000 higher than the previous Eisteddfod based in South Wales, which was hosted in Ebbw Vale in 2010.  In comparison with last year's Eisteddfod, held in Wrexham, the attendance was 10,000 lower across the week.  Elfed Roberts, the Chief Executive of the Eisteddfod, has through the media expressed his satisfaction at attendance figures, especially given the poor weather during the middle of the week, the economic climate and also the Olympics being held at the same time.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         The remainder of this report details the Council's involvement, both in the run-up to the Eisteddfod and during the week.

7.         Members are aware that in the run-up to the Eisteddfod, the Council established a Working Group, under the chairmanship of the Director of Development Services, in order to progress all necessary arrangements.  The Group involved representatives across relevant service areas and advanced work and preparation that was particularly relevant to key areas including transport, event planning, promotion and officer involvement during the week.  The following specific areas were particularly relevant in the run up to the Eisteddfod and during the Eisteddfod week.

Transport Links

8.         This included working with officials from the Eisteddfod on a transport strategy which included consideration of traffic routing, signage, car parking arrangements and the provision of a public transport (bus service) between the Maes and Llantwit Major and Cowbridge.  The routing of vehicles to and from the Eisteddfod was of critical importance, especially given the negative publicity as a consequence of traffic congestion associated with the Urdd Eisteddfod earlier in the year in Gwynedd.  The Council's Traffic Management team, in partnership with the Police, identified preferred routes to direct traffic to the two car parks from the east and west via separate approaches using signed routes.  Traffic lights were installed at the entrance to the car park on the Cowbridge-Llantwit Major road and traffic was discouraged from using the route via Cowbridge and Llysworney.  Two contractors were commissioned to assist during the week with the implementation of the traffic management plan, namely LUX (provision of temporary traffic signals) and the AA (provision of temporary directional signage).  The Council's in-house contractor (Highway Works) also assisted with the operation of temporary stop/go boards and provision of local traffic management and advanced warning signs.

9.         I am pleased to report that as a consequence of sound advanced planning and decision making there were no reported problems with congestion on the roads during the Eisteddfod week.  In addition, during the week, officers were able to respond to any specific concerns (notably as a consequence of delays for traffic leaving car parks at the busiest times) in a timely and efficient manner.

10.      In addition, the bus service that was provided by the Council to link the Eisteddfod site with Cowbridge and with Llantwit Major operated without delays or problems.  This resulted in a total of 6,757 passenger journeys on the service throughout the week, a significant majority using the bus to link with the local train service for Llantwit Major.

11.      On site, the Council made the Greenlinks bus available to transport people requiring a bus around the Maes.  The service used a pre-arranged route and operated daily.  The number of passenger journeys totalled 115 ranging between 10 to 25 per day, with Thursday 9th August being the busiest.

Cleansing and Associated Activity

12.      In the run up to the Eisteddfod a cleansing and verge maintenance regime was put in place, with work also undertaken during the week to ensure that highway approaches and verges were maintained to an appropriate standard.

Decoration

13.      In the run up to the Eisteddfod, efforts were made in liaison with various Town and Community Councils and businesses to 'decorate' the approaches to the Eisteddfod.  This involved the provision of bunting and Eisteddfod banners within communities and on premises, to ensure that the awareness of residents and visitors was drawn to the Eisteddfod.

Marketing

14.      In the weeks leading up to the Eisteddfod a significant number of A4 branded envelopes containing bilingual or english and welsh copies of useful information including an eating out guide, out and about guide, useful numbers list (including nearest Accident and Emergency, chemist, taxis etc) an event sheet for the county, travel information to the site, bus timetable, a map and Vale town guides,  were provided to the Eisteddfod caravan site and approximately 1500 were distributed to accommodation operators in the area.  This was designed to ensure that all visitors benefited from as much information about the local area as possible.

15.      In addition it is worth noting that in the run up to the Eisteddfod the Iolo Morgannwg trail and Iolo Morgannwg Circular Walk was launched which attracted much attention and praise during the week.

The Council's Presence on the Maes

16.      In the run up to the Eisteddfod, a considerable amount of time and staff resources were used to plan the Council's presence on the Maes.  During early stages, the Council negotiated a location for the Vale Pavilion on the Maes, and the location, close to the entrance, ensured that the Council had a visually prominent location.  The theme of the Pavilion was 'Coast and Countryside' and it was determined at the outset that publicity leaflets, information and displays should focus, not on Council activity and services, but on the area and what the Vale of Glamorgan has to offer in terms of leisure opportunities.  The Pavilion was decorated with stands and graphics, professionally designed and installed by a company on behalf of the Council.

17.      The site of the Pavilion, as well as housing the Pavilion itself, also accommodated a large outdoor space which allowed the VPod Bus to be sited at the Council's site all week and also offered a useful space for activities and organised events to be held throughout the week.  These activities included:

·                A surf simulator, provided by Southerndown Surf School;

·                Target shooting provided by Task Force Paintball;

·                Balloon modelling;

·                Nordic walking demonstration

·                Face painting with Vale of Glamorgan landmarks being the theme;

·                Cookery classes and demonstrations;

·                Story telling for younger visitors;

·                Willow workshops;

·                Puppet making;

·                Play activities (arranged by the Council's Play Development officers

18.      The programme of events was publicised in advance and on a daily basis by use of leaflets that were available at the Pavilion and about the site.

19.      In addition, a living rock pool was used at the site to highlight the environment and wildlife of the Heritage Coast.  A bag with Council gifts was made available to all those who completed a quiz or competition, based on ascertaining facts relevant to the Vale, the answers for which were contained on displays within the Vale's Pavilion.  A television screen was used to showcase Vale of Glamorgan attractions and a wide variety of publicity material was made available focussing on the natural and built heritage of the Vale of Glamorgan.  Tea, coffee and soft drink facilities were available throughout the week at the Vale's Pavilion between certain times of the day.  Finally, a comments book was made available within the Council's Pavilion.  Appendix A contains all the comments received by day.  Those completed in Welsh have been translated for ease of reference.

20.      In terms of staffing the Pavilion, the Council relied on its own staff who had volunteered to assist at various times and days throughout the week.  The drawing up of a rota some weeks in advance, ensured that an appropriate mix of bilingual staff were present, alongside welsh learners.  All officers wore corporate Eisteddfod Vale of Glamorgan shirts to ensure a consistent dress code was presented to visitors.  Volunteers external to the Council also assisted on certain activities during the week.  A letter recognising the important role played by volunteers has been issued to all those who participated.

21.      During the week, and through regular contact with Eisteddfod organisers, the Council was able to secure many media opportunities.  Chris Coleman, the Welsh Football Team Manager, announced the Welsh Football squad from the Vale of Glamorgan site.  This was followed by an interview with the First Minister Carwyn Jones AM.  In addition and during the week, the Director of Development Services and several Cabinet Members were required to attend press conferences.  The Director of Development Services also gave radio interviews during the week on the benefits of the Eisteddfod to the Vale of Glamorgan, the events scheduled at the Vale Pavilion, the attractions of the Vale of Glamorgan and the legacy of the Eisteddfod to the Vale of Glamorgan.

22.      During the week officers also discussed the event and the Council's approach to the event with officers and Members from Denbighshire Council (due to host the Eisteddfod next year).  Since the close of the Eisteddfod, information on the Council's arrangements and approach to the week has been issued to Denbighshire to assist the Council in its planning for the 2013 event.

Play Development

23.      The Play Development Team was present at the Eisteddfod for the full 8 days and facilitated a number of activities and opportunities for the children and young people attending the event.  Activities included arts and crafts with a different selection each day, sand and water play, cardboard city and junk modelling.  A selection of collages were developed over the week using a selection of recycled items, the collage themes were a map of Wales, the Welsh Dragon and a daffodil that was signed by Cerys Mathews on her visit to the Vale play site on one of the days.  A number of 3D models were also created, these included a Welsh lady, a daffodil and a sheep.   Rosettes and certificates were sent out to children who took part in a colouring competition with a covering letter thanking them for taking part.

Appendix B contains the comments left by parents in response to the activities held during the week.

Sports Development

24.      During the week the Council was responsible for administering and facilitating sport activity at the site.  This included working with key partners such as the Football Association of Wales, the Cardiff Blues, Glamorgan Cricket and Badminton Wales who delivered regular organised sessions.  Taster sessions were also provided for rugby, football, cricket, badminton, tri-golf, athletics and dodgeball.  Sessions were delivered by the Council's own Sports Development Team.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

25.      The cost of preparing for and planning for the Eisteddfod in terms of officer time was met from existing resources and budgets.  The remainder of the costs are as follows:

Transport Management and Planning

A significant amount of officer time was spent in planning for the event and managing traffic issues during the Eisteddfod week.  In terms of costs, the total costs amount to circa £35k and these relate to directional signage (both strategic and local), advanced warning signs, local traffic management services (provided by LUX), monitoring work during busy periods and the necessary Traffic Regulation Orders.  These costs have been met from within the Visible Services budget.

Public Transport - Bus Service

The bus service was procured from New Adventure Travel at a cost of £9k.  It should be noted that there was an additional cost with regard to 'concessionary fare reimbursement' which for 2,444 concessionary pass holders carried, enabled the company to claim £2.4k from the Council's Concessionary Travel Scheme budget.

Greenlinks

The Greenlinks service was delivered by four volunteers and one paid driver.  Site familiarisation took place during the week before the Eisteddfod.  The service was delivered at a total cost of £1.1k although large elements of this includes costs related to paid officer time, fuel prices and costs associated with releasing the bus from the Greenlinks service.

Cleaning and Associated Activity

Total costs in association with cleansing and litter collection for the week amounted to circa £4k.  This has been met from within the relevant budget area.

Decoration

Branded Eisteddfod banners and signs/placards were provided via the Eisteddfod organisers and installed by officers within existing budgets.

Marketing

Provision of marketing material was met from the existing Tourism and Events budget.

The Council Pavilion - Council Presence on the Maes

This represented the main cost in terms of the Council's involvement at the Eisteddfod.  In summary the actual cost of the Vale of Glamorgan Pavilion amounted to £12k.  In addition the external gazebos amounted to £1.2k and the internal fit out of the Vale Pavilion with stands and graphics amounted to circa £15k.  In the run up to the Eisteddfod and due to inclement weather a decision was made to provide decking to the front and rear of the Pavilion at a cost of £5k.  Other significant costs included the cost of the entertainment programme at circa £8.5k and the provision of branded boundary treatment and banners at the Pavilion as well as the branded Vale of Glamorgan bags at bags at circa £2.5k.  Other costs related to the provision of refreshments, branded T-Shirts and telephone and internal access.

Play Development

The total cost of facilitating Play Development including additional staffing costs associated with hosting the facilities amounted to circa £4k.

Sports Development

The cost of facilitating sports events and organised sessions has been met from within the staffing budget.

Other Associated costs

26.      As host authority, the Council was also required to provide a translation service at the Maes to deal with visitor needs as and when they arose.  This amounted to a total cost of £5k.

27.      In addition to the above 'organised presence' the Council' food safety officers attended the site throughout the week to carry out their regulatory and statutory duties relating to food hygiene.

 

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

28.      The provision of a bus service linking Llantwit Major and Cowbridge to the Eisteddfod contributed to reducing car journeys and therefore promoted a more sustainable means of travel to and from the Maes.  In addition cycle stands were provided at the entrance to the Eisteddfod.  Furthermore the promotion of the Vale of Glamorgan as a destination for visitors assists in ensuring the sustainability of businesses, particularly those that depend upon seasonal 'visitor' customers.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

29.      All legal and regulatory issues were addressed via the Working Group and Events Panel in the run up to the Eisteddfod, and during the week as issues arose.

Crime and Disorder Implications

30.      Security and other arrangements at the site were discussed and agreed as necessary with Eisteddfod organisers.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

31.      The Eisteddfod was essentially a Welsh language event but the holding of the Eisteddfod in a predominantly English speaking area will give opportunities for participation at the Eisteddfod of English speaking visitors as well as those learning Welsh.  The Council provided a Greenlinks bus during the week to allow those visitors with restricted mobility the opportunity to travel about the site.  The Council also provided a translation service during the week.

Corporate/Service Objectives

32.      The report refers to an issue which is central to the encouragement of visitors to the Vale of Glamorgan area.  The Eisteddfod provided an opportunity for the Council to showcase what it has to offer residents and visitors.

Policy Framework and Budget

33.      This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

34.      No specific consultation has taken place as the report relates to Vale-wide issues.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

35.      Economy and Environment Committee

Background Papers

None directly relevant

 

Contact Officer

Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services - 01446 704630

 

Officers Consulted

Tourism and Marketing Manager

Events officer

Corporate Equalities Officer

Principal Engineer, Traffic Management

Principal Civil Protection Manager

Operational Manager, Waste Management

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services

 

 

 

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