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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting:  14th January, 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation

 

Safe Routes in Communities Bids 2013/14

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To inform Cabinet of the invitation from Welsh Government to bid for Safe Routes in Communities Grant funding for 2013/14 and to advise Cabinet of the new guidance and eligibility criteria for the grant.  The report seeks approval for Cabinet to submit two bids for Safe Routes in Communities Grant Funding 2013/14 in respect of Barry Comprehensive School and Ysgol Sant Curig, Barry.

Recommendations

1.         To note the invitation from the Welsh Government to bid for Safe Routes in Communities funding as well as the new eligibility criteria in respect of the grant.

2.         That delegated authority be granted to the Director of Development Services in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation to allow the submission of two bids for Safe Routes in Communities grant funding 2013/14 for Barry Comprehensive School and Ysgol Sant Curig, Barry.

3.         That, subject to approval by the Welsh Government, the bids be included in the Authority's 2013/14 Capital Programme.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         In order that Members are made aware of the invitation to bid for funding and are updated on the new eligibility criteria which excludes many bids that have been submitted over previous years.

2.         To allow the Council to submit the bids for grant funding to meet the deadline of 28th January 2013 as set by Welsh Government.

3.         In order to allow progress on the schemes early in 2013/14.

 

Background

2.         On 19th December 2012, the Council received an invitation from Welsh Government to bid for Safe Routes in Communities (SRIC) funding for 2013/14.  The invite states that bids must be submitted to Welsh Government by 28th January 2013 and that bids are limited to two per authority.  The guidance has changed from previous years and there is now a strong emphasis on bids being made within areas of deprivation and the application form actually asks each authority to declare the areas position in the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation.

3.         The SRIC guidance programme is designed to assist local authorities, to achieve the aim in the prioritised National Transport Plan, to make it easier for people to be less reliant on the private car and to use public transport, walking and cycling more frequently.  SRIC funding aims to achieve this by developing schemes that encourage more sustainable travel choices but are also realistic in terms of the value of the projects that are submitted for consideration.

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         There have been a number of bids submitted in the past that have been unsuccessful and that in my view will no longer meet the criteria for funding.  These include bids in relation to schemes at Dinas Powys, Llantwit Major and Wenvoe.

5.         For 2013/14 the key eligibility criteria against which applications which be assessed and prioritised against are as follows:

 

·               Evidence of Community engagement;

·               Effectiveness in tackling poverty;

·               How the scheme which increase accessibility by active travel in the community area;

·               Effectiveness in improving road safety and reducing casualties;

·               Value for money and any added value - for example match funding;

·               Evidence of the scale and nature of the existing problems and

·               Effectiveness in achieving people's behaviour/ attitude to active travel.

 

6.         These key eligibility criteria restrict the Council's options for submitting bids and it is likely that only schemes in Barry will stand the tests of the application form and it is with this in mind, that schemes in respect of Barry Comprehensive School and Ysgol Sant Curig are being presented to Members for in principle approval.

7.         These schemes have been packaged so that in time walking and cycling routes will allow wide coverage within the Barry area and also provide links from the town centre to the schools.  The Schemes once completed will provide sufficient safe facilities to encourage sustainable travel.  The benefits of the schemes will be far more reaching than just to Barry Comprehensive and Ysgol Sant Curig Schools, as Barry Hospital and other local schools, facilities and services will also benefit from better access.

8.         Whilst the scheme details have not yet been finalised as the SRIC guidance was only received on the 19th December 2012 just before the Christmas/ New Year break, it is intended that officers will make every effort to meet the deadlines placed on them by the Welsh Government and make a submission by 28th January 2013.  Members will be able to view the bids at that stage and I am suggesting that I make contact with local members to discuss the progression and contents of the emerging bids, between now and their finalisation prior to 28th January 2013.

 

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

9.         Any measures contained in this report would seek 100% grant funding from Welsh Government and therefore no financial resource would be required from the Council's own resources.  If the bids are successful the money received would need to be accepted into the Council's Capital programme.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

10.      Active Travel can assist in reducing the use of vehicles for everyday activities and thereby reducing carbon emissions.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.      Any grant funding approved, would be accepted with Welsh Government conditions which would be required to be abided by but which have been standard for as long as the grant.

Crime and Disorder Implications

12.      It is anticipated that there is less of a risk of traffic accidents by implementing these measures and higher perception of a safer environment for people to travel sustainably.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

13.      Improving access to amenities and facilities to current standards will benefit all groups.

Corporate/Service Objectives

14.      The proposals would assist the Council's objectives to improve walking and cycling facilities in the specified areas.

Policy Framework and Budget

15.      This report is a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

16.      All Members have been consulted on this report given that in the past, guidance has allowed all areas the opportunity to have bids considered in the past.

 

Councillor Gwyn John has submitted the following comments:

"The only scheme at Llantwit Major which I would like to be considered is the pedestrian crossing on the Llanmaes Road. This is desperately needed because of the number of children crossing the road on their way to school, many children living at the Pentre Cwrt Estate, which has around 300+ houses, walk to school daily across the pathway at Windmill Lane on to the Llanmaes Road which is a busy thoroughfare being one of two major roads into Llantwit Major. There has been a need for a crossing on this road for many years but more so now with the number of children using the playing field and pupils walking to school. It would not cost much to put in a crossing."

 

Councillor Rhodri Traherne has commented as follows:

"The two schemes in Barry are excellent and I very much hope that the bids are successful.  That said, I am exceedingly concerned that the 'Safe Routes in Communities' Scheme' now excludes almost all the Vale of Glamorgan, and I would wish to receive reassurances from officers that their interpretation of the new Welsh Government eligibility criteria is indeed correct.  I would also ask that the Leader or Cabinet Member write to the Welsh Government in regard to the extremely short period in which the Council has been asked to respond to the invitation to bid, particularly in view of the changes to the scheme. This is, I have to say, typical of the Welsh Government; not only does it display incompetence and a failure to appreciate how local government works, but it also leads to inevitably rushed and poor decision making."

 

Councillor Ian Johnson has responded as follows:

"Thank you very much for the report on the Safe Routes in Communities Bids for 2013/14.

It is naturally disappointing that the Welsh Government will consider only two bids per local authority and that the criterion have been tightened to exclude a number of schools.

As ward member for Ysgol Sant Curig, I welcome the school’s inclusion. As you will be aware, there are particular problems at both school entrances regarding children’s safety concerns. These include parking on both College Road and Buttrills Road and the crossing of a major road on Buttrills Road. These have been reported to me as local councillor, raised at PACT meetings and reported to the police by local PTA members and parents. Work with Ysgol Sant Curig may also assist nearby Gladstone School.

The same is true of work around Barry Comprehensive School which may also have added value through benefits for Ysgol Gyfun Bro Morgannwg and Barry Hospital.

I support the proposal for these two schools to be included as the Safer Routes bids."

 

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

17.      Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

Email from Welsh Government dated 19th December, 2012 outlining the invitation to bid and the guidance.

 

Contact Officer

Clare Cameron, Principal Transport and Road Safety officer, tel. 01446 704768

 

Officers Consulted

Committee Reports

Principal Accountant

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas, Director of Development Services

 

 

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