GLAMORGAN HERITAGE COAST ADVISORY GROUP
Minutes of a meeting held on 12th April, 2013, at the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Centre, Southerndown.
Present: Councillors J. Drysdale, Mrs. A.J. Preston, R.P. Thomas and E. Williams (Vale of Glamorgan Council); Mr. J. Golunski (Dunraven Estates).
Mr. B. Acott (Friends of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Mr. N.A. Lewis (Glamorgan Wildlife Trust); Mr. R. McLaggan (Merthyr Mawr Estates); Mr. N. Sharpe (Natural Resources Wales) and Mrs. H. March (Friends of Glamorgan Heritage Coast).
(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 E. Williams be appointed Vice-Chairman for the current Municipal Year.
(c) Apologies for Absence –
These were received from Councillor R.F. Curtis, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey (Vale of Glamorgan Council) and Councillor G. Davies (Bridgend County Borough Council),
(d) Minutes –
AGREED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 19th April, 2012 be accepted.
(e) Achievements and Issues at the Glamorgan Heritage Coast –
The Principal Ranger, Mr. Paul Dunn, provided the Group with a PowerPoint presentation detailing the work of the team over the previous months. Mr. Dunn advised that the weather had been quite dramatic over the coastline during the year, which itself had resulted in a number of issues and commenced his presentation by referring to three main events that had taken place:
· the opening of the Welsh Coastal Path that had received a tremendous amount of publicity including Visit Wales and Visit Britain
· the National Eisteddfod held in Llandow
· an event held locally by a number of artists in recognition of the Olympics.
With regard to the Eisteddfod, Mr. Dunn highlighted that CCW representatives had showcased the area by leading and encouraging people to undertake walks around the locality. During the Olympics a group of 160 Dutch walkers had also visited the coast which commenced with a walk from Llantwit Major along the coast to Ogmore by Sea. They later commented that this was their favourite of the four walks they organised in Britain.
In referring to staffing issues he advised that one colleague had recently left the service, which had impacted upon the roles of the team. With regard to visitors to the coast in order that their experience could be an enjoyable one a considerable amount of maintenance work had to be undertaken by the team and volunteers. Litter picking took place on a regular basis and in one month over 800 tyres had been washed up on the beach, which highlighted the quantity and unexpected volume of litter that could be produced at any one time.
With regard to biodiversity he stated that a number of species had declined from the previous year, but grassland plants had done quite well. The involvement with Tir Gofal, and the move towards Glastir however had been good for the coast with a variety of habitats returning. Although the number of high brown fritillaries had reduced on the coast there was still good management of them and the Vale was noted as the best example of best practice in the UK. 64 school visits had been made, which included visits to the gardens The farm open day at Slade Farm had also encouraged hundreds of visitors and had been extremely successful.
In referring to water management Mr Dunn advised that discussions were currently ongoing regarding establishing ponds in the area to try to alleviate the flooding issues in the fields.
Mr. Dunn then took the opportunity to thank Dunraven Estates for their assistance during the year and his Heritage Coast Centre team for their dedication and support.
Following the presentation it was suggested that at a future meeting the Group receives an overview of the works ongoing at the â€œstepping stonesâ€ together with an overview of the works undertaken to date at Cwm Colhuw.
(1) T H A T Mr. Dunn be thanked for his informative update, that the Group’s thanks be also extended to the staff for their hard work and to local land owners and stakeholders who worked with the Heritage Coast team.
(2) T H A T Bridgend County Borough Council be approached regarding a presentation on the work being undertaken at the â€œstepping stonesâ€.
(f) Progress Update From The Vale Of Glamorgan Council Development Services Directorate –
The Operational Manager for Countryside and Economic Projects, Mr. Bob Guy, referred to the draft Interpretation strategy and branding project that was underway. The Creative Rural Communities Heritage Panel had set aside £40,000 to implement the strategy. He also referred to the Sense of Place scheme which would be introduced to try to ensure that all businesses were using the characteristics of the Heritage Coast to the full and in a co-ordinated manner, encouraging visitors to the Coast to pass on the message and to return. To this end over 100 businesses would be invited to an event at St. Donats to discuss ways to progress the scheme.
With regard to the walled garden restoration project at the Centre, £70,000 had been set aside in principle, it was currently out for tender but the Authority would have to consider match funding with other key stakeholders.
A walking promotion project was also currently being put together with key stakeholders in order to try to rationalise and address a series of walks and leaflets and to develop a common source of information on the website. Approximately £50,000 had been set aside for this project.
In referring to staff vacancies he stated that these had been kept vacant in order to undertake a review to consider the best use of resources. The reception area at the Glamorgan Heritage Coast had also been earmarked for refurbishment in order to try to make the Centre more user friendly, and new posts would be more customer facing to promote tourism.
Mr. Golunski referred to recent discussions he had held with Gwyn Teague in relation to community access and the possibility of erecting seven new kissing gates. Mr. Teague had responded by advising that he was hopeful that sources of funding could be made available and was working on progressing the initiative.
AGREED – T H A T Mr. Guy be thanked for his presentation with Members welcoming the number of projects that were reported as ongoing.
(g) Matters Raised By The Countryside Council For Wales –
The representative Mr. Sharpe advised that CCW had now amalgamated with the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission under the title Natural Resources Wales and that the organisation was moving forward with a new logo and new brand. He stated that partnership funding would continue as before as the new organisation would be honouring its previous commitments.
(h) Matters Raised By The Friends Of Glamorgan Heritage Coast –
Mr. Acott requested an update on the link road to the Sea Watch Centre and advised the Group that the AGM for the Friends, to be held shortly, would be giving consideration to its Chairman and Vice-Chairman being elected from the Group as opposed to the previous practice of being Elected Members of the Community Council.
The Vice-Chairman in the Chair, stated that Llantwit Major Town Council were trying to make progress with regard to a footpath to the Centre with discussions to be held with another neighbour in relation to access. He stated that the issue had not been forgotten and was certainly an item that the Council was progressing.
Mrs. March stated that the Sea Watch access was essential and requested that it be progressed as soon as possible. She also stated that in her opinion little use of the train facility had been made at Llantwit and urged that more publicity and promotional work be undertaken in order to encourage visitors to the area.
The representative from the Glamorgan Wildlife Trust apprised the Group of external funding from landfill tax that had been secured to undertake fencing projects at Coed-y-bwl and Cwm Colhuw and that the Trust was also planning a series of walks of interest e.g. moth and orchid walks which would be duly publicised.
Having considered the report, it was
AGREED – T H A T the Members be thanked for their updates as above.
(i) Date of Next Meeting –
AGREED – T H A T a date in September be arranged for the next meeting.