Top

Top

Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting:  9 September, 2013

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

 

Rhoose Point Public Open Space - Consultation Exercise for the Proposed Introduction of Byelaws

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek the approval of Cabinet to undertake a consultation exercise in connection with the introduction of new byelaws for Rhoose Point Public Open Space and to progress a report to Council in respect of the making and adoption of new 'Pleasure Ground, Public Walks and Open Spaces Byelaws' for the area, giving due regard to the responses received.

Recommendations

1.         That Members agree to commence a consultation exercise in connection with the introduction of new byelaws for Rhoose Point Public Open Space.

2.         That Members approve the submission of a report to Council in order to progress the procedure to introduce, make and adopt new byelaws for Rhoose Point Public Open Space, the procedure for which includes seeking confirmation of the Welsh Government for the new byelaws

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To progress the consultation procedure to introduce new byelaws for Rhoose Point Public Open Space.

2.         To progress the formal procedure to introduce new byelaws for Rhoose Point Public Open Space which will in turn enable the Council to regulate and manage the area of land, tackle some of the anti-social behaviour and nuisance problems occurring at the site and permit the appropriate enforcement mechanisms to be implemented.

Background

2.         The Council acquired the open space at Rhoose point in 2011.  There have over the years been a number of instances of, for example; swimming, consumption of alcohol, camping and fishing together with a range of anti-social behaviours connected with these activities, such as excessive noise and wilful damage.  This has caused concerns with local residents and other responsible users of the area and has resulted in a number of complaints.

3.         Officers were aware prior to the open space area being transferred that the control of fishing, in particular, would be difficult due to the length of time that the lagoons on this site had been used for this activity over the years.

4.         An option favoured by officers that could reduce the problems associated with this activity is to regularise it by using the services of a private angling club.  This was discussed at a public meeting of Rhoose Point residents early in 2012 but was strongly rejected by the residents in attendance, who favoured instead, the use of a Council employed warden to manage this and other potentially anti-social activities.

5.         A warden was appointed for the site on a temporary basis as a result, but this has had little affect on the problems associated with fishing and swimming.  Members should note that there is no budget for this post for anything other than a short term basis, therefore other solutions to the ongoing anti-social behaviour problems must be sought.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         The Police and Council officers have attended the site on many occasions in order to try and deal with the problems but without byelaws being in place enforcement action is not always possible. 

7.         The control of criminal activity is, and will remain, a matter for the Police, and they have had a regular presence in the area for some time.  However, existing Police powers do not necessarily cover all the unregulated and anti-social activities taking place at the site and it is not always possible to stop those responsible.    

8.         The introduction and adoption of new byelaws will allow the Police and designated Council officers to deal with those people who persist with certain prohibited activities.

9.         It should be noted that there have been a number of other sites acquired by the Council as parks and public open space since the adoption of the previous byelaws which would benefit from the introduction of new up to date byelaws.  However, there is an urgent need to look at the introduction of byelaws at Rhoose Point to manage the anti social behaviour and nuisance that is being reported regularly by residents of the development and other members of the public.

10.      The area of land in respect of which the new byelaws will be introduced is identified on Appendix 'A'.

11.      The proposed new byelaws could cover, regulate, control and / or prohibit such activities as:-

- Swimming;

- Fishing;

- Metal detecting;.

- Overnight parking and camping;

- Fires and unauthorised barbecues;

- Protection of wildlife.

12.      The process for making byelaws is briefly as follows:-

- Consultation with interested groups and representatives;

- Form of byelaws approved by Full Council;

- Notice in newspaper;

- Byelaws submitted to Welsh Government for confirmation;

- Byelaws come into effect on the date fixed by the Welsh Government when they are confirmed.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

13.      The total cost of implementing the byelaws will be in the order of £2,000.  Provision has been made for this within the existing Parks budget.

14.      In addition to these costs the installation of the necessary signage will be approximately £5,000.

15.      Following on from this there is the potential ongoing cost of enforcement.

16.      Currently a breach of these types of byelaw carry a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale.  A level 2 fine has a maximum of £500.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

17.      The introduction of certain byelaws could assist in protecting the natural environment at Rhoose Point.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

18.      Section164 of the Public Health Act 1875 is the principal legislation permitting a local authority to make byelaws for the management of public parks and open spaces.

19.      Section 236 of the Local Government Act 1972 sets out the current procedure for making byelaws.  Byelaws must be made under the Council’s seal, but do not take effect until they are confirmed by the Welsh Government.  The appropriate Welsh Minister will fix a date, on which the any byelaws come into effect,

20.      There are no Human Rights implications but byelaws must not be inconsistent with national or European legislation

Crime and Disorder Implications

21.      The introduction of the byelaws and the potential ability to enforce those byelaws will have a positive impact on Crime and Disorder issues.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

22.      Any signage will be bi-lingual.

Corporate/Service Objectives

23.      The Corporate Priority and service aim is "To achieve a quality of the environment through the promotion and use of sustainable practices and by making the best use of current and future resources"

24.      The Service Objective is "To provide, manage and maintain Parks, open spaces and play areas".

25.      The provision of an agreement will improve the working with the Community, Stakeholders and the Voluntary Sector.

Policy Framework and Budget

26.      The matter of making and revoking byelaws is a matter for full Council.  However the matter of progressing a consultation exercise in connection with making the new byelaws is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

27.      Local Members have been consulted on this proposal and are happy to progress with the byelaw consultation exercise.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

28.      Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

Phil Beaman - Operational Manager, Parks and Grounds Maintenance

Tel. No:  01446 709 543

 

Officers Consulted

Group Estates Officer

Operational Manager, Legal Services

Operational Manager, Countryside and Economic Projects

Accountant, Visible and Building Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter, Director of Visible Services and Housing