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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 28 July, 2014

 

Report of the Leader

 

External Funding Applications

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To inform Cabinet of external funding applications submitted/allocated to maximise the amount of external funding sought/utilised to support the delivery of corporate objectives.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet authorises acceptance of the £100,000 Capital Local Lead Authority Flood Grant 2014/15 and its inclusion in the Capital Programme;

2.         That Cabinet authorise submission of the projects identified to utilise the Coastal Access Improvement Grant 2014/15, and if approved by Welsh Government inclusion of the £80,299 Capital grant in the Capital Programme;

3.         That Cabinet authorise the submission of the work programme identified to utilise funding available under the Rights of Way Improvement Programme 2014/15, and if approved by Welsh Government inclusion of the Capital Grant of £31,136 in the authority's Capital Programme.          

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To enable acceptance of the grant and inclusion in the Capital Programme

2.         To enable submission of the projects identified, acceptance of the grant and inclusion in the Capital Programme

3.         To enable submission of the work programme, acceptance of the grant and inclusion in the Capital Programme.

 

Background

2.         Corporate Management Team previously agreed procedures to improve the way in which the Council assess and co-ordinates its bids for external funding.

3.         An 'External Funding Framework' covers the practicalities of maximising external funding opportunities to meet corporate objectives. The framework highlights the criteria that potential applicants must address and those applying for external funding grant to minimise risk to the Council.    

Relevant Issues and Options

Lead Local Authority Flood Grant 2014/15  

4.         The Welsh Government annually allocate a lead local authority flood grant to support implementation of legal duties associated with the Flood Risk Regulations 2009 and Flood & Water Management Act 2010.

5.         A £100,000 Capital grant has been awarded for 2014/15, to be utilised to produce a Flood Risk Management Plan and other required activities.

6.         Welsh Government is in discussions with the Welsh Local Government Association regarding the most appropriate basis for grant funding obligations from 2015/16 onwards.               

Coastal Access Improvement Grant 2014/15

7.         The Coastal Access Improvement Grant was instigated by Welsh Government to deliver its commitment to increase access to the coast of Wales for visitors and local people. The programme originally ran over a 5 year period due to end in 2013 and supported the Wales Coastal Path (WCP) which was opened on 5th May 2012. The programme has since been extended by a further 2 years in order to further support the development of the WCP.

8.         The Council is obliged to maintain a Rights of Way network and this grant assists in performing that duty.

9.         It is proposed the Capital grant of £80,299 is utilised in 2014/15 to support delivery of the following improvements

·               Legal diversion onto a walked route at Llantwit Beach;

·               Surface improvements at Cwm Colhuw;

·               Diversion order and ground works at Gilestone;

·               Surface improvements at Rhoose Point;

·               The movement of stone stiles due to safety concerns at Sully;

·               Legal diversion onto walked line at Porthkerry bulbwalks;

·               Construction of off road route at Ogmore;

·               Set back of bridge/Culvert following storms at Monknash;

·               Rollback following cliff fall at West of Summerhouse;

·               Roll back of path from clifftop East of Summerhouse.      

10.      Natural Resource Wales will also be employing a Regional Coastal Access Officer which, it is proposed the Council host. Overhead and management time involved in hosting the officer will be eligible to be used as match funding towards the Coastal Access Improvement Grant.            

Rights of Way Improvement Programme 2014/15   

11.      Welsh Government provides an annual grant scheme to assist the implementation of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan. The Council adopted its Right of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) in November 2007.

12.      ROWIP grants are hypothecated grants that do not require match funding. The Council is provided with indicative funding but has to identify a work programme via a quasi-bidding process. It is a condition of the grant that ROWIP funding does not displace an Authority's own resourcing of Public Rights of Way.

13.      The proposed draft work programme for 2014/15 will enable:

·               Preparation of a new Definitive Map, in conjunction with analysis and reporting of Countryside Access Management System (CAMS) data;

·               Creation & Improvement of Public Rights of Way links between communities and within Coastal Zone to the WCP, including ecological survey and biodiversity interpretation where necessary;

·               Improvement to the path through the wildlife trust reserve by installation of drainage;

·               Review and support of annual clearance arrangements; and

·               Establishment of a focus group including Communities First and Health agenda representatives, to develop and deliver improvements for low user groups.

14.      The grant supports the post of Rights of Way (ROW) Assistant which is shared with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council (RCT). The Vale of Glamorgan Council is the primary employer and recharge RCT (who are awarded the same grant) for 3 days work a week. The grant covers overhead costs.    .            

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

15.      Welsh Government has awarded the Capital funding of £100,000 to support the Council deliver legal responsibilities as Lead Local Flood Authority. Welsh Government is in discussion with the Welsh Local Government Association regarding the most appropriate basis for providing grant funding from 2015/16.     

16.      Natural Resource Wales, acting as lead agent for Welsh Government provide Capital indicative funding of £31,136 to the Council under the Rights of Way Improvement Grant 2014/15 and £80,299 via the Coastal Access Improvement Grant 2014/15.

17.      The Rights of Way Improvement grants are essentially hypothecated grants from Welsh Government that do not require match funding. The Council is given indicative funding, but are required to identify via a quasi-bidding process the expected spend programme in line with grant conditions.

18.      The collaborative arrangements with RCT in respect of the shared ROW assistant will be regulated by a service level agreement. RCT will contribute towards a proportion of any redundancy costs (on a pro rata basis) based on time spent undertaking their work in accordance with the SLA.

19.      Natural Resource Wales have employed a Regional Coastal Access Officer which the Council will host.  Overheads and Management time involved in hosting the Regional Coastal Access Officer will be sufficient to meet the match funding requirements regarding the Coastal Access Improvement Programme.    

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

20.      The Lead Local Authority Flood Grant will enable the completion of a Flood Risk Management Plan to better manage the impact of climate change on the environment.     

21.      The Coastal Access Improvement Grant and Rights of Way Improvement Programme will enable the delivery of a number of environmental improvements in the Vale of Glamorgan. The WCP enables both visitors and residents to benefit from Wales natural assets.      

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

22.      Welsh Government award funding to the Vale of Glamorgan Council as the Local Lead Flood Authority to support implementation of the Flood Risk Regulations 2009 and the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 which imposed new legal duties on the Council to manage flood risk.

23.      The Council is obliged to maintain a Public Rights of Way network and the grant assists in performing that duty. It is a condition of the Rights of Way Improvement Grant that funding does not displace an authority's own resourcing of Public Rights of Way.     

Crime and Disorder Implications

24.      All the grant schemes will have a positive impact on the community, supporting local people and visitors benefit from Wales's natural assets.   

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

25.      Signage and publicity regarding the projects supported by the Rights of Way Improvement Grant and Coastal Access Improvement Grant is bilingual. The grants support access to the environment, including the coast of Wales for visitors and the local community.

Corporate/Service Objectives

26.      The Local Lead Authority Flood Grant will enable delivery of corporate priority 'E5 - Develop flood management plans and flood reduction and alleviation schemes in accordance with the requirements of the Flood and Water Management Act'.

27.      The Coastal Access Improvement Grant and Rights of Way Improvement Grant will support current and future generations of Wales residents and visitors enjoy the built and natural environments of the Vale of Glamorgan and actively protect and maintain them.            

Policy Framework and Budget

28.      This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

29.      The Local Access Forum is an advisory body set up in each local authority to advise as to the improvement of public access to land in their area for the purpose of open-air recreation and employment. The Forum has been consulted, and supports the proposed use of, the Coastal Access Improvement Grant and Rights of Way Improvement Grant.   

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

30.      Corporate Resources  

Background Papers

External Funding Proforma - Rights of Way Improvement Grant 2014/15

External Funding Proforma - Lead Local Flood Grant 2014/15

External Funding Proforma - Rights of Way Improvement Grant 2014/15 

 

Contact Officer

Helen Moses, Strategy & Sustainability Manager

 

Officers Consulted

Bob Guy, Operational Manager, Countryside and Economic Projects;

Deborah Marles, Head of Legal Services;

Clive Moon, Principal Engineer;

Gwyn Teague, Public Rights of Way Officer;

Carolyn Michael, Operational Manager Accountancy. 

 

Responsible Officer:

Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development

 

 

 

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