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Agenda Item No.

 

VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL ACCESS FORUM

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 22nd October, 2014 at Porthkerry Lodge, Porthkerry Park, Barry.

 

Present:  Mr. F. Coleman (Chairman), Mr. J.J. Herbert, Ms. C. Lucas, Mr. H.S. McMillan, Mr. R. Pittard, Mr. R. Simpson, Ms. G. Thomas, Mr. R. Traherne and Councillor E. Williams.

 

Also present: Mr. J. Wyatt, Mrs. L. Mills, Mrs. S. Thomas and Mrs. T. Cottnam.

 

 

Prior to the commencement of the meeting a walk took place to view the works that had been undertaken along the coast path leading up to the Porthkerry Bulwarks and the new cycle way which linked Porthkerry Country Park to the Rhoose cycleways.

Report
 

(a) Apologies for Absence -

 

 

These were received from Mr. M. Parry, Mr. S. Lait, Mr. M. Dunn, Mrs. S. Tindall (Natural Resources Wales) and Mr. B. Guy and Mr. G. Teague (Vale of Glamorgan Council)

 

(b) Minutes -

 

AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 15th July, 2014 be approved as a correct record subject to an amendment on Page 4 of the minutes that the walk that took place prior to the meeting was around Millfields rather than Millbrook Road in Dinas Powys.

 

The Committee was informed that a further report on the Active Travel Programme would be going to Cabinet on 3rd November, 2014.  Mr. Pittard stated that there was some overlap in Bridgend County Borough Council on the Active Travel Programme between the Public Rights of Way and Highways teams.  The Chairman advised that the Active Travel Programme in the Vale of Glamorgan would receive input from both the Council’s Rights of Way and Highways Teams and confirmed that Ms. Claire Cameron, Principal Transport Safety Officer would be the Lead Officer for this programme. 

 

Mr. Wyatt, Secretary, advised that he would circulate the follow-up report to the Local Access Forum once it had been considered by Cabinet. 

 

The Chairman advised the Forum that he had received an invitation from Welsh Government for the Chairmen of Local Access Forums to submit a note identifying ways in which the Welsh Forums could evolve and become more useful and confirmed that this note had now been submitted. 

 

Mrs. Thomas confirmed that Mr. Teague, the Public Rights of Way Officer, was in the process of carrying out a piece of work in conjunction with the Town and Community Councils to identify way markers across the Vale of Glamorgan that were no longer required.

 

Mrs. Thomas confirmed that the Council and the majority of Welsh Local Authorities used the Countryside and Access Management System (CAMS) to record their path data.  Although a broader system had been trialled in Scotland to provide the public with information on countryside access across the various local authorities, at the moment this had not been developed for Wales.  Views were expressed that it would be better if there was just one system that could be used to update the Definitive Map. 

 

Mrs. Thomas informed the Forum that the Definitive Map was held in paper format.  It was hoped to republish the Definitive Map shortly at a better scale, however it was a requirement of the legislation that the map continued to be held in paper forma.  Over time the old characteristics would develop again with Modification Orders sitting alongside the paper copy of the Definitive Map. 

 

Mrs. Thomas confirmed that the day to day working copy of the Definitive Map was held in digital format on CAMS and was available for the public to view on the Vale of Glamorgan website and that it was interactive, with users being able to add and remove different aspects of the map, for example, street furniture.  Applications for Section 31(6) landowner declarations would soon be available on the website and could be accessed via postcodes.  It was confirmed that the Definitive Map was currently up to date and being checked prior to printing. 

 

Mr. Traherne queried the minute on the Right of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) Update in relation to the Public Rights of Way Focus Group and asked whether it was only the Communities First programme which was involved. It was confirmed that this was not the case and that the discussion had taken place around the inclusion of different user groups and it was confirmed that other stakeholders were included within the Public Rights of Way Focus Group. 

 

 

The Secretary confirmed that a response to the Cross-Compliance consultation had been submitted after the last meeting of the Forum, which had been modelled on the response from Bridgend County Borough Council. 

 

(c) Wales Coast Path Development Programme 2014/15: Progress Report -

 

Tricia Cottnam, Regional Coastal Access Officer, was present at the meeting to provide the Forum with a progress report on the Wales Coast Path Development for 2014/15.  Mrs. Cottnam confirmed that she was currently working for four Councils, Monmouth, Newport, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan on the Coastal Access Programme.  Cardiff Council was mainly self-sufficient in this area and there were approximately five projects ongoing in Monmouthshire and nine projects in the Vale of Glamorgan. 

 

A Condition Survey had been carried out for the whole stretch of the coastal path which involved assessing the condition of the path, path furniture and way-marking.  This work was being carried out in readiness for the next tranche of works to be carried out in the next financial year.  The programme also included cutting back vegetation along the footpaths as there had been a large amount of growth this year. A colour-coding system had been introduced to identify works required, for example, grass and bush cutting, which was then used to produce documents to give to contractors at the start of works.

 

Mrs. Cottnam provided the Forum with an update in relation to the project claims, further works and also works in progress.  It was confirmed that the resurfacing work carried out at Rhoose Point had been completed and that the stone stile at Sully had been moved to a safer location.  A request had been submitted for a grant for this quarter and Mrs. Cottnam was in the process of obtaining costs for the next quarter.

 

Roll back work had been carried out at Summerhouse Point (West) due to cliff falls and at Summerhouse Point (East) due to erosion.  It was confirmed that erosion and cliff fall were classed as health and safety issues and therefore these works were fast tracked. Local land owners had been very helpful and Shoreline Management had provided information with regard to the extent of the erosion and the minimum of roll back required at both sites.

There were ongoing surface improvement works being carried out at Cwm Colhuw.  It was found that the area was located on Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) therefore CADW had to approve any groundworks.  In order to mitigate the potential effects of erosion the team was considering rolling back this section of the path as part of the works.  Mrs. Cottnam informed the Forum that there were issues involved with these works which could possibly set the programme back a little.

 

A Creation Order and minor ground works had begun at the Captain’s Wife in Swanbridge and it was hoped that the work would be completed by the end of November 2014.  Mrs. Cottnam informed the Forum that there had been a dedication between two Rights of Way near the Captain’s Wife.  The team had spoken to the landowner  with regards to a chicane at the eastern end of the path which made access difficult for certain traffic such as bikes and pushchairs and advised that a small section  could be removed to resolve this issue, however, they would also need to consult with local homeowners prior to any work commencing.

 

The Chairman enquired as to whether there was a possibility of a further two years funding for the development programme and Mrs. Cottnam advised that a proposal had been given to Welsh Government for future funding.  However, there was a possibility that the Coastal Access teams could be regionalised across Wales to create four regional teams. 

 

A discussion on the funding for the Wales Cost Path Development Programme took place with concerns expressed by Members of the Forum with regard to the short term funding of the programme.  It was confirmed that the forward work programme had been reduced considerably, with most projects being 70% funded by the monies from Natural Resources Wales with 30% match funding by local authorities.  Mrs. Cottnam informed the Forum that works such as roll backs due to erosion would be 100% funded and prioritised due to the health and safety issues involved.

 

Further concern was expressed with regard to the budget strategy going forward, the source for the match funding and changes to the budgetary priorities of the Rural Development Plan (RDP) and the short term funding for the programme, in particular with regards to officer posts.

 

In response to concerns raised by the Chairman, Mrs. Cottnam informed the Forum that the team had tried to fix the drainage issues between Penarth and Lavernock with large stones. However, she expressed the view that cross-drainage may not be the answer to this issue. 

 

Mr. Traherne asked whether Mrs. Cottnam was able to provide a figure for the annual maintenance costs for the coastal path.  Mrs. Cottnam advised that, with a view to reducing costs, the team was proposing to use a new surface material, ‘Ultritrec’ which was made from recycled road arisings which would only cost approximately £25 per tonne.  This material would be tested at works in the Millwood section of Porthkerry in the next few weeks and the team was proposing to use this material for works at Cwm Colhuw, if agreed by CADW, and also coast path works at Penarth. 

 

Following the presentation of the progress report for the Wales Coast Path Development Programme 2014/15 it was

 

AGREED -

 

(1) T H A T in consultation with the Operational Manager for Countryside and Economic Projects and the Public Rights of Way Officer, the Chairman, on behalf of the Forum, would write to Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales to express concern with regard to the short-term nature of the funding for the Wales Coast Path Development Programme.

 

 

(2) T H A T the Regional Coastal Access Officer be requested to provide the Local Access Forum with the yearly maintenance costs for the Wales Coast Path Development Programme for the Vale of Glamorgan

 

(d) Modification and Legal Orders Update -

 

The Forum was informed about the progress made with Legal and Modification Orders in the Vale of Glamorgan.  No new Legal Orders had been received since the last meeting of the Forum in July 2014 and the completed Modification Orders would be fed into the Definitive Map. 

 

Mr. Pittard asked how long the process for a Legal Order would take and Mrs. Thomas advised that the process would take approximately nine months from start to finish if no objections had been received, however, if objections were received this would slow down the process significantly. 

 

Mrs. Thomas advised the Forum that each application would be sent to the Legal Department three times and on an ad hoc basis if necessary and the Public Rights of Way Team maintained a good working relationship with their colleagues in the Legal Department.  Mrs. Thomas confirmed that the Public Rights of Way Team drafted their own Orders and had the Legal Department check these orders prior to publication in local newspapers. 

Mrs. Thomas informed the Forum that there was a slight error in the evidential Modification Order tracking document within the agenda papers and stated that the application date for Reference 13, Dyfan Road to Caradoc Avenue, Barry should have been 28th April, 2014.

 

Mr. Traherne queried the long running application at Clive Road to Island Road, Barry, (Reference No. 1), which had an application date of 29th September, 2003 and had been assigned a current position of ‘Dormant’.  In response, Mrs. Thomas advised that evidential Modification Orders applications could not be withdrawn once they had been brought to the attention of the Highways Authority; therefore the Authority was required to process the application.  The initial application was in response to the closing of Clive Road steps and the loss of the link between Barry Island and Broad Street across land originally owned by Associated British Ports (ABP).  Following the reinstatement of the steps, pedestrian access was available and it was likely that the application would be superseded by the Barry Waterfront Development.

 

Mrs. Thomas confirmed that the location of the Legal Order, ID 40, for Public Right of Way Path No. 12 (Old Cogan Hall) was in Cosmeston Park.  An objection had been received from Dwr Cymru who was currently still using the old path as access to their drainage works and the case was currently with the Legal Department.

 

 

It was confirmed that the way-marking of the Cross Common, Path No. 45 was the only work left to be completed for this Legal Order, ID 66

 

(e) Maintenance Update -

 

The Forum received a maintenance update which detailed the number of issues logged since 20th June, 2014, the number of issues resolved since 27th January, 2011 and the number of unresolved issues since 27th January, 2011.

 

The Chairman asked how the 15 clearance issues logged since 20th June, 2014 had affected the annual programme of clearance, and, in response, Mrs. Thomas stated that the clearance issues vary throughout the year and that these issues were likely to have been tagged onto the annual programme of clearance.  The Chairman asked whether the Forum could view the annual clearance programme.  Mrs. Thomas advised that the annual clearance programme provided for two cuts per year and, as the contractor used was an individual, they were able to work flexibly and the programme details were held in a file containing individual maps for each path.  It was confirmed that issues logged under the heading of ‘Obstacles’ could be anything which blocked footpaths such as a locked gate or vegetation.

 

Mr. Traherne expressed concern with regards to the large number of unresolved issues since 2011, which totalled 686, and asked whether more staff would help reduce this figure.  The majority of the unresolved issues related to signage or maintenance issues and Mr. Traherne expressed the view that land owners should be doing something in relation to signage, maintenance and obstacle issues on their lands.  The Chairman stated that this tied in with the cross-compliance issues discussed at the last meeting of the Forum and confirmed that these concerns had been incorporated into the response to the consultation for cross-compliance issues.

 

 

Mrs. Thomas informed the Forum that all issues were logged on a database and the team was attempting to collate these issues into patterns and incorporate them into the contracts for works such as way marking and stile steps.  There were some long term issues which were unresolved and Mrs. Thomas advised that a report could be formulated for a future Forum meeting which detailed any issues that remained unresolved 12 months to 2 years after being logged

 

(f) Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) Update -

 

 

The Forum received a report detailing the Rights of Way Improvement Plan update as follows:

 

 Project Heading

Update 

 Preparation of new Definitive Map, analysis and reporting of CAMS data.  Andrew Tovey had recently vacated the post of Rights of Way Improvement Plan Assistant.

The PROW team was awaiting the arrive of a Foundation Modern Apprentice who would be trained in the use of the mapping system.

 Creation and Improvement of Public Rights of Way links between communities and within Coastal Zone to the Wales Coast Path, including ecological survey and biodiversity interpretation where necessary.  Work had been completed at Twyn yr Odyn (provision of footpath to nature reserve and interpretation) and Cross Common (provision of bridleway).  Penllyn Estate bridleways were nearing completion on ground.
 Improvement of path surface through wildlife trust to Coast Path.  This project was in place last year and a contractor selected to undertake it, though wet weather caused it to be delayed. Officers had been in contact with the Wildlife Trust to resume their facilitation of work on the improvements.
 Review and support of annual clearance arrangements.  Annual clearance was now completed for 2014/15.
 Establish focus group including Communities First and Health Agenda representatives to develop and deliver improvements for Low Use groups.  Brief discussions with Communities First as to possible improvements though scope was limited due to sparse presence of Public Rights of Ways in the predominantly urban Communities First area.


 

 The Chairman asked whether a parking area had been identified in the Rural Development Plan (RDP) near the bridleways to facilitate access and Mrs. Thomas confirmed that there was a bunk house with parking, in the Penllyn Estate near to the bridleway.

 

(g) Review of Designated Landscapes in Wales -

 

The Forum received documentation detailing the review of designated landscapes in Wales which included the remit and terms of reference of the review, the preamble and Stage 1 questions.  The review would include all National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wales.  The deadline for initial submissions of evidence to the Review Panel was 5th November, 2014.  The Secretary informed the Forum that these documents were for information only.

 

 

Some discussion took place with regards to the review and views were expressed that the review of designated landscapes in Wales would need to be mindful of what was happening in English National Parks and planning issues would also need to be taken into account.  Mr. Pittard informed the Forum that the Alliance of National Parks Cymru (ANP Cymru) had been working with the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) in relation to planning matters in Welsh National Parks.