The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cabinet Meeting: 27 July, 2015
Leader of the Council
External Funding: Rights of Way Improvement Plan Grant 2015/16, Coastal Access Improvement Grant 2015-17.
Purpose of the Report
1. To inform Cabinet of two external funding grant applications, and to seek approval for the work being undertaken and acceptance of the grants and associated conditions.
1. That Cabinet notes the use of the Managing Director's emergency powers to approve acceptance of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan Grant 2015/16 and the proposed use of the funding.
2. That delegated authority is granted to the Director of Development Services, in consultation with the Leader, to accept the Coastal Access Improvement Grant 2015-17 and the grant terms and conditions.
3. That subject to Welsh Government approval, Cabinet authorises the inclusion of both the Rights of Way Improvement Plan Grant and the Coastal Access Improvement Grant into the Capital Programme (including the Council's match funding contribution of £6,410).
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. Due to the urgency involved in accepting the Rights of Way Improvement Grant 2015/16, the use of emergency powers was required to accept funding in order for the Rights of Way Improvement Plan to continue to be delivered.
2. To allow grant funding to be accepted in order to deliver the Coastal Access Improvement Programme.
3. To include both grants and the associated match funding within the Capital Programme.
2. The Vale of Glamorgan Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) was adopted in November 2007. Each year the Welsh Government, through Natural Resources Wales, provides a grant scheme to support the delivery of the implementation of the actions and improvements as detailed by the ROWIP. The Council has been given indicative funding, but is required to identify the expected spend programme. The ROWIP comprises of a number of programme actions that aim to assist in the delivery of Rights of Way Objectives as set out by Natural Resources Wales.
3. The deadline for acceptance of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan Grant was the 5th June 2015, therefore emergency powers were used in order to accept funding to continue to deliver the Rights of Way Improvement Plan in accordance with the Council's statutory duties.
4. The Coastal Access Improvement Programme (CAIP) is a scheme funded by the Welsh Government to deliver its commitment to increase public access to the coast of Wales for visitors and local people. The programme is managed by Natural Resources Wales with the development and delivery of local improvement programmes led by Local Authorities. Approval for the continuation of the programme over a five year period from 2015 has recently been announced. At present indicative funding levels have been issued for 2015-16 in full and for 2016-17 in part only.
Relevant Issues and Options
Rights of Way Improvement Plan Grant 2015/16
5. The total Capital funding sought for the ROWIP is £31,136. This funding will be split between and used to deliver 5 proposed actions:
The preparation of a new Definitive Map, and analysis and reporting of CAMS data - £4,236
Dedication of rights at Summerhouse Point - £15,000
Dedication of legal rights for Penllyn Bridleways- £2,000
Drainage scheme at Peterstone-Super-Ely- £6,900
Coastal Access Improvement Grant 2015-2017
6. The total funding sought for the CAIP is £88,550 of which, £12,820 is required in match funding. The programme is comprised of two parts. Improvement projects have been identified to Natural Resources Wales and have been approved in principle at 100% grant rate, this allocation amounts to £17,500 for 2015/16 and £19,500 for 2016/17. In addition, an allocation for coastal path maintenance at 75% grant rate has been advised. In the Vale for 2015/16 this amounts to £19,230 to be matched by £6,410, in capital funding, it is anticipated that the same level of funding will be issued, requiring the same amount in match funding for 2016/17. It is proposed that this be met from the existing countryside revenue budget.
7. Both bids have been considered and supported by the External Funding Steering Group in June 2015.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
8. External funding is offered in order to implement the ROWIP. This grant requires no match funding and will help to meet the Council's statutory duties in addition to providing significant improvements to the rights of way network. Condition survey analysis and republication of the Definitive Map is undertaken by a ROWIP Assistant, currently financed by the existing ROWIP grant, failure to accept the grant would result in the removal of this post.
9. The Council is obliged to maintain a Rights of Way network and the CAIP grant assists in performing this duty. Should the grant not be accepted the Council's ability to deliver its statutory duties would be negatively impacted; further, non-acceptance would significantly diminish the benefits brought to the Vale of Glamorgan from the marketing of the Wales Coastal Path.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
10. Improvements to the Rights of Way network will benefit local communities directly through the provision of alternative links between settlements and indirectly through improved tourism opportunities. Works will allow usage of the routes by a wider spectrum of the community. Improved waymarking will give users more confidence and ensure users keep to designated rights of way.
11. Improvements to the Vale of Glamorgan's Coastal Path will decisively benefit local communities through improved recreational and tourism opportunities. The formalisation of non-existent or informal links will further benefit both local communities and visitors. Through improvements, many sections of the Coastal Path will be accessible to young families and those with mobility problems.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
12. The protection of Public Rights of Way is a statutory duty of the Council.
13. On grant funding being approved or secured the Council will enter into appropriate terms and conditions with the relevant funding body.
Crime and Disorder Implications
14. There are no crime and disorder implications arising as a direct result of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan Grant.
15. There are no crime and disorder implications arising as a direct result of the Coastal Access Improvement Grant.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
16. Both projects will work to improve coastal access in the Vale of Glamorgan for all residents and visitors. Specifically improvements to sections of the Coastal Path will enhance accessibility for young families and those with issues with mobility.
17. Both the Rights of Way Improvement Plan Grant and the Coastal Access Improvement Grant will work to support Priority Outcomes 4 and 5 of the Corporate Plan. Both will support a Vale of Glamorgan that has a thriving economy supporting cohesive sustainable communities, and a built and natural environment that residents and visitors can enjoy. The projects will further support Priority Outcomes 3 and 10 of the Community Strategy, working to respect the local environment and meet the challenge of climate change while providing greater opportunities for people to engage in physical activities, including walking and outdoor recreation.
Policy Framework and Budget
18. This report is a matter for Executive decision.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
19. The Cabinet Member for Regeneration has been consulted on both the Rights of Way Improvement Plan Grant and the Coastal Access Improvement Grant.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
20. Corporate Resources
Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development
External Funding Steering Group
Corporate Management Team
Operational Manager – Legal Services
Gwyn Teague, Public Rights of Way Officer
Huw Isaac, Head of Performance and Development