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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 21 September, 2015

Report of Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services

Rhoose Point Public Open Space - Outcome of consultation exercise and proposed introduction of byelaws

Purpose of the Report

1.    To inform Cabinet of the outcome of a public consultation exercise undertaken in summer 2015 in relation to the introduction of byelaws for the public open space and lagoon areas at Rhoose Point.

 

2.    To agree the draft byelaws and refer them to full Council for approval and making.

Recommendations

1.    That Cabinet note the outcome of the 2015 public consultation exercise in respect of the introduction of byelaws at Rhoose Point.

 

2.    That Cabinet agree to proceed with the introduction of byelaws prohibiting swimming, camping and fishing at the open spaces and lagoon areas at Rhoose Point

 

3.    That a notice of intention to make the new byelaws be publicised and that Cabinet recommends to Council the following:

  • That Council approve and make the byelaws relating to the public open space and lagoon areas at Rhoose Point under sections 12 and 15 of the Open Spaces Act 1906 in the form attached to this report at Appendix B  
  • That the Head of Legal Services be authorised to seal and date the byelaws on behalf of the Council

4.    That delegated authority is given to the Director of Environment and Housing Services in consultation with the Head of Legal Services  and the Cabinet Member for Visible and Leisure Services to take such steps necessary under the Local Government (Wales) Act 2012 and any statutory guidance under this Act to publicise and implement the byelaws

 

5.    That a further report outlining recommendations to Cabinet regarding enforcement of both these byelaws and other byelaws (including dog control orders) is presented in due course.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.    To advise Cabinet of the consultation outcomes.

 

2.    To progress the introduction of the new byelaws.

 

3.    To allow the submission of recommendations to full Council to make the byelaws as required by the Constitution

 

4.    To enable publicity and implementation of the byelaws

 

5.    To provide Cabinet with proposals for implementation of an enforcement regime.

Background

3.    There has been ongoing concern over recent years amongst a number of Rhoose Point residents regarding various forms of anti-social behaviour on the development, particularly associated with the public open space and lagoons areas, some of which feature the non-statutory designation of 'Site of Importance for Nature Conservation'.

 

4.    Residents have asked that consideration be given to the introduction of byelaws for the area, with the ability to levy fines for certain levels of inappropriate or otherwise unacceptable behaviour.

 

5.    Cabinet, at its meeting of 9th September 2013 (Minute C2017 refers) approved a public consultation exercise to seek views on the introduction of byelaws at Rhoose Point.  This consultation was undertaken between 27th January 2014 and 1st March 2014.

 

6.    Cabinet at its meeting held on 28 July 2014. (Minute C2416 refers) agreed to submit  a report to full Council seeking authority to progress a bye-law application to Welsh Government.

 

7.    Full Council on 29 September 2014 (Minute 466 refers) approved that a bye-law application to be made to the Welsh Government.

 

8.    Since this Council decision the Welsh Government has passed new legislation which allows local authorities, in some instances, to enact byelaws without the need to have the byelaws confirmed by the Welsh Ministers. The new legislation also introduces a more direct option for the enforcement of byelaws through the introduction of fixed penalty fines. This new legislation also required that another public consultation be undertaken and required the publication of an initial written statement to begin the process of introducing byelaws to the area. A consultation exercise conducted on this basis opened on 20th May 2015 and closed on 7th August 2015.

Relevant Issues and Options

9.    A report detailing the outcome of the 2015 consultation exercise is attached at Appendix A.  In outling the  results of this exercise concluded that :

  • the majority of respondents agree that the proposed byelaws should be enacted.  Although concerns were raised over prohibiting fishing altogether and suggestions to use a licence or permit system were made, the majority of respondents felt that the activity should be prohibited. Reasons such as littering and endangering wildlife were given in support of prohibiting this activity.

 

10.    The introduction of new byelaws and the adoption of an enforcement strategy will allow designated Council officers to work with the Police and local community to deal with those people who persist with certain prohibited activities.

 

11.    Enforcement of the byelaws is under consideration by officers of Visible Services. Cabinet will receive a further report on enforcement which will also consider dog control orders and other byelaws

 

12.    The proposed new byelaws (copy attached at Appendix B) prohibit the following  activities:-

  • Swimming;
  • Fishing;
  • Camping;

13.    The next stage of the procedure is the publication on the Council's website of a second written statement detailing the outcome of the consultation process and the decision of Council to proceed with the introduction of the byelaws. The publication of a notice of intention to make the byelaws is also required. The notice of intention to make the byelaws must give at least 6 weeks' notice before the byelaws are made. Under the Council's constitution byelaws can only be made by Council and therefore, the matter of making the byelaws will be referred to the next available meeting of Council.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

14.    The administrative cost of implementing the byelaws is within the existing Parks budget.

 

15.    In addition to these costs the installation of the necessary signage will be approximately £5,000 and will be funded from within the existing Parks revenue budget for 2015 / 2016.  

 

16.    There is likely to be an ongoing cost of an enforcement mechanism and a further report will be presented to Cabinet on this in due course.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

17.    The introduction of 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.    The Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Act 2012 gives the Council powers to introduce and make byelaws under sections 12 and 15 of the Open Spaces Act 1906 to regulate and control such activities as swimming, camping and fishing. The Act also enables the Council to issue fixed penalty notices for offences against byelaws.

 

20.    The Council is required to follow the processes introduced by the 2012 Act and any statutory guidance issued in connection with that Act.   

 

21.    There are no Human Rights implications associated with this report, but byelaws must not be inconsistent with National or European legislation

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

23.    Any signage in connection with the new byelaws will be bi-lingual.

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

Policy Framework and Budget

25.    The matter of making byelaws is a matter reserved for full Council under the constitution. However, the matter of dealing with the outcome of the consultation exercise and other procedural issues in connection with introducing the new byelaws process can be a decision for the Executive.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

26.    This is a longstanding issue and local ward members have been previously consulted on the introduction of byelaws.   As part of the process of introducing the new byelaws, a wide range consultation exercise has been undertaken including consultation with the public and external bodies, interested groups and representatives.   

 

27.    Comments from Councillor J James:
“I'm delighted to see the bylaws are to be introduced for the Rhoose Point open areas especially because residents have suffered indignities, abuse and disturbance for many years.”

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

Head of Visible Services and Transport

Operational Manager, Waste Management and Cleansing

Operational Manager, Highways and Engineering

Group Estates Officer

Operational Manager, Legal Services

Accountant, Visible and Building Services

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing Services.