Agenda Item No. 12
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
COUNCIL: 5TH MARCH, 2014
REFERENCE FROM PLANNING COMMITTEE - 13TH FEBRUARY, 2014
" THE CONSERVATION AREA ADVISORY GROUP (REF) –
On 27th January 2014 approval had been sought from Cabinet for the cessation of the Conservation Area Advisory Group and the establishment of an alternative mechanism for seeking input into relevant proposals.
Conservation Area Advisory Groups had been meeting in the Vale of Glamorgan for a period in excess of 30 years. The Welsh Office Circular 61/96 entitled Planning and the Historic Environment: Historic Buildings and Conservation Areas, recommended the establishment of such Groups or Committees to assist both in the development of policies and to advise on applications received within Conservation Areas.
Historically, Groups were based on each Conservation Area but a series of reviews led to the current arrangement of a single Conservation Area Advisory Group.
Recently the effectiveness of the Conservation Group arrangements had been considered and an evaluation entitled 'Conservation Area Advisory Group - Review of Effectiveness - January 2014' was attached for information at Appendix A to the report. The review concluded that the Group was only performing with limited success and was adding limited value to the Planning System.
Given the need to consider priorities in the delivery of services across the Council, it was recommended that an alternative mechanism be established whereby any interested party (not just members of the Group) could gain access to all applications, (including those currently not represented on the Group), relating to a conservation area. This was considered a far more appropriate means of circulating and seeking feedback on proposals and the Council would potentially benefit from increased feedback to proposals.
It was envisaged that the consultation mechanism would take the form of a 'weekly list’ specific to conservation areas. This was a simple administrative exercise to perform that could be sent to a set mailing list and made available on the Council’s website. Current members of the Group and the Amenity Society who form the Core Group would be asked if they would like to be included in the mailing list and this would also be open to any other interested party. Comments would be made directly to the relevant case officer and could be made available to Planning Committee in respect of relevant applications.
Cabinet had resolved –
(1) That subject to recommendation (2) below the Conservation Advisory Group in its current form ceases and the Director of Development Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation provides an alternative consultation mechanism for those interested parties in the form of a â€˜weekly list’ specific to conservation areas.
(2) That the report be referred to Planning Committee for consultation prior to consideration by Full Council.
Reasons for decisions
(1) Following the monitoring of the effectiveness of the Conservation Group and the production of the report 'Conservation Area Advisory Group – Review of Effectiveness’ it has become clear that the members of the group itself were not regularly attending the meetings and the resources required to be supplied by the Council are not justified with regard to the value that the process adds to the planning process.
(2) To consult Planning Committee on the content of this report.
Planning Committee, having considered the decision of the Cabinet,
(1) T H A T the decision of Cabinet be endorsed.
(2) T H A T Council be advised accordingly and that having regard to the decision of Cabinet, Council be advised that it was the wish of Planning Committee that the effectiveness of the 'alternative consultation mechanism' be reviewed in 12 months’ time.
Reasons for decisions
(1) Having regard to the decision of Cabinet.
(2) To advise Council of the wish of Planning Committee.'
Attached as Appendix - Report to Planning Committee - 13th February, 2014