Agenda Item No.











Cabinet received a report which followed on from an earlier report to Cabinet on 20th June, 2007 which advised of the receipt of a consultants report into Conservation Area Management in the Vale of Glamorgan.  The report included a consideration of options for administering the Council's Conservation Area Advisory Group and which made recommendations as to the remit and workings of that Group.


Conservation Area Advisory Groups had been meeting in the Vale of Glamorgan for a period in excess of 30 years.  In June 2007, the Directorate of Environmental and Economic Regeneration reported on the submission of a document entitled 'Valuing Distinctive Places' produced by consultants (The Conservation Studio) on behalf of the Council.


One of the recommendations from the Consultants was to seek to revitalise the role of the Conservation Area Advisory Group and this was the issue which was the subject matter of the report before Cabinet. 


The Consultants recommended certain actions to include developing a Forum with a broader remit and membership, seeking greater professional involvement and national representation.  It was also suggested that the work of the Group or Forum would be more policy driven and focus less on the reactive role of responding to planning applications with Conservation Areas. 


Whilst the recommendations and suggestions of the Consultants were noted, they were felt to be extremely aspirational especially at a time of budget constraints and conflicting priorities for the delivery of a statutory service within certain timescales.  The desire to increase the involvement of the 'wider community' in land use planning matters, including matters relating to the historic environment was an important issue for the Council.  In this regard, it was particularly noticeable that many initiatives already sought to involve the wider community in the planning system.  By way of example:


·                         The Council was currently working on a Local Development Plan, a key element of which involved consultation and involvement with all sections of the community and a range of planning and associated issues.

·                         The Council had recently been consulting widely on a series of Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plans which had been progressing successfully outside of the sphere of the current Advisory Group.

·                         The Council facilitated several opportunities for liaison and discussions with Community and Town Councils through the Community Liaison Committee and the Annual Clerks Meeting as well as through consultation on planning applications and key policy documents.

·                         The Planning and Transportation Division had made arrangements to hold a Town and Community Council Forum on planning matters.  One such meeting was held in early 2009 and a further meeting was scheduled for autumn 2010.


Given the above initiatives and commitments, and given the need to consider priorities in the delivery of services across the Council, it was recommended that a focused Group acting as a consultee on applications impacting on the Council's Conservation Areas was the most appropriate way of taking this work forward.  Irrespective of the above, it was still considered appropriate and reasonable to refer relevant policy matters to the Group for consultation purposes. 


To this end, it was considered appropriate to seek a 'core membership' by inviting representatives of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Society of Architects in Wales.  It was also suggested that invites be sent to the 'six groups' namely:


·                         Ancient Monuments Society

·                         The Georgian Group

·                         The Victorian Society

·                         The Council for British Archaeology

·                         The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

·                         Royal Commission of the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.


Other members from local interest groups, local historical societies and Town and Community Councils would be invited to meetings in the event of applications of policy matters being reported that related to their specific areas and who would be in a position to attend and participate in the discussions and vote on items that were relevant to their areas of interest.  The Chairmanship and Vice-Chairmanship of the Group would remain unaltered and the Group would continue to be administered by the Council's Democratic Services Group.  Meetings would continue to be held monthly.


A suggested Terms of Reference were attached at Appendix C to the report.  The Terms of Reference dealt with procedural issues regarding attendance and voting rights as well as the nature of applications to be reported to the Group. 


This was a matter for Executive decision.




(1)       T H A T the content of the report be approved and that the report be referred to Planning Committee for consideration and to the Conservation Area Advisory Group and Community Liaison Committee for information.


(2)       T H A T, subject to consideration of the views of Planning Committee, the Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration and the Director of Legal, Public Protection and Housing Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation be authorised to implement the changes to the Conservation Area Advisory Group as outlined in paragraph 10 of the report.


(3)       T H A T a review of the effectiveness of the new arrangements be undertaken in 12 months with the finding reported back to Cabinet following the undertaking of that review.


(4)       T H A T this matter be reported to Council for approval if required by the Constitution.


Reasons for decisions


(1)       To consult Planning Committee and the Conservation Area Advisory Group on the content of the report.


(2)       To administer changes to the working of the Conservation Area Advisory Group.


(3)       To monitor the effectiveness of the proposals and recommend any further changes as required.


(4)       To comply with the requirements of the Constitution.”





Attached as Appendix - Report to Cabinet: 1st September, 2010