Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
PLANNING COMMITTEE: 11 APRIL, 2013
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 18 MARCH 2013
C1265 OPTIONS FOR THE DELIVERY OF LOCAL AUTHORITY HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT CONSERVATION SERVICES IN WALES (RIPT) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -
The report outlined the Cadw consultation relating to ‘Options for the Delivery of Local Authority Historic Environment Conservation Services in Wales’. A copy of the report was available electronically at the following link:
In 2007 the Welsh Government, together with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, published a White Paper ‘Heritage Protection for the 21st Century’. This was followed in 2008 by the publication of a draft ‘Heritage Protection Bill’. Although the Bill was included in the draft Legislative Programme for 2008/09, the economic situation at the time meant the Bill was dropped.
Following a referendum in March 2011, the National Assembly gained direct law making powers in the subject areas for which it had devolved responsibility. These included planning and the historic environment.
In July 2011, the First Minister announced the Welsh Government’s Legislative Programme. This programme included a provision to introduce a Heritage Bill. This would be in the fourth year of the programme, i.e. 2014-15.
Evidence was being gathered by consultants, Hyder Consulting, commissioned by Cadw to review the existing delivery of conservation services in Wales and an assessment made of potential options for increased collaboration between local authorities.
On 4th February 2013 an email was sent by Hyder Consulting to stakeholders enclosing the consultation document. Local authorities had been asked to respond to the consultation by 28th February 2013 to enable the report to be finalised for Cadw to prepare its recommendations to the Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, in time for the issue of the White Paper on the Heritage Bill for Wales in late Spring 2013. Attached at Appendix A was the Council's detailed response to the consultation exercise which was sent on 28th February 2012 to meet the deadline for responses.
The Hyder report considered, as defined in the consultation document, the core and wider functions of conservation officers along with the strengths and weaknesses of the three principal conservation service providers in Wales - local planning authorities; Cadw; and the Welsh Archaeological Trusts.
The Hyder report also considered a number of options for the future delivery of conservation services in Wales. These six options could be considered under the three broad headings of regional collaboration, regional hubs and independent models of delivery.
Each option was appraised with costs and benefits for the Council, the Region and Wales identified. It should be noted that the financial costs identified for each option were described in a range from "low" to "high" with no indication of what figures might be involved in the establishment of the organisations envisaged in each option or costs to local authorities for the ongoing running of each option.
The six options put forward in the consultation document offered a diverse choice of future conservation service provision in Wales and it was clear that there were advantages and disadvantages to each of the options being put forward.
It also became clear that the option that might be best for the Council’s customers may not be the best for the region, or for Wales as a whole. Conversely, the best option for the region may see a dilution of service provision within the Council's area.
This consultation should also be seen in the wider context of the Simpson Compact which has previously been considered by Cabinet (Min C1590 refers) and current thinking relating to City Regions.
Page 2, paragraph 3 of the Simpson Compact stated "There may be occasions when the case for change may be less strong or broadly neutral for one partner in collaboration than another. Relative scale of benefits should not be a reason to avoid working together where the outcome for public services will meet the criteria above". In the Council's response to the Compact it was resolved to express concerns regarding the above.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
(1) T H A T the response to Cadw attached at Appendix A to the report outlining the Council’s formal response to the consultation be approved.
(2) T H A T a copy of the report be presented to the Planning Committee for information.
(3) T H A T the Director of Development Services writes to Cadw and the Welsh Government expressing concern that the consultation deadline offered insufficient time for Councils to effectively comment on these important changes.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To advise Cadw of the views of Cabinet on the Options for the Delivery of Local Authority Historic Environment Conservation Services in Wales.
(2) To ensure Planning Committee is apprised of the publication of the consultation document.
(3) To express concern at the short opportunity for consultation, that was only three weeks from 4th February 2013 to 28 February 2013.
Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 18 March, 2013