ENVIRONMENT AND REGENERATION SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 15th February, 2018.
Present: Councillor M. Lloyd (Vice-Chairman in the Chair); Councillors Mrs. P. Drake, V.P. Driscoll, S.T. Edwards, N. Moore, A.R. Robertson and Ms. S. Sivagnanam.
Also present: Councillors L. Burnett, G.A. Cox, Dr. I.J. Johnson, P.G. King and L.O. Rowlands.
707 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -
These were received from Councillor V.J. Bailey (Chairman); Councillors G. John and S.T. Wiliam.
708 MINUTES -
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 18th January, 2018 be approved as a correct record.
709 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
No declarations were received.
710 COASTAL MONITORING ANNUAL UPDATE -
The Principal Engineer for Coastal and Flood Risk Management in referring to a PowerPoint presentation commenced by providing the background to coastal monitoring advising that the Local Authority had various roles and responsibilities as outlined below:
- Lead Local Flood Authority
- Coastal Erosion Risk Management Authority
- Highway Authority.
The Vale had approximately 45 kilometres of coastline which was predominantly cliffed coastline. The Council had commenced scanning sections of the coastline following a number of cliff falls and monitored the changes. However, over the last 12 months UAV and drone surveys had been undertaken. The drone surveys provided a significant amount of information in particular where there was water coming out of the cliff. Although a number of monitoring mechanisms provided different information with benefits for the Council the use of drones provided a far greater snapshot and can also fly around the Vale in record time.
Bathymetric surveys and LiDAR surveys are also undertaken. LiDAR which stood for Light Detection and Ranging was a remote sensing method that used light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth.
Bathymetric surveys provided information in relation to the seabed and several £100,000’s worth of Welsh Government funding had been secured in order to enhance such surveys. Following a query as to whether the information could be publically available, the officer advised that the data was freely available on the Penarth Observation Site. With regard to taking of high resolution photographs a Committee was also informed that the information could be made available to archaeologists but there were data protection issues to be addressed as appropriate and some information was also available on the Welsh Government website. The Council could also set up text alerts in order for information relating to tide heights to be made available.
In referring to future aims for the Council the officer advised that these would be to ensure
- reactive localised monitoring in response to specific issues
- improved monitoring of coastal structures
- to develop baseline surveys of entire coastline
- active participation in Welsh Coastal Monitoring Centre
- to ensure continued participation in coastal group.
The Council had aerial photography to ensure certainty and in lowline flood areas bathymetric data and LiDAR data had been utilised. Following a query regarding the erosion of the coastline and whether it was affecting the Coastal Path, the officer advised that it it did affect the path but that this was not substantial. The data could also be utilised for a more risk based approach.
In response to a query regarding the impact to the Barry area, the officer stated that the Department had considered the Barry area, Llantwit, Whitmore Bay, Swanbridge and up to Penarth however, following reactive work that had been undertaken recently, the Department was fairly satisfied that the structures it had in place were sound. At Harbour Road they had increased coastal overtopping protection when the cycleway had been established and with regard to the Barry Docks, in terms of the new development the Department was a consultee in planning matters having regard to the Shoreline Management Plan.
Following a further query as to whether outside of the settlement area the Department would be looking to monitor to reduce erosion and whether funding was available to do so, the Principal Officer advised that in general the Council would look to implement the Shoreline Management Plan with Ward Members being consulted as part of that process.
A Member in enquiring whether there could in the future be a possibility of a tsunami was advised that the Department had not planned for such an eventuality as the area was ‘tucked up in the Severn Estuary’.
Having fully considered the presentation Members
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the officer be thanked for a comprehensive and interesting presentation, that future updates on Coastal monitoring be presented to the Committee and the work programme be updated accordingly.
Reason for recommendation
To ensure the Committee is apprised on progress.
711 REVIEW PROCESS FOR TRANSPORT NETWORK STUDIES AT DINAS POWYS AND M4 JUNCTION 34 TO A48 - CALL-IN -
The Chairman took the opportunity to ask all present to introduce themselves for the benefit of the public present at the meeting.
At its meeting on 22nd January, 2018 Cabinet had agreed the following:
“(1) T H A T the composition of the Review Groups for WelTAG at Dinas Powys and M4 JCT 34 to A48 as outlined in the report be agreed.
(2) T H A T the Terms of Reference for WelTAG review Groups as attached at Appendix A to the report be agreed.
(3) T H A T a further report on this matter be received by Cabinet following the receipt of the draft WelTAG Stage 2 reports in Spring 2018.”
Councillor L. Burnett had called the matter into the Scrutiny Committee as below:
“However, there is lack of parity between the two studies.
The Review Group for the M4 jct 34 to M4 group includes a representative designated from each of the Community Councils whereas the Dinas Powys group includes only a representative from Dinas Powys.
The road network in the Dinas Powys, Sully, Llandough and Penarth areas is interdependent. A traffic incident on any of the main roads in the SE of the Vale of Glamorgan will cause major hold-ups on all other routes.
It is therefore essential that consideration of options for Dinas Powys includes consideration of the potential impact on other routes and also that the review group includes representation from Sully, Llandough and Penarth Town and Community Councils.”
In presenting the Call-in to the Committee Councillor Burnett further advised that in comparing the review groups and the remit of the studies it appeared that the recommendations had focussed purely on a Dinas Powys representative whereas a number of Community Councils would also be affected by the proposals. Councillor Burnett stated that in her view local knowledge would be a valuable asset when considering the WeLTAG study and that any changes in the network needed to be looked at as a whole and to draw on local knowledge to do so. Councillor Burnett reiterated further her request for the review to not only explore options for Dinas Powys but to also include an assessment of the south east traffic network thereby to include Community Councils from Sully, Llandough and Penarth.
In presenting the report to the Committee the Head of Neighbourhood Services and Transport advised that the aim of the WeLTAG review was to agree a strategic process, to outline the timetable to the study and to set terms of reference for the group in light of the recently updated WeLTAG guidance. The Head of Service also took the opportunity to advise Committee that it was important to note that any representation would be tied by a confidentiality clause which would make it difficult for the Members of the group to advise their Community Councils of discussions that had taken place. Furthermore during the consultation process there would be every opportunity for representations to be made at that time.
At this point the Chairman subsequently invited the member of the public who had registered to speak to make their representations to the Committee. Mr. R. Cox commenced by advising of a recent incident when a gridlock had occurred between Cardiff and Dinas Powys which had been caused by a tragic accident at Cardiff Bay and that had reminded him of the disruption the traffic flow could cause to a number of areas not just Dinas Powys or Sully. He stated that if any improvements were made at Dinas Powys it would have a knock-on effect to traffic flow at other accesses. Mr Cox also made reference to the Metro that was planned for the area and how that could further exacerbate the issue as in his view, light and heavy rail did not sit well together. Light rail would ensure that the problem would be forced onto the road and in his view the Cogan junction could not manage the traffic now notwithstanding problems for the future. Although he was not claiming that the issues would definitely happen, in his view it was a likelihood. Mr Cox urged the Committee to consider the proposals for the Review Group to include representatives from a number of Community Councils in the area and that the Council also through enquiries establish the plans for the Metro with a further urgent plea for the Penarth Town Council to be represented on the Group due to the issues at the Merrie Harrier and Barons Court junctions.
Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson, not a member of the Committee, with permission to speak, stated that he was broadly in support of Councillor Burnett’s proposal as the route would affect a number of Community Councils commencing from Barry through Dinas Powys to Cardiff. Cllr Johnson also considered it important that a representative from the Barry area be also appointed to the Group stating that the wider issues should be recognised.
Councillor P.G. King, also not a member of the Committee, with permission to speak, stated that 40% of the population of the Vale commuted to Cardiff on a daily basis and that the bypass proposals at Dinas Powys would have a considerable effect on other areas in the vicinity. Councillor King also referred to an example of an issue at the Barons Court junction some time ago where he himself and another Member had spent a considerable amount of time trying to work out a sequence with the traffic lights to improve traffic flow at the junction. A suggestion was subsequently presented to officers who in turn used the suggestion which had indeed worked. This he said was evidence that local people have local knowledge and can offer advice and suggest solutions. In this instance officers had been only to pleased to receive the suggestions and had acknowledged that they had worked. Therefore, he stated that it would be important for local representatives to be members of the Group to provide local knowledge.
In referring to the proposed Metro the Head of Service advised that she was aware that a preferred bidder decision had been made with the information due to be released in March, with a suggestion that the franchise information may be known in June 2018.
Following a query regarding funding, the Head of Service advised that in her view this was premature at this stage because there was no detailed effective solution proposed until the WeLTAG Study had been undertaken. Bids for the next stages had been made to Welsh Government and that the project had also been flagged up with the City Deal Region although, the City Deal project did not see the Dinas Powys scheme as a priority for the region. The Head of Service reiterated that there would be further opportunity to comment on the plans advising that the Metro could be seen as a good opportunity in the future but, that the resilience on the network was not good when everybody was trying to find the quickest route. The officer also confirmed that the bottleneck at the Merrie Harrier junction was also being looked at under the WeLTAG Stage 2.
In referring to the role of the Review Group the Head of Service stated that this was to review the technical aspects of the proposals.
Some Members recommended that it was important not to delay the study any further at this stage of the process and that further consideration to include other Community Council representatives could be considered at Stage 3 of the project.
Although being made aware of the confidentiality issue for Members of the review group a Member of the Committee recommended that it would be equitable to offer the Community Councils a representative position on the Group in order that local knowledge could be provided. Councillor Burnett considered that there was a lack of parity between the two WeLTAG studies that were being undertaken by the Council and that having local expertise on the group was important.
The Chairman in summing up considered that there appeared to be a number of safeguards in the process with further consultation being undertaken during the process, his concern was in relation to the timing and whether delaying the process would have real value.
Following a vote it was subsequently
RECOMMENDED - T H A T the representation on the Review Group remains as approved by the Cabinet until the findings of the Stage 2 report were known with the Committee reconsidering the position at that time.
Reason for recommendation
Having considered the Call in, the contents of the report and the comments made at the meeting.
712 VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL ANNUAL SELF-ASSESSMENT (MD) -
The Heads of Service for Neighbourhood Services and Transport and Regeneration and Planning were present to respond to queries from the Committee. In presenting the report Committee was informed that the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment process was an evolving one reflecting the ongoing work to ensure that the process dovetailed with other forms of self-assessment (such as the Improvement Plan, Service Plans, the Annual Local Authority Education Service Evaluation Report and the Director of Social Services’ Annual Report and the developing audit requirements of the Wellbeing and Future Generations Wales Act 2015.
Committee was further informed that the Self-Assessment format for 2017 built on the Performance Management Framework developments for 2016/17 and reflected the Council’s outcome focussed approach in line with its duties under the WBFG Act. The Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes form the framework for evaluating the Council’s performance and achievements enabled the Council to demonstrate its ability to achieve positive outcomes for its residents and secure continuous improvement. These were supported by service based position statements covering all Council services.
It was the second year of reporting performance against the Corporate Plan 2016-2020 and progress was now available for a full year. Consequently, it had been possible to undertake a comprehensive Self-Assessment presented by the Corporate Plan Well-being Outcome areas for the first time. The Self-Assessment covered the period April 2016 to December 2017. The report drew on: the individual service self-assessments covering the 14 Service Plan areas; our progress to date in achieving the Year 2 priorities of our Corporate Plan Well-being Outcomes and Corporate Health priorities; the views of our regulators in the Annual Improvement Report and our progress to date in relation to our audit recommendations/ proposals for improvement.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Annual Self-Assessment document could be viewed via the link [Councils Annual Self-Assessment] with hard copies having been made available in the Members’ Room for inspection. Pages 21-30 of the Council's Annual Self-Assessment provided an overview which outlined the current position as at December 2017, key achievements to date and the priorities for 2018/19 in relation to Well-being Outcome 2, 'An Environmentally Responsible and Prosperous Vale'.
As part of the Annual Self-Assessment, a series of actions to drive improvement in the following year had been identified. Appendix B of the link contained an Insight Action Tracker which provided a summary of progress to date in relation to the Council's integrated planning priorities identified in the previous year’s Annual Self-Assessment and also incorporated the regulatory recommendations / proposals for improvement. Of the 61 actions contained within the Insight Action tracker, 27 have been completed and 34 remain ongoing and of the 34, 12 had been attributed a Green performance status, 21 an Amber status and 1 a Red status.
The Self-Assessment process was also used to identify priorities for the coming year that would be implemented via Service Plans for 2018/19. Appendix C to the report provided the details of an insight action tracker which had been developed following the establishment of the Insight Board in 2016.
The Council's Self-Assessment process would also continue to evolve in line with the wider Local Government agenda as proposed in the recent draft Local Government (Wales) Bill and the Well-being of Future Generation (Wales) Act. In this respect, the annual Self-Assessment set out the Council’s key priorities for improvement and would be published and made available to the regulators to inform their work programme.
The Heads of Service drew Members attention to the relevant sections in the document within the Committees remit following which, having considered the report it was subsequently
(1) T H A T the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment report including identified priorities for 2018/19 onwards be endorsed and officers thanked for the hard work that had been undertaken in preparing the document.
(2) T H A T the use and content of the Council’s Annual Self-Assessment as the basis for Service Planning for 2018/19 be endorsed.
(3) T H A T the current progress reported against previous regulatory recommendations/proposals for improvement arising from local and national Local Government Studies for the period 2011-2015 be noted.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To meet the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 to undertake a self-assessment of all Council services, to use the information as the basis to drive continuous improvement of Council services and maximise their contribution to achieving the national well-being goals and to recognise the work undertaken in the production of the document.
(2) To ensure the Annual Council Self-Assessment reflects the key challenges facing both the Council as whole and informs the Council's plans for improvement for 2018/19.
(3) To ensure the Council implements its regulatory recommendations/ proposals for improvement and responds appropriately to the recommendations/ proposals for improvement identified through the WAO's programme of national Local Government Studies for the period 2011-2015.