COMMUNITY LIAISON COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 21st October, 2014.
Present: Councillor C.P.J. Elmore (Chairman); Councillor K.J. Geary (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Mrs. C.L. Curtis, R.F. Curtis, N.P. Hodges, R.P. Thomas and C.J. Williams.
Representatives from Town and Community Councils:
Councillors: J. Evans (Barry Town Council); A. Robertson (Dinas Powys Community Council); Mrs. H. Baker (Ewenny Community Council); P. King (Llandough Community Council); M. Hurst (Llandow Community Council); J, Teague (Llanfair Community Council); G. Smith (Llanmaes Community Council); C. Tutton (Pendoylan Community Council); Mrs. J. Parry (Peterston Super Ely Community Council); Mrs. A. Barnaby (St. Athan Community Council); Mrs. G. Rawson (St. Nicholas and Bonvilston Community Council), M. Garland (Sully and Lavernock Community Council); Ms. C. Frost (Wenvoe Community Council); C. Hawkins (Wick Community Council).
Also present: Mrs. P. Carreyett (Llandough Community Council).
Due to the unavoidable absence of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman took the Chair for the meeting.
537 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -
These were received from Councillors Ms. B.E. Brooks, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, Ms. R.F. Probert, R.L. Traherne and M.R. Wilson (Vale of Glamorgan Council) and Councillors J. Harris (Cowbridge with Llanblethian Town Council); M. Marsh (Llantwit Major Town Council) and M. Cuddy (Penarth Town Council).
538 MINUTES -
AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 8th July, 2014 and the Special Meeting held on 17th September, 2014 be accepted as a correct record.
At this point, the representative from Dinas Powys Community Council asked if a list of non-statutory services could be disseminated to Town and Community Councils to assist their consideration of the Reshaping Services Programme. The Assistant Democratic Services Officer advised that they would forward this query to the relevant officer.
539 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
No declarations were received.
540 POLICE MATTERS -
The new Chief Inspector for the Vale of Glamorgan, Mark Hobrough, was present at the meeting to introduce himself and informed the Committee that he was from the Barry area and had recently been attached as the Security Co-ordinator for the South Wales Police for the NATO Summit in September 2014. He further informed the Committee that there had been seven incumbents to the Chief Inspector position in the last two years and he had recently met with his Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) regards a period of stability in this position which the Chief Inspector was happy to provide, being passionate about the area.
Chief Inspector Hobrough advised that he would provide more detailed information in relation to police matters in the Vale of Glamorgan at the next Committee meeting. He advised that burglary statistics for the division were under target but there had been an increase in the statistics for violent crime yet clarified that this was due to a change in the way these crimes were being recorded. All crimes were now recorded at source in order to increase transparency and ensure that the recording process was more ethical. This had significantly seen an increase in violent crime across the area which mirrored the Force and the country. There had been a few initial problems with the new reporting process in that some crimes reported at source, after investigation, were found to be public disorder issues rather than violent crimes. He further informed the Committee that the Victim Satisfaction statistics for the Division were very good.
The representative from Peterston-Super-Ely Community Council expressed concern with regard to policing in the rural Vale; in that policing was 'filtered out’ in the rural areas. In response, Chief Inspector Hobrough advised that he appreciated this viewpoint and unfortunately, the recent police cuts had affected all areas of the force, however he would ensure that the service delivered across the Vale of Glamorgan was first class and proportionately balanced with the demand for Police Officers. He further informed the Committee that previously Officers had remained in the areas in which they were located e.g. Barry, and was aware that rural areas of the Vale had struggled with this approach. He confirmed that neighbourhood Officers would now be deployed across the rural Vale and he would ensure that all police vacancies in the Wards were filled which included PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) vacancies. He further advised that he would address any crime patterns across the Vale of Glamorgan.
A Member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council enquired as to the policing plans for the Halloween and Bonfire Night periods, as historically residents expressed concern at these times of the year due to activities such as 'Trick or Treat’. Chief Inspector Hobrough informed the Committee that these periods of time typically saw an increase in anti-social behaviour and youth annoyance calls; however, this had not occurred last year. He was unable to confirm whether this was due to these incidents going unreported, the weather for the period or an actual decrease in these types of incidents. He confirmed there had been an increase in calls around Bonfire Night last year and would ensure that this year there would be additional policing resources at these periods, including the weekends, and an increase in Special Ops resources.
Following the update it was
AGREED - T H AT Chief Inspector Hobrough be thanked for attending and providing Members with an informative update.
541 PRESENTATION - LOCAL HOUSING MARKET ASSESSMENT -
Jenny Lewington, Housing Strategy Officer and Elisa Faulkner, Affordable Housing Enabler were present at the meeting to give a presentation on the Local Housing Market Assessment.
The Committee was informed that most of the Town and Community Councils had been visited to provide them with an update on the Local Housing Market Assessment and therefore the presentation to the Committee was a round-up to ensure all Town and Community Councils were aware of this strategy.
Mrs. Lewington informed the Committee that the purpose of the Local Housing Market Assessment was to identify local housing needs in the Vale of Glamorgan. The Housing Department provides a wide range of services including homelessness assistance, housing advice and information and advice on housing options.
There are a number of affordable housing options, including social rented accommodation, low cost home ownership opportunities, accessible homes and supported housing.
The knock-on effect of increased housing prices is it was more difficult for residents to rent and buy the right type of housing. The Local Housing Market Assessment would identify the need for affordable housing. Mrs. Lewington confirmed that the next Local Housing Market Assessment would be produced in-house by the Authority, following guidance published by the Welsh Government.
At this point in the meeting the Chairman entered the room and took over the Chair for the rest of the meeting.
The Welsh Government Guidance for conducting the Local Housing Market assessment focussed on the three Council maintained housing registers; Homes4U, Aspire2Own and the Accessible Homes Scheme. The Local Housing Market Assessment would identify the housing needs including the tenure, size and location of homes needed.
Elisa Faulkner, Affordable Housing Enabler, informed the Committee that the Authority had a statutory duty to intervene in the housing market and that the Local Housing Market Assessment would be used to inform negotiations in relation to the development of affordable housing. These would include 100% affordable housing sites, rural exception sites and Section 106 contributions on market housing sites which were included on developments over 10 houses. It was confirmed that 30%-35% of any market housing site could be contributed as affordable housing; however, this was not statutory and could be negotiated with the developer. These negotiations would ensure that housing needs are met, in line with what was required in the Vale of Glamorgan.
In the previous Local Housing Market Assessment, published in 2010, it was identified that of the affordable housing required on all sites 80% should be social rented and 20% should be low cost home ownership. Mrs. Faulkner stated that these figures could be relevant in regard to the some of the sites identified in the Local Development Plan (LDP). The Committee was advised that the Housing Strategy Team was happy to attend tailored sessions for the Town and Community Councils to help inform the development of plans for affordable housing in their areas.
It was also noted that Community Councils may be interested to know more about the Local lettings and sales policies for affordable housing which prioritised housing for local people. The policies, developed as part of the Rural Housing Enabler role, are developed in partnership with the local Community Council to agree who will receive priority for new affordable homes, including those let through Homes4U or sold via Aspire2Own. An example of a local lettings policy was circulated at the meeting for the Town Mill Road development in Cowbridge, this was developed in a partnership between the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Housing Department, Wales and West Housing Association and and Cowbridge with Llanblethian Town Councillors.
Mrs Faulkner informed the Committee that, in their experience, residents in the rural Vale were unsure about whether Council housing would be suitable for them; however, there were a range of products on offer which included housing for first time buyers and older residents looking to downsize. The Committee was informed that without the requisite evidence about housing needs the Housing Strategy Team was unable to accurately determine what would be required across the Vale of Glamorgan. It was confirmed that the majority of the properties in the Town Mill Road development had gone to local people. The Housing Officers asked those present to disseminate the information on the products available and encourage people to sign up to these initiatives. More information was also available on the Vale website and help and assistance was always available from the Housing Strategy Team.
Following the presentation the Chairman provided those present with an opportunity to ask questions of the Housing Strategy Officers and a question and answer session took place as outlined below:-
A Member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council asked how the Aspire2Own initiative worked in relation to mortgages?
Mortgage providers took different approaches. Some would require a deposit based on 100% of the value of the property and others would require a deposit based on 70% of the value of the property, however, the most common deposit was based on a loan to value figure of 65%. The Housing Strategy Officers were unable to advise buyers which mortgage lender to use, however, advised that it was best to 'shop around’.
The representative from St. Athan Community Council asked what would happen when the buyer came to sell the property?
In the first instance, the sale agreement stipulated that the property would have to be offered back to the Housing Association, to be re-advertised to people registered with Aspire2Own. Following this, if a purchaser could not be found it could be sold on the open market.
The Housing Strategy Team would like to see the open market sale option used as infrequently as possible. But the option to sell on the open market had to be retained as otherwise it was unlikely a mortgage company would lend on the property. It was confirmed that if the property was sold on the open market the grant funding used to subsidise the property would be used as 'Recycled Capital Grant’ and re-invested on new affordable housing.
The representative from Dinas Powys Community Council asked whether the buyer would be required to pay back the 30% stake provided by the housing association or would this be written off on re-sale.
There was no requirement for the purchaser to buy the additional 30%. However, they are able to staircase up to 100% ownership if their financial circumstances allow.
At the point of sale, 30% of the value would go to the Housing Association whether the property was sold at a profit or a loss.
The representative from Llanfair Community Council asked how successful the Local Lettings Policy Initiative had been with regards to providing priority to local people.
The St. Mary Church Development in Llanfair had been successful in providing priority to local people and all bar one of the properties in the Town Mill Road development in Cowbridge had gone to local people.
Very often the exception to the local connection is the accessible property, often purpose built to meet a specific household’s needs.
The Housing Strategy Team had also received expressions of interest for both the Pentre Meyrick development and Wenvoe housing developments. It was confirmed that Local Connections Policies would be developed for both sites in partnership with the relevant Town and Community Councils.
Following the presentation it was
AGREED - T H A T the Housing Strategy Officers be thanked for their attendance and for providing an informative presentation on the Local Housing Market Assessment.
542 REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION - LLANDOUGH COMMUNITY COUNCIL - STREET LIGHTING ENERGY REDUCTION STRATEGY - CABINET REPORT: 20TH OCTOBER, 2014 (CMEVS) -
Llandough Community Council had requested that the Community Liaison Committee consider the use of LED lighting for the provision of street lighting. The reason for the request was that the matter was of concern to Llandough residents who had been bitterly complaining about the impact on health and safety for the elderly and infirm and the increasing concerns about possible increases in crime caused by the inadequate lighting achieved through LED lighting and that it may be that other Town and Community Councils had the same issues.
The Chairman informed the Committee that a report had been considered by Cabinet on the 20th October, 2014 on the Street Lighting Energy Reduction Strategy and that Cabinet had resolved to approve Option 6 of the report. Furthermore, the three additional recommendations within the report had also been approved, with an amendment to recommendation three, that the background information contained within the report relating to LED lighting be noted.
Michael Clogg, Operational Manager for Highways and Engineering was present at the meeting and presented the report to the Committee. A copy of the Cabinet report was attached at Appendix A to the Request for Consideration received by the Committee.
Mr. Clogg informed the Committee that the Authority was looking to move to full LED lighting in the future as they used 40% less energy, however, at present the Authority did not have sufficient funds to implement this option and therefore there were several alternative options available to the Cabinet.
The report detailed the financial challenges involved with street lighting across the Vale of Glamorgan which included the increase in electricity costs and that the projected energy costs for 2015/16 would be £919,000 which was £168,000 over the budget that would be available.
Mr. Clogg further outlined the environmental challenges involved with street lighting and stated that since the introduction of the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) in 2014 there had been a charge levied for each tonne of CO2 produced related to the energy used to power street lamps. It was estimated that a change to full LED lighting would reduce the current energy costs by approximately £322,000 per annum and CO2 emissions by 1,427 tonnes.
Mr. Clogg informed the Committee that in 2007 the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution had produced a report entitled 'The Urban Environment’ which identified that light pollution was a significant factor shaping local environmental quality and that further work by the Commission in 2009 entitled 'Artificial Light in the Environment’ concluded that 'We recommend that the Highway Authorities and local authorities reassess the lighting of roads against the potential road safety and crime reduction benefits’. The overriding theme of its recommendations was to encourage a reduction in future outdoor lighting sources to protect both public health and improve the visual amenities offered by the 'night sky’. Mr. Clogg further informed the Committee that there were several renewable energy options such as solar and wind power alternatives which could be used to further decrease energy costs; however, at present, these options were neither sufficiently reliable nor economically efficient to be used on any significant scale, therefore, the Authority required a future lighting strategy.
Mr. Clogg detailed the options available for consideration of the Cabinet, in relation to the Street Lighting Energy Reduction Strategy and stated that currently one third of the Vale of Glamorgan street lighting stock were LED lights.
The eight options put forward within the report for Cabinet included the following:
- Option 1 - Do nothing - The Council would have a budget shortfall of approximately £300,000 in 2016/17 if no action was taken.
- Option 2 - Change to full LED - This option was not entirely feasible at this time as 5.5% of the lighting stock had a decorative/ornate style of lantern and to date there was no option to replace these with LED units. This option was cost prohibitive in the short term at over £4 million, with a payback period of over 13 years.
- Option 3 - Change to full LED with a Central Management System (CMS) - The Service Level Agreement (SLA) would equate to approximately £43,500 per year. It would be difficult to establish the exact savings and the investment required was prohibitive.
- Option 4 - Retain LED current lighting arrangements and dim all remaining SON (high pressure sodium) and SOX (low pressure sodium) lanterns and alike light lanterns - The dimming option is relatively expensive in payback terms and does not provide sufficient financial or environmental savings.
- Option 5 - Retain LED stock and part night (1am) 70% of the remaining stock - This option would need to be carefully managed and communicated with risk assessments undertaken for all highway routes where lights are to be switched off. Some additional investment may be required for white lining and 'cats eye’ work.
- Option 6 - retain LED stock and part night (12 am) 70% of the remaining stock - As Option 5, but delivers higher savings.
- Option 7a - As option 5 but with all lighting stocks on CMS - The payback period on this option was too long due to the installation and running costs of the CMS system.
- Option 7b - As option 6 but with all lighting stocks on CMS - The payback period on this option was too long due to the installation and running costs of the CMS system.
- Option 8 - Permanently switch off all lights - Not a viable option, mainly due to health and safety concerns.
Mr. Clogg informed the Committee that concerns had been expressed by Vale residents with regards to the effects on crime and disorder of the general reduction in background lighting levels with the introduction of LED lighting and also the potential for negative health effects. He also confirmed that the LED lighting output in Llandough had been increased in order to address the concerns of local residents.
The Chairman provided the representative from Llandough Community Council with an opportunity to speak on this Request for Consideration.
The representative from Llandough Community Council expressed thanks for the report, as they had waited some time, however, expressed the view that the report was particularly comprehensive.
The representative drew particular attention to paragraphs 38 - 42 of the report, included within which was confirmation that the LED lighting output in Llandough had been increased from 16 watts to 21 watts since the initial concerns had been raised. The representative informed the Committee that Mr. S. Nicholas, an Interested Party, had made a significant contribution to the report which related to concerns surrounding the potential for negative health effects from LED lighting, however advised that the Llandough residents’ main concerns focussed around the pools of darkness between lampposts in the area. The previous sodium lighting had produced broad pools of light, yet the LED lighting provided pools of extremely bright light and patches of darkness between the lampposts, however, the representative advised that expressions of concern had quietened down recently.
The representative from Llandough Community Council further informed the Committee that another of the main concerns for local residents was that the new lighting had been installed in December 2013 with no notice given. Therefore, the change of lighting had been exacerbated due to the timing of the installation and caused problems for local residents. The representative urged the Authority to think carefully about carrying out these changes in the wintertime and advised that it would be best to carry out lighting changes in the summer, as residents would have a longer period to adjust to the change of lighting.
Mr. Clogg advised that the concerns of Llandough residents were understandable and that the department had learnt lessons from the issues that had arisen in Llandough which would inform their implementation strategy across the Vale of Glamorgan.
The Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services took the opportunity to speak on the Cabinet report and referred the Committee to the graph attached to the report, which showed the projected future street lighting and road furniture energy costs. The graph showed a comparison between Option 1 – Do Nothing and Option 6 – Retain LED stock and part night (12am) 70% of the remaining stock. The strategy had been formulated against a background of cuts across the Authority and that 'business as usual’ was not an option and the department was attempting to continue the service provided. The Cabinet Member further stated that Option 6 would keep the street lighting and road furniture energy costs within budget until 2022/23, after which the costs of running the service would be in excess of the Department’s budget and therefore another decision would need to be made at this point.
The Cabinet Member further advised the Committee that they had been an electrician for many years and that LED lighting was a revolution in lighting technology and the health concerns and issues raised by Mr. S. Nicholas, an Interested Party, had been in contrast to the concerns raised by the Llandough residents, who had been more concerned in regard to the brightness of the lighting. He further stated that they endeavoured to ensure that residents were kept informed of changes to the street lighting and that LED lighting was the future of lighting as it was 40% cheaper and maintenance costs were also much lower. The quality of the LED lighting was also better for CCTV footage as it picked up colour and it was confirmed that the lighting would be kept on at major junctions, roundabouts and any night time 'hotspots’ across the Vale of Glamorgan. The Cabinet Member advised that the report had been thoroughly reviewed several times and had taken account of concerns from individuals that had challenged the use of LED lighting on health grounds.
The Chairman afforded the Committee Members and Town and Community Council Representatives with an opportunity to make any comments in relation to the Street Lighting Energy Reduction Strategy report and a question and answer session took place as outlined below:-
A Member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council agreed with the views expressed by the Cabinet Member for Environment and Visible Services. The Member further expressed the view that the implementation of LED lighting in Councils across England exemplified that the security and safety concerns were unfounded and expressed the view that Option 6 was the best option available to the Council.
The Chairman expressed the view that it was important to communicate any changes in street lighting to local communities as in Llandough the change had been made almost overnight.
Mr. Clogg stated that the wattage of the lighting on footpaths and highways in Llandough had been increased, not the direction of lighting, however confirmed that LED lighting could be angled as required.
The representative from Sully and Lavernock Community Council expressed the following concerns:
· The LED lighting produced strips of very bright light and very dark patches in between lampposts which was a concern for pedestrians.
· Although unaware of any trips or falls, elderly residents were concerned about the change in lighting and therefore had reduced their night time trips.
· Not all the lights in the area had been changed to LED lighting and enquired as to why this was.
Mr. Clogg stated that the Council had looked at specific designs for the LED lights and due to the nature of these lights there would inevitably be more intense light nearer the lamppost column in order to achieve a reasonable lighting level.
He advised that he was not aware of any accidents involving trips or falls since the change-over to LED lighting.
Mr. Clogg advised that not all non-LED lights had been changed at the same time, as some were quite new, and advised he could address these concerns after the meeting.
The representative from Dinas Powys Community Council asked the following questions:
- Why was an option for full LED lighting with part night switch off not included within the report as this would elicit larger savings to the Council?
The Representative advised that they were unsure as to the benefits of using a Central Management System (CMS) as no savings would be delivered using this system, and in fact, it added to the service delivery costs.
- Why would Option 6 require front funding of approximately £350,000?
Mr. Clogg advised that the Council was unable to secure sufficient funding, at this time, for full LED lighting across the Vale, however if full LED lighting was implemented in the future, part night switch off, would not be required as LED lighting was much more cost effective.
The use of CMS was just one option for consideration by the Cabinet.
These monies would be required to undertake risk assessments for all highway routes where the lights would be switched off and some additional investment may be required for white lining and cat eye work.
A Member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council asked whether the Authority was able to secure economies of scale in relation to the purchase of LED lighting and whether the Authority was part of a procurement consortium.
Mr. Clogg informed the Committee that the lanterns were not currently obtained via a purchasing consortium or through collaboration with neighbouring Authorities but could consider these options for the future implementation of LED lighting.
The Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services stated that the Authority was part of the Welsh Purchasing Consortium which would provide the Authority with the economic power to secure better prices and that another cost involved with Option 6 would be timer units fitted within the photocells of the LED lights.
The representative from St. Athan Community Council stated that there was some green street lighting in the village which was not popular with residents.
Mr. Clogg advised that he was unaware of this but would make inquiries and would advise the representative accordingly.
Following consideration of the report by the Committee, it was subsequently
AGREED - T H A T the contents of the report on Street Lighting Energy Reduction Strategy be noted.
Reason for recommendation
To apprise the Committee on the Street Lighting Energy Reduction Strategy report and provide Members and Representatives of Town and Community Councils with the opportunity to comment on and discuss the contents of the report.
543 FIRE SERVICE STATISTICS FOR THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN FIRE SERVICE AREA - FOR INFORMATION ONLY -
The Committee received the Fire Service statistics for the Vale of Glamorgan Fire Service area for the period April 2014 to June 2014.
Following receipt of the statistical information, the Committee
AGREED - T H A T the statistics be noted.
Reason for recommendation
To apprise the Committee on the latest Fire Service statistics for the Vale of Glamorgan service area.
544 ANNOUNCEMENTS -
Following the business of the meeting, the Chairman informed the Committee that both the Clerks meeting held on 16th October 2014 and the Code of Conduct Training held on 1st October, 2014 went well and that a further Code of Conduct training session would be arranged for either 19th November or 4th December, 2014 and attendance was encouraged. The training would again be provided by One Voice Wales and both the Monitoring Officer and Chair of the Standards Committee would be in attendance.
The Chairman informed the Committee that it was likely that an extra meeting of the Community Liaison Committee would be arranged in November or December 2014 to further consider the Reshaping Services Programme and to ensure the continued dialogue between the Vale Council and Town and Community Councils on this programme.
The Chairman also advised that an invitation to an Animal Welfare Seminar, to be held on 30th October, 2014, had been circulated at the meeting.