COMMUNITY LIAISON COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 18th March, 2015.
Present: Councillor C.P.J. Elmore (Chairman); Councillors Ms. B.E. Brooks, Mrs. C.L. Curtis, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, N.P. Hodges, Ms. R.F. Probert, R.L. Traherne, C.J. Williams and M.R. Wilson.
Representatives from Town and Community Councils: Councillors S.C. Egan (Barry Town Council), Ms. L. George (Cowbridge with Llanblethian Town Council), M.D. Marsh (Llantwit Major Town Council), N. Thomas (Penarth Town Council), A. Robertson (Dinas Powys Community Council); P. King (Llandough Community Council), J. Teague (Llanfair Community Council), G. Smith (Llanmaes Community Council), Ms. G. Marks (Michaelston le Pit and Leckwith Community Council), Ms. S. Lewis (St. Brides Major Community Council), Ms. G. Rawson (St. Nicholas and Bonvilston Community Council), N. Craddock (Welsh St. Donats Community Council) and N. Harmer (Wenvoe Community Council),
Also present: Councillors L. Burnett and N. Moore.
1029 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -
These were received from Councillors R.F. Curtis, H.J.W. James and R.P. Thomas (Vale of Glamorgan Council) and Councillors H. Baker (Ewenny Community Council), M. Hurst (Llandow Community Council), Ms. J. Parry (Peterston Super Ely Community Council), Ms. A. Barnaby (St. Athan Community Council) and
C. Hawkins (Wick Community Council).
1030 MINUTES -
AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 27th January, 2015 be accepted as a correct record.
1031 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
No declarations were received.
1032 POLICE MATTERS -
Inspector Hobrough commenced his presentation by advising that the Vale was one of the safest places to live in South Wales as confirmed by the crime statistics. The one area however which he reported had seen a slight increase related to crimes of violence, although the increase was not as high as it was on a national basis. The 'hate crime’ rate was also slightly above what the force was anticipating and following a query as to the definition of hate crime the Inspector that this referred to crimes against race, religion, any offence against a disabled person, gay or lesbian or transgender.
Members were also informed of a number of thefts of criminals breaking into shops and stealing from ATM machines. An operation was currently underway to deal with the matter. A Cardiff criminal had recently come across to Penarth and was currently being targeted by the force, a regular, persistent burglar had also recently been sentenced. A "trap bike" operation had also been put in place in response to bike thefts but he could report that such crime had appeared to have decreased.
The Inspector also informed the Committee of a protocol that had recently been signed between the Force and the Barry Safety Partnership and that force was also looking to reinvigorate the Community Speed Watch. An officer had been tasked to set up the initiative with a media campaign proposed once the areas had been identified.
In referring to the recent tragic deaths of four young people from the Barry area, the Police were also keeping a watch on the impact on youths in the area.
The Inspector also advised of further intakes of police officers to the force with eight officers being commissioned to undertake independent patrol and a further four to be appointed within his Division.
Following consideration of the report Members
AGREED - T H A T the Inspector be thanked for his report and that the Police force be congratulated on the statistics to date.
1033 WHITE PAPER "REFORMING LOCAL GOVERNMENT: POWER TO LOCAL PEOPLE" (REF) -
Cabinet had, on 23rd February, 2015 been requested to approve for circulation, the White Paper to stakeholders for their comments in advance of the Council’s formal response to Welsh Government by 28th April, 2015.
The Head of Performance and Development, in presenting the report, advised that the White Paper was Welsh Government’s Statement of Intent about the future of Local Government in Wales. The paper set out Welsh Government’s proposals for making changes in the following fields, local democracy, the roles and remuneration of Elected Members and Senior Officers, Community governance and Community Councils, community rights, corporate improvement, service performance, scrutiny, audit, inspection and regulation and finance.
In order for the Council to provide an informed response the White Paper had been referred for comments to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources), the Council’s Democratic Services Committee, Standards Committee, Audit Committee, Community Liaison Committee, Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee and the Vale of Glamorgan Local Service Board.
The Head of Service advised that all Members, Town and Community Councils and the public could respond to the White Paper direct however, any comments of the Committee would be referred to Cabinet for consideration.
The Chairman then opened the debate on the document for comments. The Town and Community Council representatives raised concerns in relation to the proposals for the re-organisation of Town and Community Councils, advising that a number of smaller community councils may not be able to pass the capacity test, as outlined within the White Paper. A Member of the Committee also felt that some local authorities may consider that Town and Community Councils (TCCs) should be 'grouped together’ to assist with passing the capacity test which could result in some local authorities then relinquishing some of their responsibilities and delegating services down to TCCs. Of relevance all felt, was the aspect of the merger of local authorities and referred in particular merging to the Vale merging with Cardiff and the fact that Cardiff did not have the same infrastructure as the Vale and they were aware that Cardiff also had little interaction with their TCCs.
The reference to the number of uncontested seats was considered by all present to be flawed, particularly in the Vale where uncontested seats were not significant. The report was also in their opinion very disparaging to the Council Leader and on the whole it was seen as a condescending document. A number of Members commented that the Welsh Assembly Government should look internally at itself before it started reorganising local government and placing greater burdens on Members and Councils. For example Committee queried whether Welsh Assembly Members were recommended / required to produce Annual Reports and undertake PDRS. It was also considered that the proposals would lead to a loss of identity for TCCs.
In referring to the impression given by the paper that there were thousands of people within Wales wishing to become a Councillor, those present stated that this was not the case. There were no queues of people they were aware of waiting to become Councillors also if the Council numbers were to be reduced as outlined in the White Paper communities would not be supported as well as now.
In referring to the proposal for Area Boards to be established all present stated that they could not understand the requirement for such a tier of Government that was not required. Democratic accountability would also be lost as the proposals suggested the Boards would rely heavily on one or two Councillors to which they were vehemently opposed. The view was that the White Paper was an attempt to micro-manage Wales on so many levels which was not supported by the Committee. To limit the number of years a Member could be elected for was also considered unfair due to the fact that many may be quite young when their 25 years came to an end.
It was further considered in referring to the number of rural settlements within Wales that the White Paper proposals threatened the identity of a large number of rural communities within Wales. Reference was also made to the fact that some communities may not have an established Town or Community Council in their area. The representative from Llanmaes took the opportunity to advise that his Council consisted entirely of co-opted Members and he felt sure that if constituents were asked whether they would prefer the appointment of a co-opted Member or an Elected Member appointed for a much larger Council, the co-opted Member approach would win.
The majority of Town and Community Council representatives informed the Committee that their respective Councils would be making their own submission on the document and commented that in their view it should be classed as a Green Paper and not a White Paper. They also took the opportunity to reiterate the view that the Vale supported its Town and Community Councils much better than in other local authorities.
Following considerable discussion, and being the unanimous view of the Committee and all the representatives present from the Town and Community Councils, it was
AGREED - T H A T Cabinet be informed that the Community Liaison Committee did not support the proposals contained within the White Paper for a number of reasons, as outlined above, and which included the size of the Town and Community Councils proposed, the grouping together of smaller Community Councils and the loss of identity, the false economy of savings, the establishment of proposed Area Boards as another tier of government and the overall loss of democracy.
Reasons for recommendation
To advise Cabinet of the Committee’s views in order that a response can be forwarded to the Minister on the White paper.
1034 ASSISTANCE WITH WASTE MANAGEMENT INITIATIVES -
The Operational Manager for Waste Management and Cleansing provided a presentation to the Committee in order to raise awareness of forthcoming new charges within the Waste Management and Cleansing division. The Manager sought assistance from the Town and Community Councils for help in providing items to Vale of Glamorgan residents in their area.
The following new Waste Management and Cleansing chargeable items were to be made available to householders and had been agreed by the Council’s Cabinet at its meeting on 9th February, 2015.
(i) That blue dog waste bags which were presently issued free of charge be sold for £1.00 per pack of 50.
(ii) That a charge of £1.00 be imposed for kerbside recycling boxes and kitchen waste caddies.
(iii) That after an annual free issue, (based on circa 3 bags a week) any further additional kitchen waste liner bags to be sold by the roll at an equivalent cost of 4p per bag.
(iv) That an administration charge of £15 be introduced for the issue of HWRC van and trailer permits.
The existing charges would also remain as outlined below:
(i) 3 compostable bags for garden waste sold at £1.00 each.
(ii) Re-useable green polypropylene handled sacks for garden waste sold at £1.00 each.
(iii) Recycling box net cover sold at £1.00 each.
(iv) Re-useable blue polypropylene handled sacks with Velcro strap sold at £1.00 each.
(v) Re-useable Waste Awareness jute shopping bag sold at 50p each.
The availability for householders to purchase Waste Management and Cleansing chargeable items would be from Council offices such as the Civic Offices, Dock Office, the Alps Offices and the Council’s main libraries, except for recycling boxes and kitchen food waste caddies.
In seeking support for the selling of such items the Operational Manager advised that the Town and Community Councils would need to purchase the items via a pre-payment plan. Members were informed that it was anticipated that demand for the blue dog poo bags would be high given their current usage and dog walker observations on the quality of the bag compared to other alternatives. As all participating householders would be issued with a non-chargeable average year’s supply of kitchen food liners (which would equate to three per week) it was not anticipated that demand for rolls of liner bags would be significant. All requests for supplies would need to be made via the Council’s Contact One Vale Oracle service by contacting C1V.
In order to convey the message to the public, it was noted that communication was key and that the new arrangements would be publicised as widely as possible.
Town and Community Councils were requested to consider providing such a service for their residents if they had the ability to store the items. Should a Town and Community Council also be able to store some of the larger items they were asked to contact the Waste Management Department to discuss their requirements. The Department would take the lead on any communication to the public but urged assistance from Town and Community Councils.
A Member raised a concern as to the disposal of "poo" bags, with all present being advised that these could be disposed of in any bin throughout the Vale of Glamorgan. In referring to queries regarding the use of liners in kitchen waste caddies, Members were informed that newspaper could also be used.
In considering the possibility of encouraging the use of bins by the public in country parks, the Cabinet Member with the relevant portfolio, stated that she would be happy to look at areas in country parks where these could be further established if deemed appropriate. Reference was made to the Eastern Promenade in Barry and to the number of people who frequented the area with their dogs and who did not use the bins that were available. It was suggested by all present that this was socially unacceptable and that consideration should be given to making the area a dog free zone.
A number of smaller Community Councils stated that it would not be practical for their Councils to hold stocks as they did not have storage facilities. A query regarding the procedure for payment was also raised, with Members being advised that payment had to be an upfront payment but the Operational Manager would enquire as to what other methods could be used and report back. The Rural Creative Communities officer who was present at the meeting for the next item on the agenda informed Committee that the 'Pub in the Hub’ scheme and local post offices may be able to assist the Council and that he would make enquires.
In response to a query as to whether the food bags had a limited shelf life, Members were informed that as long as they were not kept in the open air they would be fine.
Following consideration of the presentation it was subsequently
AGREED - T H A T the presentation be forwarded to all Clerks of Town and Community Councils together with the Operational Manager’s contact details for their information.
Reason for recommendation
To advise the public of the new arrangements and charges.
1035 CREATIVE RURAL COMMUNITIES -
The Principal Rural Regeneration Office Mr. Phil Chappell, and Mrs. N. Sumner-Smith (Senior Rural Regeneration officer) were in attendance and provided Committee with a presentation regarding the number of initiatives in the rural Vale with regard to tourism that had been undertaken with the support of Creative Rural Communities.
Mr. Chappell commenced by advising that the Rural Development Plan funding covered all Wards except for those in Barry and Penarth. However, there had been some work undertaken in Barry and Penarth in relation to cycle routes and walkways etc.
Mrs. Sumner-Smith in referring to projects advised of the tourism information points across the Vale that had been established following the closure of the Tourist Information Centre. Capital Regional Tourism funding had been sought and more literature had been obtained for providers, pubs, cafes etc. and this was distributed via the Council and the private sector. 50 tourism information points and five tourism information hubs had been developed with Members receiving a video presentation detailing the Ambassador Scheme that supported the project 'Pride in the Vale and the details of where the tourism information points were available. The Ambassador Project had been set up in 2014 as a pilot project and to date 31 Ambassadors throughout the Vale had come through the programme with a considerable number of people from the local community fulfilling the roles. A small amount of money had been provided to assist Town Teams in Cowbridge and Llantwit Major were looking to make improvements in their towns. Signage and interpretation for both towns was seen as a priority.
Visitor research indicated that awareness of the Heritage Coast was poor. To encourage visitors and raise the profile of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast in 2014 the Glamorgan Heritage Coast Steering Group was set. The main objective being to ensure that all visitors had a great and positive experience and impression of the area. Interpretation panels had been established at beach sites and information was also available on line to download. Members were urged to download APPs prior to their visit to the coast. The Heritage Coast app was free and a link was to be made available on the website under the Visit the Vale section.
For 2015 - 2020 the Vale had been granted funding of £1.82m and a new Programme Board and Strategy had been developed. A Local Action Group had been formed which had a good private sector buy-in. However, as a result of the cut in funding grants would no longer be given out by Creative Rural Communities. The funding would be used for staff and commissioning projects using the Leader approach. There had also been a slight delay with the funding and the Director of Development Services had therefore committed to support the team up until the funding was released in July 2015. Further work would also be undertaken by the Group to consider future uses of other funding such as Section 106 funding and Mr. Chappell referred to the Lottery Funding that had been agreed for the new slipway at Southerndown.
In referring to the use of social media, Facebook and Twitter and a You Tube link, Members were advised that they could be kept up to date with the work of the Creative Rural Communities via this means. The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation informed Members that the team were a high performing team of individuals and they were altering the outcomes of communities in the Vale for which the Council was committed to. The delay in funding meant that the Council was at risk but the the Department would be supporting the team with the funding until July 2015.
Members of the Community Liaison Committee took the opportunity to congratulate the team on the comprehensive and interesting presentation and the number of and innovative ways that were being introduced across the whole of the Vale to encourage visitors, developers, stakeholders and to inform the public.
The representative from Barry Town Council asked whether the team’s involvement could assist Barry with the Rural Regeneration Officer advising that a Town Centre Manager had recently been appointed and he was sure that she would work with Barry Town Council to build capacity to provide services and information points for visitors and residents alike.
Some Members queried how the work of the rural communities could be used to build links between the eastern and western sides of the Vale as well as liaison work with schools. The Cabinet Member stated that in terms of the Eastern Vale the information stands that had been developed were to hold leaflets of the Vale and if more funding became available consideration may be able to be given to develop further afield. Work was being undertaken with schools to encourage young people to visit the Heritage Coast and other facilities on offer in the Vale and all projects would be evaluated for success and failure to ensure that lessons are learnt and good practice pursued.
In conclusion it was suggested that the draft strategy for Creative Rural Communities be forwarded and circulated with the minutes once completed all Members of the Community Liaison Committee, Town and Community Council representatives and Town and Community Council Clerks for their information.
In acknowledging the incredible work of the Creative Rural Communities Division, it was subsequently
AGREED - T H A T the officers be thanked for their informative presentation and that all staff be thanked for the continuing good work that was being undertaken on behalf of the Council.
Reason for recommendation
In recognition of the work undertaken.
1036 FIRE SERVICE STATISTICS FOR THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN FIRE SERVICE AREA -
The statistics in respect of performance for April to December 2014 were presented to the Community Liaison Committee for information, it being noted that the Fire Service Officer would be present at the July meeting of the Committee.
AGREED - T H A T the Fire Service statistics be noted.
1037 CHAIRMAN’S ANNOUNCEMENT -
The Chairman took the opportunity to advise all present of the dates of future meetings of the Community Liaison Committee that had been by Cabinet:
· 7th July, 2015 @ 6.00 p.m.
· 20th October, 2015 @ 6.00 p.m.
· 26th January, 2016 @ 6.00 p.m.
· 16th March, 2016 @ 6.00 p.m.