COMMUNITY LIAISON COMMITTEE
Minutes of a meeting held on 19th October, 2016.
Present: Councillor Ms. B.E. Brooks (Vice-Chairman in the Chair); Councillors A.G. Bennett, Mrs. C.L. Curtis, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, N.P. Hodges, P.G. King, R.P. Thomas and C.J. Williams.
Also present: Councillor L. Burnett and E. Williams.
Representatives from Town and Community Councils: Councillors Mrs. S. Hodges (Barry Town Council), J. Harries (Cowbridge with Llanblethian Town Council), Ms. J. Norman (Llantwit Major Town Council), M. Cuddy (Penarth Town Council), Ms. H. Baker (Ewenny Community Council), Ms. P. Carreyett (Llandough Community Council), B. Fear (Llandough Community Council), J. Teague (Llanfair Community Council), D. Moody-Jones (Peterston Super Ely Community Council), Ms. A. Barnaby (St. Athan Community Council), Ms. G. Rawson (St. Nicholas and Bonvilston Community Council) and M. Garland (Sully and Lavernock Community Council).
479 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -
These were received from Councillor G. John (Chairman), Councillors Ms. R.F. Probert, R.L. Traherne, M.R. Wilson ( Vale of Glamorgan Council) and Councillors Mrs. G. Marks (Michaelston le Pitt), G. Duffield (Welsh St. Donats Community Council), C. Richards (St. Georges and St. Brides Super Ely Community Council) and Ms. N. Harmer (Wenvoe Community Council).
480 MINUTES -
AGREED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 5th July, 2016 be accepted as a correct record.
481 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -
The following declarations were received:
Councillors Mrs. C.L. Curtis, N. P. Hodges, Ms. B.E. Brooks, P.G. King declared an interest in Agenda Item No. 6 - Reshaping Services Programme in that they were Members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Town/Community Council Members and were able to speak and vote due to dispensations received from the Standards Committee.
482 POLICE MATTERS -
As there was no police officer in attendance to provide an update to the Committee in relation to police matters around the Vale no queries were raised.
483 VALE OF GLAMORGAN CORPORATE PLAN -
The Head of Performance and Development advised that the Corporate Plan set out how the Council would achieve its vision for the Vale of Glamorgan of ‘Strong Communities with a Bright Future’ which would help guide the Council in how it planned, delivered and reviewed its services. The Corporate Plan also showed how the Council would contribute to the wellbeing goals for Wales introduced by the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015. Many of the activities included in the Corporate Plan would be delivered over a number of years with the Plan providing a framework for Service Plans which set out year on year the activities which would be undertaken to achieve the objectives. Monitoring of the actions would provide the foundations for an annual progress report on the Corporate Plan which will detail the outcomes achieved.
The Committee was then presented with a video on the Vale of Glamorgan’s Corporate Plan, the idea for which had come from the Vale Youth Forum. Hard copies of the Plan were also available at the meeting.
484 RESHAPING SERVICES PROGRAMME PROJECT TEAM TOWN AND COMMUNITY COUNCILS AND VOLUNTARY SECTOR -
The Head of Performance and Development commenced the presentation by referring to the savings target for the Council of £17 million over the next three years in a time of increasing demand. The aim of the Reshaping Programme was to reshape the Council to enable it to meet the future needs of citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan within the context of unprecedented financial changes, business as usual not being an option. The objectives were to identify alternative ways of delivering services which would provide better outcomes for citizens and were a more efficient means of delivery, to meet future financial challenges while mitigating the impact of cuts on service users; and to develop the Council and its partners to ensure they were able to meet future challenges. Service specific projects related to Additional Learning Needs and Inclusion, Catering, Library Services, Transportation, Building Maintenance, Visible Services, Planning, Regulatory Services, ICT, Social Services Budget Programme, Space Project under Tranche 1. Under Tranche 2 the list referred to Learning and Skills, Strategy and Resources, Landlord Responsibilities, Cleaning and Security, Corporate Services.
With regard to corporate projects these were detailed as below:
- Town and Community Councils and Voluntary Sector Project
- Demand Management
- Effectiveness of Spend
- Income Generation
- Digital Vale.
As part of the Council’s budget setting process the effect on services would become clearer at that stage in particular the details for what services may be in jeopardy. Work was currently underway in Visible Services regarding a review of the issues with the intention that further details would be available later in the year.
In referring specifically to the Town and Community Councils and the Voluntary Sector Project, Committee was informed that meetings were underway prioritising large Councils initially to explore specific service and asset opportunities, including the opportunity to deliver differently.
The project would also be considering the Voluntary Sector Compact, where a review was underway to include reference to Town and Community Councils (TCCs) as part of this arrangement with the Third Sector and other partners. The Team had also been involved in revising the Community Asset Transfer (CAT) Guidance which had been updated and approved by Cabinet in April 2016. It was a three stage process involving an initial expression of interest, a business case and then the decision. The aim was to ensure transparent and sustainable transfers based on sound decisions and identified need. One Voice Wales and Glamorgan Voluntary Services were also represented on the Working Group. To date, five CAT expressions of interests had been received and were at varying stages of the process. Any TCC wishing to consider an asset within their area was advised to consider the guidance which was available under the search “Community Asset Transfer” on the Vale of Glamorgan website.
The next steps for the project were reported as:
- to continue to meet with larger TCCs
- to hold discussions with all TCCs on request
- for the Council to develop savings proposals
- consideration of people based services alongside the review of the Voluntary Sector Compact
- to arrange another seminar to support TCCs similar to the one held in Autumn 2015. It was envisaged that the seminar would be held in early 2017.
Councillor M. Cuddy, the Community Liaison Committees’ TCC representative on the Reshaping Services Programme Board Project Team and Public Services Board, provided an overview of the work in these areas, advising that the new Welsh Government Minister was taking a more positive and pragmatic view of the sector. Budgetary restraint, Councillor Cuddy advised, went beyond 2017/18 and discussion was needed to reflect the medium to long term plans.
Councillor Cuddy also referred to the Minister’s approach which recognised the part played by TCCs as part of the Local Government landscape, stating that they played an important role in many communities, although he had been struck by the enormous variability in scale, scope, capability and ambitions within the sector. The Minister had also announced that he would establish an independent group to take a root and branch look at the future role of this tier of government and to develop a blueprint for getting the maximum potential out of the sector in future.
Councillor Cuddy then referred to intermediate and non-statutory services and the introduction for example of the neighbourhood model which invites some level of co-operation between the Community / Town and Principal Councils. It was important, he stated, to approach the programme positively, recognising the constraints on each party. It was also important he said for a binary approach to services as the “take it or lose it” approach was too simplistic. The Minister had also issued eight proposals to build resilience and renewal in TCCs which had been circulated by One Voice Wales as set out below:
- Produce a toolkit to support Community Councils in working through what is required in taking on new services and assets, building on experiences of the key ingredients.
- Press ahead with legislating for a general power of confidence shaped by the suggestions made in response to previous Government’s consultation for innovative, ambitious Councils looking for more freedom to serve their communities.
- Re-energise ties between Community Councils and Local Authorities and provide a platform to share the good examples across Wales.
- Facilitate the creation of clusters of smaller Community Councils making some modest funding available to support the initial setting up of arrangements.
- Legislate to make it an obligation on Councils to consider and plan for their training needs and review it regularly.
- Ensure citizens are kept informed and have the right to make representations on any business conducted at a Council meeting.
- Commission the local Democracy and Boundary Commission to draw up guidelines for Local Authorities to secure consistency in a manner in which community reviews are conducted.
- Support Community Councils to raise awareness and encourage participations in Community Council elections and to increase diversity with an initial focus on the elections in 2017.
With regard to the work of the Public Service Board (PSB), Councillor Cuddy informed the Committee that the Vale, as lead organisation of the Board, had organised local area focus groups as part of the Needs Assessment required by law and it was intended that an area-based approach would be adopted, but this had been deferred until November 2016. Another issue to be considered was how the PSB intended engaging further at a local level. Of note also was the fact that all TCCs would need to respond to the PSB’s Wellbeing Plan for the Vale when it was produced.
Following consideration of the presentation, the representative from St. Athan Community Council stated that with regard to the adoption of the community library in the area, a team of people and volunteers were currently poised to move this forward and requested that the Vale of Glamorgan Legal Department continue with the momentum.
The Member for Barry referred to the lack of progress in relation to the Reshaping Services agenda with Barry Town Council and the need to ensure that TCCs were informed early on in the process in view of setting precepts early in the financial year.
Following a request for an update in relation to Dinas Powys Library Service, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education advised that she was aware that the changed status of the service was progressing and even though the Rhoose Library Service had been taken to Judicial Review, this had not affected the work in respect of other Community Libraries.
In referring to the number of discussions being held with TCCs the Head of Performance and Development advised that by nature they were confidential as no decisions had as yet been finalised by each party.
Following a request regarding future updates in relation to the Reshaping Services Programme, the Cabinet Member confirmed that updates were provided to the Community Liaison Committee at every meeting, regular updates were available on the Council’s website and presented to Cabinet. Copies had been forwarded to all TCC Clerks, the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee Members and the Public Services Board.
A number of Members referred to the seminar that was held the previous year as a good opportunity to discuss matters and welcomed the proposed seminar in early 2017.
In relation to the establishment of Community Libraries, a Town and Community Councillor queried the scrutiny of provision particularly in relation to standards. The Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer advised that progress on achieving Welsh Government Standards for all libraries was reported to the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee on an annual basis and that the Scrutiny Committee continued to monitor library provision through its revenue and capital expenditure and performance reporting mechanisms.
Following consideration of the presentation, the Chairman thanked the Head of Performance and Development and Councillor Cuddy for their comprehensive reports.
485 LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2011 - 2026 UPDATE -
The Operational Manager for Development Management provided a presentation which included details of the Local Development Plan (LDP) process and the LDP examination process to date. The submission of the LDP to Welsh Government and PINS (Planning Inspectorate) had been made on 24th July, 2015 with the Inspector being appointed in September 2015. A pre-hearing meeting had been held on 19th November, 2015 and 22 hearing sessions had been held between 19th January, 2016 to 20th April, 2016. 122 action points had been raised which had been responded to between May to August 2016. The preparation of a MAC (Matters Arising Changes) schedule, MACSA (Matters Arising Changes Sustainability Appraisal) and MACHRA (Matters Arising Changes Habitats Regulations Assessment) had also been prepared, the consultation for which was taking place between 16th September to midnight on 28th October, 2016. All present being advised that they could comment on the schedule by completing either English or Welsh comment forms which were available on line and at all Deposit locations with comments to be sent to the LDP team.
The Key MAC in relation to housing noted that the housing requirement had reduced from 9,500 to 9,460 and the housing supply reduced from 10,450 to 10,408. Two new housing sites had been incorporated one at Oak Court, Penarth for 145 dwellings including extra care and one at Eagleswell Primary School Site, Llantwit Major for 72 dwellings. Two amended housing sites, one at Land West of Pencoedtre Lane including an additional 97 dwellings and at Upper Cosmeston Farm, 341 dwellings. Other changes reported included the following:
- Affordable Housing target increased in Policy SP4 (2914 to 3252)
- Phasing Deleted
- Settlement boundaries drawn around minor rural settlements
- Policies MD 5 and MD 6 merged ‘Development Within Settlement Boundaries’
- Hayes Road site deleted from MG5 and new gypsy and traveller site allocated at Llangan for two pitches.
Other Key MACs related to employment and waste, retailing, biodiversity, renewable energy and monitoring.
In referring to the next steps, Committee was advised that MAC consultation would end on 28th October, 2016 with the Local Authority to record the responses and submit them to the Inspector for consideration. The Inspector would then prepare the matters and issue agendas for additional hearing sessions. The hearing statements were to be prepared by the Council and interested parties with additional hearing sessions to be held mid-January 2017. It was estimated the Local Authority would receive the Inspector’s draft report by March 2017 with the Local Authority to carry out the factual check of the Inspector’s report and the Inspector responding to any matters raised by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and despatch final report. It was estimated that the LPA would be able to publish its final report by April 2017 with the anticipation to adopt the LDP and publish the LDP by May / June 2017.
Committee was further reminded that under Planning Policy Wales (Edition 8, 2016 paragraph 2.8.1) “The weight to be attached to an emerging LDP (or revision) when determining planning applications will in general depend on the stage it has reached, but does not simply increase as the plan progresses towards adoption. When conducting the examination, the appointed Inspector is required to consider the soundness of the whole plan in the context of national policy and all other matters which are material to it. Consequently, policies could ultimately be amended or deleted from the plan even though they may not have been the subject of a representation at deposit stage (or be retained despite generating substantial objection). Certainty regarding the content of the plan will only be achieved when the Inspector delivers the binding report. Thus, in considering what weight to give to the specific policies in an emerging LDP that apply to a particular proposal, local planning authorities will need to consider carefully the underlying evidence and background to the policies. National planning policy can also be a material consideration in these circumstances (see Section 3.1.2).”
Following the presentation, a question and answer session ensued as outlined below:
Was the original submission on the Deposit LDP easily accessible?
Yes, available on the website with links to the Welsh Government site.
Members were informed if there was any difficulty to contact the LDP Team in the Planning Department.
Will the submission of representations be made public?
Yes, but they would need to be collated first and consideration would need to be given as to how they would be made available.
Some solar farm applications had been turned down because of lack of capacity on the Grid to take them, are you talking to Western Power to identify sites?
Yes, they are a consultee. It was important to note that the infrastructure on sites may not make them viable. Committee was advised to note that since subsidies had ceased, applications had also reduced and the sites referred to in the plan were the Council’s best case scenarios at this point in time.
Have the changes to the settlement boundaries affected local Council Tax income i.e. Darren Farm is not within Cowbridge Town Council boundary?
The settlement boundaries referred to were for planning purposes only and did not represent the political or Council boundaries. The settlement boundaries were for the prime purpose of implementing planning policies.
With regard to the consultation, were Town and Community Councils (TCCs) able to comment on the content of the whole Plan or just the MACs?
At this stage it is only comments on matters arising and any changes but, however, if there were changes that TCCs did not agree the OM’s advice to TCCs was to make their arguments. The Inspector would ask for evidence from the Local Authority and at that point TCCs would also be able to comment.
Although aware that some specific issues for example volume of growth had been subject to significant discussion at LDP hearings, the Operational Manager advised that TCCs are able to voice any concerns again if they wish.
In referring to the two pitches at Llangan, was this considered to be sufficient?
The latest Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (2016) that had been undertaken earlier in the year had changed the evidence base. The response was therefore that yes, this met the revised needs assessment.
It appears to be that the Barry to Cardiff link road known as Dinas Powys by-pass was back on the agenda, has anyone from Welsh Government been in touch with you and how will this affect the LDP?
The Minister had said he would work with Vale officials to see what could be done but how far that translated into monetary terms, the Operational Manager stated she did not know. The Dinas Powys by-pass was not allocated in the LDP and national policy advises the Council can only put in schemes in the LDP that were deliverable. The Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education advised that she had a copy of the transcript should any Town / Community Councillor wish to have a copy but she stated that the Dinas Powys by-pass was not referred to specifically and she would be speaking to the Minister seeking clarity on his comments.
Following the discussion, the Chairman took the opportunity to thank the Operational Manager for providing a comprehensive presentation and for the clear and concise responses to questions raised at the meeting.
486 FIRE SERVICE STATISTICS FOR THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN FIRE SERVICE AREA -
AGREED - T H A T the Fire Service statistics for the Vale of Glamorgan area for April to June 2016 be noted.