Agenda Item No




The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting: 3rd December, 2012


Report of the Leader


Civic Offices Council Chamber Access Improvements


Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek authority to undertake works to the Council Chamber and funding for those works


1.         That the scheme is approved and Building Services are contracted to carry out  the building works

2.         That a budget of £250,000 be included in the current Capital Programme, funded from the Miscellaneous Building Fund.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         The existing format of the Council Chamber has restricted access and this leaves the Council vulnerable to Action under the Disability Discrimination Act and is contrary to the Councils' own Equality Policies.

2.         That the Capital Programme be updated to reflect this scheme.


2.         The existing Chamber was incorporated  within the original design of the Civic Offices in 1978/79 see plan Appendix 1

3.         The problem of Access to the Chamber has been highlighted in various Access Audits carried out by the Council.

4.         The proposals will create an accessible and flexible environment within the Chamber.

5.         This will be achieved by the installation of a new timber suspended floor supported off the existing in situ reinforced concrete stepped floor. The proposed single floor level will be accessed by a new platform lift from the existing Civic Offices ground floor level and two of the existing staircases. The existing fixed benches will be replaced by removable folding desks, this will allow for the Chamber to be multifunctional and increase its usability. The wall finishes will be renewed incorporating acoustic panels to improve sound quality in the Chamber. A new ceiling will contain updated, energy efficient, controlled lighting and provide easy maintenance access. It is proposed that a new room be constructed to house the Audio Visual Equipment and store the furniture when necessary. Should Council require Translation services, space for such a function has been included.

6.         The Property section undertook a feasibility study, and have developed the scheme in consultation with relevant officers. A plan of the proposed scheme is attached at Appendix 2

7.         The works will be carried out by Building Services  and will be programmed to fit around Council meetings where possible, for this reason the works may continue into the financial year 2013/14

Relevant Issues and Options

8.         The works are the Council's demonstration of its intent to change the built environment in line with its Disability Equality Scheme and its duty under the Vale's Single Equality Scheme.

9.         The flexibility of the proposed works will allow for the Chamber to be a multiple use facility giving additional facilities and freeing up other assembly areas

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

10.      A Capital budget of £250,000 will need to be provided for the works, furniture and fittings. It is proposed that the Miscellaneous Building Fund be used to fund these works.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

11.      The volume of the Chamber will be reduced with a corresponding lowering of energy needs, this will be further enhanced by the use of low energy controlled lighting. All materials used will be as far as possible be from sustainable resources and be recyclable.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

12.      The proposals will make the Chamber fully accessible for all and prevent action being taken against the Council under the DDA and also allow for public scrutiny and open governance

Crime and Disorder Implications

13.      There are no Crime and Disorder Implications

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

14.      The direct Equal Opportunity Implications as a result of this report and the works contained within is the creation of a facility which is accessible to all. Initially there is no direct effect on Welsh Language Issues however space has been provided for a possible interpretation booth.

Corporate/Service Objectives

15.      To make best use of our assets and ensure that the Council's Service delivery in terms of its assembly areas is accessible to all and compliant with the relevant statutory requirements,

Policy Framework and Budget

16.      The Disability Equality Scheme is Council Policy and has been used as a basis for this report.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

17.      Consultations have been held with Democratic Services, the Registration Service, ICT and Members

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

18.      Corporate Resources.

Background Papers

Report to Informal Cabinet Meeting 09062010

Report: Council Chamber Access a Designed Solution


Contact Officer

Paul V Scourfield, Access/Architectural Officer ext. 709


Officers Consulted

Operational Manager - Property

Operational Manager - Democratic Services

Superintendant Registrar - Democratic Services

Senior ICT Officer - ICT Services


Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies - Managing Director.