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Note: Note: Please note that due to the requirement for social distancing this meeting will not be held at its usual location. This will be a virtual meeting and Council Members and Officers will be attending remotely. The meeting will be recorded for subsequent transmission via the Council’s internet site which will be available as soon as practicable after the meeting. If you have any queries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members’ Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008.
Councillor HJ David declared a prejudicial interest in Agenda item 17, in that he was a member and President of Cefn Cribwr Athletic and Bowls Club. Councillor David left the meeting whilst this item was being considered and the Deputy Leader took over as Chairperson in his absence, for this item only.
To receive for approval the Minutes of 15/12/20
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of a meeting of Cabinet dated 15 December 2020, be approved as a true and accurate record.
The Chief Executive submitted a report, in order to provide Cabinet with an update regarding Corporate Joint Committees, which were an integral feature of the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill.
By way of background information, he explained that the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill was passed by the Senedd on 18th November 2020 and will receive Royal Assent in January 2021. It was a substantial piece of legislation covering electoral reform, public participation, governance and performance and regional working.
The new approach as set out in the Bill, is designed to be a more streamlined, flexible, sector-led approach to performance, good governance and improvement. The intention is for Councils to be proactive in considering how internal processes and procedures should change to enable more effective planning, delivery and decision making to drive better outcomes.
The Chief Executive advised that the establishment of Corporate Joint Committees (CJCs) was an integral feature of the Bill, currently going through the Senedd Committee process. The Bill introduces:
• Powers for councils to initiate the establishment of CJCs covering any functions;
• Powers for Welsh Ministers to establish CJCs covering the four functions of economic wellbeing, transport, strategic planning and school improvement.
CJCs have a role to play in bringing coherence to regional governance, strengthening local democracy and accountability by integrating decision making. There were proposed to be four regional CJCs across Wales covering South East Wales, South West Wales, Mid Wales, and North Wales. The idea would be to build wherever possible, on existing regional arrangements.
The next sections of the report explained some of the principles of how the above would be achieved, including giving details regarding the specific functions of CJCs and how these would be governed by newly introduced Joint Committee regulations.
It was expected, advised the Chief Executive, that the Cardiff Capital Region Cabinet (CCRC) and staffing structure would transform into the South East Wales CJC. The CCRC was an existing and experienced Joint Cabinet Committee and this is the fundamental starting point for a strategy. The key feature of the CCRC approach, was the strength of a Regional Cabinet model which has Leaders (comprising the ten Leaders of Blaenau Gwent; Bridgend; Caerphilly; Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff; Torfaen; and Vale of Glamorgan),recurrently coming together to make decisions in the best interests of the region.
The Chief Executive concluded his submission, by advising that a report was presented to the CCRC on 7 December 2020, setting out proposed principles of the approach of CCRC in respect of the CJCs agenda and details of what this provided were shown in paragraph 4.7 of the report.
The Leader felt that the report represented a key milestone, in that the Bill had received Royal Assent, in turn therefore, allowing for CJC’s to become part of how regional services would be expanded and delivered upon in the future, as a further development to the collaborative working that already exists regionally.
One of the key principles ... view the full minutes text for item 590.
The Interim Chief Officer - Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, that provided Cabinet with an update on the Council’s revenue financial position as at 31 December 2020, and sought approval for budget virements between £100,000 and £500,000 as required by the Council’s Financial Procedure Rules.
She commenced her submission, by reminding Cabinet that on 26th February 2020, Council approved a net revenue budget of £286.885 million for 2020-21. As part of the Performance Management Framework, budget projections are reviewed regularly and reported to Cabinet on a quarterly basis. The delivery of agreed budget reductions is also kept under review and reported to Cabinet as part of this process.
Table 1 in the report, gave the Council’s net revenue budget and projected outturn for 2020-21 as at 31 December 2020. This showed a net under spend of £691,000, comprising £1.187m net over spend on directorates and a £7.177m net under spend on corporate budgets. The next section of the report explained details of what the projected position was based on, and the Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change gave a resume of this for the benefit of Members.
The next part of the report outlined the financial pressures the Council had faced since Covid-19 and the various negative ways this had impacted on the Authority’s financial position. These pressures would also continue into the foreseeable future, added the Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change.
Table 2 in the report gave a summary of the Covid-19 expenditure claims up to November 2020, while Table 3 gave a resume of the loss of income as a result of the pandemic to Quarter 2 2020-21, in respect of Schools and Council Directorates.
The report then shared information on the areas of Budget Virements/Technical Adjustments and Budget Reduction proposals
Table 4 in the report the Outstanding Prior Year Budget Reductions, which reflected that of the £2.501m outstanding reductions, £1.792m was likely to be achieved in 2020-21, leaving a shortfall of £709k. Some of the proposals still likely not to be achieved were shown in paragraph 4.2.2 of the report.
Paragraph 4.2.4 outlined the budget reduction proposals for this financial year totalling £2.413m, broken down in Appendix 2 and summarised in Table 5 within the report. The current position is a projected shortfall on the savings target of £490k, or 20.3% of the overall budget reduction.
A summary of the financial position for each main service area was attached at Appendix 3, while the main impact of Covid-19 on the budget, if it were assumed that no further funding was forthcoming from Welsh Government, was summarised in Table 6 in paragraph 4.3 of the report.
The final paragraphs of the report then concentrated on budgetary issues on a Directorate by Directorate basis (including schools), Council wide budgets and review of earmarked reserves.
The Deputy Leader thanked Officers in the Finance Section for their prudent management of the budget in what had been a very difficult year where the Council had ... view the full minutes text for item 591.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change submitted a report, in respect of a Capital Programme update for the above mentioned quarter period.
She reminded Members, that on 26 February 2020, Council approved a capital programme covering the period 2020-21 to 2029-30 as part of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). The capital programme was last updated and approved by Council on 21 October 2020. This report provided an update on the following areas:
• Capital Programme 2020-21 Quarter 3 update;
• Capital Programme 2020-21 Onwards;
• Prudential and Other Indicators;
• Capital Strategy monitoring
Turning to the Capital Programme, the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, referred to paragraph 4.1 of the report. This section of the report provided Members with an update on the Council’s
capital programme for 2020-21 since the budget was last approved by Council and incorporates any new schemes and grant approvals. The revised programme for 2020-21 currently totals £33.888 million, of which £17.960 million is met from Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) resources, including capital receipts and revenue contributions from earmarked reserves, with the remaining £15.928 million coming from external resources, including General Capital Grant.
Table 1 in this section of the report, showed the capital programme for each
Directorate from the October 2020 (Quarter 2) approved Council position to quarter 3.
Table 2, then summarised the current funding assumptions for the capital
programme for 2020-21. The capital resources were managed to ensure that maximum financial benefit for the Council was achieved. This may include the re-alignment of funding to maximise government grants, she explained.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change then referred to Appendix A of the report, which provided details of the individual schemes within the capital programme, showing the budget available in 2020-21 compared to the projected spend.
A number of schemes had already been identified as requiring slippage of
budget to future years, particularly since the pandemic had emerged. At quarter 3 the total requested slippage was £14.536 million. Details of these schemes were outlined in paragraph 4.4 of the report.
She advised that since the last capital report in October 2020, there had been a number of new externally funded schemes approved and internally funded schemes, which had been incorporated into the capital programme. These were included on pages 63/65 of the report, with a Revised Capital Programme included at Appendix B (to the report).
In February 2020, Council approved the Capital Strategy for 2020-21, which
included the Prudential Indicators 2020-21 to 2022-23, together with some local indicators.
Appendix C to the report detailed the actual indicators for 2019-20, the estimated indicators for 2020-21 set out in the Council’s Capital Strategy and the projected indicators for 2020-21 based on the revised Capital Programme. These showed that the Council was operating in line with the approved limits.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change concluded, by giving a short narrative on the Council’s Capital Strategy.
The Deputy Leader confirmed that the Covid-19 ... view the full minutes text for item 592.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager presented a report, the purpose of which, was to inform Cabinet of the outcome of the ‘Fit for the Future’ 2020 consultation which asked citizens to share their views on how they think the Council should shape its services going forward, as part of its ‘Restart, Recover and Renew’ strategy, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The intention was to understand how the public felt that the Council could look like and how it could deliver sustainable and effective services for the next 5 to 10 years.
She explained that the ‘Fit for the Future’ 2020 consultation sought to obtain views on the future direction of the Council following the Covid-19 pandemic. The allocation of financial resources determined the Authority’s ability to meet its well-being objectives.
Following a number of years of reductions in funding from central government, and continued financial pressures, along with addressing post-Covid-19 recovery, all Councils across the country are continuing to change the way they work and the services they provide, so that organisations can manage with less. Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) has made reductions from its budget of £22 million over the last four years (2017-18 to 2020-21), with an expectation of significant further reductions required over the next four years.
A public consultation exercise had been undertaken over an eight week period from 19 October 2020 to 13 December 2020. Respondents were asked to share their views on a range of areas including:
• Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic;
• Business and the economy;
• Health and wellbeing;
• Customer access to Civic offices;
• Council Tax levels;
• The future.
The Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager explained, that in order to gather views of young people, the consultation team attended the Bridgend Youth Council meeting on 24 November 2020. The Youth Council took part in discussions around some of the key questions within the consultation and were encouraged to complete the full consultation online.
The consultation also aimed to reach the following key stakeholders, general public/residents, Citizens’ Panel members, elected members, BCBC employees, Bridgend businesses, town and community councils, school governors, Bridgend Community Cohesion and Equality Forum (BCCEF) members, local interest/community groups, Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO), Bridgend College, partners, secondary schools (including head teachers) and media outlets.
In addition to general social media content, four polls were created on Twitter which generated 122 votes to key questions within the budget consultation survey, she added.
The Consultation Report was attached at Appendix A to the covering report and set out in detail, the views expressed by those who participated in this.
Overall, the council has received 1,831 interactions from a combination of survey completions, engagement at various meetings, social media engagement and via the authority’s Citizens’ Panel. Due to the impact of Covid-19 this is a decrease of 5,606 (75%) on the 7,437 interactions from last year. A total of 1,421 survey responses were received, which is a decrease of 58% on last ... view the full minutes text for item 593.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, the purpose of which, was to present Cabinet with the draft Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021-22 to 2024-25, which sets out the spending priorities of the Council, key investment objectives and budget areas targeted for necessary savings. The strategy includes a financial forecast for 2021-2025 and a detailed draft revenue budget for 2021-22.
She advised that, the quarterly reports to Cabinet on the revenue position for 2020-21 have outlined in detail the impact on the budget of the additional cost pressures and loss of income faced by the Council throughout the year as a result of the pandemic. Welsh Government has played a significant role in mitigating the majority of these losses through their various funding streams, most notably the Covid-19 Hardship Fund.
However, Cabinet and Council now needed to consider the longer term impact of the pandemic and how it will shape the Council as part of its Recovery Programme.
The impact of the pandemic had impacted upon the levels of income the Council would have ordinarily have had, therefore setting a balanced budget for 2021-22 was even more challenging than usual, particularly on the back of 10 years already of significant budget savings since austerity.
Over the last 10 years, the Authority had made over £65m of budget reductions, as was illustrated in paragraph 4.1.1 of the report. This was almost 25% of the Council’s present budget.
In terms of council tax, the proportion of this required to balance the Council’s budget has steadily increased over recent years and it currently funded almost 30% of the budget.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change then referred to paragraphs 4.1.2 to 4.1.7 of the report, service areas of the Council where opportunities for savings were outlined and these savings proposals had been examined by both the Council’s Budget Research and Evaluation Panel (BREP) over the course of the year, as well as Overview and Scrutiny Committees.
The views of these bodies would be presented to Cabinet at its meeting in early February, prior to Cabinet then recommending the Budget to Council later in February 2021.
The MTFS of the Council is set within the context of UK economic and public expenditure plans, Welsh Government’s priorities and legislative programme. The MTFS included:
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change advised, that Councils received their provisional settlements from Welsh Government on 22 December 2020. The headline figure is an overall increase, after adjusting for transfers, of 3.8%, across Wales and, for Bridgend, an increase of 4.3% in Aggregate External Finance (AEF), or £9.064 million. Though this was better than had been expected, prudent and successful management of ... view the full minutes text for item 594.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report which updated Cabinet on proposal to develop and implement a new model of service delivery for Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) and
She explained that following the Audit Wales Report in 2018, significant work had been undertaken by officers in reviewing the delivery of the DFG service in Bridgend, taking on board their recommendations.
She added that visits to neighbouring Councils were undertaken to learn from their reviews and the subsequent re-modelling of their DFG services. One of the authorities had been highlighted by Welsh Government as good practice. All the authorities operated an internal DFG service to oversee the application from start to finish.
The financial models across Councils in Wales varied, as follows:
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change explained that Bridgend’s DFG capital budget currently funds Council administration fees of £395 per application and, in addition, pays fees to external third-party agents who are appointed on an individual basis by the applicant. Further background was at section 3 of the report.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change explained that National Strategic Indicators are used to measure the performance of local authorities at a national level. She stated that Bridgend was ranked 20th in Wales and presented the table at 4.2.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change stated that with the research undertaken and liaising with Scrutiny and Members, Officers had concluded a change to the service was required. Therefore, it was recommended that a pilot project be established to internalise the DFG service. Further details on the service and implementation were provided in paragraph 4 of the report.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change explained that to provide the necessary capacity for the project, it was proposed that a collaborative agreement with Neath Port Talbot Council (NPT) was entered into. She explained that NPT had an in-house service that could provide the capacity and that both parties would benefit through shared learning and resources. She explained that the identified risks of changing the service delivery model were listed at 4.15 of the report and the management of such including the benefits to the service were listed at 4.16 of the report.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change ... view the full minutes text for item 595.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report which provided the background, current position and options to determine the preferred way forward in terms of a pest control service.
She explained that BCBC currently had a contract in place which provided a free of charge service for domestic pest control, which covered rats, mice, bed bugs and cockroaches. BCBC currently only charged for services to remove flees and wasps.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change stated that the current contract, which commenced in 2017 provided by the company Rentokil, was due to expire in April 2021.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change explained that the current contract was somewhat unpopular with residents as had been indicated from surveys that had been conducted. She explained that when the contractor was called out, they aimed to arrive within 3 days. This had resulted in 40% aborted calls.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change provided figures relating to the Local Authorities in Wales and what pest control services they provided, with details of these shown at paragraph 3.4 of the report.
She also provided figures on the public consultation that took place in 2019 which obtained views on budget reduction proposals. These were detailed at paragraph 3.5 of the report.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change explained that there had been increased requests for pest control provision particularly since Covid-19 lockdown on 23rd March 2020. These had increased by around 47%, which could be expected with more residents working from home.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change provided 3 options which were outlined in the table at 4.6 of the report, with the following costs/savings to be expected:
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change stated that it was recommended not to proceed with option 3 as this incurred the highest cost to the authority and would need to be funded from the core Council budget. She added that Option 1 and Option 2 entailed a change in service provision and was therefore subject to public consultation, which would take 12 weeks to complete.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change explained that to ensure service continuity in the meantime it was proposed that Cabinet suspend the relevant parts of the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules requiring a competitive procurement exercise and agree to enter into a short-term contract of 6 months with the current pest control service provider Rentokil. She advised that this proposal breached the requirements of the Public Contract Regulations 2015 and required Cabinet’s approval to set aside the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules.
The Cabinet Member - Wellbeing and Future Generations explained that the service was earmarked as a potential saving as part of the MTFS, however it did appear ... view the full minutes text for item 596.
The Corporate Director Communities presented a report which updated Cabinet on the recent marketing of the food store site (on part of The Green and Salt Lake car park); and sought approval to appoint and dispose of the site to the preferred bidder, in accordance with the proposed heads of terms.
The Corporate Director Communities explained that in September 2020, the site was advertised for sale on the open market by EJ Hales, the Council’s appointed agent. She provided Cabinet with the Bidding Requirements as listed at section 4 of the report.
The Corporate Director Communities outlined the selection process following the bids. She stated that there were 5 bids in total, 3 of which were non-compliant as they did not accord with the planning development brief, and 2 bids that were compliant.
The bid details were commercially sensitive and have been anonymised as follows and were ranked in order of highest to lowest value bids for the price to be paid for the land:
The Corporate Director Communities explained that Bid 1, which was previously non-compliant, had since come back with further proposals. Unfortunately, these considerations were still non-compliant. Bid 2 was submitted by Aldi Stores Ltd and was therefore the selected preferred bidder.
She added that EJ Hales Ltd had certified that in their opinion the selected bid was a highly attractive financial offer and in terms of value delivers best consideration.
The Corporate Director Communities stressed that the stage we were currently looking at was the disposal stage. If Aldi were to continue with the purchase of the land, they would need to submit a planning application for this.
The Cabinet Member - Education and Regeneration welcomed the report and hoped that this was a landmark in the regeneration of Porthcawl. He thanked the Local Members of Porthcawl for their continued support with the strategy that had been a number of years in force. He asked the Corporate Director if there were any design work or images of what the building might look like so that the residents of Porthcawl have an idea of what to expect.
The Corporate Director Communities explained that the sketches that had been submitted were commercially sensitive at the moment as it was a bespoke design. This was until the successful bidder officially become the owner of the land. She explained that once Aldi had submitted the designs to planning for consideration, they would be happy for the designs to be shared with residents and to work with BCBC on joint marketing and consultation with residents regarding this.
The Cabinet Member - Social Services and Early Help welcomed the report and was excited to see this development take place. ... view the full minutes text for item 597.
The Group Manager Economy, Natural Resources and Sustainability presented a report which updated Cabinet on an opportunity to access
further funding through the Valleys Regional Park Discovery Gateways Capital Grant, 2019-2021, and sought Cabinet approval to accept a revised funding offer and enter into agreement with delivery partner Awen Cultural Trust to support the delivery of activities as part of the Valleys Regional Park at Bryngarw Country Park.
The Group Manager Economy, Natural Resources and Sustainability provided background to the valleys regional park and the funding that had been made available by Welsh Government. BCBC accepted a grant offer of £500,000 for the delivery of activity at Bryngarw Country Park through the Valleys Regional Park Discovery Sites Capital Grant, 2019-2021. Further information was at section 3 of the report.
The Group Manager Economy, Natural Resources and Sustainability explained that BCBC entered into a legal agreement with Awen Cultural Trust, and were approached with a range of actions which would be in addition to existing agreed actions as listed in paragraph 4 of the report.
He added that the proposed actions had subsequently been agreed by Welsh Government and an opportunity exists for a further £147,000 grant funding to support the delivery in partnership with Awen Cultural Trust. To access additional funding, BCBC needed to enter into a revised grant agreement with Welsh Government. Awen Cultural Trust as delivery partner will be invited to enter into appropriate revised agreements with BCBC.
He advised that no match funding would be required by BCBC and the total grant for additional action at Bryngarw Country Park totalled £657,000.
The Cabinet Member - Communities welcomed the report and was grateful for the additional grant funding from Welsh Government, particularly with the proposed plans for the extra money regarding renewable energy, which was cohesive with BCBCs 2030 renewable energy strategy.
The Leader echoed the Cabinet Members comments and was pleased to see further investment in a key valley destination.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
· Accepted the additional funding and revised grant offer for the delivery of activity at Bryngarw Country Park of £647,000 through the Valleys Regional Park Discovery Sites Capital Grant, 2019-2021.
The Corporate Director – Communities presented a report, the purpose of which, was to detail the process of developing a “Bridgend 2030” Decarbonisation Strategy. This would further respond to the Councils Climate Emergency Response Programme and present a pathway to a Carbon Neutral (also known as Net-Zero) Bridgend by 2030, working with the Public Service Board, communities and business.
She explained that, Welsh Government (WG) declared a Climate Emergency in April 2019 and set out its priorities to address change for Wales to build resilience. Following this, the Welsh Government has now committed to achieving a carbon-neutral public sector by 2030. Bridgend supports this approach and has proposed its adoption into the updated 2021-22 BCBC Corporate Plan.
The areas of focus for decarbonisation were energy, transport, buildings and open spaces.
She proceeded by stating that Carbon emissions were measurable on what the Council own and buy for communities, for example, how energy is purchased and used, buildings heated and powered, transport contracts or fleet purchased. All public bodies needed to address becoming Carbon Neutral by 2030, based on tackling the different scope emissions, as shown in paragraph 3.5 of the report.
The Corporate Director – Communities continued by stating that, to propose areas of priority and focus resources, BCBC required a carbon audit to fully understand the carbon footprint relating to each in-scope emission category, as shown in paragraph 3.5 (of the report).
In terms of where BCBC were now, the Council had developed its Smart Energy Plan in 2019 comprising of a series of projects to tackle decarbonising heat, which Cabinet approved on 19th February 2019.This included District Heat Networks in Bridgend and Caerau, (their specific progress is subject to separate reports to Cabinet,) smart metering and gaining electrification of heat.
To meet the carbon-neutral/ net-zero carbon objective by 2030, the progress of and projects within the Smart Energy Plan needed to be, expanded and accelerated and its governance strengthened. Table 1 in the report, set out the progress that has been achieved to date within the four WG prioritised areas of focus for 2030.
The Corporate Director – Communities advised, that a newly realigned 2030 Programme Board would be responsible for all projects (and agreeing additional projects), their scope, viability and overseeing the financial and risk profiles. The Programme Board will communicate the benefits of the programme to the wider community and also provide clarity of the Council’s role for each.
The report concluded, by outlining some proposed key outcomes, in the form of aims and objectives of the Strategy.
The Cabinet Member – Communities welcomed what was an innovative and outward looking report, with some challenging targets contained therein. He welcomed the Strategy, which would be introduced as a result of a directive from Welsh Government. The ambitions of the Strategy when realised, would assist in the reduction of carbon emissions in our buildings and facilities, amongst others. The Strategy he was pleased to see, would also be supported by an Action Plan.
The Cabinet Member - ... view the full minutes text for item 599.
The Corporate Director – Communities presented a report, the purpose of which, was to update Cabinet on progress made with regards to the development of the Bridgend Town Heat Network Project and secure a number of key decisions regarding the progression of the project.
She explained that the Bridgend Town Heat Network Project is included as a project within the BCBC Smart Energy Plan (SEP) (approved by Cabinet February 2019). The Smart Energy Plan details the projects that BCBC will participate in during the period 2019 – 2025. This proposes to test various technologies, consumer propositions and business models to provide a pathway to the decarbonisation of Bridgend County Borough. It is also a key contributor to the Welsh Government’s decarbonisation strategy (published March 2019) “Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales”.
She continued by stating that a capital grant application was made to UK Government via the Heat Network Investment Programme (HNIP) in April 2019 and this was approved in December 2019 for £1,000,000 capital investment towards the construction of the heat network and £241,000 for pre-construction activities.
Throughout 2020 the project has been progressed through the creation of a new financial model, preparation of a planning application for the thermal store, development of an environmental permit for the energy centre and the creation of a tender pack for the procurement of a design build operate and maintain (DBOM) contractor to manage the construction and operation of the network.
The Bridgend Town DHN project had reached a critical stage with several crucial milestone decisions needed to ensure progression in line with the Conditions Precedent laid out in the Grant Funding Offer provided by the Dept. of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to BCBC as part of the HNIP grant conditions.
This must happen by 19 March 2021 and therefore, it was essential, that the procurement must be underway by March 2021. In order to achieve this, the procurement notice must be launched in February 2021.
It was then the Corporate Director – Communities explained, that a full business case will be prepared and will be subject to Cabinet approval before the appointment of any contractor would take place. During the procurement process the Council will explore different options and innovation from the market to consider in the final business case. The details of the SPV to be established will be the subject of a further report to Cabinet for approval in the immediate future. Following this, the tender documents for the appointment of the DBOM will be released, but no appointment will be made until Council approve the scheme and additional loan amount as part of the Capital Programme. The detail of these individual tasks were set out in paragraph 4.4 of the report onwards.
In line with the BCBC Local Area Energy Plan, which indicates that heat networks are the most technical and economically advantageous option for the decarbonisation of heat within Bridgend Town, the Council is seeking to develop a Phase 2 of the heat network. Phase ... view the full minutes text for item 600.
The Group Manager – Economy, Natural Resources and Sustainability submitted a report, in order to provide Cabinet with an update on the delivery of the Caerau Heat Scheme project; to seek authority from Cabinet to undertake an options appraisal of alternative delivery methods and for Cabinet to agree to receive a further report with a proposal on the preferred option and a way forward.
By way of some background information, he confirmed that the Caerau Heat Scheme, was established as a highly innovative project and proposed to extract heat from water contained within flooded former coal mine workings, to provide a resource for properties within Caerau.
He referred Members to Table 1 in paragraph 3.5 of the report, which showed the decision gateways, with their originally estimated and revised dates. It also showed project outputs and outcomes that will be available in the event of the project being closed down at any one of the decision gates.
In terms of the present situation, the Group Manager – Economy, Natural Resources and Sustainability, advised that in the past 12 months certain key pieces of work in relation to the Scheme had been completed. These were outlined in paragraphs 4.2 to 4.5 of the report.
As a result of this work and in line with the decision gateways for the project detailed in paragraph 3.6 of the report, it was now proposed that an options appraisal be undertaken to determine viability and suitability of alternative delivery methods. The options appraisal would be based on the set of criteria listed in paragraph 4.7 and cover the options detailed in paragraph 4.8 of the report.
He stated that an agreed view on the options appraisal would be developed by members of the Energy Programme Board, while the next steps for the project were proposed as follows:
• Undertake the options appraisal;
• Present the findings of the above to WEFO for consideration;
• Submit a report to Cabinet on the outcome of the options appraisal for a decision on how to proceed and if required a subsequent report to Council.
This would take in all around 6 months, the Group Manager – Economy, Natural Resources and Sustainability added.
The report concluded by explain the financial implications arising from the report’s recommendations.
The Cabinet Member – Communities confirmed that it was important to note that the Caerau Minewater Project was a demonstrator project, a type to be set-up and learned from, which had been the case with regards to that particular project.
Whilst he considered that it was disappointing that the Council could not look at the current Scheme in its entirety as was originally proposed, he was pleased to confirm that there was still planned an element of Minewater project to be carried out within the location of Caerau.
There were a number of options to look at as part of the Appraisal and these would be closely examined accordingly he confirmed, along the lines as was outlined in the report.
The Leader ... view the full minutes text for item 601.
The Group Manager – Economy, Natural Resources and Sustainability presented a report, the purpose of which, was to present to, and confirm approval from Cabinet for Bridgend County Borough Council’s support for a Welsh Government project to improve the energy efficiency of domestic properties within Bridgend County Borough.
He explained that Welsh Government (WG) has operated 3 phases of its domestic energy efficiency programme since 2009. The detail of these phases, including the level of investment and benefits of the schemes, was previously reported to Cabinet in April 2019.
The current phase of the programme, Phase 3, will run from 2018 – 2023 and seeks to invest £54m over this period into over 6,000 homes in areas where fuel poverty is prevalent. The funding for the programme will come from ERDF, WG and energy supply company sources through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). The primary focus of the programme was to reduce fuel poverty.
He explained that Welsh Government were now ready to launch the phase 3 Programme in Bridgend. It will be delivered by Arbed am Byth, which is a joint venture company between Everwarm and the Energy Saving Trust. Arbed am Byth would work with BCBC, building on the existing partnership approach to deliver the Smart Energy Plan, to identify areas of fuel poverty where the programme could have maximum impact. Arbed am Byth, as the Scheme Manager, will manage the programme from the beginning to the end and will identify and develop the schemes through the development of local relationships with stakeholders and supply chains.
To date, the Scheme Manager had carried out a high level mapping exercise of potential areas within Bridgend County Borough, where the Welsh Government Programme could have maximum impact and two areas have been identified (these will require further discussion to agree actual boundaries and areas to be considered). The two initial areas were Ogmore Valley and Porthcawl (East).
The process of accessing support once an area location had been decided, would require the Scheme Manager to carry out an assessment of each property and design a package of works that could improve the energy efficiency of the home. The measures that could receive funding through the programme were exampled in paragraph 4.4 of the report.
The Group Manager – Economy, Natural Resources and Sustainability stated that the funding caps established for the programme by WG have been set at:
• Up to £5,000 for on-gas E rated properties
• Up to £8,000 for on-gas F & G rated properties
• Up to £8,000 for off-gas E rated properties
• Up to £12,000 for off-gas rated F & G properties
Unlike the previous phases of this programme, BCBC would not be required to prepare bids, manage grant payments, procure contractors etc. This will be undertaken by Welsh Government. The role of BCBC will be substantially reduced and instead will be to:
· Agree the area where the programme will be offered.
· Send out initial letters (drafted by Arbed am Byth) with residents names on them ... view the full minutes text for item 602.
The Head of Operations - Community Services presented a report, the purpose of which, was to consider the business case prepared in accordance with the Council’s Community Asset Transfer (CAT) Policy document to support the leasing of the bowls pavilion, bowls green, two rugby pitches and tennis courts at Cae Gof Playing Fields to Cefn Cribwr Athletic Club (CCAC); and assess the funding package requested by CCAC under the Council’s £1 million CAT Fund and Change Management Fund so that proposals to re-develop the bowls pavilion and drainage / pitch improvements and day to day management of the bowls green and two rugby pitches at Cae Gof Playing Fields.
Cabinet were advised that under the revised CAT protocol, funding applications up to £50k from the £1 million CAT Fund could be approved by the CAT Steering Group with all sums in excess of this threshold being required to be referred to Cabinet for approval, and as CCAC had submitted multiple applications the matter needed to be considered by the Cabinet.
The Head of Operations - Community Services confirmed that CCAC represented the interests of the rugby and bowls sections at Cae Gof Playing Fields and first submitted an expression of interest for the Main Pavilion on 12 August 2016 which was approved by the Council’s Strong Communities Connecting Services Board on 5 October 2016. The Club re-engaged with the CAT process on 10 January 2019 when more formal discussions also involving Cefn Cribwr FC have been progressed. This resulted in a joint expression of interest being submitted by CCAC and Cefn Cribwr FC for the lease of Cae Gof Playing Fields including the Main Pavilion which was approved in principle by the CAT Steering Group on 19 December 2019.
However, having deemed that little progress was being made with Cefn Cribwr FC, the rugby and bowls sections of CCAC decided to progress a CAT on their own by proposing to take a lease over part of Cae Gof Playing Fields, namely the Bowls Pavilion and Green, 2 x rugby pitches and tennis courts. The revised proposal was agreed in principle by the CAT Steering Group on 7 December 2020. Under the new arrangements Cefn Cribwr FC have confirmed that they would wish to complete the separate lease of the Main Pavilion and 2 x football pitches with discussions presently ongoing.
CCAC were seeking to extend the existing bowls pavilion to cater for rugby, referee, disability and female sport needs with Conditional Consent for Planning Application P/20/624/FUL being approved on 4 November 2020. The Club were also looking to improve the condition of the rugby pitches which have been subject to an independent condition survey by Oolong Sports Pitch Consultancy in February 2020 under the CAT Business Support contract.
The Head of Operations - Community Services advised that CCAC had prepared detailed business and financial plans outlining their proposals to redevelop the Bowls Pavilion and improvements to both rugby pitches and to provide assurance on the viability and sustainability of the ... view the full minutes text for item 603.
The Corporate Director - Communities introduced this report, the purpose of which, was to set out the wider context, background and reasons for the Bus Emergency Scheme (BES) and seek agreement for Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) to agree to the principles of the BES2 agreement and to establish a relationship with the regional lead authority and signatory that ensures that the ongoing emergency funding meets BCBC’s priorities and is delivered on BCBC’s behalf.
The Head of Operations – Community Services explained that, bus travel had been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Passenger numbers had plummeted, whilst social distancing and additional cleansing requirements had placed added burdens and costs on operators.
Welsh Government (WG) and local authorities (LAs) had stepped in he explained, to support the sector with substantial financial assistance. There had also been an excellent, ongoing dialogue between all parties to discuss and agree on support arrangements, he added.
The Head of Operations – Community Services continued, by advising that the Minister of Economy and Transport, had met with Leaders of all 22 LAs, along with his officials, to outline WG’s direction of travel. Further details have been included in the Wales Transport Strategy (WTS) which has been the subject of consultation. More recently, the Deputy Minister, Lee Waters MS, met with all Leaders to discuss the WTS but also to encourage LAs to sign up to the Bus Emergency Scheme 2 (BES2). This was the latest phase of financial support to help operators through the period of the pandemic.
Alongside this, WG stepped in to help operators deal with reduced income on commercially operated routes and the additional costs being incurred. Initially, WG made £29m available from a Hardship Fund, which operated from April 2020 for three months. This fund was assembled from monies that would otherwise have been paid via Bus Services Support Grant (BSSG), Mandatory Concessionary Fare reimbursement and the ‘My Travel Pass’ scheme.
The Bus Emergency Scheme was then introduced in July to provide ongoing support. This became known as ‘BES 1’ and it continued to maintain operators’ income at historic levels, based on what was being paid to them under previous grant schemes. In return for this financial support WG signalled that it expected operators to contribute to a reshaping of bus services in Wales, to include improved regional networks with greater integration with rail services, smart ticketing and timetabling.
Turning to the present situation, the Head of Operations – Community Services advised, that BES 2 will continue to address the loss of fare box revenue and the additional costs associated with responding to the pandemic. Under BES 2 the WG funding will sit alongside local authority funding provided through the Concessionary Travel Scheme and via Revenue Support Grant, with the Bus Services Support Grant to make up the shortfall.
WG would be a co-signatory to the BES 2 agreement with bus operators, along with TfW. This is currently still under discussion and may be subject to changes before it is finalised. ... view the full minutes text for item 604.
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support submitted a report, that provided Cabinet with a summary of the evaluations undertaken in respect of proposed School Modernisation Programme schemes for the Bridgend West area, including certain key recommendations in relation to this item.
He confirmed that Cabinet on 21 January 2020 gave approval for the Bridgend West schemes to be taken forward via the MIM funding arrangements. The preferred way forward for the Bridgend West scheme being:
• preferred education options of provision of a new-build, two-form entry English-medium school on 'a' site - suitable for Afon y Felin and Corneli Primary Schools combined) and;
• provision of a new-build, two-form entry Welsh-medium school on ‘a’ site - suitable for an enlarged Ysgol Y Ferch o’r ’Sgêr
The preferred sites for progression of feasibility for the new schools were determined by Cabinet as Valleys to Coast (V2C) owned Marlas Estate site and the existing Ysgol Y Ferch o’r Sg?r/Cornelly Integrated Children’s Centre/Corneli Primary School site.
School Modernisation Team officers have had a series of meetings with V2C and WG in order to progress the Bridgend West ‘Band B’ MIM scheme and to outline an appropriate programme (draft summary programme at Appendix 1 to the report referred).
He explained that one site for the proposed replacement schools in the West had been identified as land at Plas Morlais, owned by V2C. The land transaction was based upon a ‘swap’ deal with V2C, whereby BCBC swap the Afon-Y-Felin Primary School site for V2C’s Plas Morlais site. Land issues had been agreed by Cabinet and Council in December and built into the capital programme.
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support confirmed that Heads of Terms in respect of the land swap required for the scheme had been agreed with V2C.
WG had confirmed that the Welsh Education Partnership Co. (WEPCo) was established in September 2020. Consequently, the Authority were now able to move forward with delivering individual projects through the New Project Request process, as set out in the Strategic Partnering Agreement.
He then explained, that in November 2020, WG approved BCBC’s Strategic Outline Case submission in respect of the Bridgend West proposal.
In order to progress the proposed Bridgend West Band B schemes to WG MIM stage 2 and business case approval stage, it was necessary to have first completed the necessary School Organisation Code statutory processes.
In order to bring about a change of the proposed nature, he pointed out that the Code requires that a consultation exercise with the school governing body, staff, parents, pupils and interested parties be undertaken.
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support stated that a number of options were available under the Code, in terms of achieving the school organisation necessary for the Bridgend West ‘Band B’ schemes and these were detailed (for both welsh and English medium) in paragraph 4.12 of the report.
In respect of the Welsh-medium proposal there was no need to close any school (the existing Ysgol ... view the full minutes text for item 605.
The Chief Officer Legal, HR and Regulatory Services presented a report, that informed Cabinet of an Information Report for noting (attached thereto) that had been published since its last scheduled meeting.
Details of the Information Report was shown in paragraph 4.1 of the covering report.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet acknowledged the publication of the document listed in the report
To consider any items of business that by reason of special circumstances the chairperson is of the opinion should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency in accordance with paragraph 2.4 (e) of the Cabinet Procedure Rules within the Constitution.
Exclusion of the Public
The following item is not for publication as it contains exempt information as defined in Paragraph 14 of Part 4 and Paragraph 21 of Part 5, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) (Wales) Order 2007.
If following the application of the public interest test Cabinet resolves pursuant to the Act to consider this item in private, the public will be excluded from the meeting during such consideration.
RESOLVED: That under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) (Wales) Order 2007, the public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item of business as it contained exempt information as defined in Paragraph 14 of Part 4 and/or Paragraph 21 of Part 5 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
Following the application of the public interest test it was resolved that pursuant to the Act referred to above, to consider the following item in private, with the public excluded from the meeting, as it was considered that in all circumstances relating to the item, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information, because the information is commercially sensitive and it relates to the business and financial affairs of the Council and the proposed vendors.
Approval of Exempt Minutes
To receive for approval the exempt minutes of 15/12/20
RESOLVED: That the Exempt Minutes of the meeting of Cabinet dated 15 December 2020, be approved as a true and accurate record.