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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.
The following prejudicial interests were made in relation to Agenda item 5:-
Councillor RE Young – As a member of Coity Higher Community Council, which was mentioned in the report.
Councillor N Burnett – As a member of Bridgend Town Council.
Councillor HJ David – As a member of Cefn Cribwr Community Council, which had made an application to the Fund.
All the above Members left the meeting whilst this item was being considered and Councillor HM Williams took the Chair until the report had been determined and thereafter the Leader, Councillor David, returned to the meeting as Chairperson.
To receive for approval the Minutes of 23/2/2021.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of a meeting of Cabinet dated 23 February 2021, be approved as a true and accurate record.
The Corporate Director – Communities presented a report, the purpose of which, was to seek approval to declare Bedford Park as a Local Nature Reserve and to extend the boundary of the existing Frog Pond Local Nature Reserve to include the area known as Village Farm Meadow. The report also sought approval for future management approaches and resources for both sites.
By way of background information, she advised that Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) exist to protect habitats and species and provide opportunities to increase awareness about the natural environment within communities. LNRs are established and managed by local authorities, following consultation with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. For a site to become an LNR it must have natural features of special interest to the local area, and the authority must either have a legal interest in the land or have an agreement with the owner to manage the land as a reserve. In Wales LNRs have been designated over a number of years, from 1970 to the present day, and are on-going.
There were currently 5 LNRs in Bridgend County Borough. Kenfig LNR is also a National Nature Reserve which is no longer managed by BCBC. These areas are classed as LNRs due to the specific species and habitats that exist within them and they are:
• Locks Common, Porthcawl
• Craig Y Parcau, Bridgend
• Frog Pond Wood, Pyle
• Tremains Wood, Brackla
• Kenfig Nature Reserve, Kenfig
The Corporate Director – Communities confirmed, that designating Bedford Park as an LNR and extending Frog Pond Wood LNR to include Village Farm Meadow, was something that BCBC had the power to do and aligned with national and local policies.
She explained that, Bedford Park and Village Farm Meadow are designated Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) under the provisions of Policy ENV4 of the adopted Bridgend Local Development Plan (LDP) 2013-2022. The basis for these designations is that both sites have habitats and species of local, regional and national significance that require protection under the Town and Country Planning System.
Furthermore, the LDP included Policy ENV5, which promotes the concept of Green Infrastructure approach. Green Infrastructure was considered as a strategically planned and delivered network of natural and man-made green (land) and blue (water) spaces that sustain natural processes. It is designed and managed as a multifunctional resource capable of delivering a wide range of environmental and quality of life benefits for society. BCBC was the first council in Wales to incorporate such a policy in its LDP, she added.
The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration confirmed that he was happy to support the report’s recommendations and felt that this was an excellent initiative and that the cost of the proposals would in fact end up being an investment that the public could enjoy in perpetuity.
The Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations felt that protecting these areas complied with the Well-being and Future Generations Act, and ... view the full minutes text for item 649.
The Corporate Director – Communities submitted a report, in order to seek Cabinet approval to allocate capital funding to Town and Community Councils, to develop projects in line with the recommendations contained within the report from the Town and Community Council (T&CC) Capital Grant scheme for 2021-22 and Community Asset Transfer (CAT) Fund.
She advised that BCBC has allocated £50,000 for 2021-22 and subsequent years in the approved Capital Programme, to support applications from T&CCs for capital projects.
Applications to the T&CC Capital grant scheme 2021-22 were made available in January 2021, with the deadline for receipt of completed applications of 26 February 2021 being established. Funding of up to £65,427.61 is currently available for grants in 2020-21, as was reflected in paragraph 3.5 of the report.
The £1 million Sports Pavilion Fund originally established in February 2014 to promote the transfers of sports facilities, was re-designated as the CAT Fund and the scope for funding widened under the MTFS 2019-20 to 2022-23 in February 2019, to also include building works on other Council facilities such as community centres and public toilets. In February 2020 the Cabinet also approved that the CAT Fund should further be extended, to include pitch and drainage improvements for playing fields. These measures were designed to ensure that the CAT programme was supported and as many assets as possible could be appropriately maintained, kept open and provide long-term community benefits for residents in any particular location.
The Corporate Director – Communities advised, that to maximise the support that could be provided in 2020-21 as the T&CC Capital Grant scheme was oversubscribed, the CAT Fund was also able to be utilised as applications met the criteria for this fund, which enabled as many projects to be progressed as possible. This resulted in £65,000 being allocated under the CAT Fund for the 4 projects outlined in paragraph 3.8 of the report that had a combined total project value of £140,000.
The report further confirmed, that Cabinet and the CAT Steering Group has, to date, allocated funding totalling £503,327.61 via the CAT Fund, which was summarised in the table in paragraph 3.9 and detailed at Appendix A of the report.
In terms of the present situation, the proposals received for the 2021-22 T&CC Capital Grant allocation were outlined in paragraph 4.1 of the report. More information in respect of these projects and what they entailed, were expanded upon in this section of the report.
In terms of the non-collaborative CAT Projects, further information on these were shown in paragraphs 4.10 and 4.11 of the report.
The remainder of the report, explained the manner by which BCBC intended to develop further its collaborative working arrangements with Town and Community Councils in relation to the Town and Community Council Capital Grant Scheme and Community Asset Transfer Fund. This would allow them to manage and maintain then certain Community facilities going forward, as part of long term sustainable schemes.
The Deputy Leader welcomed a further ... view the full minutes text for item 650.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, in order to:
• Update members on the Housing Support Grant Delivery Priorities for 2021-22;
• seek approval to waive the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules in accordance with Contract Procedure Rule 22.214.171.124 for two existing Housing Support Grant funded contracts;
• seek approval to use the Housing Support Grant allocation to continue service delivery for the Phase 2 low level supported accommodation project, effective from 1st April 2021;
• suspend the relevant parts of the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules with regards to the requirement to tender for a contract and agree for the Chief Officer - Finance, Performance and Change to enter into a contract with Pobl, in order to continue service delivery of an existing supported accommodation project;
• seek approval to offer an uplift of up to 5% in the contract value of all existing Housing Support Grant funded contracts that BCBC has with third sector housing related support providers, effective from 1st April 2021, on the basis that any actual uplift directly materialises in improved terms and conditions of the workforce.
She advised that the Welsh Government Housing Support Grant (HSG), came into being in April 2019, following the Welsh Government funding flexibilities pathfinder project. It brought together three former grants - Supporting People Programme, Homelessness Prevention Grant and Rent Smart Wales Enforcement Grant.
The HSG is an early intervention grant programme to support activity which prevents people from becoming homeless, stabilises their housing situation, or helps potentially homeless people to find and keep accommodation.
HSG Practice Guidance required Local Authorities to develop an annual HSG Delivery Plan, which should include the headings as included in paragraph 3.3 of the report.
Following the publication of the draft Welsh Government budget, Local Authorities are given an indicative HSG allocation and are required to submit to Welsh Government their Delivery Priorities, Stakeholder Engagement, Spend Plan and Annex A: Homelessness Statutory Duties, from their annual HSG Delivery Plan. An offer of grant is then made, following the publication of the final Welsh Government budget.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change, confirmed that Bridgend County Borough Council’s (BCBC) HSG allocation from Welsh Government for 2021-22 is £7,833,509.33. This represents an increase of £1,878,966.49 (32%) from the allocation in 2020-21 of £5,954,542.84. The increase is as a result of an additional £40m being allocated to the total HSG budget by Welsh Government.
As part of ongoing strategic planning BCBC Housing service engage with a diverse range of stakeholders including through attendance at various forums such as, BCBC Landlord Forum, Community Safety Partnership, Homeless Cell, Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements and Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences. As such there was ongoing dialogue with key stakeholders, including Health, Police, Probation, Registered Social Landlords, Social Services and support providers.
Bridgend’s existing Homelessness Strategy 2018 – 22 has informed the HSG Delivery Priorities for 2021-22. The Strategy was developed on a co-production basis with a broad range of stakeholders, including those ... view the full minutes text for item 651.
The Interim Chief Officer - Finance Performance and Change presented a report, recommending Cabinet adopt the Welsh Government’s Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief Scheme 2021- 22 and the Welsh Government’s Enhanced Hospitality and Leisure Rates Relief Scheme for 2021-22.
The Interim Chief Officer - Finance Performance and Change, explained that the two schemes aimed to help businesses to reduce their business rates charges for the period 01/04/21 to 31/03/22 in order to support continued occupation of High Street and retail premises, and to support those in the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors. The Welsh Government announced a temporary extension of the current Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief Scheme for 2021-22 to support eligible occupied properties by offering 100% support to businesses within the retail, leisure and hospitality sector with a rateable value under £500,000. Premises that would benefit were detailed in Appendix A of the report, but broadly included those that had a rateable value of under £500,000, were occupied, and were shops, pubs and restaurants, gyms, performance venues and hotels across Wales. The Welsh Government also announced that an Enhanced Hospitality and Leisure Rates Relief Scheme would be available for the 2021-22 financial year, to support eligible occupied businesses within the hospitality, leisure and tourism sector in Wales with a rateable value over £500,000. The various categories of hospitality, leisure and tourism premises that would benefit from relief were set out in Appendix B to the report and included those that had a rateable value of over £500,000, were occupied, and were hotels, holiday parks and stadia across Wales The Welsh Government would provide 100% rates relief for eligible properties for the 2021-22 financial year.
The Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Rates Relief Scheme for 2021-22 would run alongside the Small Business Rates Relief Scheme. It was estimated that there would be in the region of 1,000 eligible ratepayers across the borough that could potentially benefit from having no rates to pay for the 2021-22 financial year under these Schemes.
The Deputy Leader stated that this was a “good news” report and that the 1000 businesses across BCBC would be delighted to hear that the authority was adopting this initiative. The Deputy Leader asked for clarification as to whether or not those businesses that qualified in 2021, needed to re-apply for the relief. The Interim Chief Officer - Finance Performance and Change replied that they did not need to re-apply and this should be automatically applied to their accounts in almost every case.
The Leader asked if a business should expect to receive a bill from the authority even if it was for zero or if they should expect to receive any communication outlining that they had received rates relief on their account.
The Interim Chief Officer - Finance Performance and Change, confirmed that they would receive a bill with the automatic dispensation on it. She added that she did not have the exact information with her but she was under the impression that the bills had already ... view the full minutes text for item 652.
The Head of Adult Social Care presented a report, on the proposal for entering into a new revised Section 33 Agreement of the National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006 with Cwm Taf Morgannwg NHS Trust, regarding the provision of integrated Mental Health Daytime Opportunities.
The Head of Adult Social Care explained that a Section 33 Agreement with ABMU Health Board for the provision of integrated community day opportunities had been in place since 1st October 2008. It had been revised and extended on a number of occasions since then and the current Section 33 Agreement commenced on 1st April 2017 and would expire on 31st March 2021.
The Head of Adult Social Care explained that the service had progressed considerably in the last 13 years and it was now necessary to update the Section 33 Agreement and ensure that the revised Agreement reflected the changes that had taken place and adequately reflected the current situation including budget and staffing details. She explained that the service offered responsive and accessible person-centred support, promoting the recovery of a person from an episode of mental ill health. The public could access the advice and guidance service without the need for referral and the service acted as a point of contact for mainstream community organisations and agencies requiring information and advice in support of individuals. This included local third sector organisations, employers and local colleges.
The Head of Adult Social Care outlined the position regarding referral rates and how the service had been delivered during the pandemic. The reduction in the number of GP referrals was significant early on but now numbers had more or less returned to the same as they were pre-covid. The service was now working on a recovery plan and on targeting support for specific areas of the population. They would be looking at providing counselling support such as bereavement counselling for young people and family relationship counselling as well as other areas. They would also be looking at wellbeing and resilience group work and courses and some social engagement and support and work around debt and finance support and that area.
The Head of Adult Social Care explained that the revised Section 33 Agreement set out the arrangements under which the combined service would operate and be managed as detailed in the report. Should Cabinet approve entering into the revised Section 33 Agreement, it would run for a further four years, with the agreement expiring on 31st March 2025.
The Cabinet Member - Social Services and Early Help said that she was very happy to move the report. There was a very valuable and successful partnership with the Health Board and they knew how effective this resource was for the county. The ARC service was very successful and helped a considerable number of people and would need to continue to help more people in the coming months as the community emerged from the pandemic. Mental health services had taken a hit and many people had been discouraged from visiting ... view the full minutes text for item 653.
The Chief Officer Legal, HR & Regulatory Services presented a report seeking approval for the schedule of meetings of Cabinet, Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting and the Cabinet Committee Equalities for the period May 2021-April 2022. The proposed dates for these meetings would be reported for noting in the proposed Programme of meetings to be submitted to the Annual Meeting of Council on 19 May 2021. This prevented meeting dates of Cabinet, Council or their Committees, wherever possible, conflicting with each other. The meeting dates were set out in paragraph 4 of the report.
The Cabinet Member - Wellbeing and Future Generations moved the report and added that all but one of the dates fell outside the school holidays and were “family friendly”. The Leader replied that they would be able to confirm closer to that date whether or not that meeting was required or the date needed to be changed. The Cabinet Member - Wellbeing and Future Generations explained that a Cabinet Committee Equalities meeting was due to take place on 27th July 2021. The date could not be brought forward because they were expecting a Welsh Government report due at that time, so therefore, the Committee meeting could not be convened at an earlier date. The Leader added that they did consider the impact on Members and officers when setting the dates for meetings.
RESOLVED That Cabinet approved the schedule of meeting dates for Cabinet, Cabinet Committee Corporate Parenting and the Cabinet Committee Equalities meetings for the period May 2021 - April 2022, as outlined in Paragraphs 4.1.2, 4.2.1 and 4.3.1 of the report.
The Corporate Director - Education and Family Support presented a report, informing Cabinet of the outcome of the consultation on the Bridgend West schools modernisation proposal, the findings of the consultation and seeking approval to progress to publication of a public notice as prescribed in the School Organisation Code. He added that the Schools Programme Manager was also in attendance in the meeting, to answer any detailed questions regarding the proposals.
The Corporate Director - Education and Family Support explained the background and that in its meeting of 21 January 2020 Cabinet gave approval for the Bridgend West schemes to be taken forward via the Mutual Investment Model (MIM) funding arrangements. The preferred way forward for the Bridgend West scheme were 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. He explained that the preferred sites for the new schools were determined by Cabinet as the 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. In its meeting of 19 January 2021 Cabinet gave permission to formally consult on the Bridgend West proposal. This report outlined the responses to the consultation and was seeking approval to continue the progress to the next stage.
The Corporate Director - Education and Family Support explained that consultation exercises were carried out between 25 January 2021 and 7 March 2021 in accordance with the statutory School Organisation Code. The consultation document invited views and opinions to be submitted in respect of the proposal. A summary of the issues raised by consultees and the local authority’s responses were provided in the consultation report as detailed in Appendix A to the report. He outlined the next stages of the process and referred to the timetable providing an indication of the likely timescales involved.
The Corporate Director - Education and Family Support, explained the financial implications of the proposals and asked Cabinet to consider the recommendations as listed in the report.
The Cabinet Member - Education and Regeneration, stated that this was a very positive item and very exciting news for the community of north Cornelly where they would be receiving two 21st Century new schools. This was a co-operative venture with the housing association, V2C. They had had meetings with them and the local members and these were very positive meetings. The scheme would involve a land swap which was a very innovative way of going about this. They would also ensure there was as much continuity as possible as well as change. No child or teacher would have to move premises until the new facilities were ready and that was built into the sequencing. He stressed that this was not a money making or cost cutting venture. This was a modernisation programme ... view the full minutes text for item 655.
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.