Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices Angel Street Bridgend CF31 4WB. View directions
Contact: Mark Anthony Galvin Senior Democratic Services Officer - Committees
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest from Members/Officers in
accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008.
The following interests were declared:
Councillor R Shaw declared a personal interest in agenda item 10 – Polling Districts, Polling Places & Station Review 2019-20 as he has an association with a local charity which runs the William Trigg Community Centre.
Councillor JC Spanswick declared a personal interest in agenda item 8 – Council Reduction Scheme 2020-21 as a family member is in receipt of the benefit.
Councillor DBF White declared a personal interest in agenda item 8 – Council Reduction Scheme 2020-21 as a close relative is in receipt of the benefit.
Councillor HM Williams declared a personal interest in agenda item 8 – Council Reduction Scheme 2020-21 as a close relative is in receipt of the benefit.
Councillor JE Lewis declared a personal interest in agenda item 10 – Polling Districts, Polling Places & Station Review 2019-20 as she is a member of Sarn Community Centre.
Councillor DRW Lewis declared a personal interest in agenda item 10 – Polling Districts, Polling Places & Station Review 2019-20 as he is a member of Sarn Community Centre.
Councillor RM James declared a personal interest in agenda item 8 – Council Reduction Scheme 2020-21 as a family member is in receipt of the benefit and withdrew from the meeting during consideration of the item.
Councillor HJ David declared a personal interest in agenda item 10 – Polling Districts, Polling Places & Station Review 2019-20 as he is the Chair of the Cefn Cribwr Community Centre which is used as a polling station and withdrew from the meeting during consideration of the item.
Councillor P Davies declared a prejudicial interest in agenda item 8 – Council Reduction Scheme 2020-21 as a family member is in receipt of the benefit. Councillor P Davies declared a prejudicial interest in agenda item 10 – Polling Districts, Polling Places & Station Review 2019-20 as he is a Director at the Caerau Development Trust where a polling station is located. Councillor Davies withdrew from the meeting during consideration of the items.
Councillor CE Smith declared a personal interest in agenda item 8 – Council Reduction Scheme 2020-21 as a family member runs a business.
Councillor MJ Kearn declared a personal interest in agenda item 10 – Polling Districts, Polling Places & Station Review 2019-20 as he is the Chair of the Talbot Community Centre which is used as a polling station.
To receive for approval the minutes of 18/12/19
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting of Council of 18 December 2019 be approved as a true and accurate record.
To receive announcements from:
(i) Mayor (or person presiding)
(ii) Members of the Cabinet
(iii) Chief Executive
The Mayor announced that he had received a letter of grateful thanks from the Bridgend Foodbank for the financial contribution that was made to them by Bridgend County Borough Council and the generous food donations made by staff and members over the last year. In the 10 years since Bridgend Foodbank was formed, they have provided food for approximately 50,000 people. The money and donations will be put to good use feeding the people of the county borough who are in crisis.
The Mayor also thanked the 100 plus volunteers of the Bridgend Foodbank who all work incredibly hard to fight food poverty within the county borough. He had the pleasure of attending their Annual Meeting this evening and look forward to passing on the Council’s thanks and gratitude in person.
The Mayor also announced that nominations for the Mayor’s Annual Citizenship Awards close on Friday of this week. All nominations are welcome and an application form can be downloaded from the Council’s website or requested via the Mayor’s Office. He urged Members not to miss this opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the people and organisations within their communities.
The Deputy Leader announced that the Council had teamed up with Porthcawl Town Council to trial an ingenious new solution to the sticky problem of discarded chewing gum. Special ‘Gum Drop’ bins are being attached to lampposts along John Street, and people are being encouraged to use them for the disposal of chewing gum instead of dropping it on the street and creating an unsightly and difficult-to-remove stain. As the bins are made from recycled chewing gum, they can be removed and recycled along with their contents to create a range of products, including new bins and Wellington boots. He stated this is the latest move to tackle litter that the ongoing partnership with Porthcawl Town Council has produced, and it will make Porthcawl one of the first Welsh towns to feature the innovative bins.
Discussions have taken place with local takeaways, and three new dedicated bins are being added in the Western Promenade, John Street and Griffin Park areas to support the recycling of fast-food packaging. Funding had been from the Welsh Government, and shortly, two water fountains will be installed along the seafront to encourage people to fill up reusable bottles for free instead of buying single-use plastic bottles. He hoped that these innovations will support efforts to change behaviours and attitudes to waste, and will encourage more people to recycle.
Cabinet Member Communities
The Cabinet Member Communities informed Council that the Council has made a number of commitments to the Armed Forces Community Covenant, which had been recognised with an award from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme run by the Ministry of Defence. Work to support former and serving members of the armed forces is continuing, as demonstrated by the recent establishment of a guaranteed interview scheme for veterans at the Council. This has now resulted in the development of an all-new initiative ... view the full minutes text for item 389.
To receive announcements from the Leader
The Leader announced that one of the Borough’s newest landmark buildings has been selected as the venue for the launch of a national strategy outlining Welsh Government’s vision for the future of tourism across Wales. The First Minister and Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, will be visiting the new Watersports Centre at Rest Bay tomorrow to unveil ‘Welcome to Wales: Priorities For The Visitor Economy 2020-2025’ at the EU-funded £1.5m centre.
The Leader also announced that he was deeply moved to attend this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day event yesterday at the Sony Theatre in Bridgend College. The theme for 2020 was ‘Stand Together’, and the event reminded all how genocidal regimes throughout history have deliberately fractured societies by marginalising certain groups. The event encouraged attendees to stand together with their friends, colleagues and neighbours, and to speak out against oppression. It included a moving and unforgettable address from Dieu-Donne Ganza Gahizi, a survivor of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, who spoke about his personal experiences as a 9 year old boy fleeing for his life and losing 50 members of his family before delivering a message of peace, hope and forgiveness. He was grateful Ganza had travelled to the County Borough to share his story and message with all who had attended and he thanked everyone who worked on making the event.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer presented a report to comply with the requirement of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) Prudential Code for Capital Finance 2018; provided an update of the Capital Programme for 2019-20 at 31 December 2019; sought approval for a revised capital programme for 2019-20 to 2028-29 and for Council to note the projected Prudential and Other Indicators for 2019-20.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer reported that the Local Authorities (Capital Finance and Accounting) (Wales) Regulations 2003, as amended contain detailed provisions for capital finance and accounting controls, including the rules on the use of capital receipts and what is to be treated as capital expenditure. Additionally, the Council manages its Treasury Management and Capital activities in accordance with associated guidance. The Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities requires Local Authorities to have in place a Capital Strategy which demonstrates that the authority takes capital expenditure and investment decisions in line with service objectives and properly takes account of stewardship, value for money, prudence, sustainability and affordability.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer reported that Council on 20 February 2019, approved a capital programme, and was last updated on 23 October 2019. She stated that the revised programme for 2019-20 totals £33.700m, of which £15.057m is met from the Council’s resources, with the remaining £18.643m met from external resources. She summarised the position per Directorate and the current funding assumptions for the capital programme for 2019-20. She provided detail of the projected spend on individual schemes within the programme compared to the budget available. A number of schemes had been identified as requiring slippage to future years, at quarter 3, the total requested slippage is £5.158m in relation to:
· Maesteg Town Hall (£1.6m)
· Community Hub – Brynteg Comprehensive School (£0.768m)
· Additional Learning Needs provision at Cefn Cribwr Primary School (£0.387m)
· Ravens Court (£0.442m)
· Parks / Pavilions Community Centres CAT (£0.66m)
· Non Operational Assets (£0.48m)
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer reported that a number of new externally funded schemes and additional income approved, which have been incorporated into the capital programme:
· Community Hub – Brynteg Comprehensive (£0.284m)
· Capital support for the implementation and expansion of separate household collections of absorbent hygiene product (AHP) waste (£0.238m)
· Urban Centre Property Enhancement Fund (£0.1m) and Urban Centre Living Grant (£0.5m)
· Coastal Risk Management Scheme – Porthcawl (£6.032m)
· 21st Century Schools Band B Programme
· Welsh Medium Childcare Provision
· School Maintenance Grant
· Complex and Medical Needs Works in Schools
· Llynfi Valley Loan
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer also reported on the monitoring of Prudential and other indicators for 2019-20. The Capital Strategy approved in February 2019 is intended to give an overview of how capital expenditure, capital financing and treasury management activity contribute to the provision of services along with an overview of how associated risk is managed and the implications for future sustainability. A number of prudential ... view the full minutes text for item 391.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer presented a report, the purpose of which was to comply with the requirement of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) Treasury Management in the Public Services: Code of Practice (the Code), to produce interim Treasury Management Reports; report on the projected Treasury Management Indicators for 2019-20 and sought approval of Treasury Management activities for the period 1 April 2019 to 31 December 2019.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer reported that Treasury management is the management of the Council’s cash flows, borrowing and investments, and the associated risks. The Council is exposed to financial risks including the loss of invested funds and the revenue effect of changing interest rates. Treasury risk management at the Council is conducted within the framework of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s (CIPFA) Treasury Management in the Public Services: Code of Practice 2017 Edition (the CIPFA Code) which requires the Council to approve a Treasury Management Strategy (TMS) before the start of each financial year. Advice to the Council on treasury management is provided by Arlingclose.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer reported that the interest rate views incorporated in the Council’s TMS 2019-20 were based upon officers’ views supported by a forecast from Arlingclose. When the TMS 2019-20 was prepared in January 2019, due to the anticipated short time for a Brexit withdrawal deal to be agreed and the possibility of an extended period of uncertainty over the possible outcome, Arlingclose’s central case scenario was forecasting a 0.25% rise in the Bank Rate during 2019-20 to take official UK interest rates to 1.00% by December 2019. The Bank Rate started the financial year at 0.75% and the current forecast is that the Bank Rate will remain at this level beyond the end of the financial year-end.
The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer summarised the external debt and investment position as at 31 December 2019, whereby the Council held £96.87m of external long term borrowing and £38.945m of investments. She highlighted the borrowing strategy and outturn in that it was forecast the Council would need to borrow £16m in 2019-20. It was forecast there would be no long term borrowing requirement in 2019-20 due to additional grants being received in the last quarter of 2018-19 and a change in the capital programme for 2019-20. The Interim Head of Finance and Section 151 Officer summarised the investment strategy and outturn in that the main objectives during 2019-20 were to maintain capital security; maintain liquidity so funds are available when expenditure is needed and to achieve the yield on investments commensurate with the proper levels of security and liquidity. The balance on investments at 31 December 2019 was £38.945m. She summarised the investments profile from 1 April to 31 December 2019; the Treasury Management indicator for Principal Sums invested for periods longer than a year and the position in relation to interest rate exposures ... view the full minutes text for item 392.
The Interim Head of Finance presented a report, the purpose of which was to provide Council with information regarding the implementation of the 2020-21 Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTR) and to set out the requirement for Councils to adopt a CTR scheme by 31 January 2020, together with the funding implications.
The Interim Head of Finance reported that CTR provides assistance for those on low incomes with a liability to pay Council Tax. The Welsh Government has developed a single nationally defined scheme set out in regulations for the provision of Council Tax support in Wales. The Council adopted the CTR for 2019-20 in accordance with the Council Tax Reduction Schemes and Prescribed Requirements (Wales) Regulations 2013, which will end on 31 March 2020. There were currently 13,423 households receiving CTR, 8,445 of these were of working age and 4,978 were of pensionable age. Of the 13,423 households receiving CTR, 10,017 were entitled to a full CTR reduction.
The Interim Head of Finance reported that the CTR scheme in Wales is set by regulations made under Schedule 1B of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (as inserted by the Local Government Finance Act 2012). The
Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Requirements and Default Scheme) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 had now been laid and made amendments to:
· Ensure that opposite sex civil partnerships are treated on an equitable basis with opposite sex and same sex marriages, and same sex civil partnerships, in consequence of the Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc.) Act 2019;
· Provide for the introduction of a specific, statutory entitlement to parental bereavement leave in consequence of The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018.
· Update references to the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 with references to the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016.
· Provide that a number of rights to reside (established for nationals of European Economic Area states in connection with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU) are not relevant rights to reside for the purposes of establishing habitual residence.
The Interim Head of Finance stated that the new regulations did not contain any significant changes from the claimants’ perspective to the current scheme, and the maximum level of support that eligible claimants could receive remained at 100%. She explained the limited discretion given to the Council, to apply discretionary elements that were more generous than the national scheme as follows:-
· The ability to increase the standard extended reduction period of 4 weeks given to persons after they return to work (where they have previously been receiving CTR that is to end as a result of their return to work);
· Discretion to increase the amount of War Disablement Pensions and War Widows Pensions which is to be disregarded when calculating income of the claimant; and
· The ability to backdate the application of CTR with regard to late claims prior to the new standard period of three months before the claim.
The Interim Head of Finance reported that the Council is required to adopt a CTR ... view the full minutes text for item 393.
The Development Planning Manager reported on the Consultation Report on the Local Development Plan (LDP) Preferred Strategy for Council to consider and endorse.
He reported that Regulation 15 of the LDP Regulations requires the Council to publish its pre-deposit proposals (Preferred Strategy) for public inspection and consultation before determining the content of its LDP for Deposit. He stated that the statutory consultation period on the Preferred Strategy was held from 30 September 2019 to 8 November 2019 and a total of 70 formal representations were received. In preparation for the Deposit Stage of the LDP, the Council must draft an initial Consultation Report for publishing as soon as reasonably practicable after pre-deposit consultation under LDP Regulation 16A. He informed Council that a Consultation Report has been prepared, outlining how the Council has undertaken public participation and consultation on the Preferred Strategy itself. He stated that the Report identified the steps taken to publicise plan preparation, in accordance with the Community Involvement Scheme (CIS), before outlining the specific bodies engaged, summarising the main issued raised and identifying how the responses have been or will be addressed. The Report provided significant detail on how this key period of consultation will influence development of the Deposit LDP.
The Development Planning Manager reported that a number of consultation methods were utilised to ensure efficient and effective consultation and participation, in accordance with the CIS. He stated that the Consultation Report was not intended to be a comprehensive report on each comment received, rather a summary of the key issues raised in response to the specific questions on the consultation form. A significant number of representations were also site specific in focus, although the Report did not attempt to evaluate the comprehensive merits of candidate sites. He stated that all candidate sites would be evaluated as part of the Candidate Site Assessment Methodology, which is separate to the Preferred Strategy Consultation. He informed Council that the Consultation Report was structured around each consultation question, sets out the main corresponding points received and details the Council’s subsequent responses. The Consultation Report provides a detailed thematic overview of the main comments submitted by representors.
The Senior Planning Officer informed Council that pressure had been brought on the Planning Department by the development industry for the release of greenfield sites for development, however this had been rebutted by the Department, supported by Inspectors’ reports. A member of Council commended the approach taken by the Planning Department in rebutting the development of greenfield sites and that there was a need to have decent quality development in the County Borough.
A member of Council questioned whether the Planning Department ensured future development was accessible to people with disabilities. The Development Planning Manager informed Council that the Department works with Public Health Wales to ensure development is accessible to all and this would be included in the LDP.
A member of Council sought reassurance that a solution is found with the level crossing to enable development to the east ... view the full minutes text for item 394.
The Chief Executive reported on the findings of the Polling Station review and of any proposed changes arising from the review. He stated that under section 16 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006, the authority has a duty to undertake a review every fifth year of polling districts, polling places and polling stations within its area. Notice of the review was published on 7 October 2019 and representations by 8 November 2019. All comments s and suggestions received by this date were then posted online, displayed on the Electoral Notice Board, Civic Offices and sent to all Town & Community Council Clerks to allow for any further comments on the suggested proposals to be received by 22 November 2019.
The Chief Executive reported that the objective of the review is to have polling district boundaries which take into account the changes in population in certain areas (following new developments) and to ensure polling stations are both in the best location and in suitable premises with good access. The review requires the Council to seek to ensure that all the electors in each Parliamentary constituency have such reasonable facilities for voting as are practicable in the circumstances and so far as is reasonable and practicable the polling places are accessible to all electors and regard has been given to the accessibility needs of disabled persons.
He reported that most comments received were in support of existing arrangements and the premises used with responses from Elected Members and a number of Town & Community councilors. Although concerns were raised on the future arrangements for Brackla when new wards are introduced for 2022, this related to the Boundary Commission’s review and are outside the remit of the internal electoral review.
RESOLVED: That Council noted the outcome of the review and in particular the comments identified in the appendix to the report.
To receive the following Questions from:
Councillor N Burnett to the Cabinet Member Wellbeing and Future Generations
Can the Cabinet Member please provide us with an update on our Empty Property Strategy and what it has achieved to date?
Councillor A Hussain to the Cabinet Member Communities
Could the Cabinet Member please let us know if we are changing our old Planning Laws to help the environment in reducing the waste and is our Council committed to environmentally friendly housing and planning policy?
Question from Councillor N Burnett to the Cabinet Member Wellbeing and Future Generations
Can the Cabinet Member please provide us with an update on our Empty Property Strategy and what it has achieved to date?
Response of the Cabinet Member Wellbeing and Future Generations
Following a public consultation, the Empty Properties Strategy 2019-2023 was endorsed and approved by Cabinet in December 2019, so with it only being 4 weeks ago, it hasn’t had enough time to embed itself. The strategy does confirm our commitment to reducing the blight of empty properties throughout the borough and I set out below some examples of the work that has been carried out:
However, before the strategy was officially endorsed, the administration has been working to the strategy with and committed to the appointment of the Empty Property officer in October 2018. Considerable progress has been made in tackling the issue of Empty Properties and since their appointment of the officer a total of 219 properties have been investigated. Of the 20 priority properties identified by the risk assessment process, 12 properties have been brought back into use, and in relation to the remaining 8 properties, 5 are subject to Section 215 Notices under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, 2 have completed expression of interest forms in relation to grants/loans, and the remaining property was in the process of being sold but unfortunately this has fallen through so we will need undertake further engagement with the owner of this property. The Strategy is about collaboration with the empty property owner, before we do go down the legislative route. As a result of this work the performance of the Council when compared to the others councils in Wales has improved from 18th in 2016-17 to 5th 2018-2019 and in relation to the we have seen this figure more than double from 3.48% in 2018 to 8.41% ... view the full minutes text for item 396.
To consider any item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in
accordance with Part 4 (paragraph 4) of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.
There were no urgent items.