Venue: remotely - via Microsoft Teams
Contact: Democratic Services
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.
M Shephard, Chief Executive, declared a prejudicial interest in Agenda item 6, in his capacity as the Council’s Returning Officer. He left the meeting whilst this item was being considered.
To receive announcements from:
(i) Mayor (or person presiding)
(ii) Members of the Cabinet
(iii) Chief Executive
The Mayors Citizenship Awards have now been concluded and after receiving over 30 nominations it has been decided that 22 of these have been successful. The standard of all nominations received has yet again been very high and while they are all worthy of recognition, there are some that score higher than others. Nevertheless, all those who submitted nominations will be written to, thanking them for taking the time to participate in the process and there is nothing stopping them making another nomination next year.
The presentation of the awards were now being arranged through either a personal visit by myself or possibly a presentation in the Mayors Parlour subject to the appropriate risk assessments taking place and will all be completed by the end of March. I would like to thank the officers and also the Deputy Mayor who were involved in the process for their help and assistance and for taking note of my comments in relation to possible amendments to the scheme for next year.
As National Apprenticeship Week is running all this week, I want to provide a very brief update to members on how the council’s own apprenticeship scheme is progressing.
Since it was launched in 2013, we have successfully supported 116 apprentices, many of whom have gone on to gain full employment with the council.
We currently have 27 apprentices working across departments ranging from business support and marketing to social care and procurement where they are making a valuable contribution.
The apprentice scheme allows us as a local authority to recruit new talent. It enables people to develop professional skills and gain valuable experience, all while earning a wage and working towards an accredited qualification.
Members may wish to let their constituents know about our apprentice programme, and to advise them to look out for future opportunities via the job pages of the corporate website.
I would also like to thank all of our apprentices for their hard work, particularly during the difficult circumstances of the past two years, and to wish them the best of luck with their careers.
Cabinet Member – Communities
I’m sure councillors will be all too aware of the problems caused by unadopted roads within the county borough.
These are streets that have not been adopted by the council where the upkeep remains the responsibility of residents and property owners.
A new pilot scheme from Welsh Government has provided £230,000 to bring a local unadopted street up to a high standard so that it can become the responsibility of the council.
Intended to enable councils and Welsh Government to better understand the cost implications for tackling the historical backlog of such streets throughout Wales, Ynyslas in Porthcawl was selected based on factors such as the poor condition of its footways and concrete road, and the number of properties it serves.
Now, footways and carriageways have been reconstructed, highway drainage has been repaired and further work is being carried out to ensure Ynyslas is suitable for ... view the full minutes text for item 629.
To receive announcements by the Leader
We were pleased to confirm yesterday support for the Senior Open Golf Championship returning to Royal Porthcawl Club in 2023.
As Europe’s only senior major championship golf tournament, this is a major event which brings with it lasting benefits for tourism and the local economy.
When we first hosted it back in 2014, more than 43,000 people visited the county borough and it was hailed as a success which generated millions of pounds for the local economy and drew an international television viewing audience with millions of viewers across the globe. We look forward to bringing you updates as the plans develop.
Another major development in regional tourism took a step closer to becoming a reality recently when the transformational Afan Valley adventure resort project, in neighbouring Neath Port Talbot but on our doorstep, was granted conditional planning permission.
The impressive new development is part of the Wildfox Resorts brand and has been likened to a valleys-set, self-contained Centre Parks-style holiday and leisure site.
Members may recall that the project was first mooted by applicants Afan Valley Ltd. However, it has since been taken over by the multi-national Salamanca Group which has a track record of 20 years of successful development, and they are driving the plans forward at a rapid pace.
It could create hundreds of new jobs and provide significant social and economical advantages which could also benefit Bridgend County Borough. I have asked for a detailed update and when that is provided, I will share it with members.
Finally, work is gathering pace on plans for how the site of the former Ford engine plant will be used in future.
Council officers have been working closely alongside the Ford Motor Company and the commercial real-estate and investment specialists, CBRE.
A meeting is scheduled to take place later this month where we shall be discussing plans for the proposed redevelopment of the site, timescales, marketing opportunities and more.
The intention is to enable the site to be brought to market within the first quarter of 2022.
As members know, until its closure the engine plant was a major employer within South Wales, and the 1.6 million square foot site remains a prime piece of commercially valuable land.
Both Ford and CBRE tell us that it is attracting strong interest, with at least one potential client having already made an approach about occupying the site.
We should know more once the meeting has taken place, and I will of course bring you further news as this situation develops further.
The Chief Executive presented a report, to seek approval to participate in the Advanced Voting pilots allowing voting at the Local Elections in May 2022 in certain Polling Stations on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Polling Day on Thursday 5th May 2022.
Following consultation with group leaders, he advised that he had informed Welsh Government of Bridgend’s interest in establishing an advance voting pilot to open polling stations in specific wards on the Tuesday and Wednesday before polling day including a separate pilot within a school solely for eligible pupils in that school.
decision was now required on whether Bridgend County Borough Council will now proceed
with the advance voting pilot.
The wards chosen for the advance voting pilot are listed below, with their new names from May 2022, with the current wards shown in brackets: -
· Brackla East and Coychurch Lower [Brackla, Coychurch Lower]
· Brackla East Central [Brackla]
· Brackla West [Brackla]
· Brackla West Central [Brackla]
· Cornelly [Cornelly]
· Pyle, Kenfig Hill and Cefn Cribwr [Pyle, Cefn Cribwr]
· St Bride’s Minor and Ynysawdre [Bryncethin, Bryncoch, Sarn and Ynysawdre]
The Chief Executive added that initial selection of the pilot wards was based on the turnout rates at the Local Elections in 2017, which identified 5 wards both ranked with the overall lowest turnout rates and the lowest turnout rates at polling stations. The table in paragraph 4.2 of the report showed the turnout and ranking.
He added that there were three additional wards from the Local Elections in 2017 that have been added to the pilot, due to the implementation of the Boundary Commission review which has combined them with existing wards identified for the pilot. These wards are Cefn Cribwr, Coychurch Lower and Ynysawdre.
Separately, because Cynffig Comprehensive school was a separate pilot within a school solely for eligible pupils in that school, the ward of Cornelly was added to the advanced voting pilot as the catchment area for Cynffig Comprehensive is almost entirely within the Pyle, Cefn Cribwr, and Cornelly boundaries and the majority of the pupils eligible to vote would be included.
The Chief Executive concluded his submission, by confirming that there will be 20 polling stations open from 7am to 9pm across the seven advanced pilot wards on the Tuesday and Wednesday, giving the electorate a choice of 3 days to cast their votes. In Cynffig Comprehensive, there would be 2 polling stations open on the Tuesday from 8.30am to 4.30pm solely for the purpose of the 16+ registered students. This will allow them to vote in an environment they are comfortable with and to encourage forming the habit of voting, although they could choose to vote in one of the pilot ward polling stations if they so wished.
The Leader welcomed the report and the Pilot and how the changes proposed would fit in with changes in society that have evolved over the years and that it was encouraging to see that 16 and 17 year old people would be able to vote in the ... view the full minutes text for item 631.
The Monitoring Officer presented a report on behalf of the Chief Executive, the purpose of which, was to seek Council’s approval of the election fees proposed to be applied for the County Borough and the Town and Community Councils election from May 2022 as set out in Appendix 1 to the report.
By way of background, in accordance with established practice, funding has been set aside for the local elections, and an earmarked reserve is currently available to meet the costs of the County Borough elections in May 2022.
In accordance with established practice, funding has been set aside for the local elections, and an earmarked reserve is currently available to meet the costs of the County Borough elections in May 2022.
The Monitoring Officer explained that additional administration costs were difficult to assess until the extent of contested elections is known, as this significantly impacts on the workload of the Electoral Services team.
Additional payments to Electoral Staff during recent major elections have ranged from £2,000 to £4,000 depending upon specific roles and responsibilities. It is therefore proposed that the Returning Officer be granted specific powers to determine the level of payments for additional administrative work once the election is complete.
A Member referred to Appendix 1 of the report and the fee for Polling Clerks set at £150. She felt that this was quite low for 15 hours of work.
The Monitoring Officer confirmed that there was some discretion regarding the setting of the various fees, however, she confirmed that the Electoral Manager would have looked at other neighbouring authorities for comparisons when setting the election fees. She would though ask him to contact the Member outside of the meeting regarding this point.
RESOLVED: That Council:
(1) Approved the schedule of fees set out in Appendix 1 to the report
(2) Delegated authority to the Returning Officer to determine the level of payments for additional administrative work in consultation with the Section 151 Officer.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, the purpose of which, was to seek approval from Council for a revised capital programme for 2021-22 to 2030-31 (Appendix A to the report, referred).
She reported that the Council on 24 February 2021 approved a Capital Strategy, incorporating the Prudential Indicators for 2021-22, along with a capital programme covering the period 2020-21 to 2030-31 as part of the Medium-Term Financial Strategy (MTFS). The capital programme had been updated during the year with new schemes, amendments to existing funding packages and changes to delivery profiles. New grant awards, outcomes of tender processes and updates on existing schemes which need including within the capital programme had occurred since the programme was last approved by Council on 19 January 2022.
The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change informed Council, that a capital programme covering the period 2021-22 to 2031-2032 will be presented to Cabinet and Council, on 22 and 23 February 2022 respectively, as part of the Medium-Term Financial Strategy 2022-23 to 2025-26, alongside the proposed Capital Strategy for 2022-23 to 2031-32. She stated that there exist a number of financial pressures arising as a result of current market conditions, impacted by the pandemic and Brexit.
The Chief Officer Finance, Performance and Change reported that the capital programme for 2021-22 to 2030-31 approved by Council in January 2002 is £212.439m, of which £118.094m is met from the Council’s resources, including capital receipts, revenue contributions from earmarked reserves and borrowing, with the remaining £94.345m coming from external resources, including General Capital Grant. She informed Members that the following new schemes now need to be included in the capital programme, some of which are wholly or partly grant funded, along with others which needed amending:-
There were also a small number of other amendments and changes to grant approvals, reflected in the updated capital programme.
The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change concluded her submission, by advising that the revised Capital Programme, incorporating the schemes outlined above and expanded upon further within the report, were detailed at Appendix A of the report.
A Member referred to the works to Ewenny Road Industrial Estate and the £3.5m Cardiff Capital Region City Deal funding allocation towards this and he hoped that certain external factors had been looked at and that the remediation and infrastructure works on site would go to plan as per the necessary timetable, so as not to hamper progress in relation to the following development works planned for that site.
He also expressed his disappointment regarding the Arbed Project and the previous works undertaken. Therefore, he hoped that residents in the area as well as local Ward Members would be kept informed of progress regarding the remedial works, including the Procurement ... view the full minutes text for item 633.
The Chief Officer Legal and Regulatory Services, HR and Corporate Policy (and Monitoring Officer), reported on the Information Reports which had been published since the last meeting of Council.
She referred Members to the two Information Reports in question, that were contained in the covering report.
In relation to the Member Induction Programme report, a Member noted that a considerable amount of training here may continue to be given remotely via Teams etc and she was aware that some Members, particularly in the valley locations, often didn’t have a good broadband signal, whilst others were not fully IT literate. She asked if these barriers may prohibit certain Members in the new administration, fully participating in the Programme.
The Monitoring Officer advised that under the new legislation that will be coming in in May, it will be incumbent upon local authorities to arrange remote, hybrid and possible live meetings and training sessions and that Members will have the necessary equipment at their disposal to participate in these meetings. Those that were not confident in attending meetings remotely, would receive the necessary training in order that they could do so.
A Member reiterated previous comments that he had made at a previous Democratic Services Committee, ie that he felt it was important for Treasury Management training to be extended to all Members and not just those that were members of the Governance and Audit Committee.
RESOLVED: That Council acknowledged the publication of the documents listed in the report.
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.