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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.
· Cllr Melanie Evans declared a personal interest as a Pencoed Town Councillor in relation to Item 4 - Planning Update – 20 Minute Neighbourhoods
· Cllr Yvonne Walton-Davies declared a personal interest in relation to Item 4 - Planning Update – 20 Minute Neighbourhoods due to the fact that she had restricted mobility and was an Active Travel and Wellbeing advocate.
This report was presented by The Group Manager, Planning and Development Services, the purpose of which was to provide a briefing on the concept of 20-minute neighbourhoods, which has been incorporated into the Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP).
He stated that the 20 minute neighbourhoods were designed to allow people to have access to facilities such as schools, shops, recreation space, health facilities, generally within a 20 minute walk or cycle ride from their homes. He stated that the concept was well established in urban planning and was widely seen as a key component to what is described as good place making and good environments.
He added that it was not an new concept. Historically, it had been seen that there was an increased personal mobility in mid 20th century, where traditional neighbourhoods in the UK provided a range of local services that could easily be accessed on foot.
Even with the large post war, urban expansion of social housing, shops, schools, health facilities, recreation areas, open space were all built into the fabric of these developments.
He went on to say that the difference was that during the latter part of the 20th century, early 21st century, housing schemes were being developed around increased road infrastructure with travel by motor vehicles prioritised and this had sometimes proven to be at the expense of non-car travel options.
In other examples, not necessarily in Bridgend, there had been entire housing estates equipped with new on-site facilities and could only be accessed safely by the use of car. Such developments were undertaken in line with the planning policies or the deregulated planning policies over the time.
National Planning policy aims to change the approach that had been prevalent over the last 20 years by providing more emphasis on prioritising active travel and public transport options over car-based solution. Part of this is the concept of the 20 minute neighbourhood.
There has been also a great awareness on climate change and a compelling need to reduce dependency on carbon based modes of transport. The Welsh government and local authorities have declared a climate crisis.
The pandemic had a profound social impact on people's environments and the lockdowns provided an opportunity to examine the relationship with the local environment and the need for more local based amenity and open space.
He stated that the quality of the locality is a fundamental part of good quality based placemaking.
In Bridgend, the areas were located on the edge or close to established settlements as this allowed for easy access to existing facilities by active travel.
Also, within these new developments, there should be a provision of facilities including primary schools, open space, green infrastructure as this forms part of the an important aspect of any new development and these facilities will be promoted and controlled through the local development planning process.
The Group Manager stated that the concept should not be treated as a panacea to all problems and was not designed to stop all car-based ... view the full minutes text for item 17.
This report was presented by The Head of Operations, Community Services, the purpose of which was to update the Town and Community Council Forum on the United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund and a series of grant funds available as part of the delivery programme for Bridgend’s Local Investment Plan through the United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund.
He stated that it was a brief background to the delivery programme for Bridgend's element at the UK Shared Prosperity Fund programme, specifically outlining a number of grant funds that will be made available. He brought the Forum’s attention to a number of implications, the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on the 31st of January 2020, loss of access to funding programmes, including the European Structural Investment Funds following Brexit.
He also brought to Forum’s attention the UK Government's commitment to replacement of lost European funding opportunities to level up opportunity.
The creation of the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) was one of the main results of that promise with 2.6 billion having been allocated for local investment by March 25 across the UK.
He stated that the report outlined the development steps of the Bridgend Borough Local investment plan for SPF (Appendix 1 to the report referred)
He stated that the authority free main themes of community and place, supporting local businesses and people, in skills being the main crux of the investment plan.
The plans submitted to UK government were made on a regional basis for SE Wales authorities where Rhondda Cynon Taff acted as the lead authority.
Section 3 of the report highlighted how investment areas within the plan can be delivered in several ways and included in-house delivery, commissioning, procurement and focuses on the allocation of grant funds.
He stated that the report highlighted individual grant fund streams and the values set up or being set up to deliver Bridgend's element of the Shared prosperity fund. The grant schemes were brought before and approved by Cabinet in June of this year. Set out in the main body of the report from pages 58 through to 61 the Grant Schemes are Bridgend Valley's Placemaking Property Improvement Grant , The Empty Property Survey Grant the Community Feasibility Fund, The Business Development Grant, The Business Feasibility Grant and finally The Tourism Events Support Grant.
The Placemaking Property Improvement Grant and the Empty Property Survey grant could be found on the Council’s website, with guidance on application forms. The business development grant and business feasibility grant were also on the website along with the guidance documents.
A member queried when other grants will be available and what the deadlines would be, she also inquired about promotions that have been done to educate the public of the schemes.
The Head of Operations, Community Services responded that ... view the full minutes text for item 18.
This report was presented by the Policy and Performance Manager the purpose of which was to provide an update on the Council’s second corporate self-assessment report and judgements, and to seek comments on the draft report within Appendix 1 of the report.
She stated that the self-assessment was the same as 2022 and aimed to demonstrate 3 things. Namely that the Authority were performing well, improving outcomes and utilising resources as well.
She stated that the process was a bit different in 2023 because it was the authorities second year. Performance had been reviewed as part of the regular annual performance process.
Use of resource templates had been completed and governance had been reviewed as part of the regular annual governance statement. The Policy and Performance Manager stated they had used internal and external evidence, heads of service and member challenges. She mentioned a CPA challenge session in June which was for cabinet members, scrutiny chairs and group managers. She also mentioned that a more formal consultation that had gone out the week before the meeting.
The Policy and Performance Manager stated the report included three wellbeing objectives derived from the old corporate plan.
· Well-being Objective 1 was judged to be good,
· Well-being Objective 2 as adequate and
· Well-being Objective 3 as good.
She pointed out that the scores were the same as the scores in 2022 and explained that this was not because performance has been exactly the same but because other scores have fluctuated.
The Policy and Performance Manager concluded that day-to-day management of resources is good, same as in 2022, utilising clear working models and strong relationships. She stated that the use of resources overall was only adequate, and improvements were happening particularly on workforce planning, asset management and performance management.
She stated that there were detailed improvement plans that followed the judgments received from audit Wales in the regulatory reviews of 2022.
She further stated that the authority were keen to implement those recommendations.
She advised that there were still some vacancies and capacity issues in corporate teams and the senior managers who work alongside them and while there was much to improve, such improvements were underway.
The Policy and Performance Manager invited thoughts, ideas and suggestions from the forum around context in the report asking if there was a need to provide additional information.
A Member asked what process was followed in bringing empty properties back into use and asked how the Authority would benefit financially for the efforts in bringing the properties back into use.
The Chairperson responded that, in relation to Valleys to Coast properties, there was a specific agreement in place where the Authority brought properties that had a significant backlog of repairs and required significant modernisation back into use. The properties were then secured for nominations by the Authority from the common housing register. People having the greatest housing need would be housed thereby bringing the property back into use.
He stated that there was a range of different grants and ... view the full minutes text for item 19.
To consider any other item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in accordance with Rule 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 none.