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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 (including whipping declarations)
To receive for approval the minutes of the meeting of the 24/01/2019
That the Minutes of a meeting of Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committee 3 dated 24 January 2019, be approved as a true and accurate record subject to Councillor RMI Shaw’s name being added to the list of apologies for absence for the meeting.
Cllr Hywel Williams - Deputy Leader
Cllr Dhanisha Patel - Cabinet Member Future Generations and Wellbeing
Martin Morgans - Head of Performance and Partnership Services
Lynne Berry - Group Manager Housing & Community
Jonathan Flower - Senior Strategic Officer
Helen Rodgers - Revenues Manager
The Head of Performance and Partnerships gave a presentation updating the Committee on the progress made following the report in March 2018 in regards to Empty Properties and in particular covering the following:
– Blended & Proactive Approach
– Chapels & Churches
– Council Tax Opportunities
– Un-banded Empty Properties
– Recruitment of a “dedicated” Empty Properties Officer
– Strategy in terms of Why, Approach and Progress to date of where we are.
The Committee thanked the Head of Performance and Partnerships and the Cabinet Member for Future Generations and Wellbeing for the work that has been done on this and were pleased to see Empty Properties brought back to the committee and the strategy is currently out for consultation.
A member asked if the Head of Performance and Partnerships could clarify his comment that the Empty Properties Officer worked ‘primarily’ in Bridgend. The Head of Performance and Partnerships confirmed that this was the wrong choice of word and that the Empty Properties Officer focused only on Bridgend properties.
A member highlighted that this is a cross party commitment and everybody, no matter where you sit, wants this to be successful. Whilst there are a couple of issues in terms of funding and whilst it is understood the process needs to be followed we need to make property owners aware that we will use the legislation to enforce if necessary. The member reiterated the quantity and knowledge of the properties whilst trying to coordinate them and suggested one of the best ways to do this, was to split down the list by ward, with each ward member given that list so that they could supplement some of the un-banded properties that are not known about to have an up to date comprehensive list. Lastly the member spoke about revenue and whilst appreciated that grants were an incentive, clearly there wasn’t enough revenue and would like to think that extra revenue could be raised through council tax as a result of bringing these properties back into use, and that maybe that revenue could be hypothecated into creating more funding to help and create economic activity.
A member highlighted that the report focused on Bridgend currently and asked the Head of Performance and Partnerships if he had any idea when this was going to be expanded into the rest of the borough and highlighted that he was pleased to see that Churches would be brought in, in some way, and highlighted the issue of finding owners that abandon these properties, and highlighted the issue of a church in Caerau. The Head of Performance and Partnerships confirmed that when he talked about Bridgend, her was referring to Bridgend County Borough Council and not specifically Bridgend Town Centre, with a holistic approach across all properties across the authority. The Head of Performance and Partnerships asked the member to pass on the details of the church in Caerau so that this could be looked into.
A member again thanked the committee and was pleased to see a ... view the full minutes text for item 68.
The Scrutiny Officer presented the feedback from the previous meeting in respect of Community Asset Transfer and asked Members to approve the responses/comments as detailed in the report.
The Scrutiny Officer asked members if any additional information was required regarding the Homelessness Strategy and Supporting People Grants, due to be considered at the 18th March 2019 meeting, adding that the Supporting People Grants item had been due to go to SOSC1 in February, but that it had been agreed that this item would complement the Homelessness Strategy item, and so it was agreed that these two items would come to SOSC3, rather than SOSC1 as originally intended. Members of SOSC1 will be invited to attend the meeting on the 18 March 2019.
The Scrutiny Officer outlined that the meeting to be held on 1st May 2019 had been allocated as a Forward Work Programme Workshop to discuss future items, but that following a Forward Work Programme Planning Meeting with the Interim Chief Executive and Corporate Director a number of items had been put forward that may impact on the Workshop.
RESOLVED: The Committee:
1. Approved the feedback from previous meetings of the Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committee and noted the list of responses;
2. The Committee noted that it had been delegated items on Homelessness Strategy and Supporting People Grants for its next meeting;
3. The Committee noted that that a Forward Work Programme Planning Workshop had been arranged for its meeting in May, but maybe subject to change.
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.