Agenda and minutes

Council
Wednesday, 1st February, 2017 3.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices Angel Street Bridgend CF31 4WB. View directions

Contact: Mr Mark Anthony Galvin  Senior Democratic Services Officer - Committees

Items
No. Item

702.

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. 

Minutes:

Councillor B Jones – Personal interest in Agenda item 11, as his brother owns a property in the County Borough which has been empty for a number of years.

 

D Mepham – Prejudicial interest in Agenda item 9, in view of his role of Returning Officer within the Authority. The Chief Executive left the meeting whilst this report was being considered. 

703.

Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To receive for approval the minutes of a meeting of Council dated 11 January 2017.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:              That the Minutes of a meeting of Council dated 11 January 2017, be approved as a true and accurate record.

704.

To receive announcements from:

 (i) Mayor (or person presiding)

(ii) Members of the Cabinet

(iii) Chief Executive

Minutes:

Mayor

 

The Mayor was delighted to inform those present, that the response to the Mayor’s citizenship awards this year had been outstanding with over 60 nominations being received.  Judging will be taking place next week and the winners and nominators will be notified thereafter.

 

To start the year the Mayor and his Consort had a lovely visit to the Contact Zone in Bridgend. This not for profit organisation provides children of separated families a safe, friendly environment to meet with their non-resident parent, grandparent or siblings. The Mayor stated that it was interesting to talk with the staff, volunteers and families and see what a positive effect this centre is having on so many people.

 

A couple of weeks ago the Mayor was delighted to be asked to present prizes at Litchard Primary School. The pupils had entered a competition to design a poster in order to raise awareness of hate crime.  The response to this competition was amazing with many pupils eager to take part. The two winners had their posters made into banners which will be displayed around the school and the Mayor felt that from what he saw, this was an extremely worthwhile and timely campaign.

 

This led the Mayor onto the annual Holocaust Memorial, which this year he had the honour of attending as Mayor.  It was humbling to listen to the stories and experiences of people who have lived through such terrible events, but also to hear how they have gone on to rise above these experiences and bring good where there was once evil. Along with his Consort, the Mayor was privileged to light the Memorial Day candle and show support for this essential reminder of what a free, tolerant and democratic society we live in and how we must fight for it to remain so.

 

Deputy Leader

 

The Deputy leader confirmed that he was really pleased to see that the local library service has scored a 97 per cent satisfaction rating in the latest Welsh Public Library Standards performance report.

 

Nearly 6,000 new library members registered during 2015 - 16, so it has proven to be a very successful opening chapter in our partnership with the Awen Cultural Trust.

 

The service now has more than 74,700 registered members and recorded over 449,000 visits for the year. A total of 450,230 books, DVDs and other items were borrowed in that time.

 

It was interesting to note he added, that almost a quarter of all book reservations are now made online, and the number of e-books, e-audio and e-zines loaned out every year has risen to 25,000.

 

He was sure Members would agree that our partnership with the Awen Cultural Trust has enabled us to not only keep libraries open at a time when public services are facing huge funding challenges, but it has also allowed us to develop and improve the service, and make it more relevant to how people lives their lives.

 

Libraries continue to play a vital role within our communities, especially  ...  view the full minutes text for item 704.

705.

To receive the report of the Leader

Minutes:

The Leader advised that he was really pleased to see that the local library service has scored a 97 per cent satisfaction rating in the latest Welsh Public Library Standards performance report.

 

Nearly 6,000 new library members registered during 2015 - 16, so it had proven to be a very successful opening chapter in our partnership with the Awen Cultural Trust.

 

The service now has more than 74,700 registered members and recorded over 449,000 visits for the year. A total of 450,230 books, DVDs and other items were borrowed in that time.

 

It was interesting to note he added, that almost a quarter of all book reservations are now made online, and the number of e-books, e-audio and e-zines loaned out every year has risen to 25,000.

 

The Council’s partnership with the Awen Cultural Trust has enabled it to not only keep libraries open at a time when public services face are facing huge funding challenges, but it had also allowed us to develop and improve the service, and make it more relevant to how people lives their lives.

 

Libraries continue to play a vital role within our communities, especially as 43 per cent of people using ICT facilities have reported their reason for doing so as being a lack of access at home, and he was looking forward to seeing the service deliver further improvements over the next twelve months.

 

The Leader added that Members may have also seen stories in the media, about the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Power project. As close neighbours, this was a national initiative with the potential for securing jobs across South Wales due to the securing of a 120 year power supply. He had asked if Members could receive in the immediate future, a pre-Council presentation on the project.

 

Finally, the Leader announced that the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government Mr Mark Drakeford AM, had unveiled a White Paper yesterday on Local government reform. These had been broadly welcomed by the WLGA and a report would be submitted to Council in relation to this, in due course.

706.

Local Government Act 1972 - Vacation of Office pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer presented a report, to advise Council that Councillor David Sage has not attended meetings of the Authority for a period approaching six consecutive months, and seek Council’s approval of the reason for his absence in accordance with a provision of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

The report confirmed that Councillor Sage was suffering with continued ill-health, and this was the reason why he had been absent from meetings. His absence was likely to continue beyond a period of six months also, which would lapse on 13 March 2017.

 

RESOLVED:                    That Council approved Councillor Sage’s absence from attending meetings for the remainder of the municipal year due to his continuing ill-health.

707.

Review of Political Balance - Changes to Committee Membership pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer submitted a report, which:

 

  • Advised Council of the outcome of a review of the political balance of the Authority
  • Seek approval of the revised political balance
  • Receive nominations and appoint the necessary members to Committees to reflect the changes in the political balance, and
  • Receive nominations and appoint Chairpersons to the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

 

The Monitoring Officer reminded Members, that changes to the political balance of the Authority were made at the meeting of Council on 11 January 2017, but that since that meeting, a further review of the political balance was required. This was due to the fact that Councillor Cleone Westwood had become an Independent Member rather than a member of the Labour Group.

 

Due to the above, under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 it was also in turn necessary for Labour to relinquish one of the five Chairpersons of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees. This position was to be taken by a Member of the Independent/Alliance group, based on the revised political balance calculations.

 

RESOLVED:                      (1)  That Council noted the change to the political composition of the Council.

 

                                           (2)  Approved the allocation of seats to political groups in accordance with the political balance rules as set out in Appendix 1 of the report.

 

                                           (3)  Sought nominations as shown in paragraph 4.3 of the report for Committees, Panels and other bodies, and make changes in certain appointments to these as follows:

 

·         Appeals Panel – Labour to relinquish 1 seat to be replaced by Cllr C Westwood

·         Audit Committee – Labour to replace Cllr C Westwood with Cllr A Owen and Cllr RE Young with Cllr RC Jones

·         Development Control Committee – Labour to relinquish 1 seat to be replaced by Cllr C Westwood

·         Children & Young People O&SC – Labour to replace Cllr C Westwood with Cllr CL Jones

·         Partnerships & Governance O&SC – Labour to relinquish 1 seat to be replaced by Cllr C Westwood

 

                                           (4)  Appointed Cllr N Clarke as Chairperson of the Adult Social Care O&SC, under the provisions of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011.  

708.

Local Election Fees - 2017 to 2022 County Borough and Town & Community Councils pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Minutes:

The Corporate Director – Operational and Partnership Services presented a report, that sought Council’s approval of the election fees proposed to be applied for the County Borough and the Town and Community Councils election in May 2017, and for the by-elections up to the next local elections in 2022.

 

He referred Members to paragraph 4.1 of the report, which detailed in tabular format, the level of fees proposed to be applied, and these included fees for Polling Stations, Verification and Count, and Postal Vote opening, and reflected what has been paid at the combined Welsh Assembly and Police and Crime Commissioner elections, Parliamentary by-election and the EU Referendum in 2016.

 

Paragraph 4.2 of the report confirmed that there would be Election administration costs in addition to the above, but these were difficult to accurately estimate at this time.

 

The Corporate Director – Operational and Partnership Services, confirmed that the fees detailed in the report were both compliant and similar to those set by other neighbouring welsh local authorities.

 

RESOLVED:                        That Council:

 

(1)  Approved the schedule of fees set out in paragraph 4.1 of the report.

 

Delegated authority to the Returning Officer to determine the level of pay for additional administrative work required as outlined in the report, in consultation with the S151 Officer.

709.

To receive the following Question for the Leader/Members of the Executive

Question from Councillor RC Jones to the Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations

 

“Many Members here will have an empty property in their ward and so will be aware of the frustration and distress endured by their constituents who find themselves living near an empty home. In this borough there are around 2,080 homes, many of them having been empty for over 5 years. It must be heart breaking to find yourself living near and empty property and to watch it deteriorate year after year – along with the value of your own property.

What schemes do BCBC have in place to bring long term empty properties back into domestic use and end this nightmare for local residents?”

Minutes:

 

QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR RC JONES TO THE CABINET MEMBER FOR WELLBEING AND FUTURE GENERATIONS:

 

“Many Members here will have an empty property in their ward and so will be aware of the frustration and distress endured by their constituents who find themselves living near an empty home. In this borough there are around 2,080 homes, many of them having been empty for over 5 years. It must be heart breaking to find yourself living near and empty property and to watch it deteriorate year after year – along with the value of your own property. What schemes do BCBC have in place to bring long term empty properties back into domestic use and end this nightmare for local residents?”

 

Response from the Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations:

 

Where a property has been identified as being empty on the Authority’s empty property register, twice a year the Housing Service formally requests the owner to contact the Authority to discuss the assistance it can provide to bring the property back into use.  Currently the Authority has three types of grant or loan assistance to bring empty properties back into use through its Private Sector Housing Renewal and Disabled Adaptations Policy (latest version November 2016) - an Empty Homes Grant, an Empty Homes Loan and a Homes in Town Grant.

 

The principle method the Authority uses is a discretionary empty property grant to incentivise owners to return their properties into residential use.  As such, the majority of the terms and conditions are those that the Council seek to implement on the scheme.  It is particularly relevant as to who the property is allocated to on completion of the empty property grant.  The conditions imposed on owners of property in order to receive this grant are that:

 

The property must

 

  • be over 10 years old and identified as being empty on the Authority’s empty property register (except for the conversion of non-residential units into residential units);
  • be considered, in the Authority’s opinion, to be suitable for social letting at time of application;
  • be free from Category 1 hazards on completion of works;
  • be rented on completion of works, at the rate of the local housing allowance, and be available for nomination by the  Authority or their appointed agent for a period of 3 years; 
  • not be the subject of a demolition order under the Housing Acts; and
  • not have received assistance for the same works during the previous 10 year period.

 

The level of assistance available to applicants is;

 

  • Up to £10,000 per unit for a like for like conversion;
  • Up to £15,000 per unit for a conversion into more units; or
  • Up to £9,000 per unit for a conversion into shared units.

 

In addition, BCBC also operate a Welsh Government empty property loan scheme (Houses into Homes), this does not have the same restrictions on allocation.  Each applicant can receive up to £25,000 per unit (up to a maximum of £150,000).  This loan is interest free and aimed at bringing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 709.

710.

Urgent Items

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. 

Minutes:

None

711.

Cardiff Capital Region - City Deal pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive presented a report which advised Members of the next steps for the above City Deal and sought approval for the formal establishment of the Cardiff Capital Region Joint Committee, which will oversee the region’s economic growth agenda and delivery of the 20 year project. The report also sought approval of the Joint Working Agreement (JWA), Assurance Framework, Implementation Plan and Cardiff’s role as the ‘Accountable Body’ that will enable the establishment of the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal.

 

By way of background information, the Chief Executive reminded Council that on 15 March 2016 each of the ten local authority Leaders, the First Minister of Wales, the Welsh Government Minister for Finance, the Secretary of State for Wales and the Chief Secretary to HM Treasury signed the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal Heads of Terms Agreement (Appendix A to the report). This would unlock £1.2b and over its lifetime of 20 years, partners envisaged that the City Deal would deliver up to 25,000 new jobs and leverage an additional £4b of private sector investment.

 

The Chief Executive added that £734m would be allocated to Metro, with £495m covering an Investment Fund to support additional economic development activities. The latter provided the focus of the local government capital contribution of £120m borne by the 10 local authorities, with the remaining £375m provided by the UK government over a 20 year period. He added that the Heads of Terms made clear that further work was needed to conclude the City Deal, particularly in relation to the development of governance arrangements, in order to administer the £1.2b fund.

 

Paragraph 3.9 of the report then advised of the bodies that had been introduced to adequately cover essential governance issues attached to the City Deal. The Chief Executive further added that in addition to these, and in order to discharge the Cardiff Capital Region’s City Deal commitments and implement an ambitious economic strategy in the longer term, the 10 local authorities requested that greater financial autonomy and flexibility should be granted by government, in order to accelerate the delivery of critical infrastructure across the region, at a time of local authority funding restraints.

 

The next section of the report advised that a Programme Management Office has been established, and in addition to this, external legal support was appointed to develop a Joint Working Agreement (Appendix C to the report refers). This will provide the legal framework for the establishment of a Joint Committee for the Cardiff Capital Region.

 

The Chief Executive confirmed that the next step was to formally establish the Regional Cabinet and agree the terms and conditions of the City Deal Investment Fund. There were 3 specific requirements to be met, set by UK and Welsh Governments, namely:-

 

  • The transition of the Regional Cabinet out of the “Shadow” arrangements
  • Formal approval of the Assurance Framework for the Investment Fund; and
  • Formal approval of the Implementation Plan

 

Further details in respect of these were contained in the report and explained at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 711.

712.

Departure from Development Plan - Planning Application P/16/939/FUL - Construct a Single Storey Cafe Building with Ancillary spaces for use by South Wales Police pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Group Manager – Development outlined the above report, which was a proposal for a single storey cafeteria building to be centrally located within the Police Headquarters site, to replace an existing cafeteria building.

 

He confirmed that on 19 January 2017, the Development Control Committee considered the planning application which represented a departure from the Local Development Plan, and was therefore referred to Council for determination.

 

The application site forms part of a wider residential allocation in the Bridgend Strategic Regeneration Growth Area for approximately 138 units under Policy COM1 (5) of the Local Development Plan (LDP) (2013).

 

South Wales Police (SWP) were currently undertaking a large-scale rationalisation programme of their existing facilities and assets and, up until recently, their original rationalisation proposals involved the release of the entire northern part of their existing HQ facilities for alternative development.  However, SWP had confirmed that they have reassessed their assets as part of their ongoing rationalisation programme. They now propose to pursue an alternative strategy which entails carrying on with their programme of refurbishment and improvement works and retaining the whole of their existing HQ site at Cowbridge Road.

 

On the basis that the SWP rationalisation strategy has evolved since the adoption of the LDP in 2013, the fact that they have invested in the HQ site and, that their asset plan going forward is now to consolidate their activities and facilities at their existing site at Cowbridge Road, there is now no realistic prospect of the delivery of housing under Policy COM1(5) on this site.

 

Notwithstanding the loss of the housing allocation, the investment in the site and its comprehensive redevelopment is welcomed as the applicant has made a firm commitment to consolidate and retain its operations within the County Borough. The strategy will ensure that a highly prestigious HQ facility will be retained within Bridgend, thereby retaining and creating highly skilled employment opportunities as well as providing a valuable social and community service to the residents and communities of Bridgend.

 

Furthermore, added the Group Manager - Development, the new facilities at the Cowbridge Road site (including the cafeteria) will facilitate an earlier than previously anticipated release of SWP’s land holding assets at Waterton Cross, which also forms part of the larger mixed use allocation under LDP Policy PLA3(4) Parc Afon Ewenni, including the delivery of an estimated 650 new dwellings. The concentration of the facilities at SWP’s HQ at Cowbridge Road will now allow the entire Waterton Cross site to be released in a timely manner and within the LDP plan period (2013-2021).

The development is, therefore, broadly in line with the LDP’s Regeneration-Led Spatial Strategy and Strategic Policy SP1 of the LDP which aims to maximise regeneration benefits and particularly focus development within Strategic Regeneration Growth Areas. The current and wider proposals for the HQ site and the Waterton Cross site are inextricably linked and both are located within the Bridgend Strategic Regeneration Growth Area. The current proposal, as part of a wider strategy by SWP, is therefore  ...  view the full minutes text for item 712.

 

 
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