Agenda and draft minutes

Place, Sustainability & Climate Change Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 6th June, 2024 10.00 am

Venue: Chamber - County Hall, Carmarthen. SA31 1JP and remotely. View directions

Contact: Janine Owen  01267 224030

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

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Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors P. Cooper, S. Godfrey-Coles and G.B. Thomas.

2.

DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL INTEREST INCLUDING ANY PARTY WHIPS ISSUED IN RELATION TO ANY AGENDA ITEM.

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Minutes:

There were no declarations of personal interest including any party whips.

3.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS (NONE RECEIVED)

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Minutes:

4.

REVENUE & CAPITAL BUDGET MONITORING REPORT 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 103 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee considered the financial monitoring report on the 2023/24 Revenue and Capital Budget for the Place & Infrastructure and Public Protection Services for the period up to the 29th February 2024. 

 

It was reported that overall, the revenue budget was forecasting a £1,280k overspend to year end.  The capital budget reported a forecasted net spend of £15,802k compared with a working net budget of £29,179k giving a variance of

£-13,377k.

 

The following questions/issues were raised on the report:

 

In considering the report, the Committee requested that additional information within the areas of significant expenditure variances be included within future reports to appraise members of the budgetary situation and enable effective scrutiny of the pertinent areas.  It was agreed that the Committee’s feedback would be relayed to the appropriate divisions and members were reminded that requests for detailed reports could be made as part of the Committee’s role in identifying trends within areas relevant to its remit.

 

In response to the concerns raised in respect of the increased electricity expenditure in closed landfill sites, an assurance was provided that this matter was currently being explored by officers, with a view to identifying solutions to mitigate costs going forward.

 

The Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services, in response to a query, confirmed that a report pertaining to the Council’s car parking charges was scheduled to be considered by the Cabinet in due course.

 

Concerns were raised regarding the expenditure associated with the under-utilisation of pooled vehicles.  The Business Improvement Manager provided an assurance to the Committee that a review was currently underway, with a view to introducing service-specific pool vehicles to maximise their utilisation.  It was agreed that the outcomes of the review would be provided to the Committee.

 

Reference was made to the under-achievement of income for Licensed premises whereby the target was not reflective of the number of licensable businesses in the county.  The Head of Housing and Public Protection clarified that the forecast over-expenditure was based upon validated income year on year, which now needed to be reviewed in light of the reduction in the number of licensable premises across the County.  It was agreed that further information in this regard would be circulated to the Committee by email.

 

The Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services explained to the Committee, in response to a query, that insufficient funding was received from Central and Welsh Government to maintain the county’s highways to an adequate level.

 

In response to a query regarding the cost of land purchases and associated fees for the Towy Valley Path, the Cabinet Member for Resources referred to the complex and lengthy process required to ensure that the Authority’s ambitious scheme was delivered appropriately.  The Committee was also advised that a report relating to the Towy Valley Path would be considered by the Cabinet in due course.

 

The Head of Place and Sustainability clarified to the Committee that an expert review had been commissioned to provide potential restitution to the long-term  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND ENERGY GENERATION IN HISTORIC HOUSING pdf icon PDF 102 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee received for consideration a report on energy efficiency and generation of energy in relation to the historic building stock of the county. 

The report had been submitted following a referral from the Communities, Homes & Regeneration Scrutiny Committee and set out the value of historic buildings to Carmarthenshire, the need to appropriately maintain such buildings with the correct materials and methods of repair to ensure sustainability for current and future generations. 

 

The report detailed the Authority’s commitment to improving the energy efficiency of its buildings, including those with statutory protection, in accordance with pertinent legislative and policy frameworks, in order to meet its Zero Carbon targets, reduce fuel poverty and to improve people’s health.  In this regard, reference was made to the development of a draft supplementary planning guidance document on built heritage that would be consulted upon imminently, and the development of the Local area energy plans which would identify the changes needed to the decarbonise the local energy system within Carmarthenshire and a high-level estimation of costs.

 

The following questions/issues/observations were raised on the report:

 

The Senior Built Heritage Officer, in response to comments made, confirmed that 3 of the 29 conservation areas across Carmarthen were subject to ‘Article 4’ conditions thereby removing the permitted development rights of householders.  Accordingly, it was clarified that there would be no additional planning restrictions on the installation of Solar Panels to the remaining 26 conservation areas not subject ‘Article 4’ conditions.  It was emphasised that such determinations were made in compliance with legislation and took account of the inherent value placed on the county’s built heritage.  

 

Following a query regarding funding requirements for the restoration of historic buildings, the Head of Place and Sustainability referred to the Authority’s draft Local Area Energy Plan which provided overall energy costings for the entirety of the Authority, however detailed costings on the county’s built heritage or historic housing stock was not available at present, but could be an area for further exploration in due course following implementation of the Plan.

 

Committee welcomed the report and members were pleased to note the support provided by the Authority to businesses and homeowners across the county in respect of appropriate energy saving and generation measures for historic buildings.  Following an invitation extended by the Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability, the Committee agreed to undertake a site visit to the Tywi Centre which formed part of the Place and Sustainability team and, as a UK-wide authority, provided advice, training and education on the appropriate care, repair and adaptation of historic buildings.

 

 

 

 

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that:

 

5.1

the report be received;

 

5.2

a site visit to the Heritage Centre be undertaken by the Committee during 2024/25;

 

5.3

a further update report be received in due course.

 

6.

FORWARD WORK PLAN FOR 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee, in accordance with Article 6.2 of the Council’s constitution, considered its draft Forward Work Plan for 2024/25. 

 

In response to a query, the Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability confirmed that no information had been received to suggest that the Equestrian Strategy would not be presented to the Committee as scheduled within the Forward Work Plan.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the Place, Sustainability and Climate Change Forward Work Plan for 2024/25 be endorsed.  

7.

FORTHCOMING ITEMS pdf icon PDF 88 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee received a list of forthcoming items to be considered at its next meeting to be held on the 16th July, 2024.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the list of forthcoming items for the Committee meeting to be held on the 16th July 2024 be agreed.

8.

TO SIGN AS A CORRECT RECORD THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE HELD ON THE 22ND APRIL 2024 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

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Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on the 22nd April, 2024 be signed as a correct record.