Agenda and draft minutes

Communities, Homes & Regeneration Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 16th November, 2022 10.00 am

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

Contact: Kevin J Thomas  01267 224027

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor B. Jones

 

The Chair welcomed Councillor N Evans to her first meeting of the Committee following her recent appointment by Council as a member of the Committee.

 

Prior to consideration of the Agenda, concerns were expressed at the number of documents being presented to the Committee that day for its consideration, extending to 808 pages, and to its potential impact on the Committee’s ability to undertake effective and efficient scrutiny. Accordingly, it was felt consideration should be given to the format of large reports to future meetings.

 

The Head of Place and Sustainability referred to the two Local Development Plan Reports being presented that day, which fell within his remit and extended to some 600 pages. He advised that as the report format was prescribed by Welsh Government, the Council had to comply with that format in preparing its LDP reports. However, he would examine if there was an opportunity to precis future reports to assist the Committee in undertaking effective scrutiny.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the Head of Place and Sustainability examine the format of future LDP reports presented to the committee.

2.

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

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Minutes:

Councillor

Minute No (s)

Nature of Interest

R. Sparkes

Minute 4 – Leisure, Culture and Outdoor Recreation Strategy

His business was in swimming

 

3.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS (NONE RECEIVED)

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Minutes:

The Chair advised that no public questions had been received.

4.

LEISURE, CULTURE AND OUTDOOR RECREATION STRATEGY - CONSULTATION pdf icon PDF 121 KB

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Minutes:

(NOTE: Councillor R. Sparks having earlier declared an interest in this item left the meeting during its consideration by the Committee)

 

The Committee received a report on the Council’s proposals to consult on a new 10 year Leisure and Outdoor Recreation Strategy for the County. The report centred on the main themes of:-

 

·       Where the Authority had been and its journey from 2007-2022

·       Where it was now

·       Where it was going

 

The Committee was advised that subject to Cabinet approval the Strategy would be subject to a period of public consultation with the aim of formal adoption by Easter 2023. Furthermore, if adopted, the financing of the Strategy would have to be met from within existing budgets, both revenue and capital

 

A number of questions / issues were raised on the report which included the following:

·       Reference was made to the focus areas in the report for the outdoor recreation service and to the absence of any specific provision for fishing throughout the county, particularly, the lakes within the Council’s ownership in the Millenium Coastal Park.

 

The Head of Leisure reminded the Committee that fishing was currently prohibited within those lakes due to the presence of the invasive species known as the Top Mouth Gudgeon and that the Authority was working closely with Natural Resources Wales to facilitate its eradication. He advised that he would arrange for the local members to be apprised of the current position.

 

He further acknowledged the lack of any specific reference to fishing within the Strategy, but that reference thereto could be included within the final version.

·       With regard to a question on the methodology used to calculate the Social Value of Actif Sports and Leisure, the Head of Leisure advised that the Council had liaised with the 4Global and Sheffield Hallam University thereon and he could arrange for that methodology to be shared with members of the Committee, if requested

·       With regard to monitoring the contribution of leisure services in tackling poverty, the Head of Leisure confirmed monitoring was undertaken via national school data for 7year olds together with data from the Welsh Government and the Sports Council relating to Adults. He confirmed he would arrange for members of the Committee to be provided with a high level summary of the relevant data.

·       Reference was made to the contribution leisure made to the health of the population and to whether there was scope for the Hywel Dda Health Board to contribute towards the cost of that provision

 

The Committee was advised that wherever possible the Authority worked in collaboration with the Health Board an example of which was the GP Referral scheme. However, it was confirmed strengthening that link and securing more commissioned preventative health work would be a key action over the Strategy period.

·       In response to a question on the level of childhood obesity amongst the 4-5 year age group, the Head of Leisure advised that whilst that had reduced in recent years, levels were now increasing and leisure services together with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

LOCAL INNOVATION STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 130 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the Council’s proposals to adopt a Local Innovation Strategy focussing on the following four Innovation opportunities to support the recovery and restructuring of Carmarthenshire’s economy:-

 

Opportunity 1 – Digital

·       Improved fibre and mobile connectivity

·       Opportunities for next generation digital technologies

·       Addressing digital skills

·       Developing a rural digital innovation centre

 

Opportunity 2 – Health

·       Development of a dispersed living laboratory to test new medical products and services

Opportunity 3 – Foundational Economy

·       Sustainable food procurement and development of the local food supply chain

Opportunity 4 – Circular Economy

·       Leveraging an approach for the Net Zero Agenda through reducing waste and recycling.

 

A number of questions / issues were raised on the report which included the following:

·       In response to a question on the Swansea Bay City Deal, the Head of Regeneration confirmed the Authority was proportionally benefitting from its participation. He advised that as part of the Deal’s implementation, the Council was leading on two of its projects namely Digital Infrastructure and Skills and Challenges and he would share further detail on the local benefits arising from these projects with members of the Committee via e-mail.

·       With regard to the ‘living Lab’, the Head of Regeneration advised whilst that was not a laboratory in the true sense, it was a facility whereby people could gather to share and develop innovative projects one example being the development of medical technology.

·       Reference was made to Welsh Government Targets for a reduction in food production and to whether they were achievable to enable the country to produce its own food and achieve carbon reductions. The Head of Regeneration advised that based on work undertaken it was anticipated there were sufficient diversification opportunities available to farmers. Furthermore, whilst the narrative and proposals within the report came from Welsh Government, they were not the Council’s proposals and it was looking at sustainable food production and procurement within the County

·       With regard to the development of the Pentre Awel project, the Head of Regeneration confirmed its delivery was on schedule, with the main contract to be awarded in the near future. Integral to that contract, were provisions for the employment of local tradesmen, creation of apprenticeships and to maximise the project’s benefits for Carmarthenshire.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that it be recommended to the Cabinet that Local Innovation Strategy be adopted

6.

COMMUNITY ASSET TRANSFER UPDATE pdf icon PDF 124 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee received an update report on the progress of the Council’s Community Asset Transfer Programme together with a proposed newly updated Community Asset Transfer Procedures Document for the Council’s adoption:

 

A number of questions/issues were raised on the report which, included the following:-

 

·       It was confirmed that although Parc Howard in Llanelly fell within the Council’s ownership, a collaborative group had been established with various groups, including the Town Council, to discuss and facilitate its maintenance and future development programme.

·       With regard to the 3% of Asset Transfers awaiting completion, the Head of Regeneration advised that delays in their completion could be attributed to a number of factors including Land Registry delays and other legal issues where, for example, land was held in trust by the Council. It was however hoped the new procedures document would improve completion times

·       In response to a question on the condition of transferred assets, the Head of Regeneration advised those were assessed on a case by case basis. The new procedures document provided a commitment that the Council will endeavour to provide whatever information is available and relevant in each case.  This would include information on the condition of the asset. The asset transfer process would take into consideration the condition of the property and how this would be attended to, on a case-by-case basis. The Council’s Community Bureau would also engage with town and community councils and community groups on obtaining grant aid.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED:

6.1

That the Community Asset Transfer Update Report be received;

6.2

That it be recommended to Cabinet that the newly updated Community Asset Transfer Procedures Document be adopted.

 

7.

ANNUAL MONITORING REPORT 2021/22 ADOPTED CARMARTHENSHIRE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN & ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REPORT pdf icon PDF 143 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee considered the Annual Monitoring Report 2021/22 on the Adopted Carmarthenshire Local Development Plan, together with the Annual Performance Report. It was noted that the report had been prepared in accordance with the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and the Local Development Plan (LDP) Regulations 2005. The 2004 Act required each Local Planning Authority to prepare an Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) on its LDP following adoption and to keep all matters under review that were expected to affect the development of its area and incorporating information on those matters for submission to the Welsh Government, and publication on the Council’s website by 31st October each year following plan adoption. It was confirmed the report had been forwarded to the Welsh Government in compliance with the 31st October requirement.

 

The Committee noted the Report would be developed further as evidence and data became available ahead of its submission to the Cabinet and Council for formal approval.

 

It was further noted that the content of the AMR would be used to inform the preparation of the revised Local Development Plan (minute 8 below refers)

 

A number of questions/issues were raised on the report which, included the following:-

 

·       In response to a question on the low generation of Hydro Electric Power within the County, the Head of Place and Sustainability advised that generally, small scale energy projects had not experienced a wide take up across Wales. However, the Council was endeavouring to increase that uptake within the county and via its own estate. The Council would also be consulting in 2023 on innovative renewable projects which would include provision of seed funding for feasibility studies

·       Reference was made to the increase in planning approvals for new homes in 2021/22 and the committee was advised whilst that could partly be attributed to the impacts of the recent Covid 19 pandemic there would be other influencing factors. The same reasoning could also be applied to the increase in the provision of affordable homes which were also being promoted via a national drive and by the Welsh Government.

·       On the issue of the Actif Travel, it was confirmed both the current and emerging LDP contained policies for its provision

·       In response to a question on the higher vacancy rate for retail units within Llanelli compared to Carmarthen and Ammanford town centres, the Committee was advised that generally town retail centres were facing significant challenges which, in part could be credited to a desire to retain retail units. However, that position was now changing both nationally and locally, and while the new Local Development Plan would concentrate on retail provision it would also allow for a greater mix of provision within town centres

·       With regard to the Local Development Order for Llanelli Town Centre, it was confirmed that had now expired and had not been as successful as anticipated for a number of reasons, one being partly due to the town centre being situated within a flood risk zone. However, if required, it could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

REVISED CARMARTHENSHIRE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2018 - 2033 DRAFT SECOND DEPOSIT pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the progress being achieved on the preparation and adoption of the Carmarthenshire Local Development Plan 2018-2033 Draft Second Deposit

 

The Committee was informed that the report identified the Council’s land use Vision, Strategic Objectives and Strategic Growth requirements for the County through to 2033, along with a detailed and comprehensive set of policies and provisions including, site specific allocations for housing and employment use, as well as environmental and other spatial considerations.

 

It was noted that whilst the report provided an update on the current position it, together with other supporting documents were emerging documents and would be continually developed up to publication.

 

The Committee was informed that the plan would be considered by the Council at its next meeting for approval for public consultation in January 2023, which would include the proposals map. Thereafter, it would be subject to public examination by a welsh Government appointed Planning Inspector with a view to its formal adoption in 2024.

 

A number of questions/issues were raised on the report which, included the following:-

 

·       In relation to a question on the identification of land within the Plan for affordable housing, the Forward Planning Manager confirmed the Plan would identify suitable sites for that purpose. It would also identify the percentage of affordable homes to be provided as part of housing developments. The Planning Department also worked closely with the Council’s Housing Division to ensure the Plan aligned with its proposals

·       Reference was made to the section on Place Making within the Plan and clarification sought on how it would be implemented. The Forward Planning Manager confirmed the Plan would have policies in place to set a standard for developers to follow in relation to factors such as actif travel, open spaces and infrastructure together with a requirement for them to produce  masterplans demonstrating a more holistic and integrated approach to development.

 

The Council was also a signatory to the Place Making Charter and its aims and ambitions were being integrated into the Plan. However, it was important to note the Plan’s preparation represented a starting point and, over time, Supplementary Panning Guidance would be produced to support the Council’s expectations and provide clarity on the expectations on developers.

·       Reference was made to the Housing Growth projections within the report and to whether they would be sustainable given the current economic climate within the United Kingdom.

 

The Head of Place and Sustainability confirmed that such macro economics were factored into the modelling of long range projections. The Committee was also reminded that the Plan was a ‘living’ document and would be constantly revised/refreshed in response to changing circumstances.

·       With regard to a question on the current position on the impact of the Phosphate Regulations on Developments, the Head of Place and Sustainability confirmed progress was being achieved thereon, albeit slowly, and that Natural Resources Wales was working on its phosphate calculator and mitigating guidance, based on that produced by Carmarthenshire. The Council was also working with developers, Natural  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

REVENUE & CAPITAL BUDGET MONITORING REPORT 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 105 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee considered the 2022/23 Revenue and Capital Budget Monitoring reports for the Housing, Regeneration and Property, Place and Sustainability and Leisure and Recreation Services for the period up to the 31st August, 2022. It was noted that the revenue budget was forecasting a £580k overspend, the capital budget a £43,939k underspend, whilst the Housing Revenue Account was forecasting a £27k overspend.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the Revenue and Capital Budget Monitoring Report be received.

 

10.

SCRUTINY ACTION UPDATE pdf icon PDF 108 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee received a report detailing the progress achieved in relation to requests or referrals emerging from previous meetings.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the report be received.

 

11.

FORTHCOMING ITEMS pdf icon PDF 79 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 19th December, 2022.

 

RESOLVED that the list of forthcoming items to be considered at the next scheduled meeting on the 19th December, 2022 be noted.

 

12.

TO SIGN AS A CORRECT RECORD THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE HELD ON THE 29TH SEPTEMBER 2022 pdf icon PDF 106 KB

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Minutes: