Meeting documents

Ordinary Meeting of the Council
Thursday, 26th October, 2017 10.30 am

Date: Thursday 26th October 2017 Time: 10.30 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

PresentAndReport toReport of
COUNCILLOR D. HANCOCK (THE CHAIR,
PRESIDING)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (236K/bytes)
Noted
2. WELCOME

The Leader of the Council on behalf of Members and officers formally welcomed the newly appointed Managing Director to her first meeting of Council. Both the Independent and Labour Groups were delighted to have her on board and looked forward to working with her.

On behalf of Council the Leader continued by expressing his appreciation to Stephen Gillingham for the work he had undertaken and contribution he had made during the interim period and said that he had been, and would continue to be a source of strong support for the new Managing Director. The Leader of the Council concluded by also expressing appreciation to the Corporate Leadership Team for supporting Stephen during this period of time.

The Leader of the Labour Group echoed the comments made by the Leader of the Council and said that he and his Group looked forward to working with the Managing Director. He also wished to place on record his appreciation to Stephen Gillingham who had undertaken the role during an extremely difficult period and had guided the Council through these challenges.

A Member also referred to the tremendous amount of work that Stephen had undertaken to improve Social Services a number of years previously during a very challenging period and wished that appreciation for this work also be placed on record.

Noted
3. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

Noted
4. APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from: -

Councillors K. Hayden, J. Wilkins and L. Winnett.

Noted
5. DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS AND DISPENSATIONS

The following declarations of interest were reported:-

Councillors W. Hodgins
L. Parsons

Item No. 11 Financial Loan

Noted
6. MEMBERS QUESTIONS

There were no questions submitted by Members.

Noted
7. PUBLIC QUESTIONS

The Leader of the Council advised that a question had been submitted by a member of the public for Council to consider but unfortunately, the individual had been unable to attend the meeting in person to present the question.

It was noted that if the member of the public had been able to attend the meeting, as outlined in the Council's Constitution, they would have the opportunity to ask a 'supplementary question'. Therefore, as this was a valid question and in the interest of openness, transparency and fairness to afford the opportunity to the individual to ask a 'supplementary question' an offer had been made to defer consideration of the question until the December meeting of the Council. However, if the individual was unable to attend the meeting in December it was proposed that the question be considered in her absence.

RESOLVED accordingly.

Agreed
8. ASSESSMENT OF PERFORMANCE 2016/17
Report (127K/bytes)
Appendix (875K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Temporary Lead Corporate Director/Head of Paid Service.

The Leader of the Council in presenting the report advised that despite the introduction of the Well-Being of Future Generations Act in 2015 there was still a statutory requirement on the Council to respond to the Measure by undertaking an Assessment of Performance which, was subject to external audit by the Wales Audit Office who would assess for compliance against the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.

The Leader of the Council pointed out that the high level outcomes were highlighted in Paragraph 2.1 of the report and concluded by proposing that Option 1 be endorsed.

The Leader of the Labour Group said that these outcomes had served the Council well in terms of the performance assessment and seconded the proposal to endorse Option 1.

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and the Council's Assessment of Performance 2016/17 be approved for publication prior to 31st October, 2017.

Agreed
9. INTRODUCTION OF PUBLIC SPACES PROTECTION ORDERS
Report (282K/bytes)

Members considered the report of the Head of Policy and Performance.

The Leader of the Council commenced by advising that that this report had previously been presented to the Corporate Overview Scrutiny Committee on 4th September, 2017, however the Committee had deferred making any recommendation pending a Member Briefing Session on the topic in order that all Elected Members could be briefed prior to Council considering the document.

This briefing session was subsequently held on 2nd October, 2017 and provided greater clarity and addressed many of the issues raised in respect of the expiry of the original Designated Public Place Orders after 20th October, 2017 which would be superseded by Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO).

The purpose of the report was, therefore, to acknowledge the introduction of the new local authority power called Public Spaces Protection Orders and approve the introduction of the four PSPO areas outlined in the report. It was noted that as anti-social behaviour was fluid and new 'hotspot' areas may arise, new PSPO areas could potentially be considered and introduced if Members had on-going issues of anti-social behaviour in their particular areas.

A Member proposed an amendment to the PSPO areas outlined in the report and requested that 'Brynmawr Market Square' and 'Brynmawr Bus Station' be added to the list because these were specific 'hotspot' areas for anti-social behaviour.

The Leader of the Council advised the four areas outlined in the report had been proposed based on Police evidence and if Members were aware of particular hotspot areas, the Policy Team, that had the lead responsibility to consider issues of anti-social behaviour, should be notified accordingly. Officers would then consider whether an appropriate intervention was required and assess whether a PSPO would be the most effective intervention, in-line with the specific requirements of the legislation. The Leader of the Council concluded by proposing that the original report outlining the four proposed PSPO areas be accepted.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed i.e. the introduction of the four PSPO areas as outlined in Paragraph 2.1 (including the associated prohibition, requirements, compliance and fixed penalty arrangements, and arrangements to identify new PSPO areas) be agreed, namely:-

„ Lakeside Retail Park, Nantyglo.
„ Ebbw Vale (to include: Town Centre Multi-Storey Car Park, Bethcar Street, Market Street, The Walk).
„ Multi-Storey Car Park and Lime Avenue, Ebbw Vale.
„ Commercial Street, Tredegar.

Agreed
10. FORMER CARETAKERS BUNGALOW, WELFARE PARK, EBBW VALE
Report (128K/bytes)

The report of the Corporate Director Environment and Regeneration was submitted for consideration.

At the invitation of the Chair, the Executive Member - Environment spoke in detail to the report and highlighted points contained therein. He advised that the land and property within Ebbw Vale Welfare was held in trust for which the Council were trustees for the Charity 'The Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation' (CISWO).

It was noted that because the property was held in trust the Council had to adhere to the specific rules set out under the Charities Act (2011) in relation to any disposal of land or property within the boundaries of the park. These included, but were not limited to, that any proceeds of sale must be ring fenced and utilised within the boundaries of the Welfare Park itself and that the trustees obtain advice on market value and the best method of sale from an RICS Chartered Surveyor.

The Council was advised that the sale of the property could potentially generate a capital receipt of between 90,000 and 110,000. The provisions laid out under The Charities Act (2011) required any proceeds of sale to be re-invested within the Ebbw Vale Welfare Park area and at the same time improve the facilities for local users. However, this would require the Council to deviate from its normal policy of pooling of capital receipts.

Members were then given the opportunity to raise questions/comment on the report.

Proceeds of the Sale

A Member referred to Paragraph 1.5 of the report in particular that the proceeds of the sale must be ring fenced for the park and asked if Council could potentially have any involvement with regard to how the money could be utilised effectively for example, if some of the funding could be used towards the maintenance of the park as this could alleviate some of the pressure on the Council budget.

The Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance advised that any release of funds arising out of the sale of the property would be retained in trust for the benefit of that charitable object but there were a number of restrictions. A number of options could be considered at a later date which could potentially include consideration by Council or dealt with via delegated powers. The Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance undertook to clarify this matter.

RESOLVED accordingly.

The Leader of the Council referred to a separate piece of work being undertaken i.e. a Community Asset Transfer and pointed out that as part of this arrangement, and as agreed under the previous administration, revenue funding would be available to assist those clubs who had agreed to a community asset transfer to ensure organisations were not handed a liability. Currently six organisations used this facility and he was aware through discussions that there were a number of remedial issues that needed to be addressed at the site to meet the aspirations of the clubs. It was hoped, therefore, that a proportion of the proceeds of the sale may be able to be used for those purposes which would alleviate the pressure on the Council's Community Asset Transfer Fund.

A Member expressed his concern that the sale of the property by auction excluded a considerable amount of people who may have been interested in the property. He said that he would have much preferred if the property could have been sold through a local agent in order that the people of the area could have had a chance to purchase the property. He proposed that the recommendation be amended to read "that the property be sold on the open market".

The Executive Member - Environment advised that in order for the property to be sold on the open market the existing Property Disposal Strategy would need to be amended. The Member suggested that the policy may need to be revised at some point in the future.

In reply to a question relating to the sale of proceeds from a school bungalow, the Executive Member - Environment confirmed that in normal circumstances all proceeds from the sale of corporate buildings was transferred into the corporate fund. However, in this instance because the land and building at Ebbw Vale Welfare was held in trust all proceeds of sale must be ring fenced and utilised within the boundaries of the Welfare Park itself.

Empty Properties

In reply to a comment relating to a property at Cwm Welfare Ground that had been vacant for a number of years, the Executive Member - Environment advised that there were a number of vacant properties throughout the County Borough and these issues would be addressed as soon as possible.


Another Member also advised that he was aware of at least 21 properties that were vacant throughout the community and requested that these properties also be addressed as soon as possible.

A Member reiterated the proposed amendment to the recommendation i.e. "that the property be sold on the open market".

Upon a vote being taken it was

FURTHER RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and

„ The former caretaker's bungalow 'Olwyn Ddwr' be disposed of, for market value, via Public Auction.

„ The deviation away from the normal Council Policy of pooling of capital receipts and to instead re-invest the proceeds of sale back into the Welfare Park, as per the provisions under The Charities Act (2011) be supported.

Agreed
11. TREASURY MANAGEMENT REVISED INVESTMENT STRATEGY
Report (118K/bytes)
Appendix (133K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chief Finance Officer.

The Leader of the Council spoke briefly to the report and it was

RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely the revised Investment Strategy be approved.

Agreed
12. MEMBERSHIPS
Report (230K/bytes)

Consideration was given to:-

ADVISORY PANEL FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF LOCAL AUTHORITY GOVERNORS

The following recommendations were made by the Panel on 9th October, 2017 to appoint:-

Councillor D. Wilkshire - Rhos-y-Fedwen Primary (re-appointment)
Mrs J. Jones - Rhos-y-Fedwen Primary
Mrs D. Rowberry - Bryn Bach Primary (re-appointment)
Councillor T. Smith - Glanhowy Primary (re-appointment)

RESOLVED that the above appointments be endorsed.

The Executive Member - Education advised that there were currently 9 Local Education Authority vacancies on School Governing Bodies, as follows:-

1 at Coed-y-Garn Primary School
1 at Deighton Primary Primary School
3 at Ebbw Fawr Learning Community
1 at Pen-y-Cwm Special Primary School
1 at Soffryd Primary School
2 at Ysgol Brohelyg Primary School

The next meeting of the Advisory Panel was scheduled to be held on Wednesday, 13th December, 2017.

GWENT JOINT RECORDS COMMITTEE

To appoint a representative to replace the Executive Member - Corporate Services on the above-named Committee.

RESOLVED that the Executive Member - Regeneration & Economic Development be appointed to replace the Executive Member - Corporate Services on the Gwent Joint Records Committee.

The following additional membership was considered:-

EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE

To appoint a replacement for Councillor B. Thomas on the above Committee.

RESOLVED that Councillor S. Healy be appointed to replace Councillor B. Thomas on the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee.

Agreed
TO RECEIVE AND CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING REPORT(S) WHICH IN THE OPINION OF THE PROPER OFFICER IS/ARE AN EXEMPT ITEM(S) TAKING INTO ACCOUNT CONSIDERATION OF THE PUBLIC INTEREST TEST AND THAT THE PRESS AND PUBLIC SHOULD BE EXCLUDED FROM THE MEETING (THE REASON FOR THE DECISION FOR THE EXEMPTION IS AVAILABLE ON A SCHEDULE MAINTAINED BY THE PROPER OFFICER)
13. FINANCIAL LOAN
Report (237K/bytes)

Councillor W. Hodgins and L. Parsons declared an interest in this item but remained in the meeting whilst the item was considered but took no part in the discussion or the voting.

Having regard to the views expressed by the Proper Officer regarding the public interest test, that on balance the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information and that the report should be exempt.

RESOLVED that the public be excluded whilst this item of business is transacted as it is likely there would be a disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 14, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).

Members considered the report of the Corporate Director of Environment and Regeneration.

The Executive Member - Environment spoke to the report and highlighted points contained therein. He explained that the Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny Committee on 12th October, 2017 had considered the report and had recommended a further Option 4. This option had subsequently been endorsed by the Executive Committee on 25th October, 2017 as follows:-

"The Scrutiny Committee did not support any of the options outlined in the report at this time and recommended to the Executive Committee:-

- That until a Vision Statement was provided, setting out clear objectives on how they would develop, deliver and maintain the facilities, an in-principle Council loan was not supported at this time; and

- Also requested receipt of the Organisation's Vision Statement and six monthly performance report prior to a future report coming back to the Committee on the in-principle agreement of providing a loan to the Organisation".

The Leader of the Labour Group endorsed Option 4 but questioned whether there was a legal reason that the report required endorsement by Full Council.

Another Member also supported Option 4 and said that he felt that the reporting line for the document had been effective.

Another Member questioned the decision making route in relation to the report. He pointed out that the report had been considered by the Scrutiny Committee and the Executive Committee had made a decision which was subject to a 5 day call in procedure. He concluded by stating that he had never known a report being submitted to two reporting routes in tandem.

The Head of Legal and Corporate Compliance confirmed that the report had been considered by the Scrutiny Committee and that Committee's recommendation had been considered by the Executive Committee the previous day (25th October, 2017) and was endorsed. The reason that the report had been submitted to Full Council was because it was a major decision that required due consideration. The Executive Member - Environment added that in the interests of openness and transparency the report had been submitted to Full Council for consideration.

A Member referred to the financial information contained on Page 107 of the report and pointed out that this did not detail any capital receipts for the Council. He had, therefore, requested that the organisation produce a vision statement and requested a guarantee that any repayments would not impinge and impact on the organisation's other services and facilities.

Another Member expressed his concern that public perception should be taken into account when considering a financial loan for an organisation as members of the public would perceive that the Council had a substantial amount resources available.

Upon a vote being taken it was

RESOLVED that the report which contained information relating to the financial/business affairs of persons other than the Authority be accepted and Option 4 recommended by the Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny Committee on 12th October, 2017 and endorsed by Executive Committee on 25th October, 2017 be approved, namely:-

i. That until the organisation provided a Vision Statement, that set out clear objectives on how they would develop, deliver and maintain the facilities, an in-principle Council loan was not supported at this time; and

ii. Also requested receipt of the Organisation's Vision Statement and six monthly performance report prior to a future report coming back to the Scrutiny Committee on the in-principle agreement of providing a loan to the organisation.

Councillor J. Millard abstained from voting.

Councillors W. Hodgins & L. Parsons did not participate in the vote.

Agreed