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Contact: Democratic Services 7785
You are welcome to use Welsh at the meeting, a minimum notice period of 3 working days is required should you wish to do so. A simultaneous translation will be provided if requested.
It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.
The following apologies for absence were received:-
Councillor H. McCarthy
Councillor B. Willis
Declarations of Interest and Dispensations
No declarations of interest or dispensations were reported
Ebbw Valley Railway
To consider the report of the Corporate Director Regeneration and Community Services.
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 of Part 1, Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act, 1972 (as amended).
Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director Regeneration and Community Services.
A Member noted that although the report had been deemed exempt some information was already in the press. The Member acknowledged the reason for the exemption, however he felt that due to the matters being considered and in the interest of the public the information should not be of an exempt nature. It was important that the Council was open and transparent with such transactions and the Member disagreed with the report being exempt.
The Corporate Director Regeneration and Community Services advised that the original report presented to Council was exempt and could not comment on how the information was in the public domain. The report considered a commercial arrangement and contractual details held between individual parties which were confidential.
A further concern was raised that there was no legal representative at the meeting and it was paramount when considering such matters that a legal officer be in attendance.
The Corporate Director Regeneration and Community Services spoke to the report which gave details of the loan agreement, risks identified and the contracting arrangements and the agreement of responsibilities between Welsh Government, Transport for Wales (Rail), Transport for Wales and the Council.
At this juncture the Chair invited questions from the Scrutiny Members.
A Member referred to the costings detailed in the report and the Corporate Director confirmed that any monies required to support alternative funding would be provided by Welsh Government.
The Member referred to the initial report presented to Council in March 2021 and advised that concerns had been raised in relation to the alternative funding which could fall back on Blaenau Gwent tax payers and noted that this had now been addressed. The Corporate Director advised that any alternative monies would now be met by Welsh Government.
Concerns were raised as Members had not been presented with the full analysis of passenger usage and if the revenue made from the additional trains would be sufficient to warrant the scheme. It was felt that if this scheme failed it would be a reputational risk to the Council and a Member proposed that the full analysis be presented to Members.
The Corporate Director Regeneration and Community Services advised that there would be no risk to the Council as the scheme was being funded by Welsh Government and Transport for Wales. The Corporate Director noted that there was a national risk following COVID-19 around the resilience of public transport. The agile working arrangements taken ... view the full minutes text for item 4.