Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: via Video Conference


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No. Item



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Councillor Anton Sampson


The Chair welcomed Councillor Hugh Irving to his first meeting. Councillor Irving had been appointed by the Conservative Group to replace Councillor Rachel Flynn as one of its representatives on the Committee.  The Chair thanked Councillor Flynn for her contribution to the Committee’s work during her term as a member.




Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting.

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No declaration of interests had been raised.




Notice of items which, in the opinion of the Chair, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

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No urgent matters had been raised.



MINUTES pdf icon PDF 309 KB

To receive the minutes of the:


(i)            Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 1 July 2021 (copy enclosed); and


(ii)          Special Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 26 July 2021 (copies enclosed).



10.05am – 10.10am

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The minutes of the Communities Scrutiny Committee held on 1 July 2021 and the special Communities Scrutiny Committee held on 26 July 2021 were submitted.


(a)       Communities Scrutiny Committee (1 July 2021)


No accuracy points.


Matters Arising – Item 6: Section 19 Investigation Report on the February 2020 Floods in Denbighshire (page 10) – The Scrutiny Coordinator confirmed that the information requested from Natural Resources Wales would be presented to County Council at its meeting in October 2021 (rescheduled from September 2021).


(b)      Special Communities Scrutiny Committee (26 July 2021)


No accuracy points or matters arising.


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings held on 1 July 2021 and 26 July 2021 be received and approved as a correct record.




To consider a joint report by the Head of Highways & Environmental Services and the Council’s Ecology Officer on the Wildflower Meadow Project (copy enclosed).  The Committee is asked to examine the progress made to date with the project’s delivery and for its support for the project’s principles and proposals for improving publicity and engagement with communities in relation to the project.


10.10am – 11am


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Councillor Tony Thomas, Lead Member for Housing and Communities introduced officers present for this item which included the Head of Highways and Environmental Services and the Ecology Officer who had produced the joint report together with the Climate Change Programme Manager.  Dr. Kate Petty, Plantlife Road Verge Campaign Manager was also in attendance.


Councillor Thomas explained that the report sought the Committee’s support for the principle that residential/urban areas could be an appropriate location for wildflower meadows and proposals for improving publicity and engagement for the project.  The project had started as a pilot in 2020 with 21 sites selected, further sites had been added and there were currently 58 managed wildflower meadow sites which contributed to improved species enrichment.  Sites were managed by small border cuts, there was no cut between March and August, and the whole site was cut by specialist mower equipment enabling the meadow to set seed and provide the greatest benefit to wildlife with some extra wildflower planting undertaken if necessary.  The project also supported the Council’s Bee Friendly status.


The Head of Highways and Environmental Services added that the purpose of the report was to provide an update on the project and to address complaints/concerns received from some residents and members who believed wildflower meadow sites should not be developed in residential locations.  Consequently the Committee’s support for the project was sought subject to a more robust engagement strategy.


The Committee’s attention was drawn to the following points –


·         the project was an important element of the Council’s Climate and Ecological Change Strategy adopted in 2021 and drive to become an Ecologically Positive Council by 2030 with all supporting the principle of tackling climate change

·         the specific issue under consideration related to the appropriateness of residential/urban areas as locations for the wildflower meadows with opposition from some residents regarding a small number of sites generally based on aesthetic preferences and loss of municipal or amenity space

·         having taken into account those concerns officers responded that (1) aesthetic preference was subjective with differing views in that regard but it was important to note that the project had not been undertaken for aesthetic purposes but in responding to the climate emergency, therefore aesthetic preference was not considered a reason to continue or stop the project, (2) the loss of municipal/amenity space was considered a valid reason which was taken into account but there was little evidence to support concerns with only two known cases where parents had raised the issue about children not being able to play on those sites.  In most cases no previous activity had taken place on the site that could not still be undertaken and planning officers had confirmed the change in management did not represent a loss of public open space.  However, on larger sites where there was clear amenity use areas had been cut accordingly to ensure continuation of use, such as Violet Grove Park in Rhyl

·         calls to remove any sites in residential/urban areas from the project were a cause for concern and would destroy the connecting wildflower corridors currently being established; the basis of the grant funding used for the equipment to carry out the project was to ensure everyone had access to nature on their doorstep and therefore sites needed to be close to where people lived

·         in considering the complaints in context it was important to note that there had been almost universal support for the vast majority of sites with only a handful of the 58 sites subject to complaint, and there had also been support from local residents in areas where complaints had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.



To consider a report by the Scrutiny Coordinator (copy enclosed) seeking a review of the committee’s forward work programme and updating members on relevant issues.


11am – 11.20am

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The Scrutiny Coordinator submitted a report (previously circulated) seeking members’ review of the Committee’s work programme and provided an update on relevant issues.


Discussion focused on the following –


·         the reasoning behind the amendments to the Committee’s work programme since the last meeting together with potential future changes

·         possible additional items to be allocated to the Committee following the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs Group meeting that afternoon for the October and December meetings in relation to flood defence schemes

·         members were asked to submit any proposal forms regarding topics for scrutiny to the Scrutiny Coordinator in good time for the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs Group to consider at their meeting in November

·         the Committee agreed to review the latest position with regard to items on their forward work programme at their next meeting in October.


RESOLVED that, subject to the above amendments and observations, and subject to any revised recommendations that may arise from the Scrutiny Chairs and Vice-Chairs Group which was due to be held that afternoon, to confirm the Committee’s forward work programme as detailed in Appendix 1 to the report.




To receive any updates from Committee representatives on various Council Boards and Groups.


11.20am – 11.30am

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Councillor Brian Blakeley reported upon his attendance at the Service Challenge meeting for Highways and Environmental Services on 23 July 2021 which predominantly focused on issues relating to Cemeteries, Waste Service Remodeling and Staffing.  Councillor Meirick Davies highlighted the lack of response from the Council to issues of vandalism at Coed Bell Cemetery in Prestatyn and the Scrutiny Coordinator advised that it would likely be an issue for the Prestatyn and Meliden Member Area Group to consider but agreed to raise the issue directly with officers.


RESOLVED to receive the information provided on the work of the various groups by Committee representatives.


The meeting concluded at 12.05 pm