Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: via Video Conference


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No. Item



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Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Glenn Swingler.




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

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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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MINUTES pdf icon PDF 401 KB

To receive the minutes of the Communities Scrutiny Committee held on 10 December 2020 (copy enclosed).


10am – 10.05am


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The minutes of the Communities Scrutiny Committee on 10 December 2020 were submitted.


Item 5 -  Flood Risk Management across Denbighshire – Members were informed that appendix 5 to the Scrutiny Work Programme included the terms of reference for the task and finish group.


RESOLVED that – The minutes of the meeting held on 10 December 2020 be received and approved as a correct record.


Due to technical issues the meeting was suspended at 10.20. a.m.



The meeting reconvened at 10.30. a.m.



To consider a report by the Economic and Business Development Officer (copy attached) which outlines the work undertaken through the Rhyl Regeneration Programme, the governance arrangements which support that work, and seeks members’ observations on the information provided. 


10.05am – 10.45am

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The Leader Councillor Hugh Evans provided members with background information behind the regeneration programme in Rhyl. It was confirmed that Rhyl had two of the most deprived wards within Wales.


Due to technical difficulties video and audio connection with the Leader was lost. The Corporate Director for Economy and Public Realm (CDEPR) proceeded to guide members through the report (previously circulated). It was emphasised to members that Rhyl as an area was in need of regeneration. It was stressed that officers noted that all towns and wards had been faced with difficult times and needed support.


Within the report an update of arrangements around the priority of the town centre vision and the governance arrangements had been included. A Rhyl Regeneration Programme Board had been established. It was confirmed that Rhyl MAG had been communicated with all developments and a Rhyl Reference Group attended by Rhyl Councillors, Rhyl Town Council members and the local AM and MP. It was stressed a lot of work had been completed in Rhyl. Including work on the promenade, harbour and ongoing work at the Marina Quay.  It was confirmed that one of the priority areas was to concentrate on the town centre, whilst another one would focus on regeneration for the people and residents of Rhyl. Confirmation was given that a Rhyl Community Development Board had been established with partners such as health and the police.


Members were provided with more details from the Economic and Business Development Officer. The vision document included as an appendix to the report had been the result of 18 months of work and been signed off by Cabinet at the end of 2019. It was hoped it would provide guidance on the vision for the town centre and its regeneration.


During the ensuing debate members took the opportunity to raise questions and

discussed various aspects of the report with the officers present. Main discussion points focused on the following –

·         Technical Advisory Note (TAN) 15 was Welsh Government (WG) advice in relation to developments with regard to flooding. It was highlighted that a number of areas within Rhyl had been identified as areas of potential flooding. Developments within the flood areas needed to have special regard to how they would address the flooding issues at the development site. It was confirmed that parts of Rhyl would still remain on the flood risk maps. A number of schemes within Rhyl to address concerns of flooding had begun. The guidance TAN 15, stated regeneration development should be promoted with all aspects of the development assessed.

·         Appendix 2 to the report illustrated that the regeneration work at Rhyl had been separated into five different sectors. One of the sectors identified had been access and movement. This addressed and looked at transport and parking in Rhyl. Members heard a number of projects had been included to assess concerns. It was stressed that work had begun to look at developments for transport in Rhyl including work with the active travel routes, cycle paths and electric car charging points. The work would be a long term aspect of the regeneration project.

·         It was stressed that members had not been excluded from the boards working on the regeneration project. Officers welcomed feedback and input from members and Rhyl councillors. Members heard that the Rhyl Regeneration Programme Board was a technical forum that ensured agreed projects were interlinked and worked together. It was felt an officer led board would best suited for any information to then be communicated with the other boards and groups. Rhyl Member Area Group (MAG) members had stressed a desire to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.



To consider a report by the Traffic, Parking and Road Safety Manager (copy attached) which seeks the Committee to examine whether the Council’s existing car park tariff system and Residents’ Parking Scheme Policy are sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of all areas of the county.


10.45am – 11.30am

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The Lead Member for Waste, Transport and the Environment, Councillor Brian Jones introduced the report (previously circulated). The report provided details on the existing car park tariff system and policy for residential schemes. Members were reminded that a similar report had previously been presented in 2015. Further detail was provided by the Traffic, Parking and Road Safety Manager (TPRSM). It was explained that Denbighshire had adopted a uniform charging system across the County.


The development of a proposed pilot scheme in Llangollen formed part of a wider traffic and parking management arrangements for the town, which included discussions around varying parking charges between car parks. A question had been raised on whether a higher charge for central parking could be adopted and a lower charge for car parks on the periphery. It was confirmed that the current policy did not allow this method of charging. The TPRSM confirmed that the overall income for a given town had to be as cost neutral as possible. The proposed pilot scheme’s aim was to allow more flexibility for varying charges in a town to aid traffic flow and availability spaces. Officers stressed that the proposal was being presented to the Committee for comments and agreement to proceed with the pilot scheme. Confirmation was given that an update report and any findings would be presented to committee following monitoring of a period of 12 months.


Councillor Graham Timms presented members with a brief history of the issues experienced in Llangollen related to car parking. Members were made aware that Llangollen car parks created the second largest income from car parks in the County. It was felt that by varying the cost of parking in the town provision would be available that would cater for all needs, e.g. residents, commuters and local businesses. Councillor Melvyn Mile highlighted to members the work that had begun in Llangollen to identify issues that were important for all individuals and visitors.


During the ensuing debate members took the opportunity to raise questions and discussed various aspects of the pilot scheme with the officers and Lead Member. Main discussion points focused on the following

·         The existing permit system for parking in Council car parks was still in existence for individuals to purchase. Officers would determine which car park was most suitable for permit holders to use.

·         Reassurance was provided that the income generated from car parks had been reinvested back into car parks or road safety related funcitions within Denbighshire. It was confirmed communication had taken place with Highways to evaluate service level agreements for each car park within Denbighshire.

·         Officers stated they had not been made aware of any security issues at car parks in Llangollen. Security was an important consideration for car parks. Monitoring of car park security would continue.

·         Confirmation was provided that car parking charges in the County were last increased in 2016.  Whilst there were no specific plans at present to increase parking charges, fees and charges were revised on an annual basis.


The Chair thanked officers for the comprehensive report and answers provided to members concerns.


Following the discussion, the Committee,


RESOLVED that, subject to the above observations

    i).        recommended that the pilot scheme in Llangollen where car park tariffs were to be varied in the various car parks within the town on the basis that, where possible, there should be no net loss in car park income from all the car parks in Llangollen town centre, be implemented;

   ii).        that a further report is presented to the Committee, approximately 15 months following the Scheme’s implementation, on its effectiveness and any lessons learnt  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

At this juncture (12.05 p.m.) the meeting adjourned for a 20 minute refreshment break.


The meeting reconvened at 12.25 p.m.






To consider a report by the Contracts and Performance Project Manager (copy attached) which provides the Committee with an update on the migration processes of Universal Credit (UC), the effectiveness of mitigation measures and how COVID - 19 has impacted on the number of people claiming Universal Credit in Denbighshire.


11.40am – 12.20pm

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The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting including Graham Kendall, from Citizen Advice Denbighshire (CAD) for the discussion on Universal Credit.


Councillor Julian Thompson- Hill, Lead Member for Finance and Efficiency introduced the Universal Credit report (previously circulated). It was highlighted that the Committee had originally requested the report (previously circulated) for the purpose of reporting on the final migration of recipients on to Universal Credit.  The Covid-19 pandemic had impacted on this process and consequently details had been included within the papers for members comments. Reference was made to the data figures having reflected the current pandemic. The number of claimants had increased due to factors out of individuals control.


The Head of Finance and Property (HFP) provided a brief introduction on how Denbighshire County Council was supporting residents in relation to UC and associated support. It was stated Universal Credit had increased during the year due mostly to the pandemic. The increase in numbers offered reassurance that residents of Denbighshire had received financial support. Due to the increase in applications for Universal Credit an impact on Denbighshire County Council (DCC) finances had been observed. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) administered the Universal Credit, other benefits such as Housing Benefit were administered by DCC. It was explained to members that the Housing Benefit administration grant had reduced in line with the migration to Universal Credit. It had been noted that although the funding had reduced the workload had remained the same.  It was highlighted that the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) was offered to eligible residents, and uptake had increased over recent months. This had resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic; it was stressed the recovery would be slow. Members were informed that a cash grant to aid the financial impact due to an increase in the uptake of the CTRS had been secured for 2020/21, but it was as yet unclear whether any assistance would be available for the forthcoming financial year. The HFP wanted to thank officers and the CAD for all the hard work that had been put into the smooth transition to Universal Credit especially during the difficult few months.


The Business Support Manager addressed a number of concerns that members had raised before the meeting. It was explained to members the difficulty in providing accurate figures around the number of individuals that were still in receipt of legacy benefits. The data for those customers had to be sought from a wide range of different benefits that DCC did not have access to the information.

It was confirmed that the number of claimants for CTRS had increased by 2.8%, and that there had been a 10.95% increase in free school meal (FSM) applicants between March and November 2020. The Business Support Officer provided members with context for the data within appendix 1 and appendix 2. It was stressed that officers regularly monitored the statistics on a monthly basis to ensure that further investigation and intervention occurred as soon as needed.  Members were reminded that a number of benefits and emergency financial measures were in place at present that residents may be eligible to claim, all had different criteria requirements.


Graham Kendall - Citizen Advice Denbighshire (CAD) Business Development Manager echoed the thoughts and comments of the Lead Member and officers praising the approach to Universal Credit had been the correct method. It had provided individuals with the information and partnerships to contact for support. It was highlighted that 1235 new claims had been received during the lockdown for Universal Credit. The continued close working relationship with DCC had proved invaluable for both officers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.



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


12.20pm – 12.35pm

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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 –

·         Members agreed to defer the item on ‘The role of Denbighshire in Public Transport and Active Travel Provision’ until October 2021.

·         The items listed on the forward work programme for the next meeting on 11 March 2021 were reaffirmed.

·         All members agreed to defer the report on ‘The Planning Compliance Charter’ until early 2022.

·         members were asked to submit any proposal forms regarding topics for scrutiny.

·         A draft remit had been included in Appendix 5 for the task and finish group to look at flood management and working with private landowners to mitigate the risk of serious flooding. It was that the terms of reference would be presented to all MAGs to request a nomination from each MAG to serve on the group. It was confirmed it would take some time to establish. 

·         Councillor Merfyn Parry requested that the report on the impact of the school in Rhewl on the communities of Rhewl and Llanynys include a ‘Community Impact Assessment’. It was agreed that Councillor Parry and the Scrutiny Co-ordinator would liaise with officers to receive the agreed information. The CDEPR offered his assistance in sourcing this report.



    i).        subject to the amendments and inclusions to the draft forward work programme proposed during the meeting to confirm the Committee’s Forward Work Programme, and

   ii).        the draft terms of reference for the Flood Risk Management and Riparian Land Ownership Task and Finish Group be approved.





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


12.35pm – 12.45pm

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No reports from committee representatives had been received.


The meeting concluded at 13.20 p.m.

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