Venue: via Video Conference
Webcast: View the webcast
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Huw O Williams (Chair). In his absence the Vice-Chair Councillor Graham Timms, chaired the meeting.
Members to declare any personal or prejudicial interests in any business identified to be considered at this meeting.
No declarations of interest were declared at this juncture. Councillor Merfyn Parry declared a personal interest during business item 6, ‘New Waste and Recycling Operating Model General Update and Communications Progress’.
URGENT MATTERS AS AGREED BY THE CHAIR
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.
No urgent matters had been raised with the Chair or Vice-Chair prior to the meeting.
To receive the minutes of the Communities Scrutiny Committee held on 21st October 2021 (copy enclosed).
The minutes of the Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 21st October 2021 were submitted.
Councillor Brian Blakeley advised that he had tendered his apologies for the meeting, although they were not recorded in the minutes.
The Scrutiny Co-ordinator referred members to the ‘Information Brief’ document circulated earlier in the week which provided an update on the actions or requests emanating from the above meeting and progress in relation to their implementation and delivery. It was:
Resolved: - subject to noting the above apologies that the minutes of the Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 21st October 2021 be received and approved as a correct record.
To consider a joint report by the Council’s Flood Engineer and Project Managers (copy enclosed) which seeks the Committee to examine the scope and findings of the consultation for the schemes and formulate recommendations to Cabinet in relation to the approach taken.
10.10am – 11am
The Lead Member for Waste, Transport and the Environment alongside the Head of Highways and Environmental Services and the Flood Risk Engineer presented the Stakeholder/ Community engagement activity for potential Central Rhyl and Central Prestatyn coastal defence schemes (previously circulated).
During the introduction the Lead Member and officers explained the report had been requested by scrutiny to present the findings from the community consultation. Thanks was given to Matthew Hazelwood – Project Manager. He had Chaired all the Rhyl defence meetings and had done a lot of work for the scheme.
Members heard that a drop in public consultation on Central Prestatyn Coastal defence scheme was scheduled to take place 13th December 2021. Officers reminded members that a previous report had been presented to members and a follow up report on the engagement exercise had been requested.
In response to Committee members’ questions the following details were provided:
· A technical issue at the last Prestatyn Member Area Group (MAG) meeting resulted in the update having to be rearranged.
· The most pressing risk was situated at Rhyl golf club. Maintenance of the rest of the coastal works would hopefully see up to 50 more years’ protection. A concern noted by officers was the dunes at Gronant. Regular inspections and monitoring at the site occurred and future projects discussed.
· The kiosks at Rhyl front were being discussed at present. The corporate property team were engaging with tenants and operators of the kiosks. The scheme could not be built with the kiosks currently in place.
· Close working with other departments for potential schemes on Rhyl promenade was ongoing and would continue to ensure that all schemes and developments in the area dovetailed with one another.
· Engagement would continue throughout the schemes’ development with residents and business operators in the area. Discussions with key stakeholders would continue throughout the development and construction phases and if required modification proposals could be considered as and when appropriate.
· Dependent upon weather and ground conditions it was anticipated that the Central Rhyl Scheme would take up to two and a half years to deliver, with the Central Prestatyn Scheme taking in the region of three years. The latter scheme, which would be guided by ground conditions in the area, required be undertaken at a more measured rate.
· Carbon reduction had been identified as a positive impact in the Well-being Impact Assessments (WIA) for both schemes.
Members thanked the officers and contractors for the work on the schemes.
At the conclusion of the discussion, subject to the above comments and observations, it was:
Resolved: - that the Committee -
(i) having examined the scope and findings of the stakeholder and public consultations for the schemes, recommends to Cabinet that it is satisfied with the approach taken for the consultations and their findings; and
(ii) confirmed that, as part of its consideration, it had read, understood and taken account of the Well-being Impact Assessments (attached at Appendices 3a and 3b to the report).
To consider a report by the Council’s Waste and Recycling Manager (copy enclosed) which seeks the Committee to examine the progress made to date with the project, and seeks its views on a suite of household waste and recycling policies.
11am – 11.50am
The Lead Member for Waste, Transport and the Environment along with the Head of Highways and Environmental Services and the Waste and Recycling Service Manager guided members through the report (previously circulated). It was stressed that the waste model agenda item had been presented previously to the committee and officers were keen to keep members up to date and informed of the progress with the work. The Lead Member stated the waste model was first discussed back in December 2018 due to financial pressures faced by the authority.
The Head of Highways and Environmental Services confirmed the reason for the report was to inform members at what stage the development and delivery of the new model was, and the works that had occurred since last presenting to the committee. A lot of work had taken place and a great deal of progress made. The new depot in Denbigh, located on the Colomendy Industrial Estate was a key development part of the project. The benefits of the project had been made clear at a recent site visit. These included benefits to existing businesses on the estate – in developing the land used for the depot the Council had been able to unlock a piece of land to the rear of a number of existing private businesses which had then opened up an opportunity for those businesses to expand. This opportunity was welcomed by all.
Members were provided with a review of each of the appendices provided for members’ consideration and information.
In response to Committee members’ questions the Lead Member and officers provided the following details:
· Included within the report at appendix 2.b was a table that highlighted the proposed changes to the current Domestic Waste Collection policies. If the Committee agreed to the suggested changes the new policies would be approved via the delegated decision process by March 2022;
· The financial aspects of running the blue (co-mingled recycling) and black (residual waste) bin service had begun to be unviable. Communication with residents to explain the reasoning behind the new model and help them understand why it was being introduced would be vital for the implementation of the new model;
· The reasons for changing the model and system had been debated at length before making the decision to change. The benefits had been highlighted in appendix 5. The current model was not financially or environmentally sustainable;
· Officers had looked at and learnt from authorities already using similar models for recycling and waste systems;
· The new model would allow staff to gain new knowledge and progress and expand experiences. It will also enable more staff to be employed at all different levels;
· The aim for the textile collection was for it to be made available across the whole county either by co-options or by DCC collectors. Members heard that pre-covid, funding had been secured from Welsh Government to extend the textile collection to more households in the county but had been delayed due to the pandemic. It was hopeful it would resume as the economy recovered;
· As part of the roll out, over 44,000 households would be issued with the trolley box. Officers felt that a cardboard sack was best suited for recycling and would be issued to households. Additional recycling containers could be purchased or extra sacks could be provided;
· It was confirmed a slight delay had been observed in procuring the electric vehicles. It was stressed it would not delay the implementation of the new system;
· The cost to dispose of waste in black bins was higher than for sending recycling items away. The more items recycled as opposed to ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
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.
11.50am – 12.05pm
The Scrutiny Coordinator (SC) 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 SC advised that there were four substantial items being discussed at the next meeting. No further items for this meeting was advised.
· No additional agenda items had been referred from the last Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs Group meeting held on the 25 November 2021.
· At the last Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs Group meeting, members discussed not holding Scrutiny meetings during the time before the election period in May 2022. The 6 weeks prior to the elections no contentious decisions would be made. It was agreed not to hold Scrutiny meetings during that period unless an urgent item came in. The last meeting of this Committee before that pre-election period would be 10 March 2022.
· Members were reminded to complete the scrutiny proposal form if there was anything members wished to examine in detail.
· The SC updated members from the previous meeting on the Rhyl Cut and Prestatyn Gutter and whether any of the riparian land was owned by the authority. The SC confirmed it was the land owners who were responsible for the maintenance of boundaries contiguous to the Cut/ Gutter. In the information report provided to members, illustrations were provided to show land owned by DCC.
Resolved: - subject to the above comments to confirm the Committee’s forward work programme.
FEEDBACK FROM COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES
To receive any updates from Committee representatives on various Council Boards and Groups
12.05pm – 12.15pm
No feedback was received from Committee representatives on any Council Boards or Groups.
At this junction (12.05 pm.) there was a scheduled 55 minute break.
Meeting reconvened at 13.00 p.m.
To consider a joint report by the Council’s Strategic Planning & Housing Manager and the Lead Project Manager (copy enclosed) which presents the Committee with the conclusions of the Task and Finish Group established to support the work on the new Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment. The report also seeks the Committee to formulate recommendations to Cabinet in relation to the draft Assessment.
1pm – 2pm
The Lead Member for Planning, Public
Protection, Safer Communities and Domestic Abuse alongside the Head of
Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Services and Strategic Planning and
Housing Manager and Councillor Barry Mellor the Chair of the Gypsy and
Traveller Accommodation Assessment Task and Finish Group presented the Task and
Finish Group’s report on process followed for undertaking Denbighshire’s Gypsy &
Traveller Accommodation Assessment (2021).
Also attached to the report (previously circulated) was
The Lead Member for Planning, Public Protection, Safer Communities and Domestic Abuse gave the Committee some background to the production of the report. The Housing Act (Wales) 2014 placed a legal duty on Local Authorities to assess the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers (Section 101) and subsequently meet those needs (Section 103). There was a legal requirement (Housing (Wales) Act 2014) for GTAAs to be undertaken as a minimum every 5 years and the Council was now therefore required to undertake a new Assessment. An up to date GTAA was also a requirement for the replacement Local Development Plan (LDP). The deadline for the GTAA to be submitted to Welsh Government was 24th February 2022.
A robust project management approach had been adopted with the establishment of a Member-led Project Board, with the Leader and Lead Member working with Senior Officers to direct this work ensuring Member involvement, openness and transparency.
Elected Members and the Scrutiny Committee had previously raised concerns regarding the level of consultation with Gypsy and Traveller communities and the need for early engagement with Members. Consequently, Communities Scrutiny Committee agreed at its meeting on 13th May 2021 to establish a Task and Finish Group to provide support for the development of the new GTAA.
Councillor Barry Mellor, Chair of the Task and Finish Group informed the Committee that the Task and Finish Group had met six times. Its discussions had covered all aspects of the Welsh Government methodology. They reviewed progress on the assessment, communication with all stakeholders and the findings of the draft GTAA report. Their final report was attached to the report as appendix 1.
The Work Brief and Stakeholder Communication and Engagement Plan included activities to meet the requirements of the Welsh Government’s methodology as well as additional activities that had been identified as important to the Council. These provided the framework for undertaking the GTAA. The range of additional activities included an on-line survey for members and the involvement of members in promoting the survey – ensuring greater member involvement at an early stage. The employment of a Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Liaison Officer during August also ensured that travelling families staying in the County during the Assessment period were made aware of then Assessment.
Closing Councillor Barry Mellor stated that the draft GTAA findings and recommendations had been presented to the Task and Finish Group at its meeting on 15th November. At that meeting the Group agreed that they were satisfied that the WG methodology had been applied appropriately to the analysis of need and that the additional activities identified previously by Scrutiny had also been undertaken. Whilst the approach taken had required some considerable commitment from Task and Finish Group members during recent months, they all felt that the approach had worked well. As a result, the Group had requested that a similar approach be adopted in future when considering potential sites for pitches.
The Lead Member for Planning, Public Protection, Safer Communities and Domestic Abuse thanked Councillor Mellor, and the Task and Finish Group for all the hard work which they had carried out. He then proceeded to ... view the full minutes text for item 9.