Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes



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Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Michelle Blakeley-Walker.


Councillor Brian Jones had notified the Chair that, due to a prior appointment, he would be unable to attend the meeting from the outset but would be joining later.




Prior to proceeding with the agenda’s business the Chair advised members that, in response to a request from the Lead Member for Environment and Transport, he would be varying the order of business on the agenda to enable both of the Lead Member’s reports to be considered on a consecutive basis.  Therefore, business item 7, ‘Waste Service Remodelling Project Update’ would be dealt with as item 6 with the ‘Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment’ item becoming business item 7.  He thanked officers in attendance for accommodating the changes to the business schedule.



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

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The following councillors declared personal interests:


Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts – Business item 5, ‘Review of Car Park Tariffs’ (as a business owner/operator in two towns in Denbighshire.


Councillors Alan James and Merfyn Parry – Business item 7, ‘Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment’ as both were members, Councillor James also being the Vice-Chair, of the Task and Finish Group whose report would be presented to the Committee under this particular business item.



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 items of an urgent nature had been raised with the Chair or the Scrutiny coordinator prior to the commencement of the meeting.



MINUTES pdf icon PDF 297 KB

To receive the minutes of the Communities Scrutiny Committee held on 7 September 2023 (copy enclosed).


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The minutes of the Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 7 September 2023 were submitted.  The Committee:


Resolved:  that the minutes of the meeting held on 7 September 2023 be approved as a true and correct record of the proceedings.


Matters arising

Page 8, ‘Minutes’ - the Scrutiny Co-ordinator advised that the membership of the Flood Risk Management Task and Finish Group had recently been finalised and that arrangements had been made for it to hold its inaugural meeting on 23 November 2023.



To consider a report (enclosed) by the Traffic, Parking and Road Safety Manager on proposed changes to the Council’s car park tariffs policy and associated tariff structures.


10:15 – 11:00

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The Lead Member for Highways and the Environment introduced a report (previously circulated) on the proposed changes to the Council’s Car Park Tariffs Policy and associated tariff structures.


The Lead Member highlighted the well documented pressures on the Council’s budget and explained that the proposed increases in parking charges was an avenue to bring monies into the Council.


The purpose of the report was to explain the proposed tariff increases for Council car parks; changes to car park charging periods, and the potential introduction of charges in some car parks that were currently free.

The Head of Planning, Public Protect and Countryside Services reiterated that the proposed changes to car parking tariffs were part of a Corporate decision on savings and were a way of bringing income into the Council. The proposals also including reviewing payment options available in car parks and also a revision of the hours in which the Council would be asking for payment. 

The Council’s car parking tariffs had not been reviewed since 2016 therefore, as a Service it was felt reasonable to review them at this time due to the current financial climate. It was also stated that the proposed car parking tariff changes would be a positive contribution to the Council’s financial situation.


The decision to impose the proposed changes to car parking tariffs would ultimately under delegated powers be the decision on the Head of Service however, it was stated that officers would work closely with Members to gain their thoughts and to engage with the public. Another part of the process would be for officers to work with the Communications Team to develop an Engagement Plan for various groups who would be most affected by the changes.


It was proposed to continue to offer various free parking initiatives. These included free parking after 3pm in all town centre pay and display car parks from late November until the 31 December every year. The small areas of free, short stay parking that were present in some pay and display car parks would also remain. Finally, the Council would continue to provide 5 free parking days each year for every City, Town and Community where pay and display car park facilities were in operation.


A Well-being Impact Assessment (WBIA) was attached to the report for members’ consideration.


The Traffic, Parking and Road Safety Manager (TPRSM) guided Members through the key points of the report as follows –


·       Car park tariffs were previously reviewed in 2016.

·       In considering the tariff increases the Council considered the tariffs charged by other North Wales County Councils and the amount of inflation from 2016 to 2023, including an allowance for `future proofing` ahead of continuing high levels of inflation.

·       Car Park charges currently applied from 8am until 5pm. It was proposed that the Council extend this period, so that charges applied from 8am until 11pm.

·       It was proposed to increase parking permits costs as detailed in appendix D (attached to the report).

·       The proposal included the removal of the 30-minute tariff, Denbighshire County Council were currently the only Council who offered this tariff.


The Chair thanked the officers for their report and questions were invited from members.


Members queried the maintenance of car parks as was agreed at the time of the last review of the tariffs in 2016. Members raised concerns about the general appearance of the car parks in their ward areas.


The Head of Planning, Public Protect and Countryside Services stated that there was an investment plan in place, with a revised investment plan currently being compiled for the 5-year period from 2024 to 2029.  They  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.



To receive an update report (enclosed) by the Waste and Recycling Manager associated with the roll-out of the new service.


11:45 – 12:15

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The Lead Member for Highways and the Environment introduced an update report (previously circulated) on the roll out of the new Waste Service Remodelling Project.


The report was to inform the Communities Scrutiny Committee of the current progress of the project and to highlight the risk around the timely approval of the operational permit required for the new Denbigh Waste Transfer Scheme.


The Project’s Corporate Executive Team (CET) lead officer explained to Members that the new Waste Service was the biggest operational change delivered by the Council for many years and had been many years in planning to get to this stage.


The new service would include recycled waste being collected weekly in separated containers and residual household waste being collected monthly.


The main issue currently was obtaining the operational permit which required to be granted by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), without this permit the Waste Transfer Station could not operate.  It was expected that the permit would be granted in Spring 2024. The Council had submitted the application form for the permit for the Denbigh Waste Transfer Depot in January 2023 however, there had been a delay with NRW issuing permits due to a back log. This had now been resolved, the process which was expected to take up to 4 months to complete was now underway and weekly positive discussions were continuing with NRW.  Any concerns raised during these meetings would be escalated immediately to Lead Member and CET Lead Officer level.


The new Waste Service Remodelling Service had a planned roll out from June 2024 with the depot being completed by December 2023.


Going forward there was a focus on recruiting staff and delivering the new containers to all households in the county.


The Project Team would be attending all MAG meetings in February/ March 2024 to give further detail on the roll out of the Project in their areas.


The Chair thanked the Lead Member and the Project Executive Lead Officer for their update and questions were welcomed from Members.


Members stated that a recent visit to the new Denbigh waste depot was very beneficial and requested another visit prior to the roll out of the service.


Members queried the change to electric wagons under the new service and questioned who was responsible for the cost of them. The Project Executive lead officer stated that the new service required a whole new fleet of wagons to deal with the kerbside sort containers within the new Recycling Service.  However, current residual waste vehicles would still be suitable for delivering that service as the service model was not changing, only the frequency of service provision.  Whilst more electric vehicles had been introduced into the fleet, the fleet was not entirely electric as there was a need to ensure robustness for all refuse collection rounds in the county.


Members registered their concerns regarding the potential backlash of complaints from the public that were anticipated and stated that this was not highlighted enough within the report.  The Project Executive lead officer assured members that there was an understanding that residents would have some concerns about the change. In the New Year (January 2024) planned communications would be rolled out 6 months before the implementation. Other authorities who already had transitioned to the new model Waste Recycling Service had stated that there were concerns at the start of the roll out. However, once residents understood the new system residents preferred it.


Members questioned the total cost of the roll out of the project. The Project Executive lead officer stated that the Project was costing circa £22 million. Due to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.



To consider a report (enclosed) by the Corporate Project manager of the revised Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment prior to its submission to Welsh Government.


11:15 – 11:45

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The Lead Member for Local Development and Planning introduced the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment report (previously circulated) to Members.


The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 required that an assessment of accommodation needs for Gypsies and Travellers must be undertaken and submitted to Welsh Government (WG) every 5 years. The Council undertook the assessment between August and October 2021, and this was submitted to WG on 24 December 2021.


Following Cabinet approval and WG submission of the previous Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA), a family with an existing need who had previously declined to participate, contacted the Council, and asked to now be included.


Following a report to Cabinet Briefing on 9 January 2023, the Gypsy and Traveller Needs Assessment (GTAA) Task and Finish Group (T&F) was re-established to support work on the new assessment. That T&F Group had now concluded its work and the final report from the Group was attached as appendix 1 to the report. The report provided the conclusions from the work of the T&F Group.


The Chair of the T&F Group outlined the conclusions of the Group and work that had been completed as follows:

·       The T&F Group had 4 meetings and the consultants, ORS, conducted interviews with the additional family and undertook a light touch review with the families who had previously engaged with the assessment process to ensure that their findings continued to be pertinent.  The T&F Group was satisfied that the correct process had been followed.

·       The T&F Group was satisfied as a Group that the findings and recommendations of the assessment were a result of following Welsh Government methodology and applying a robust approach to the work.

·       As a Group it was felt that a Member T&F Group with an elected Member from each MAG had worked well, and the approach would be beneficial for future work.

The Lead Member thanked the T&F Group for their hard work and Councillor Scott for his role as Chair.

The Corporate Project Manager reiterated the Council’s legal obligations. The Housing (Wales) Act required all Councils to undertake an assessment of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation needs and submit it to Welsh Government. There was also the responsibility to address any needs identified.


The Project had been led by the Project Board which included Senior Officers and the Lead Member, and all work had been overseen by the T&F Group.


Acknowledging the need identified within the Assessment for residential pitches members queried why a need for transit provision had not been identified.  The Lead Member and officers advised that whilst illegal encampments did occur in the county periodically, these were usually for short periods of time and were more effectively managed via a negotiated and tolerated approach.  This was also the view of the Gypsy and Traveller community.


The Chair gave thanks for the report and questions were welcomed by Members.


Members commented on the improved process in place and the excellent work that had been completed, which would support the development of the new Local Development Plan (LDP) in due course.


The Chair thanked the Lead Member and Officers for the report.



Following a comprehensive discussion, the Committee:




(i)             to endorse the conclusions of the Task and Finish Group that the Welsh Government methodology had been applied appropriately to the analysis of need;

(ii)           confirmed its support for the approach adopted for the delivery of Denbighshire’s Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment as being robust and in line with Welsh Government guidance;

(iii)         to recommend to Cabinet that the revised draft Gypsy and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.



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.

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The Scrutiny Coordinator guided members through the Communities Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Programme report (previously circulated).


The next meeting was scheduled for 7 December 2023, proposed for that meeting were four agenda items.

                        i.         Second Homes and short-term Holiday lets.

                       ii.         Draft Sustainable Transport Plan.

                      iii.         Housing Rent Increase and Budgets 2024/2025.

                     iv.         Rhyl Regeneration Programme and Governance.

The Scrutiny Co-Ordinator informed the Committee that the ‘Second Homes and Short-term Holiday lets’ report would not be ready for the December meeting following a discussion with officers, as further guidance on a licensing regime for such properties was awaited from Welsh Government. The Committee consented for it to be rescheduled.


A report on Car Parks Draft Investment Plan 2024 - 2029 would be added to the Forward Work Programme for February/ March 2024. 


The Scrutiny Co-ordinator encouraged Members if they had concerns on any matters to complete and return the Members Proposal Form (Appendix 2) for deliberation at the next Scrutiny Chairs and Vice Chairs meeting on the 28 November 2023.


The Committee:


Resolved:  subject to the rescheduling of the above mentioned ‘Second Homes and Short-Term Holiday Lets’ item, along with the inclusion of the ‘Draft Car Park Investment Plan 2024-29’ report for early 2024, agreed earlier during the meeting, 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

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Councillor Delyth Jones informed members that she had recently represented the Committee at the Education and Children’s Services Service Challenge meeting.  She was currently awaiting the notes of the meeting.  Upon receipt she would brief the Committee on the proceedings.


The Chair thanked officers and members for attending the meeting and closed the meeting.


Meeting concluded at 12.15pm