Venue: Remotely via Teams
· 25 June 2021
The minutes of the meeting held on 25 June 2021 were approved.
Officers informed Members of the updated Regeneration Action Plan following an examination undertaken by Audit Wales.
Members were pleased that Officers had taken on board a lot of the suggestions that were made by Audit Wales. It was noted that the comments relating to communications were reassuring; if the Council continued to make progress with the recommendations detailed in the action plan, future projects could be benefited and it could provide the public with confidence in what the Council was trying to achieve. The importance of Community Benefits was also raised; it was reassuring that the Council had acknowledge a better way of dealing with this matter, and that Officers will be involved at an early stage for each project going forward. It was mentioned that this was beneficial in order for the public to be aware of the direct benefit from a project.
Officers acknowledged that there were always improvements that could be made to various elements of services; some of the barriers to this could be related to systems, resources or a combination of the both. It was stated that the milestone planner that was completed with the Media Team had been reinvigorated, in order for them to have a much better idea of what projects were coming up; Officers were hopeful that this will solve some of the issues that arise.
Following the discussion, it was agreed that the Head of Property and Regeneration would provide a report to the Committee on the subject of Community Benefits.
Members asked if there were any further updates on the Welsh Government formula for flood areas. It was confirmed that the position statement was the same as previously reported to the Committee, and that there were still a lot of issues relating to flood zones across the County Borough; the flood maps were known to change, land could be taken off the flood zone list or added onto the list, and the reasoning behind this could often be difficult for people to understand. However, it was mentioned that the information on flood areas was improving year on year, and was becoming more robust which will help the Council to make the best possible decisions in regards to the utilisation of land. Officers highlighted that the County Borough had some challenging areas with flood mitigation, and in terms of taking developments forward was an expensive process and was a risk, as the desired results may not be achieved at the end of the process.
It was asked if there was a process in which the Authority could challenge the decisions that Natural Resource Wales (NRW) make in regards to flood land. Officers confirmed that NRW could only be challenged on a case by case basis, as it would need to be proven that the development in question was not going to put anybody else into determent; this was a difficult and long process, which would involve a lot of consultancy work by external specialists. It was stated that flooding issues were ... view the full minutes text for item 2.
To select appropriate items from the Cabinet Board agenda for pre-decision scrutiny (reports enclosed for Scrutiny Members)
The Committee chose to scrutinise the following Cabinet Board items:
Lease of 5-6 London Road, Neath to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
The Committee receive a report in relation to a new lease of 5-6 London Road in Neath, which would enable the continued delivery of substance misuse intervention services.
The circulated report referenced that it was not known if the perpetrators of Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) used the services at the property in question; it was asked if there were any plans to monitor this going forward. It was stated that the ASB in Neath Town Centre could not be directly linked to all of those who used the services at London Road. Assurances were provided that a lot of work was being carried out, in terms of enforcement and support, to ensure that it was known who the perpetrators of ASB were and to ensure that where possible, these individuals gain access to support services; reference was made to the Street Vulnerability Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (SV MARAC), and Members were informed that regular meetings were taking place between colleagues at an operational level. It was mentioned that South Wales Police had provided information on the known perpetrators of ASB to a core group of individuals, and Officers have suggested that a ‘deep dive’ be conducted into these cases to identify factors such as, were they getting the help they needed or do they needed further encouragement.
It was asked if there was a correlation between the facility at London Road and the ASB in Neath town centre. Officers recognised that there was an ASB issue within the County Borough, however the blame could not be put on all of those who attend this particular facility; if the support services were not in place, the ASB issues would be much worse. It was mentioned that the services were in place to help individuals improve and stabilise their lives, and to prevent them offending, re-offending and/or stop them from being exploited. Members were informed that the Area Planning Board (APB) was embarking on a major transformation project which will be looking at the delivery of substance misuse services across the region and how they can be improved; part of this work will including identifying if services were in the right place and if they were configured in the right way. It was added that the location of these services was important as needed to be in areas in which people access them.
Members asked why the property was noted to be leased at a peppercorn rent. It was highlighted that the building was purchased and refurbished with the Welsh Government Substance Misuse Action Fund (SMAF) capitol, and the pay back for this was that the property would be listed as peppercorn rent.
It was mentioned that there would be individuals who will never engage with the support services, however it was important for the Council to make the process easier for those who could potentially ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Members noted the Regeneration and Sustainable Development Scrutiny Forward Work Programme for 2021/22.
It was highlighted that the Committee had their Forward Work Programme Workshop scheduled for Tuesday 21 September.