Agenda and minutes

Place Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 10th November, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, The Rhadyr USK. View directions


No. Item


Declarations of interest


Councillor Chandler declared a non-prejudicial interest as a former employee of Amnesty International.


Public open forum


Shaun Hartley spoke on the subject of the RLDP Preferred Strategy.


Hugo Perks spoke on the subject of the petition under Item 4 regarding Council use of JCB machinery.


Petition: Excessive speeding on Birbeck Road, Caldicot pdf icon PDF 394 KB

To agree whether to refer to the Executive or full Council for action.


Petition withdrawn. Councillor Easson explained that following conversations with officers, that actions are due to take place in Birbeck Road to reduce speed, and subsequently monitor the efficacy of those measures. He thanked the officers for their work.


Petition: Council Use of JCB Machinery pdf icon PDF 135 KB

To agree whether to refer to the Executive or full Council for action.


Councillor Davies expressed opposition to the boycott and sanctions movement against Israel. While recognising the plight of the Palestinian people, he would hope that the Council would re-affirm support for Israel as the only democracy in the middle east, and proposed that no further action be taken.


Councillor Callard also proposed that no further action be taken, as it is not an area on which the Council should follow up.


Councillor Chandler disagreed with the statement that Israel is the only democracy in the region. He expressed sympathy for the sentiments behind the motion, and noted that the international community has repeatedly declared the Israeli occupation to be illegal. However, in this instance, the motion is too tokenistic an action to take but wanted to put on record that the council could at some point formally express solidarity with the Palestinian people and call on the Israeli government to withdraw from the occupation, and call on international businesses conducting business in those areas to withdraw.



Discussion on the Committee's Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 396 KB


Councillor Chandler asked for Rural Broadband, originally on today’s agenda, to be added to the next agenda. Councillor Howarth noted that in the investment committee this week there was discussion of a paper being brought to full council soon about the county’s broadband – this might help to inform the discussion and answer some questions.


To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 30th June 2022 pdf icon PDF 352 KB


The minutes were confirmed and signed as an accurate record.


Councillor Chandler asked about ‘matters arising’, officers agreed to provide an action list following each meeting. Councillor Brown concurred. Councillor Strong suggested linking the action plan to the forward work programme.


Revised Local Development Plan: Preferred Strategy pdf icon PDF 528 KB

To conduct pre-decision scrutiny on the amended Preferred Strategy.

Additional documents:


Cabinet Member Paul Griffiths introduced the item. Craig O’Connor and Mark Hand delivered the presentation and answered the members’ questions with Councillor Griffiths and Councillor Burch. In relation to the comments made in the Public Open Forum, Mark Hand noted that the Local Transport Plan and Infrastructure Plan will accompany the LDP at the later deposit stage; this is the first stage of statutory consultation. Officers are complying with the regulations and progressing in the right order – the matters raised will be fully considered later.




Are there assurances that there will be funding for robust active travel links to these new sites prior to new houses going up? e.g. the Abergavenny site is close to a busy road and rail line, it is unlikely that people will walk or cycle to town via the Hardwick roundabout, and once they have a car to do so they won’t revert back to active travel.


We are not yet at the stage to give reassurances about funding but the national planning policy has recently been updated to clarify active travel and timescales for development and delivery, so it does support new developments in the way described. We are working closely with the Active Travel team. These strategic sites were picked up in the integrated network maps so that options are kept open for future priorities, and those network maps are the basis for future funding applications. The intention is to have routes in place at the outset, and funding for them.


We cannot envisage taking the Abergavenny site forward without a clear link across the railway line into town. We are already investing in an active travel route to the Caldicot site from the centre, which we hope to see completed before taking forward the residential development. Plans are in place to connect the Bayfield site to the schools and Chepstow town centre; we must ensure that they are completed in advance of/alongside residential development.


There has been a lot of development with housing estates built but no services built with them. What levers can we pull to ensure that these public services are in place in order to create communities and keep residents out of cars?


We are working with various organisations concerning various aspects. One is that some sites are mixed-use development, another concerns school places, which is relatively straightforward as we as the local education authority can deal with capacity and need. The most complicated part is health infrastructure, for which we’re working with ABHB e.g. at recent and upcoming meetings of Monmouthshire GP groups. We will engage fully with them as this process continues.


We need more than ‘ambition’ in relation to net zero: we need ‘requirement’. Is there any reassurance about that?


We sent a detailed note to all promoters of sites that we seek Net Zero, going above building regulations. The strategic policy will say that each home constructed will be net zero ready. That detailed policy will come later in the plan – this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Speed limit of 20mph on the B4245

To conduct pre-decision scrutiny on the report and consider the community responses received.

Additional documents:


Graham Kinsella and Mark Hand delivered the presentation and answered the members’ questions.




Is this the only change proposed for the Severnside pilot, or are there likely to be others?


On the current amendment order, going to the Cabinet Member on 30th November, the only changes are the 2 stretches shown on the slide in the presentation (those in green, the part-time by Durand primary). Severnside members requested another change on the stretch between the eastern side of Undy and the western side of Rogiet: it’s currently 40mph with a small 60mph section in the middle, with members suggesting that it all be 40mph. This wasn’t included in Amendment Order 5 due to an error, but will be in Amendment Order 7 early in the new year.


The area around Durand primary school is a concern, as the criteria say there shouldn’t be an exception within 100 metres of a school? What about lunchtime in relation to the school and times for the varying speed limits?


The exception criteria reference the distance to the entrance of a school. In this case, Durand’s entrance is just off the B4245, leading to a great deal of discussion. The thinking is that as it’s a primary school, occurrences of unsupervised children leaving at lunchtime will be rare.


How will the changing 20mph be signalled to drivers?


The intention is to sign it with flashing signs: the orange beacons will flash between this time and the sign will say ‘20mph when lights flash’, so it will be clear to all drivers. We consulted with the school and these timings were their preference.


In light of the newly published Welsh Government exception guidance, is it possible that the proposed 20mph in Monmouth will change?


We don’t know at this time but will go away and reply outside the meeting. ACTION TO BE COMPLETED BY MARK HAND ONCE THE REVIEW HAS TAKEN PLACE


Will a review be possible in, say, a year’s time? Especially considering the possibility of unintended consequences e.g. with drivers avoiding the B4245 by going down narrow roads, resulting in near misses.


We are happy to do a holistic review of the B4245 with members. It would be worth meeting fairly soon to start shaping it. As a slight caveat, much of our resource in the next financial year is going to be on implementing the legislative change across Wales.


There is no school sign on the road outside Durand school – can that be looked at?


Yes, this is a good point, we will take that forward.


Will monitoring be in place, particularly concerning drivers creeping back up to 40mph?


There is one monitoring location directly in this area already. We will keep this in place and ensure that 30mph is adhered to. There are induction loops cut into the carriageway throughout both of the pilot areas – they will continue to monitor over the next 5 years.


Will this road be reviewed if the speed limits aren’t working out?  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


To agree to exclude press and public for the following items


Call-in: Land Adjacent to Caldicot Comprehensive School pdf icon PDF 223 KB

To consider a ‘call-in’ request for the decision taken on 20th October 2022 in relation to a Housing Development Opportunity.

Additional documents:


Councillors Taylor and Howarth outlined the reasons for the call-in:


  • In 2018, the Council agreed to create a development company for the purpose of taking an interventionist approach to the local housing market. In 2020, there was testing and further discussion.


  • Our understanding was that the site in question was considered in respect of the council’s opportunity to learn, build internal capacity and develop its own knowledge about providing affordable units, the intention being to advance the development of a housing development company and use the Caldicot site as a test site.


  • The report that went to Cabinet recently seemed to be a significant departure from that route of travel. A number of options available weren’t fully explored, and we are now facing a very different financial situation.


  • We contend that the process in arriving at the decision made by the Cabinet hasn’t been fully transparent and not given consideration to all options.


  • Areas on which we seek clarification include: the option to bid on this site wasn’t completely open, that the Labour manifesto pledged to establish this housing company and not to enter into any asset disposals, the matter of capital receipt, and delegation to officers and a single cabinet member.


  • Have we really appraised that this is the right option, given that this is a prime site, not an exception one?


  • If we move forward with this site we will look for a significant capital receipt – if there is none, it would not be justifiable to the people of Monmouthshire.


Following a discussion between members and officers, members stated that the report didn’t contain sufficient detail – particularly in the options appraisal – but the majority were reassured as to the outcome. Officers wished to confirm that there would be a capital receipt as a result of this proposal.


Chair’s Summary:


The Committee agreed to accept the Cabinet’s decision, by a vote of 5-2.



To note the date of the next meeting as 12th January 2024