Agenda and draft minutes

Place Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 14th December, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: The Council Chamber, County Hall, The Rhadyr, Usk, NP15 1GA with remote attendance

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None.

2.

Public Open Forum

Minutes:

None.

3.

Pre-decision Scrutiny - To scrutinise the Monmouthshire Economy, Employment and Skills Strategy and action plan in setting the economic ambition for the county pdf icon PDF 328 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet Member Paul Griffiths introduced the report. Hannah Jones and James Woodcock delivered a presentation and answered the members’ questions with Councillor Griffiths and Mark Hand. 

 

Key questions from members: 

 

  • How is the figure of 6,240 jobs arrived at? Does this really address Monmouthshire’s needs i.e. internal jobs to cut out-commuting? 
  • How does this strategy link in with our needs? E.g., with an ageing demographic, there will be more need for the care sector – are we going to have housing for key workers? How does this relate to a previous CYP report that said work was being geared to the care sector? 
  • Regarding Enterprise, would it be helpful to add something about apprenticeships with local schools? 
  • Regarding Tourism, what is the evidence of the need for hotels? 
  • Concerning Public Procurement, one problem with EU regulations was local people not necessarily being hired for council contracts. Has that improved after Brexit and can we boost the work that Monmouthshire does? 
  • Other authorities have looked at whether key worker housing, if it can’t be filled by people from those particular occupations, could be used for other eligible people – has that been considered? 
  • To note a correction: the report mentions Wales’s last remaining lave net fishermen practising the tradition in Caldicot but, in fact, because of NRW rules they aren’t allowed to fish at present 
  • What is the commuting data in and out of Severnside? Does it constitute a lot of the overall movement in/out of the county? 
  • There is a need for a link road off the M48 to alleviate congestion on the B4245 – what effect does congestion and traffic have on the local economy? 
  • Why is the Local Transport Policy not sitting in the section entitled ‘Strategic Context’? Is the lack of transport stifling economic opportunities e.g. are the poor public transport connections in Monmouth a challenge to businesses that want to expand into the county? 
  • P43 and learning opportunities: why is no mention given to one of the biggest access barriers for youngsters looking to attain higher education qualifications, which is the frustration of physically accessing colleges due to the lack of transport links? 
  • Why is there no mention of requesting a better deal under Cardiff Capital Region, or that we are no longer part of the scheme to join up rail and bus services across the region? 
  • The Kingsgate Active Travel route on P70 should not be hailed as best practice for prioritising active travel as there is still no safe walkable route into town from Kingswood Gate, with the final phase not planned to be built till 2024, and is still subject to funding – ACTION: Provide the committee with an update on the Active Travel plans for a walkable route into Monmouth town from King’s Wood Gate houses 
  • How will the Action Plan have a positive influence on the Welsh Language Standards as stated in the impact assessment? 
  • 6000 jobs and 38 hectares of employment land – which comes first, jobs or  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Community Improvement Team - To scrutinise the team's operations and organisation pdf icon PDF 29 KB

Minutes:

abinet Member Catrin Maby and Nigel Leaworthy introduced the report. Nigel Leaworthy answered the members’ questions. 

 

Key questions from members: 

 

  • P228, 3.13: ‘newly formed Caldicot and Magor town teams’ – the Caldicot town team isn’t newly formed. So does this refer to the same team or a different one? 
  • Can you clarify about the funding from precept? 
  • The ‘New Town Team’ will cause a lot of confusion – can that be renamed? 
  • How heavily does the team rely on volunteers, and what expectations are there between groups? 
  • Are man-hours of volunteers recorded, and therefore a record of what costs would be without them? 
  • How much of the work is reactive vs proactive? 
  • Is the group responsible for cutting back residential hedges, or is that a different team? 
  • Presumably, street sweeping has a certain schedule, rather than being reactive? 
  • Do you coordinate any of the reactive work in sweeping leaves at the same time as dealing with blocked drains? 
  • Hedges can affect highways, if not cut by private landowners – have we ever charged someone if they haven’t followed an enforcement notice? 
  • How many sweepers were there before and how many are there now? 
  • There is a good liaison between the community and town teams in Abergavenny which has improved the situation. The issue of dog mess and littering remains disappointing but it is difficult to keep on top of that with a limited team. 
  • Would the Monmouth Town Council service level agreement override the standard level agreement? 
  • There are many emails from residents who aren’t happy with Nature Isn’t Neat and would like public areas to be tidier. What are we looking at to control weeds? 
  • Are you not allowed to borrow back for a few days per month the road sweeper that was transferred to Highways? 
  • The discontinuation of glyphosates is welcome but residents at top of Sandy Lane have raised concerns about the state of pavements and gullies – it would be useful to have feedback about the state of play with alternative methods of weed removal 
  • The report mentions town teams getting to grips with potholes – can we have more information? 
  • Something more joined up is needed regarding litter in Caldicot, especially when there are big events.

 

Chair’s Summary: 

 

Thank you to the officers and teams for their hard work ensuring cleanliness in our communities, which is vital and has a hugely positive impact on communities. Thank you to the Cabinet Member for attending and we look forward to the discussion in the new year about litter. 

 

5.

Place Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 473 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Strong noted that in light of the prostate motion at full council, changing places and MDML needs to be looked at on 14th March with the Toilet strategy. Councillor Strong also asked if new ways to progress refurbishment of Caldicot Leisure Centre could be considered ACTION 

 

EV charging and Climate & Nature Emergency Strategy need to be deferred from 11th January. The items need to be scrutinised before final Cabinet sign-off on 10th April. Members do not wish to hold a meeting on the same day as full council. Officers to arrange a date that meets all the requirements and notify members subsequently ACTION 

 

Councillor Brown requested clarity about the Cabinet date for the Strategic Equality Plan: the SEP will go to People scrutiny on 6th February but was on the planner for cabinet on 18th January – it has been since updated to 29th February. 

 

6.

Cabinet and Council Work Planner. pdf icon PDF 429 KB

7.

To confirm the following Place Scrutiny Committee Minutes:

7a

Ordinary Meeting dated 28th September 2023 pdf icon PDF 317 KB

7b

Special Meeting dated 23rd October 2023 pdf icon PDF 275 KB

Minutes:

23rd October: Councillor Brown requested an amendment be made to clarify the comment about the Welsh Parliament document, which was mixed up with a comment about the children’s commissioner – ACTION 

8.

Next Meeting: Thursday 11th January 2024 at 10.00am

Minutes:

See FWP discussion above – officers to confirm cancellation once a new date for the items is set.