Agenda and minutes

Cleaner Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 27th June, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool, NP4 6YB

Contact: Rachel Beale  Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome & Apologies / Croeso ac Ymddiheuriadau

Minutes:

1.1         The Chair welcomed Councillor Neil Waite to his first meeting after recently been appointed to sit on the Committee and welcomed back Councillor Jason O’Connell who had been reappointed as a Member of the Committee. 

1.2         Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Giles Davies.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest / Datganiadau o Fuddiant

Minutes:

2.1       There were no interests declared.

3.

Minutes - 09/05/2019 / Cofnodion - 09/05/2019 pdf icon PDF 410 KB

Minutes:

3.1       The Chair informed Committee that as requested he thanked Alun Williams the outgoing co-opted member for his valuable input over the years and the Council Leader also gave his thanks at a recent Full Council meeting.

 

3.2       The minutes of the meeting held on 9th May 2019 were confirmed as an accurate record.

4.

Action Sheet / Taflen Weithredu pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Minutes:

4.1      The Senior Business Support Officer (Democratic Services) informed Members that a Council Policy Seminar to discuss the Re-use Shop had been arranged for Monday 1st July 2019.

4.2      Members noted the action sheet.

 

 

5.

Update Report - Progress and Impact of Accepted Recommendations / Diweddariad - Hynt ac Effaith yr Argymhellion a Dderbyniwyd pdf icon PDF 230 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.1       The Chair and Senior Improvement & Scrutiny Officer introduced the report, provided a brief background and confirmed the suggested scrutiny activity.

 

5.2       The Chief Officer Neighbourhoods, Planning & Public Protection provided updates and answers to members’ questions regarding the topics below.

 

5.3       Preparation of Torfaen’s Tree Policy

           The Chief Officer Neighbourhoods, Planning & Public Protection confirmed that:

  • The Draft Tree Policy was presented to Scrutiny Committee in December 2017, and the report recognised that the Council had an operational policy but did not have a strategy about how it managed trees.
  • One of the key recommendations was how the policy was made more of a strategy whilst also embedding the operational policies.
  • Another key recommendation was to ensure the policy had cross organisational impact.
  • Torfaen had one of the largest tree canopies in Wales which was great from an environmental point of view, however there had to be balance in terms of health and safety and impact on light.
  • The impact of the scrutiny recommendations was profound and the final strategy would be presented to Cabinet in the autumn.
  • The ideas which stemmed from the Scrutiny Committee in relation to a tree nursery were still being looked at.
  • The Well-being of Future Generations Act was embedded within the strategy.
  • The Council only had one Arboricultural Officer and had recently trained one further person. There was however a team of Tree Officers who were able to carry out maintenance on the trees. The department’s long term plan was to increase the training provision within the team and would look at an apprenticeship model if a vacancy occurred within the team, unfortunately there was not a growth strategy for any of the teams in the Neighbourhoods Services Department.
  • A restructure within the Streetscene team was carried out and the ethos of the restructure was about community empowerment, training, succession planning, ensuring resilience within the department and collaborating with partners.
  • A policy decision was made to lease Council owned sports grounds to sports clubs to allow the individual clubs to carry out the maintenance which would result in a financial saving for the Council. Some clubs had taken on leases and other clubs had not and were reluctant to due to having the responsibility of the trees within the grounds and the cost and risk associated with them. Clubs were generally happy to take the lease and mow the grass but did not want to maintain the trees.
  • There was currently a waiting list for sports pitches, if a club folded the lease would revert back to the Council.
  • It may be beneficial that during 2020/2021, the Committee looked at the first year of operation of the strategy and looked at the differences it had made. 

 

5.4         In response to a question asked in relation to what the Council did to promote the work of the Scrutiny Committees’ to the public, the Senior Improvement & Scrutiny Officer stated that each scrutiny Committee held a meeting to look at the Progress and Impact of Accepted Recommendations, and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Item for Next Meeting / Eitem ar gyfer y Cyfarfod Nesaf

Minutes:

6.1       The topic for the next meeting would be considered during the ‘Visioning Session’.

7.

Date of Next Meeting - 26/09/2019 / Dyddiad y Cyfarfod Nesaf - 26/09/2019

Minutes:

7.1       The next meeting was scheduled to take place on Thursday 26th September 2019.