Agenda and draft minutes

Council Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 1st March, 2016 12.00 pm

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

Contact: Richard Gwinnell  Lead Officer Council and Shadow Lead Officer Elections

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair

Presented By: Chair

Minutes:

1.1       The Assistant Chief Legal Officer explained that the Mayor had elected not to Chair this meeting of the Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee and he asked for a proposal for Chair.  Councillor Mandy Owen was proposed and this seconded and agreed by all Members.  Councillor Owen then took the Chair.  

2.

Attendance

Attendance register to be signed and attendees recorded in the minutes

Presented By: Chair

Minutes:

2.1       The Chair welcomed everyone in attendance and asked members to sign the attendance register.

3.

Apologies for absence

Any apologies for absence should be given in advance of the meeting to Dominique Redman on 01495 766294 or dominique.redman@torfaen.gov.uk

Presented By: Chair

Minutes:

3.1       Apologies for absence were received from the following members:

 

·         Councillor Huw Bevan

·         Councillor Stephen Brooks KSS JP

·         Councillor Ron Burnett

·         Councillor Pamela Cameron

·         Councillor Glyn Caron

·         Councillor Kelvin Harnett

·         Councillor Alan Jones

·         Councillor Brian Mawby

·         Councillor Raymond Mills

·         Councillor Graham Smith

·         Councillor Barry Taylor JP

 

           

4.

Declarations of Interest

For members to declare any interests they may have in items on this agenda. Any interests must be declared verbally and should also be written on the list circulating in the meeting

Presented By: Chair

Minutes:

4.1       The following interests were declared:

 

·         Councillor Giles Davies declared a personal interest as a council appointed governor of Garnteg Primary School.

·         Councillor Wayne Tomlinson declared a personal interest as his grandchild attended Cwmfrrwdoer Primary School.

5.

Minutes of the last meeting - 20 October 2015 pdf icon PDF 92 KB

For confirmation as a correct record of the last meeting of the committee

Presented By: Chair

Minutes:

5.1       The minutes were agreed as an accurate record of the meeting, subject to Councillor Nigel Davies’ apologies being included.

6.

Challenge to a Cabinet decision made on 9 February 2016 pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To consider a challenge received from Councillor Tomlinson to a decision made by the Cabinet on 9 February 2016 regarding Victoria Village School and Brynteg Nursery

Presented By: Chair

Additional documents:

Minutes:

6.1       The Chair referred to the challenge received from Councillor Wayne Tomlinson relating to the Cabinet decision made on 9 February 2016 with regards to the school re-organisation proposals arising from the 21st Century Schools Programme.  Councillor Tomlinson was invited to present his challenge. 

 

6.2       Councillor Tomlinson read out a statement which, in summary, covered the following main points:

 

·         The implications of the Cabinet decision would have a profound impact on any future developments in the north of Torfaen and its communities.

·         The business case relating to the 21st Century Schools Programme which was introduced in 2011 had become challenging.

·         Consideration should be given as to whether spending £8million to merge two schools was best value for money, particularly during such challenging financial times.

·         Answers should be given as to why the alternative proposals weren’t fully investigated.

·         The projected downturn in primary school children was now planned to increase rather than decrease over the next few years.

·         Full consideration hadn’t been given to the safety of the children.  The route to school was unsafe with narrow bends and no pavements.

·         Although some questions had been answered with regards to provision of school transport, further information was required by parents in terms of how long the transport would last, which school their child would be attending and costs.

·         Victoria Primary School and Brynteg Nursery School should be seen as assets to the community rather than financial liabilities.  They were central to the economic and social wellbeing of the community and any closure would ‘rip the heart’ out of those communities. 

·         Effective scrutiny should be open, fair and constructive and should make a difference to the lives of the people in the community.

 

6.3       Councillor Tomlinson read out his challenge as stated in Appendix 4 to this agenda item and asked for the support of other scrutiny members. 

 

At this point the meeting was adjourned due to technical difficulties with the webcast. 

 

6.4       When the meeting restarted, Councillor Tomlinson re-read his statement and his challenge.

 

6.5       In summary, Councillor Giles Davies made the following points:   

 

·         He was disappointed with the decision made by Cabinet regarding the closure of Victoria Primary School and Brynteg Nursery School.

·         Planning applications to expand both Garnteg and Cwmffrwdoer School had been passed on 19 January 2016 and he was concerned at the message this gave to the public who were fighting to save Victoria School and Brynteg Nursery.

·         Although transport would be provided where there was no safe walking, there were concerns that that these pupils would not be able to benefit from the provision of breakfast club and after school clubs.

·         Proposed bus routes to school would not be able to cope with the extra volume of traffic.

·         Victoria Primary School and Garnteg Nursery were full to capacity and families had been made to split last year due to this. 

·         The 21st Century Schools Programme should consider repairing and refurbishing the existing buildings, rather than closing them.

·         Scrutiny members should consider the rights  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.