Agenda and minutes

National Park Authority
Friday, 22nd September, 2017 10.00 am

Venue: Conference Room, Plas y Ffynnon, Cambrian Way, Brecon LD3 7HP

Contact: Julia Gruffydd 

Webcast: View the webcast

No. Item


Correspondence pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To receive and consider the attached Schedule of Correspondence and any recommendations thereon (below).


To receive the Annual Improvement Report from the Wales Audit Office.

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The Chairman welcomed Cllr Tony Rogers to his first meeting following his appointment to the Authority by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council. 


She also sent good wishes to the Chief Executive who was recovering from a minor operation.


Members received the Annual Improvement Report from the Wales Audit Officers, which would be formally presented to the Audit and Scrutiny Committee on 20 October.  For now the Chairman asked members to note the report.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest from Members relating to items on the agenda.  Members’ attention is drawn to the sheet attached to the attendance sheet and the need to record their declarations verbally and in writing, specifying the nature of the interest.


If Members have declared an interest in an item please ensure that you inform the Chair when you are leaving the room, so that this can be recorded in the minutes.


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No declarations of interest were made.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 151 KB

To approve the minutes of the National Park Authority meeting held on 28th July 2017 and authorise the Chairman to sign them as a correct record.

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Cllr J Hill advised that he had been at the meeting.  A member felt that not all his comments in respect of Minute 98/17 had been recorded.  The Democratic Services Manager confirmed that all her notes had been included in the minutes.


RESOLVED:  That with the addition of Cllr Hill as present, the minutes of the National Park Authority held on 28 July 2017 be approved and the Chairman authorised to sign them as a correct record.


Public Speaking

To give opportunity for members of the public to address the meeting in accordance with the Authority’s Public Speaking Scheme.


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There were no requests to speak.


Chairman's Announcements

To receive a verbal report on meetings and events attended by the Chairman since the last meeting of the Authority.


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The Chairman reported on events and meetings she had attended since the last meeting.  She highlighted the award ceremony for the Princes Trust Cymru trainees and paid tribute to these young people who had overcome adversity to join the scheme.  She had invited some of them to speak to the National Park Authority on 8 December.


She and the Chief Executive had attended a very enjoyable dinner to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Brecon Beacons Park Society.


Chief Executive's Announcements

To receive a report from the Chief Executive on meetings attended and progress made on Authority business since the last meeting of the Authority.


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There were no announcements in the Chief Executive’s absence.


Committee Timetable 2018 pdf icon PDF 54 KB

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The Democratic Services Manager presented the draft committee timetable for 2018 and drew attention to the proposal to reduce the frequency of Planning, Access and Rights of Way Committee meetings from every six weeks to every eight weeks to reflect the reduction in non-delegated items and to make effective use of member and officer time.  Since this report was prepared Powys County Council had published their term dates and it was further proposed to bring forward the October 2018 PAROW meeting to avoid the October half term holiday and also the December one to maintain the frequency.


The Chairman of PAROW referred to the transparency of the Authority’s planning policy making and the fact that a member could call in any planning application.  The Chairman of the Governance and Member Development Working Group advised that the working group had also considered these proposals and were supportive.


Asked about the potential impact on performance figures the Director of Planning advised that larger applications had an extended deadline anyway.  A member asked him to find out whether other authorities were moving to an eight week cycle.


Members welcomed the opportunity that shorter meetings had provided of scheduling member development sessions on aspects of planning.  One member suggested that it would be useful to look more at outcomes of decisions.




a)That the frequency of Planning, Access and Rights of Way Committee meetings be reduced from every six weeks to every eight weeks from January 2018, including the amendment of the October and December dates;


b) That the Authority’s Committee Timetable for 2018 be approved and published


Review of Members Exit Interview Policy pdf icon PDF 104 KB

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The Chairman referred to the valuable feedback received from exit interviews with former member.  She noted the suggestions made in relation to how information is presented to members and welcomed the intention of the Governance and Member Development Working Group to work on this.  The Chairman of the working group confirmed that they would be assessing how members could receive relevant information for decision making, but in the most digestible format.


Members also considered proposed changes to update the Exit Policy.




a)   That the proposed changes to the Exit Interview Policy be approved;


b) To note feedback from Exit Interviews held in 2017 and endorse the Working Group’s intention to review the information presented to members on Authority and Committee agendas.


Review of Personal Development Interview Process pdf icon PDF 53 KB

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Members considered changes to the members Personal Development Interview process and pro-forma.  Both the Chairman of the Governance and Member Development Working Group and the Democratic Services Manager highlighted the importance of this process in ensuring that all members received appropriate support in all their roles, and in order to identify development needs each year for the Member Development Programme.


Members welcomed the proposal to involve more members in conducting the interviews and noted that training would be provided for this and for the mentoring role.  One member had benefited from having three mentors to dates and suggested that a buddy system might be a more appropriate term.  The Chairman asked the working group to consider this, and the Chairman of the group confirmed that they would, and suggested that mentoring could be carried out on many different levels, which could be addressed in the training.


The Chairman said that she intended to meet with all new members shortly to review their first few months.




a)   To approve the Personal Development Interview process for members;


b) To approve the pro-forma for Personal Development Interviews for members.


Affordable Housing Working Group: terms of reference pdf icon PDF 46 KB

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Members considered proposed updates to the composition of the Affordable Housing Working Group terms of reference.


The Chairman of Planning, Access and Rights of Way Committee (PAROW) commented that affordable housing issues, in particular commuted sums, were being raised in different forums.  In view of the pending decisions on spending these he suggested that a training session for members might be helpful. A member advised that the question had been raised in Powys County Council as to the need for affordable housing given that that it was perceived to be restrictive for small developers. The Principal Planning Officer advised that there was proven need for 1200 houses within the Park and as the local authorities were not building houses at the same rate as previously, the onus was on developers to fill the gap, with the Authority taking a reasonable approach to the starting point for commuted sums.  Where affordable housing was not viable the contribution was reduced or not collected  He added that the current window for applications for this money was due to close on 25 September, and that the review of the Local Development Plan would provide an opportunity to discuss key issues around affordable housing.  The member commented that a development had been cited that meant in order to have affordable housing  the rest of the development would be overpriced.  The Director of Planning advised that the situation facing all local planning authorities in Wales was that it was incumbent upon them to meet the needs of young people who could not get on the housing ladder. The Authority’s LDP policies were developed to deliver what was needed.


Prof A Lovell joined the meeting during this discussion.


A member welcomed the idea of a training session and suggested that planning officers from other authorities might be involved.  The Chairman advised that she was meeting the Leader of Powys County Council shortly and reminded members that the Authority had an approved affordable housing policy which had been subject to consultation.  A member made the point strongly that the Park needed to be a living environment and that there needed to be optimism rather than pessimism in overcoming the economic difficulties.


A member felt the policy was working well and they had seen examples of this on their recent planning tour.  He made two recommendations relating to a meeting with relevant constituent authorities and that the size of the Working Group be increased to six members. 


At the Chairman’s request the Principal Planning Officer advised that the Authority’s affordable housing strategy had been approved in February 2017 for use in planning applications. This had been developed in consultation and partnership with constituent authorities, with unanimous agreement.  The Director of Planning made the point that given the level of joint working on the strategy it was not helpful to have criticism in meetings that the Authority was now collecting commuted sums.


The Planning and Heritage Manager took the opportunity to remind members that the affordable housing policy had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 107/17


Local Development Plan Annual Monitoring Report (Apr 2016-Mar2017) pdf icon PDF 153 KB

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The Principal Planning Officer presented the Annual Monitoring Report on the Local Development Plan which was a fundamental part of assessing progress.


In relation to affordable housing a member requested maps showing the distribution, the ward and parish level, to take the heat out of the current debate.  He would also like to see trend data over several years and the relative distribution and trend against the known need, which was the baseline.


The officer responded that it was a little early for data but this could be assessed in future years.  The Affordable Housing Working Group would recommend the spending of commuted sums in line with the affordable housing strategy which directly addressed need.  In relation to a question about land supply he advised that the delivery of housing was a problem across Wales and probably England and that the Authority’s figures would stand up against any authority in Wales, as some could not identify a five year land supply as this Authority had.


The Chairman of PAROW felt that this report provided a real evidence base which might be used to create better policy in future.


There was some discussion on the additional indicators and how they should provide a catalyst for action.  The officer felt this this was a valid point which might be a starting point for the LDP review.  He answered further specific questions on the report.




a)   To note the content of the Annual Monitoring Report;


b)  To agree the recommendations therein;


c) To agree the submission of the Annual Monitoring Report to the Welsh Government by 31st October 2017.


Member Champion Reports

To receive a verbal report from the Heritage Champion.


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The Heritage Champion highlighted the Heritage Day on 15 October

and said that the Communications team were producing copies of the programme for circulation.  50 people had already signed up for this event and a press release would be issued shortly.  A discussion on the heritage strategy would be coming to the Authority in the near future.


The Agriculture and Land Management Champion advised that discussions had taken place internally with a view to arranging meetings with the farming unions and relevant member champions.


The Business and Communities Champion reported on a useful tour of projects carried out by the Sustainable Development Fund Panel earlier in the week.  She highlighted a report by Eluned Morgan AM, to which she hoped members would respond.  She also asked members to promote the SDF to their communities.  As champion she had met with the Wales Audit Office who were carrying out a pilot review of the Rural Skills project as part of their compliance monitoring of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.  She was looking forward to an update on tourism at the Tourism Liaison Group later in the day as there was a lot of thinking developing in the tourism department, and suggested that it might be useful to have a presentation at a future Authority meeting.


The Chairman referred to the partnerships scrutiny which she had hoped would be put before members today but would now be brought to the next meeting.


The Welsh Language Champion asked if the introduction to Welsh culture training recently delivered to staff could be scheduled. The Democratic Services Manager confirmed that it was on her list of training events to be scheduled and she would progress this as soon possible.  The champion also referred to some filming work that had taken place in his ward which had caused some disruption to local people.  It would have been helpful to know about this, and officers noted this.


Member Reports

To receive reports from members who have attended meetings or events on behalf of the Authority.

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A member reported that at the Meithrin Mynydd meeting in July he had asked Carmarthenshire County Council to match fund works to the infrastructure in the west of the Park.  A meeting between the Council and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water had subsequently taken place to discussion a potential contribution.


Gifts and Hospitality

To note any gifts or hospitality received since the last meeting.

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There were no declarations of gifts and hospitality.


Any Other Business

To consider any other business which is, in the opinion of the Chairman, of sufficient urgency to warrant consideration.

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The Chairman asked that any items under this heading be notified to her in advance, but did allow a new member to raise one item.


A member referred to the potential move of the Brecon Tourist Information Service to the Hub, which would have an impact on those visitors arriving by bus.  The Chairman advised that the Leader of Powys had offered Authority members the opportunity for a tour of the Hub and that this was being arranged between officers.


Another new member referred to the parking at Storey Arms.  The Chairman advised that they could not debate this as it was the subject of a planning application and members would have the opportunity for discussion at that stage.