Agenda and minutes

National Park Authority - Tuesday, 11th February, 2020 11.00 am

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

Contact: Julia Gruffydd or Angharad Hawkes  01874624337


No. Item



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

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The Chair welcomed members, officers and the public to the meeting.  Apologies and absences were noted.


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 were made.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 117 KB

1.    To approve the following minutes and authorise the Chair to sign them as a correct record:


National Park Authority – 10 December 2019

National Park Authority (EGM) – 24 January 2020


2.    To receive the following minutes:


Audit and Scrutiny Committee – 25 October 2019

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a)  To approve the minutes of the NPA held on 10 December 2019 and authorise  the Chair to sign them as a true record;


b)  To approve the minutes of the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Authority held on 24 January 2020 and authorise the Chair to sign them as a true record;


c)To receive the minutes of  the Audit and Scrutiny  Committee held on 25 October  2019


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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No requests had been made 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 Chair reported on meetings and events attended since the last meeting, which included the recruitment of new members for the Authority.  He advised that he and the Chief Executive would be meeting the new MP for Brecon and Radnor next week and confirmed that this was the start of a rolling programme to meet other MPs.


He congratulated IT and Fleet Officer Kevin Booker on his recent fleet award and then introduced Sarah Titcombe from the Welsh Local Government Association who gave positive feedback on the Authority’s submission, the quality of its support for members and the willingness of the Authority to review its governance to meet new challenges.  Members thanked the Democratic Services team and all the officers who contributed to the Member Development Programme.


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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The Chief Executive had circulated his announcements and advised of an invitation which had just been received to attend a woodland summit of a wide range of organisations with the aim of creating and expanding woodland in Wales.


In response to a question he reported on the key learning points from his attendance at the recent Academi Wales Winter School.  He would circulate a summary of these to members.



Approval of Estimates 2020-2021 and issue of Levy on Constituent Authorities pdf icon PDF 60 KB

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The Finance Manager presented the budget for 2020/21 with the caveat that while this had taken account of some elements of the change programme the Authority would need to review and update the budget once the programme had been finalised. The Chief Executive advised of potential additional funding through the Sustainable Landscapes and Sustainable Places Programme which would require further adjustments to the budget.  The three Welsh Park Chief Executives would also be raising the issue of whole term budget cycles with the Minister, which would enable a more strategic approach long term.


In response to questions the Finance Manager clarified the process of issuing the levy letters to constituent authorities and confirmed that this would not change from last year as it was a standstill budget, nor was it affected by the imminent reduction in the number of members on the Authority as it was calculated on the percentage of land within the Park rather than representation.  The Chair confirmed that the Minister had consulted with all constituent authorities on the reduction.


A member requested the opportunity to discuss the change programme in relation to the budget before final proposals came before the Authority on 31 March.  The Chief Executive confirmed that he would schedule additional briefings.




a)    To approve the draft Estimate for 2020/21;


b)  To approve the draft Estimate for 2020/21, and authorise the Chief Executive to issue Levy Notices to constituent Authorities for the year in accordance with the calculation of the Levy Requirement attached to the report.



Corporate Plan 2020-21 Overview pdf icon PDF 56 KB

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The Systems and Performance Manager presented the structure, key themes and organising principles of the change programme which would form the Corporate Plan for 2020/21.  The Senior Leadership would be discussing this and in light of members’ comments, the draft would be shared with members for their input before the Authority meeting on 31 March.


A member suggested adding ‘cultures and behaviours’ into the box labelled change programme and also that the developing statutory documents box should be expanded to include  all documents.  The officer would make these changes and in response to a question gave examples of continuity programmes.  The Chair agreed that it was important to complete projects to maintain the good will of partners.


A member suggested that a key to the acronyms was essential for the public.


RESOLVED:  To endorse the approach outlined for the Corporate Plan 2020-21 subject to the amendments suggested by members.


Review of Member Exit Interview Policy pdf icon PDF 29 KB

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Members considered changes to the member exit interview policy and pro-forma and the Democratic Services Manager advised that all members finishing their terms of office are asked to have an exit interview in order to provide feedback on the role.  The Chair of the Governance and Member Development Working Group emphasised that this was not just a process but should be a positive experience for both the member and the Authority.


In relation to section 4 on the form a member commented that some members might feel they received too much information.


A suggestion was made that while the Chair and CEO should be involved in this process there was also room for input from the Welsh Government or the appointing authority, and it was surprising that these bodies appeared to take so little interest.  The Chair advised that Powys was currently considering the issue of feedback and he would raise it with the Minister at the forthcoming meeting.  A member said that she would welcome the opportunity to feed back to the Welsh Government.


In response to a question about disseminating the information the officer advised that this could be done subject to the agreement of the member about the content.  A tick box could be added to this effect.




a) To approve changes to the Member Exit Interview Policy;


b) To approve changes to the Member Exit Interview Pro-forma.


Procedure for Election of Chairs and Deputy Chairs pdf icon PDF 93 KB

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Members considered recommendations from the Governance and Member Development Working Group to change the nomination procedures for elections at the Annual General Meeting, which would encourage the best candidates to come forward and streamline procedures.


Members welcomed these changes in principle but raised a few practicalities in relation to the order of business which might have a bearing on which posts members nominated themselves for.  Officers advised that members would be best served by applying for more than one post if they were interested and then withdrawing their nominations as appropriate. Members could be asked to specify their order of preference on the nomination form if they wished to stand for multiple roles.  It was confirmed that Planning, Access and Rights of Way Committee and Audit and Scrutiny Committee would continue to meet within the AGM to elect their Chair and Deputy Chair but this would be reviewed again after this year’s meeting in light of a suggestion that the full Authority could vote for these roles.


There was some debate about the number of words on the case for appointment and it was felt that ‘up to 600 words’ was the preferred option.


A suggestion was agreed to clarify standing order 8.7 so that no ballot would be necessary if only one nomination was received.


The Systems and Performance Manager advised that there were options for electronic voting but he was awaiting more details on cost.




a) To agree procedures for electing Chairs and Deputy Chairs of the Authority and its committees as set out in paragraph 1.2 of the report;


b) To agree the amendment to the Authority’s Standing Orders in order to implement this as shown in Enclosure 1 to the report.


Consultation Draft Brecon Town Plan pdf icon PDF 45 KB

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The Chair of Brecon 2020 joined officers in presenting the consultation draft of the Brecon Town Plan.  He outlined the process by which they had created a valuable database of residents’ views which would serve as evidence for future funding bids.  He thanked the National Park officers for their support and guidance.


Members gave a very positive response to the process and the consultation draft.  In response to question officers advised on the process for selecting settlements for town plans and stressed that while officers could support, the onus was very much on the community to lead the work.  Officers were also mindful of capacity when discussing future town plans.  The Chair had been involved in the Hay Town Plan which was still used as a key reference document for the town; he would circulate this to members.


A member welcomed the example that the Authority was setting in Wales with place plans but urged caution in that as Supplementary Planning Guidance would become a material considerations the Authority must retain some flexibility in future for the town, and to take account of changes, for example in types of retail.


The Chair of Planning, Access and Rights of Way Committee commented that this fitted with the current LDP but asked if there were any pre-determining factors in termsof the emerging LDP, such as retail in the town centre.  He was concerned that the Authority wasn’t constraining itself.  He also referred to the excellent collaborative working and the amount of actions needed; leadership was needed in order to drive this through, and he wondered how much the Authority could commit to helping with this.  Officers confirmed that the town plan had to be written in line with the current LDP which would require all Supplementary Planning Guidance to be reviewed.  The database would provide valuable evidence for the emerging LDP.  The implementation plan could be supported by the Authority but capacity would need to be created to do this.


A member highlighted the need for restoration work on a number of buildings in the town and the need for seed funding.  There was also a role for the LDP to contain strong policies to encourage higher occupancy of buildings in the town centre.  The Chief Executive referred to the Welsh Government funding just announced for transforming town centres, including redundant buildings.  He hoped there would be potential to work across organisations and funding streams on this.


A member asked whether vehicle charging points had been raised in the residents survey and the Chair of Brecon 2020 advised that he was looking into this in his professional capacity; he couldn’t recall it being raised in the community feedback.  The important of signage in giving a town a special identity was suggested, and the member would forward the officer some photos to consider.


RESOLVED:  That the Brecon Town Plan: Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance be approved for an eight week period of public consultation.



WG Allotments Consultation Response pdf icon PDF 65 KB

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Members were briefed on the proposed consultation response to the Welsh Government Permitted Development and Allotments consultation.  The officer took members through some of the changes.


A member asked about the location of allotments and officers advised that there was guidance in the Local Development Plan on this.


The Chair of Planning, Access and Rights of Way Committee wondered whether submitting a three Welsh Park response might carry more weight and the officer agreed to contact her equivalent colleagues to discuss the potential for this.


RESOLVED:  To endorse the submission of the document at Enclosure 1 to the Welsh Government as the Authority’s response to the Permitted Development and Allotments consultation.


Big Pit Presentation

Big Pit Apprenticeship - Feedback from the apprentices and Huw Jones, Mine Manager.  The Authority approved a Sustainable Development Fund application for this in July 2017.

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Members received a presentation from Huw Jones, Mine Manager at Big Pit, and Lee Thomas, one of the nine apprentices funded through the Sustainable Development Fund in 2017 to ensure continuity of expert guides in the mine.  They expressed their appreciation to the Authority to the advice and guidance received from the SDF Officers.


Members expressed their appreciation of the scheme and its success and highlighted Big Pit as an important heritage tourism site.


The Chair thanked them both for the presentation and wished the scheme every success.


Member Reports

To receive any reports from members.

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No reports were given.


Gifts & Hospitality

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There were no declarations.


Any Other Business pdf icon PDF 33 KB

Any other business that the Chair considers of sufficient urgency and has been notified to him in advance.

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The Chair referred to a paper that had been presented to Audit and Scrutiny Committee on 31 January which members had asked to be revised and put before the Authority.  The Finance Manager explained the changes to the project scorecard which would clarify the financial situation on each project.  Asked how this was scrutinised by senior officers the Chief Executive advised that it was monitored by the Corporate Governance Team on a monthly basis and by quarterly reports to Audit and Scrutiny Committee.