Agenda and minutes

National Park Authority
Friday, 2nd November, 2018 10.00 am

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

Contact: Julia Gruffydd or Angharad Hawkes  01874624337

Media

Items
No. Item

121/18

Correspondence

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Mr Grenville Ham and Mr Christopher Coppock to their first meeting of the Authority.

 

Apologies were noted and the Chair sent the good wishes of the Authority to Cllr Hill who was awaiting an operation.

 

122/18

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.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer advised that all members had a personal interest in item 11 on the agenda regarding remuneration.  She would sign the form to confirm this.

 

Cllr K Madge declared a personal interest as he was named in the report at item 26.

 

123/18

Minutes pdf icon PDF 235 KB

a)    To approve the minutes of the National Park Authority held on 21 September 2018.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 21 September 2108 and authorise the Chair to sign them as a correct record.

 

124/18

Public Speaking

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no requests to speak.

 

125/18

Huw Price Memorial Award

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed all the volunteers present in the meeting who had been invited for the presentation of the Huw Price Awards, given in recognition of exceptional work in a voluntary capacity for the Park.

 

Awards were presented by Louise and Henry Smith in memory of Huw Price, to the Black Mountains and the Central Beacons uplands volunteers, collected by Eddie Proctor, the longest serving member of the group.

 

Individual awards were given to John Holden, a longstanding volunteer in the east of the Park and Keith Crook (collected on his behalf by Ross Duffield), a member of the upland volunteer group,

 

The Chair paid tribute to the work of all the volunteers, and thanked officers Ilona Carati and Ceril Bevan for their support for volunteers over the last year.

 

Cllr G Thomas joined the meeting.

 

126/18

Chairman's Announcements

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

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair thanked members who had participated in the appointment of the new Delivery Director post.  He confirmed that the successful applicant would be joining the Authority from 18 February 2019 but would be attending the all staff meeting in December as well as meeting with the Chief Executive to prepare for the role.

 

The Chair had attended the opening of Llwyncelyn House, a grade 1 listed building restored by the Landmark Trust with some funding from the Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund.

 

He was awaiting a meeting to be arranged with key businesses in the Park, which would be an opportunity to listen to their views.  A member asked for clarity in relation to the scope of this meeting in light of his recent discussion.

 

127/18

Chief Executive's announcements

To receive an update from the Chief Executive.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive had circulated his announcements to members and now highlighted the main points. Since his meeting about the Growing Mid Wales Partnership he had received a request from the officer in Powys to circulate documents to members for comment.

 

He also advised that the Welsh Government had indicated they wished to discuss the reduction in the number of members on the Authority at the National Parks Wales Seminar the following week.

 

The CEO also highlighted that on October 3rd  he had met with AECOM, the consultants engaged by the Growing Mid Wales Partnership to develop a Regional Economic Plan for Mid Wales which will set out a programme of interventions to sit alongside the Growth Deal currently being negotiated.  The purpose of the meeting was to brief on the work that has been undertaken so far and on the basis of the material which was shared there was a lot of common ground with the work the Authority is doing to tackle the challenges and opportunities which are of concern to communities in the National Park. A draft of the Plan is anticipated in the next fortnight or so.

 

 

128/18

Grievance Policy pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered changes to the Authority’s Grievance Policy.  The point was made that members needed to be aware of such matters as they often helped understanding about the culture of the organisation, and the officer confirmed that members could be briefing accordingly.

 

Asked about the level of involvement from the unions the Chief Executive advised that the Staff Management Forum included representatives of the main unions as well as for non-aligned staff, and confirmed that they had commented on both the draft policies before members today.

 

RESOLVED: That Members approve the revised Grievance Policy

 

129/18

Disciplinary Policy pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered changes to the Authority’s Disciplinary Policy.

 

RESOLVED:  That Members approve the revised Disciplinary Policy

 

130/18

Approval of 2017/18 Pay Policy Statement pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members noted the statutory requirement to publish a statement for the preceding year.

 

RESOLVED:  That the Authority approves the Pay Policy Statement for 2017/18 for publication 

 

 

131/18

Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales Draft Report 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered the draft report of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales.  A member asked whether freezing the member salaries would mean saving some of the proposed reduction in member numbers but it was pointed out that the timescale for this was uncertain, and that a collective decision was taken by the Authority to reduce its size.  On the basis of that decision the Minister had confirmed her intention to act once the mechanism could be confirmed.

 

There was some debate over whether the Authority should pay the lower or higher of the two salary rates for the Deputy Chair of the Authority and the Chairs of Planning, Access and Rights of Way Committee and Audit and Scrutiny Committee, and views were expressed about the financial challenges as well as the workload carried out by these postholders.  Officers confirmed that any member could opt out of claiming any element of the allowance scheme but this had to be an individual rather than an Authority decision.

 

RESOLVED: 

 

a)  To note the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales;

 

b) To pay the higher of the two levels of Senior Salary for the  roles of Deputy Chair of the Authority and Chairs of Planning, Access and Rights of Way Committee and Audit and Scrutiny Committee.

 

c) To confirm that the levels of remuneration for Basic and Senior salaries outlined in the IRPW Draft Report and in line with resolution (b) above be included in the draft budget for 2019/20.

 

132/18

Appointment of Members to Powys Public Service Board Scrutiny pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered a request from Powys County Council to appoint a further representative to sit on the Public Service Board Scrutiny Committee.

 

RESOLVED:  That Cllr M Feakins be appointed as second reserve on the Powys Public Service Board Scrutiny Committee.

 

133/18

SDF application over £30k - Brecon Beacons National Park in Outdoor Rehabilitation PhD pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Dr Hannah Jarvis from Manchester Metropolitan University who gave a presentation on the application recommended for approval by the Sustainable Development Committee.  The Chief Executive supported this recommendation as it would provide useful evidence to support potential funding bids to the Health Boards in future.

 

Dr Jarvis answered questions from members and explained that this area had been chosen for the project not only for its natural environment but also for its mixture of socio-economic groups.  Members, including the Deputy Chair of the Sustainable Development Committee, were supportive and noted that while this was a large grant it was spread over four financial years and the Authority was gaining valuable data every six months.

 

RESOLVED: That the National Park Authority ratifies the Sustainable Development Committee’s decision to approve the application for the research project on outdoor rehabilitation for young people who have suffered strokes.

 

Cllr M Feakins left the meeting.

 

134/18

SDF Approval of Match Funding pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Mr Ben Rawlence to the meeting.

 

Members considered a recommendation to amend the conditions of a Sustainable Development Fund application approved by the Authority in January 2018, to enable wider sourcing of funding.  They expressed disappointment that Powys County Council had not been able to confirm match funding but Mr Rawlence advised that Powys had provided support in kind through officer time.  He outlined the potential sources of funding he had identified to date.  A member recommended that a phased release plan be developed based on the funding identified so that this issue would not need to come back to the Authority again.  It was also noted that the application dovetailed well with the apprenticeship item later on the agenda.

 

Asked whether other sites had been considered Mr Rawlence highlighted potential sites and advised that the Authority had been keen to suggest the barracks, although these would be not be available for another eight years.

 

RESOLVED: 

 

a)  To amend the grant condition such that the SDF Award for the feasibility study on the Black Mountains College can be matched prior to project commencement by match funding confirmed in writing from any source.

 

b)  That a phased release plan be developed based on sources of funding identified which would obviate the application needing further consideration by the Authority.

 

135/18

Waterfalls Car Parking Plan pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Members considered a consultation draft which would give the public and stakeholders an opportunity to comment on an iconic part of the Park.  Asked whether sustainable transport issues had been considered, the Sustainable Tourism Manager advised that a lot of work had been done on this but apart from the resource issue there was a problem of peak need balanced by quiet times, which did not make it a viable economic venture. 

 

Some members voiced concern over the lack of longer term thinking on this issue given the environmental capacity of the area, and felt that the Authority should not be encouraging more people to drive to the area but rather limiting numbers.  The issue of toilets was also a serious one, as was the lack of a shop, which limited the opportunity for contributing to the local economy.  A member suggested talking to local businesses about opening up their toilet facilities.

 

The Chair advised that the Authority would always need to balance short and long term issues but there would be further opportunity to discuss this in February once the consultation had taken place

 

RESOLVED:  That the Authority approves the Waterfalls Car Parking Plan for consultation with stakeholders particularly local residents and businesses.

 

 

136/18

Planning Annual Performance Report pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Principal Planning Officer (Policy) presented the Annual Monitoring Report which set out performance against key performance indicators.  She highlighted two areas where the Authority had fallen short of target: housing land supply and the time taken to process planning applications, where the Authority had missed the target of 67 days by one day.  She advised that the public would be invited to submit candidate sites in the next few days as part of the review of the Local Development Plan.

 

The Chair of Planning, Access and Rights of Way Committee congratulated officers for their hard work and commended the report.  This work had ensured that the Authority was consistently at the top end of the performance table in Wales. He acknowledged the quantitative nature of the indicators.  He reported on his recent meeting with Wales Audit which had included the efficient running of site visits, a reformatting of reports and agendas and raising the quality of design.

 

A member supported comments on good performance but referred to the reporting burden on officers.  In particular he suggested that data collected once should be used many times, and that the performance figures reported to Welsh Government should be aligned with the regular reports to Planning, Access and Rights of Way Committee.  He also commented that the report did not highlight the contribution of planning conditions to the enhancement of biodiversity, known as biodiversity net gain, and suggested that this be included in future reports.

 

RESOLVED:  To approve the content of the

Annual Performance Report for 2017/18 for

submission to the Welsh Government.

 

Cllr S McNicholas left the meeting.

 

137/18

SDF Annual Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 42 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received the Sustainable Development Fund annual report for 2017/18 with details of the 35 projects funded. 

 

Members welcomed the success of the scheme in enabling small projects to start up, and one member felt it was important to track those projects in future to see how they fared.  A member suggested that it would be useful to see cumulative figures in the table of spend against key work areas, so that spend over time could be analysed.

 

The Chief Executive agreed that the fund was one of the most important tools for the Authority which was reflected in the resources allocated, at a time when the other two Welsh Parks had opted to reduce funding.

 

RESOLVED:  To note the report.

 

138/18

Annual progress report Natural Resources Management Team pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members received a report setting out the working strategy of the Natural Resources team and their achievements.  The Natural Resources Manager hoped that this report would aid debate and decision making.

 

A member queried the need for a three year strategy when the National Park Management Plan should provide for this, and stressed the need for operational delivery.  He emphasised the need for better data in order to prioritise this action, for example, why monitor red grouse numbers if there were no driven grouse shoots in Wales.  Another member registered concern at the declining resources for this area of work which was significant for the first purpose of the Park but also brought benefits to people.

 

The Chair suggested that the Policy Forum might wish to debate this in more detail.

 

RESOLVED:  To note the report which is provided to aid debate and decision-making.

 

139/18

Member Reports

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no member reports.

 

140/18

Member Champion Reports

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Sustainable Economic Development Champion reported on current areas of work.

 

The Chair reminded members that the first meeting of the Key Work Area Groups were scheduled for 12 November, which would feed into the Policy Forum.  All champions and shadow champions had been invited to this meeting.

 

141/18

Gifts and Hospitality

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No gifts or hospitality were recorded.

 

142/18

Any other Business

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair advised that there was no further business.

 

143/18

Access to Information

24. Llandovery Tourist Information Centre - RECOMMENDATION: to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 25 in accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 12 and 14 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

25. BBNPA Traineeships - RECOMMENDATION: to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 25 in accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 13 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

26. Foel Deg Boundary Resolution Solutions - RECOMMENDATION: to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 25 in accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 12 and 13 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: 

 

a)  To exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 24 in accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 12 and 14 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972. 

 

b)  To exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 25 in accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 13 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.  

 

c)  To exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 26 in accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 12 and 13 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

The Chair advised that this concluded the public part of the meeting.

 

144/18

BBNPA Traineeships

Minutes:

The Sustainable Development Manager showed a short film of the latest apprenticeship scheme and reported on progress.

 

Members expressed their support for the scheme and recognised the potential link with the Black Mountains College.  Asked about meeting the needs of young people with differing needs and conditions the officer responded that the Princes Trust did target different groups, and a recent meeting with the Director had indicated a willingness to be more flexible.  Questions were asked about the percentage of young people managing to obtain employment in the landscape and conservation sector and how much staff time was needed to deliver courses.  The officer responded that it was two days a week of the Community Development Officer’s time but the trainees did provide additional staff resources for work on the ground.  It was suggested that trainees’ careers be followed over ten years to assess the impact, and it was noted that some trainees had been successful in employment with the Authority.

 

A member felt this was an exemplary scheme where the ‘soft’ outcomes were as important, such as staff development and instilling a work ethic in young people.

 

RESOLVED: 

 

a)  To accept the report on Skills in Action.

b)  To agree to continue to work with potential partners to seek funding for future Brecon Beacons National Park Trainee programmes

 

145/18

Llandovery Tourist Information centre

Minutes:

Members noted that no issues were raised during the consultation phase.

 

RESOLVED:  As per the confidential report.

 

Cllr S Ashley left the meeting.

 

146/18

Foel Deg Boundary Resolution Solutions

Minutes:

The Chair advised that Mr Parsons’ report had been considered at the Audit and Scrutiny Committee on 26 October. 

 

Members asked that a survey of boundaries be carried out, and the Chief Executive confirmed that this was planned, along with an analysis of learning points.  Both he and the Chair recognised the reputational impact that this had had.

 

RESOLVED:  To approve steps 1-5 as set out in the confidential report.