Draft minutes

Policy Forum
Friday, 18th January, 2019 10.00 am

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

No. Item




The Chair welcomed members and officers to the meeting and hoped that the venue would benefit the workshop style of the meeting.  She welcomed Steve Gray, the new Delivery Director and thanked him for taking time to join the meeting prior to his start date with the Authority.



Minutes of Previous Meeting


The minutes of the meeting held on 19 November 2018 were received.



Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.



LDP Strategic Development Options


The Chair welcomed Chris O’Brien to his first meeting as Planning Policy Officer.   The officer outlined the work that members would be asked to do during the morning, and referred to the ‘top 10’ facts under each of the key work areas which were pinned on the wall and which would hopefully provide a starting point for discussion.


He went through the top 10 overarching socio-economic facts which would enable choices to be made based on population, and which were a useful starting point for taking future decisions. It was vital to capture members’ comments during these sessions, although decisions could not be taken in this forum.   The following points were made:


·         Officers advised that the data was from the Office for National Statistics and been produced using a range of assumptions algorithms, and was as robust as they could obtain.  They were projections rather than forecasts.

·         Significant amount of Projected population growth due to inward migration anticipated rather than natural change. which What would be the put  strain on schools, local services, water/sewerage and open spaces from 566 more households and 420 more people? Relates to less than 50 dwelling per year of the LDP period, which would meet the projected household requirement

·         Draft Litchfields Study: Assessment of Housing Need recommends figures were based on ensuring there were enough people for the number of jobs forecast

·         There were 1209 units already in the Authority’s five year supply with land availability so more than needed, although policy decisions would need to be made on affordable housing, climate change, decarbonisation and wellbeing.

·         Noted that projections were 2014-based and the abolition of Severn Bridge tolls was not reflected in house prices

·         Affordable Housing Needs Analysis could be the killer data (officers confirmed it had been commissioned).

·         3 hectares Employment Land recommended by Litchfield’s Employment Land Review shouldn’t be seen as gospel (officers said that if there was a feeling this should be increased then that would be a policy decision, but it must be evidence based to give communities confidence)

·         It was noted that housing officers had met and identified a significant need for social housing, both for communities inside and outside the Park boundary

·         The 2021 Census data would inform this but data would not be available until after the adoption of the LDP

·         The impact of Brexit might skew all projections

·         We can’t pin wages to house prices

·         Single occupancy dwellings was a concern

·         Huge problem caused by the right to buy reducing the housing stock

·         While the Authority was not a housing provider it still had to meet housing targets

·         Could an innovative approach to housing needs be considered (example of dementia friendly villages was highlighted)

·         It might be that affordable housing had to be outside settlements

·         Was there potential to go through intermediaries to get to Registered Social Landlords (RSLs)

·         Officers advised that the National Development Framework would be launched in the summer and the Authority needed to see what the Welsh Government view was on National  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32/19


LDP Issues and Objectives


Officers introduced the final LDP session and referred to the facts for each key work area which were displayed in the room. Some of this SWOT Analysis process had been tested by officers and champions in the recent Key Work Area Groups. 


After the exercise officers advised that all the feedback from the exercise would be brought back to the next Policy Forum.




Corporate Plan


Members made the following comments on the draft Corporate Plan:


Resilient Communities and Sustainable Economic Development


·         A number of overlapping issues such as housing, skills and employment

·         Need to strengthen the health and wellbeing element to meet the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act requirements

·         Sustainable economic development needs to be expanded to cover tourism and other economic areas

·         Objective 1 – question the use of the phrase ‘sustainably maximise’ – also are officers sure we can achieve this objective?

·         Related to this – a bit of wordsmithing needed

·         Officers need to ask the questions – how do we know, how do we prove?


Landscape and Biodiversity


·         The Nature Recovery Action Plan should re-energise work around conservation with nature recovery as a key phrase – we have a duty to report on how we are doing on our biodiversity duty

·         The ecology team had done a brilliant job with the NRAP, but as an Authority we are reporting that 77% of our own land is in unfavourable condition – how did members feel about that?

·         Need a plan outlining what are the causes and remedies, who we work with and how we fund it, and propose a target of 2-3 NRAP cycles to achieve +75% to reflect our role as exemplar

·         With current resources the Authority could influence no more than 100 hectares each year

·         Suggested that the CEO and Delivery Director meet with the CEO of Natural Resources Wales to discuss remedies and how to fix the problem then go to Welsh Government

·         Of our holdings, over 90% was common land so not easy to solve issues such as illegal burning despite conversations with graziers

·         Noted that a contract had been set up to provide advocacy, advice and representation on our land

·         Role of scrutiny with Key Work Area Groups – are they scrutinising each other?

·         Don’t lose sign of the aspirations of the morning session

·         Resources tend to be put into areas which are obvious and ‘quick wins’

·         Objective 1 is very resource intensive

·         Strategic partnerships were vital to achieve objectives – the role of champion not clearly linked here (potential to refer to this in the chairs and champions workshop on 15 February)

·         Officers needed to ‘sense read’ the Corporate Plan as it currently read like a Management Plan

·         Future versions of the Corporate Plan needed to read like a journey where the development, progress and coherence needed to be clear

·         Add Rural Payments Agency to CEO’s To Do list

·         Noted that this is also year 10 of 10 with the Management Plan and so there is an element of wrapping up loose ends before moving on to the next plan

·         Medium term planning is important – Wales Audit Office will need to see a condense plan but be able to bridge the gap and understanding (PF to talk to lead managers about this




·         Most Scheduled Ancient Monuments were not on our land

·         Members felt there was a clear role to halt the decline of Welsh Culture  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34/19


Budget 2019/20


The CEO advised that officers had produced a balanced budget for 2019/20 which was a transition one.  This was an opportunity for members to review the figures before the budget came to the Authority for approval on 12 February.


(Cllr E Roderick left).


A member suggested that the Corporate Plan and budget might be more clearly linked to the contribution to the Minister’s priorities as presented at the Welsh Park members seminar which would help with advocacy outside the organisation.  The officer advised that the place to do that might be in the Chair’s foreword which set out how we meet the objectives in Valued and Resilient.


The Finance Manager advised that members could debate at this meeting issues not in the public domain.  Officers had tried to be creative but this would be the last year this could be done.


Members felt that income generation should also be reviewed and highlighted the fact that that the MOD did not currently pay anything for the use of our land which could bring in significant income.  The Biodiversity Champion would find out what other Parks did about this and advised that while the MOD made payments to graziers, they were not the people who picked up the tab when restorative work needed to be done on access routes.


The CEO advised that the possibility of future windfalls in this financial year were now unlikely given that the responsibility for National Parks had moved with the Minister, but the underspend had not.


It was noted that the reduction of members, whilst agreed by the Minister, was delayed due to the lack of time in the legislative programme.  A number of options had been put to officials but no feedback had been received to date.




Any Other Business


At this point all officers left the meeting while the CEO and Delivery Director presented two exempt papers.