Venue: Hybrid - Neuadd Cyngor Ceredigion, Penmorfa, Aberaeron / remotely via video conference
Contact: Lisa Evans
i. Councillors John Roberts and Chris James apologised for their inability to attend the meeting.
ii. Councillor Carl Worrall apologised for having to leave the meeting early.
Disclosures of personal interest (including whipping declarations) Members are reminded of their personal responsibility to declare any personal and prejudicial interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2000, the Council’s Constitution and the Members Code of Conduct. In addition, Members must declare any prohibited party whip which the Member has been given in relation to the meeting as per the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011.
There were no disclosures of Personal and Prejudicial Interests (including whipping declarations) from Committee Members.
Councillor Keith Henson (Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management) explained that the purpose of the report was to provide information relating to the two recommendations made to Cabinet on 5 September 2023 as noted below:
Recommendation 1: That Cabinet consider undertaking a review of charging for parking along the Promenade in Aberystwyth.
Recommendation 2: That Cabinet consider offering 2 hours of free parking between 8am and 10am on Monday to Friday in one car park in Lampeter, Aberaeron and Cardigan.
Rhodri Llwyd, Corporate Lead Officer, Highways and Environmental Services provided a presentation to the Committee on Aberystwyth Promenade parking. The following was outlined:
· Stakeholder feedback
Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions which were answered by Officers present. The main points raised were as follows:
· Concerns were raised by the Elected Members of wards in Aberystwyth of the financial impact that charging along the Promenade may have on businesses including B&Bs and residents including the elderly and disabled who had no off-street parking. Clarification was given that Blue Badge holders in vehicles granted a tax-exemption, specifically by virtue of a disability, displaying their blue badge may park for free in Ceredigion's Pay and Display car parks however, all other Blue Badge holders were required to pay. Arrangements for Blue Badge holders where on-street charging was introduced would be in keeping with legislation and policy.
· If a decision was made to charge for parking along the Promenade, Members felt that resident parking would be key. A review of resident parking charges across Wales was suggested to ensure the charges were fair. It was noted that a resident parking permit would not warrant a guaranteed parking space as on-street parking was provided on the public highway.
· It was raised that many who parked along the Promenade during the day were people who travelled to the town from outside to work. As it stood, residents who lived on the Promenade had to go and search for spaces to park in nearby streets if there were no spaces available; there were concerns that charging for parking would reduce the number of free spaces nearby as people would try and search for these spaces. In addition, given the climate change agenda, charging along with the Promenade may encourage more to travel into town by public transport.
· Members suggested that there was a need to review parking in Aberystwyth in its entirety as the availability and adequacy of parking had decreased over the years with new developments.
· Members expressed that it would be vital that any additional costs to the service (e.g. installing payment machines/ signs) should be recovered through the income generated. It was noted that signs to allow people to pay online were widely used in other locations and would be better economically. If only a section of the Promenade would be allocated to parking charges, there would be less expense, but also less income.
· At present, there were difficulties parking on the Promenade ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Consideration was given to the report related to Food Centre Wales built by Ceredigion County Council at Horeb, Llandysul, and opened in 1996, to provide technical support for the food industry in Ceredigion as well as Mid and South-West Wales. Its location, being accessible to rural, farming communities in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire highlights one of its key objectives, which is to support farming businesses that wished to diversify into added-value processing. Food Centre Wales provides technical services to business start-ups, SMEs and national food manufacturers.
Food Centre Wales has formed a partnership with another two food technology centres in Wales, located in Llangefni and Cardiff to provide Wales-wide support for the food industry. An overview of the current provision including a focus on the Helix project and the impact on the economy was provided. Since 2016, the Food Centre Wales team has delivered good results through the HELIX project against the targets set. It was noted that the table included in the report did not reflect the full volume of support provided as they were only able to include the first intervention provided to businesses, although many returned a few times a year.
In terms of the future, Ceredigion County Council purchased a further 5 acres of land adjacent to the current estate in 2019 at Horeb to facilitate future growth plans. Two projects were currently being developed and assessed for inclusion in the Growth Deal programme for Mid Wales:
i. The establishment of a Food Manufacturing Innovation Centre would bring state-of-the-art, industrial-scale pilot facilities aimed at enabling the growth of more mid-sized food manufacturing businesses in Mid Wales.
ii. The provision of grow-on food manufacturing facilities, building on the current incubator units at Food Centre Wales.
These developments would further enhance the provision of services for the agri-food sector in Ceredigion, which was key to its economic well-being and would help to future-proof the facility and its long-term relevance and viability. There were also exciting developments by other projects in the Growing Mid Wales Growth Deal namely AberInnovation and Tir Glas, which would complement Food Centre Wales. The Centre had been awarded a 2-year extension of core budget, but there was no certainty following this.
Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions which were answered by the Officers present. The main points raised were as follows:
· It was noted that the Centre were able to support businesses from outside Wales commercially, but only businesses from Wales were able to benefit from the Helix project, which was the focus at present.
· Most businesses who accessed support were based in Mid and South-West Wales. Rachel’s Diary and other businesses that had received support early on in their journey continued to access support as they grew. As businesses expanded, there was greater demand for expertise rather than generic support. In addition, due to the current economic climate, businesses were exploring ways to reduce costs and rather than testing any changes in processes at their base, preferred to do so ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
It was agreed to confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 31 July 2023.
Matters arising: None.
It was agreed to note the contents of the Forward Work Programme presented subject to the following:
· Update on Ceredigion’s fleet (December 2023 if possible)