Minutes of the Projects Committee held on Thursday 26 October 2017 at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall Abergavenny.

Present: Cllr D Simcock (Mayor)

Cllrs Mrs M Harris, M Hickman, G Jones, T Konieczny, M Groucutt,  Mrs P Simcock, R Harris, N Tatam and F Morgan

In attendance: The Acting Town Clerk

  1. Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs T Thomas, Ms S Dodd, L van de Vyver, S Head and Mrs T Davies.

Cllr Mrs Simcock led off on this item. She explained that there had been a series of local meetings to assess attitudes post-Brexit, and these meetings had also included discussions about people`s circumstances and personal situations. Because of this the Cardiff University School of Social Sciences were keen to do more work in Abergavenny and Blaenau Gwent in the form of collaborative research. Initially they were seeking 4 workshops, 2 with councillors and 2 with the Community, and depending on the outcomes this may then lead to a much bigger project on Community Cohesion.

There were then a number of views expressed by Councillors. Reference was made to a comprehensive review by MCC and Millar Research in 2009 and previous studies by Cardiff Social Sciences. No clear positive outcomes were identified and use of the same communities for further research was strongly resisted.

Political will and funding is needed to make an impact on the identified problems. The PEEP programme out of the ACE Partnership/Communities First  had been really good, but funding had been withdrawn. Information on how this has been successfully continued in Torfaen could be made available to members.

In conclusion a proposal to support the Cardiff Project was defeated by 5 votes to 3. A further proposal for a sub-group of interested Councillors to discuss issues with them was carried by a significant majority.

A flyer asking for views n this was considered. After some discussion it was agreed that individuals may submit views if they wish to do so, but the Council would not be doing so at this time as there was plenty to be working with in the Well-Being work and the five year plan.

Members considered this report and noted the proposals as they affect Town and Community Councils. There was some uncertainty about the obligation to implement these proposals so it was agreed that clarity should be sought via One Voice Wales and then the proposals as they affect this Council should be referred to Finance Committee to accommodate any changes into next year`s budget.

Cllrs Mrs Simcock, Mrs Harris and Tatam had met informally to review the information of previous discussions about public toilets and to make recommendations to the Council for the future. They had spent several hours trying to reach a worthwhile conclusion and the outcome of their deliberations was tabled for members consideration.

It was stressed that this is a holding operation until Morrison`s has been operating to see what effect their facilities may have. It would therefore cover the coming financial year, and during that year a further review would be completed to decide on a more permanent solution.

A number of provisos had been set out to be presented to MCC as conditions to be met in exchange for Town Council funding. There was some debate as to whether they were all realistic, but it was agreed that MCC`s response should be sought on all of them, prior to any compromise being considered.

Reference was made to Abergavenny being an Event Town so that facilities were more important, although some felt that Event Organisers should provide their own facilities.

After some debate it was moved and seconded that the proposal is accepted as a basis for negotiation with MCC for one year, after which a more permanent solution is sought. This was carried.

The Mayor referred to correspondence with County Officers and others expressing concern about the future maintenance of the new planters installed during the improvements to St John`s Square. He suggested that a meeting of all of the Friends Groups should be convened to discuss this and the future of Abergavenny in Bloom . It was felt that Cllrs L van de Vyver, T Thomas, T Konieczny and D Simcock could be the members to meet with the Friends Groups. The ongoing maintenance of these planters has not been agreed as a Town Council responsibility at present.

There being no other business the meeting ended at 8:35pm