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Agenda item

Greenfield Valley Heritage park

Decision:

(a)       That the Committee welcomes the update and progress in addressing the recent audit report recommendations;

 

(b)       That the Committee’s congratulations be conveyed to all involved in making the changes;

 

(c)        That a press statement supporting the progress be drafted; and

 

(d)       That a meeting of the Committee, to include a further update on addressing the Greenfield Valley audit report recommendations and a tour of the valley facilities, be held in six months.

Minutes:

                        The Chief Officer (Planning, Environment and Economy) introduced a report to provide an update on the work carried out to deliver the recommendations arising from the audit on the governance, funding, and operating arrangements at Greenfield Valley, and the current operational position.  He provided background information and advised that following the audit, all actions had been completed with the exception of signing the Management Agreement. All interested parties had commented on drafts of the Agreement and the Trust had given a commitment to sign the Agreement at their Board meeting on 7 May 2019.  The Chief Officer invited the Access and Natural Environment Manager to provide an update on the operational position at Greenfield Valley.

 

                        The Access and Natural Environment Manager reported on the operational highlights for the last six months, as detailed in the report.  He referred to a number of recent successful events and activities which had been held, and the woodland management, development and maintenance works undertaken.  He also reported on the initiative to revise admission fees to encourage people to buy annual passes throughout the year and reported that an Outdoor Learning Conference for education professionals would be hosted in the Valley on 4 April. 

 

The Access and Natural Environment Manager advised that the Council’s Streetscene service had been successful in securing almost £700k through the Welsh Government Active Travel Grant for the Valley which would improve links and communication.  He explained that the first phase would be to resurface the path along the old railway line to the coast road car park.  Further applications were to be submitted which would include proposals to improve the links from the Valley to Ysgol Treffynnon and from the Valley to Greenfield Dock.

 

In concluding his update the Access and Natural Environment Manager commented on the dependence of the Valley on the regular volunteers that assisted with the management of the site and explained that Greenfield Valley had registered to distribute Timecredits to volunteers.  The scheme was funded by the Welsh Government (WG) as part of a specific project in Flintshire and Wrexham for the next two years.  The initiative enabled volunteers to receive paper credits in exchange for their time which could be spent in registered facilities and businesses across the UK.

 

The Chief Officer (Planning and Environment) suggested that the Committee may wish to hold a future meeting at Greenfield Valley and take the opportunity to have a tour of the Valley and the facilities provided at the same time.

 

Councillor Chris Dolphin congratulated the Chief Officer and the Access and Natural Environment Manager and his team, on their excellent work and the progress achieved regarding the recent audit recommendations.   He commented on the Council’s annual budget for management of the site which was in the region of £300k and said this was good value for money, however, he expressed disappointment that the Management Agreement had not yet been signed by Greenfield Valley Trust Limited which he said was unacceptable.  Councillor Dolphin also congratulated Officers on the success of the £700k grant secured through the WG Active Travel scheme which he said would make a significant impact on the Valley.   Councillor Dolphin stated that he did not consider that further update reports needed to be brought to future Scrutiny Committees, given the positive progress made.

 

Councillor Andy Dunbobbin reiterated the views expressed by Councillor Dolphin on the excellent work and progress achieved by Officers and suggested that   the recommendations in the report be amended to reflect this.  He also commented on the positive work which had been undertaken by officers in conjunction with the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Councillor Paul Shotton thanked Officers for a positive report and congratulated Officers on the initiative to simplify the pricing structure for admission to the Valley and on the successful outcome of the bid for the WG Active Travel Grant. 

 

Councillor Dave Hughes said there was a need for improved signage to Greenfield Valley on the A55 which would encourage more visitors to the area.  Councillor Carolyn Thomas acknowledged the point and said she would follow this up after the meeting.

 

Councillor Chris Bithell spoke of the industrial heritage and historical value of Greenfield Valley and said it was important that people had ease of access to the Valley as a whole and the facilities available.  He suggested that consideration be given to providing a form of transport for people with mobility problems who were unable to either walk or cycle along the Valley’s pathways.  Councillor Carolyn Thomas acknowledged the comments and agreed consideration could be given to the suggestion if funding and resources were available.

 

The Chief Officer suggested that a further report to update the Committee on progress to address the recent audit  report recommendations be submitted in six months and that a future Scrutiny meeting be held at the Valley in the autumn.

 

Councillor Paul Shotton moved the recommendations with the amendment proposed by Councillor Andy Dunbobbin. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       That the Committee welcomes the update and progress in addressing the recent audit report recommendations;

 

(b)       That the Committee’s congratulations be conveyed to all involved in making the changes;

 

(c)        That a press statement supporting the progress be drafted; and

 

(d)       That a meeting of the Committee, to include a further update on addressing the Greenfield Valley audit report recommendations and a tour of the valley facilities, be held in six months.

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