Cabinet Member: Councillor Dafydd Meurig
Consider the Cabinet Members Report
a) Submitted - the report of the Cabinet Member updating the Committee on the actions taken since the Cabinet Member had submitted his report in September, 2016 asking the Committee to support the intention to review and prepare a Rights of Way Improvement Plan for Gwynedd. It was highlighted that Welsh Government had published guidelines for Local Authorities which explained the procedure and steps that provided guidance on statutory and ancillary requirements.
Attention was drawn to the draft questionnaire that had been attached to the report. The purpose of the questionnaire, which had been created with the support of the Communications and Engagement Team, was to gather the opinion of the public and specific cohorts on Rights of Way.
It was also emphasised that the Plan would be prepared jointly with the Snowdonia National Park Authority and the principles of this joint working was highlighted to the committee. With the need to assess 3500km of network, it was acknowledged that the task was a difficult one and was therefore reliant on the support of others.
b) In response to the questionnaire, it was suggested that there was a need to include a box for 'children' in the answers to question C5, 'Which of the following would you be likely to take with you?'
c) During the discussion the following observations were noted:
· There was a lack of signs on paths
· There was a need to be aware of the problems that arose with landowners. It was suggested that powers were needed to ensure that not one person was affected.
· There was a need to ensure that the AONB and the Countryside Unit contributed to the Plan.
· More investment in mountain and coastal paths
· Must consider adopting a policy to protect land between the coastal path and the sea and ensure that people and landowners understood the situation
· Lack of resources was likely to be a cause for concerns regarding path maintenance
· Grants were key to the maintenance work
· Suggestion to coordinate volunteers and the youth services - must nurture respect towards local assets within the community
· Suggestion to promote the pathwatch app among staff - effective for sharing information
In response to the observation regarding grants, it was accepted there were different grants available for undertaking improvements, however the financial timetable would force a programme of priorities. It was highlighted that categories 1 - 5 had been formed to manage the resources and it was suggested that there was a need to review these categories. It was also highlighted that Welsh Government intended to review rights of way legislation and a consultation with practical proposals was likely to be introduced in the coming months.
a) To support the Department to continue with the fields of work to be implemented in the next six months, namely
· Continue to gather information regarding the condition of the network and commence the work of analysing this information.
· Work with SNPA to identify the resources needs
· Collaborate with the Communication / Engagement Unit to identify the best methods of engagement to reach the widest possible audience. Complete the questionnaire and conduct a public consultation during May and June.
· Continue to evaluate the previous RoWIP.
· Look at how the RoWIP overlaps with legislation, plans and other policies.
· Towards the end of the period (approximately September) to begin the task of reaching conclusions based on information to hand and to formulate a direction for the new RoWIP.
b) More resources should be sought, within existing limitations, welcome creative ideas/use of technology
c) Need to consider increasing Gwynedd Council's powers
ch) To request that the Cabinet Member submit a progress report within six months.