Delay to bin changes confirmed & more

Here’s another monthly update of some of the reports to be discussed by Bridgend Council’s (BCBC) cabinet and full council later this week.

Controversial New Waste Collection Service Delayed (pdf)

As you probably all already know, the introduction of the controversial “two black bag limit” rubbish collections in Bridgend county – and changes to recycling containers – has been delayed until 5thJune. The scheme was originally due to start from 1stApril.

Kier  – who already provide rubbish collections for the county – successfully won the bid to provide the new service.

However, those companies which missed out had to be debriefed on why their bids were unsuccessful as outlined by contract regulations. One of those companies challenged the level of detail provided by BCBC and, to stave off a potential legal challenge, the debriefing period had to be extended.

As a result, Kier believed they didn’t have enough time to prepare for the introduction of the new service – hence the delay.

I’m sure the decision has absolutely nothing to do with with the fact the service would’ve started during the local election campaign, with the potential for lots of bad press for Labour over the next five weeks if there were any “teething problems”.

Mynydd Cynffig Move Scrapped (pdf)

Over the last year or so, BCBC have pressed ahead with a proposal to move the current Mynydd Cynffig infants and junior schools to a single new build site within the grounds of Cynffig Comprehensive.

The decision proved divisive amongst parents and the local community who, in turn, proposed that a single school be built at the current Mynydd Cynffig Junior School in Kenfig Hill. Some of those concerns included the possible hazards of primary-age children sharing a site with older children, road safety concerns (the roads around Cynffig Comprehensive are crowded) and proximity to the Village Farm Industrial Estate.

As a move to Cynffig Comprehensive would now require significant road improvements, the projected costs rose £3million above the allocated £7million budget to £10million
– which is exactly the same as a school merger at the Mynydd Cynffig junior site would cost.

As a result, BCBC’s cabinet have been recommendednot to proceed with either a move to Cynffig Comprehensive or a redevelopment of the junior school site, meaning the current split-site arrangement will remain for the foreseeable future.

It’s estimated between £250,000 and £300,000 has been spent by BCBC on the proposal, which will now be written off as a loss.

Disputes, Dormice & Newts Delay Parc Slip Restoration

We’re no closer to the promised restoration of the former Parc Slip/Margam opencast site it seems.

Some work has reportedly taken place on the “void” (as well as landscaping) despite no formal planning approval being granted, but there’s been a dispute between landowners and Celtic Energy over the final agreement in terms of access to the site and access to bond money. This has resulted in two separate legal agreements being drafted – one for the landowner, one for Celtic Energy – neither of which had been signed as of February 2017 (pdf).

BCBC’s Planning Committee subsequently agreed to change some of the planning conditions to take these events into account, such as timescales etc. The most important thing to highlight is that the deadline to complete restoration works was pushed back from 31st July 2017 to 31st July 2018.

In addition, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) refused to grant consent until clarification was provided on the status of protected species. Such clarification was recently submitted, with dormice and great crested newts – the bane of developers everywhere – being found across the site (pdf).

Most of the areas believed to contain protected species – both in Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend – aren’t expected to be affected by restoration works. However, there still isn’t confirmation whether a dormouse licence from NRW will be required for the parts of the site lying within Bridgend county, though measures will need to be taken to protect/move the newts – a large number of which were found following a survey (pdf).