Minutes 17th April 2018

Present:  Cllr Robert Lee (President), Stuart Bentley (Vice President), Mark Morgan (Treasurer), Alun Edwards, Cllr Chris Smart, Bobby Emment-Lewis, Michelle Smith, Jo Richards, Cllr Les Tallon-Morris, Bridget Hall (Minutes)

In attendance:  Cllr Tracy Hill, Sgt Mike Davies

1              Welcome

Robert welcomed Sgt Mike Davies and thanked him for sparing his time to address Chamber members.

2              Speaker – Sgt Mike Davies

Sgt Mike Davies thanked members for inviting him.  He said that after 25 years’ police service he now had only 5 years until retirement.  Sgt Mike outlined his varied police career and said that he returned to duty in Porthcawl in Easter 2017.  Sgt Mike said the Porthcawl community team comprised himself as Sergeant, 2 PCs and 5 PCSOs (Leighton, Richard, Jess, Rebecca and Rachel), with the main Porthcawl response being based in Bridgend, which had a Sergeant and 6/7 officers, CID, traffic, dog handlers, firearms and neighbourhood service.  Emergency or priority issues were not handled in Porthcawl; the role of the team was basically to problem-solve, whilst observing the

S Wales Police mission, ‘To be the best and respond to community needs’.

Sgt Mike said that his team had achieved excellent results, with 15 drug dealers arrested in the last year, generated through intelligence within his team.  He said that duties of the team included:

  • Community events: i.e. Elvis Festival, Carnival, Golf, etc: to provide a presence and at events and reassurance to the public.
  • Crime prevention: Aim to report and record minor crimes; review crime over the previous 24 hours and observe trends, etc.  Porthcawl is a low-crime area but increases during the summer.
  • Public order, thefts, etc: The PCSO role is to speak to people and gather information/intelligence.  He added that drugs supply and use was on the increase.

He further added that PCSO Leighton was familiar with the community, with some excellent work by the small team in preventing crime.

Mark said that, on one occasion, he had reason to go to the police station in Porthcawl and used the phone at the front but there was no answer. Sgt Mike answered that the front desk was closed but there should have been a response from the yellow phone, which was for reporting non-crime.

Stuart asked about the provision of CCTV cameras in the town.  Mike said that there were not many provided and he would like to see more.  Les added that the Town Council had approved the provision of two more cameras.

Michelle said that she had been working with PCSO Richard and Rhiannon Kingsley previously, looking at the possibility of installing a walkie-talkie security system.  It had been agreed with Rhiannon that funding of up to 50% would be provided but the system was never progressed, largely due to the cost.  Michelle asked if anything could be done.

Mike referred to StoreNet being trialled in Bridgend and said it was difficult to get people to sign up due to the cost.  He said that the Coop and Superdrug had the most effective security system.  Mike said he would arrange for PCSOs Rebecca and Rachel to call to see Michelle.

Bobby asked if there was a way of informing the community of PACT meetings, such as on social media.  Chris agreed that there was a lack of notice, saying that he had attended the last meeting but few knew about it.  Bridget said that, following a PCSO visit to a Chamber meeting 2 or 3 years ago, the PCSO said he was going to send her dates of meetings by email, so that Bridget could inform members and put on the Chamber FB page.  However, this information was not received. Mike said he would ensure that notices of dates were made known.

Mike said crime was up in the town, with burglaries being sporadic.

Michelle referred to the parking policy and asked for clarification.  Mike said that John Street had been a pedestrianised area for a long time, with only disabled drivers being allowed before 11am and after 5pm.  Enforcement was difficult, however, as no charge could be made by the police on a parked car, only on a moving vehicle.  There was a £50 fixed penalty for this with 30 cases in total.

Michelle said it was very difficult for shop-owners wanting to load/unload their cars.  Mike understood this but said it was the law.

Robert thanked Mike and his team for all their good work.   Mike thanked the Chamber and left the meeting.

3              Apologies

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Mary Emment-Lewis, Cllr Lorrie Desmond-Williams, Jeff & Jane Bond, Cllr Les Tallon-Morris, Peter Fenton, John Berry, Cllr David Newton-Williams and Barbara Bridge.

4              To approve the minutes of the last meeting

The Minutes were approved for accuracy.

5              Matters arising

  1. i) Bus Consultation

Stuart said it was an excellent meeting and the town now awaited the outcome of the Consultation.

  1. ii) Easter Egg Hunt

Chris asked for clarification regarding the Chamber contribution of £250 to the Council for the purchase of Easter Eggs, saying that this amount was more than the agreed half cost and we should consider asking for a refund of the difference.  After discussion, it was agreed that this would be a relatively small amount and in view of the fact that there had been other costs for the Egg Hunt, it was agreed not to ask for a refund from the Council.

iii)           Footfall

Chris said he had discussed this matter with members of the cabinet.  He had invited Cllr Charles Smith to a Chamber meeting to discuss but Cllr Smith thought this would be pointless, even though it had been acknowledged that there was a high decline in figures.  Chris said this response was very disappointing.   Chris added that the TC had written to the Leader asking him to intervene as disappointed with the response from Cllr C Smith.

Michelle said expressed her frustration that the footfall figures are no longer circulated, since the departure of Rhiannon.  Michelle said she would like to continue to receive these to monitor the situation and would make enquiries in regard to who now held the footfall figures.

  1. iv) Parking

Robert referred to the car-parking issue and a discussion ensued on action needed.  It was agreed that Bridget would draft a letter to the Leader, Cllr Huw David, copied to Cllr Charles Smith, MPs, AMS, Darren Mepham, asking for a period of free parking.  Following this, a petition would be considered.

  1. v) Events Committee

Chris updated members, saying that a decision on the future of the Events Committee would be made at the TC AGM in May.   He added that it was quite likely that Events would be restricted next year.

6              Correspondence

Bridget said that she had received an email from Geoff and Jane Bond, Jane’s Forget-me-Not, John Street, saying that they were shortly retiring from business in the town after more than 30 years.  Robert expressed his best wishes on behalf of the Chamber for a long and happy retirement.

7              Financial Report

Mark went through the salient points in the Financial Report.  No points were raised.

8              Membership Report

Bridgend said that she had visited business and hoped some would sign up. Associate membership was discussed.  This would involve a change in the constitution and it was agreed to re-visit this matter.

9              Events/PR

Les said that nothing had been finalised in regard to the location of the Summer Festival as availability of the Cosy Corner area had not yet been clarified.

Mark said that his wife, Pim, had not been contacted with an option to participate in last year’s event and asked for her to be included for this year.  Bridget explained that Sarah, TC, was responsible for this area.

10           Christmas Lights

Robert said he had been approached by a marketing company offering their services for the provision of Christmas lights in the town, which would include risk assessment, purchase and installation.  This company had been responsible for the installation of Christmas light in Mumbles and Swansea so were a professional organisation.  Robert outlined costs, which would amount to approximately £46 per business, based on 30 businesses contributing.  It was agreed to discuss this further at the next meeting.

11           Any other business

  1. i) Venue for Chamber meetings

A discussion ensued regarding an appropriate venue for Chamber meetings. It was agreed that a rotation of venues might be attractive to members. Bridget said that, despite several enquiries, she had still not received final confirmation from the SaltWater as a possible venue but would follow up.

  1. ii) Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting was agreed for Tuesday 15th May 2018.