From Community Council Minutes 1

Isn’t the custom of publishing minutes of meetings a really wonderful thing? It means that if you didn’t happen to be at a meeting, or can’t remember much about it, or think that someone else’s version of events might be a bit highly flavoured, you can grab the minutes and find out exactly what went on.

 

Of course minutes don’t have to describe everything that happens at a meeting. Do we really need to know at what point in a particularly impassioned appeal for peace, universal love, and harmony the chairman choked on his dentures, or why an elderly council member left so suddenly when the name of a certain young lady was mentioned by his aunt’s second cousin’s nephew (once removed) in connection with a controversial planning application for a new erection at Menhir Fawr? But of course proper minutes will aways describe the business under discussion in an accessible way, and keep those who were not fortunate enough to be present fully informed.

This is particularly important where a community council is concerned. After all Welsh Government guidelines require that councillors take steps to acquaint themselves with all shades of option in the community they represent, even those they may disagree with. They are also supposed to ensure that everyone’s views get a fair hearing, and obviously everyone should be able to find out if they are doing that. Continue reading “From Community Council Minutes 1”

Bypass consultation NOT!

As previously mentioned here, Gwynedd Council claims that they are carrying out a public consultation about their plans for a bypass. This is a statutory requirement prior to making a planning application for a major project and for the first time all the relevant documents are available for inspection, but only on the internet.


The question is whether this is a consultation at all. To begin with, Gwynedd Council refer to their project as the ‘A496 Llanbedr Access Improvement Scheme’, which does not describe the proposal accurately. The plan is, and always has been, to build a bypass. Far from improving access to Llanbedr with all that it has to offer, this will divert traffic away from the village. It cannot possibly be described as improving access to Llanbedr, and how can you claim that you are undertaking a consultation when you don’t even describe what you are doing properly?

But that’s not all. Surely for a consultation to be anything more than a sham, you have to make sure that the people who will be affected by the proposed scheme know that there is a consultation taking place, so that they can make any representations they wish? In this case that would be every one who lives in the Llanbedr Community Council area as a bare minimum. Continue reading “Bypass consultation NOT!”

New bypass “consultation”?

Gwynedd Council consultants YCG have announced that they need to consult local residents about what they refer to as the ‘Llanbedr Access Improvement Scheme’.

Never mind that YGC just cannot bear to use the term ‘bypass’.

Never mind that everyone knows that it is a bypass, and was always going to be a bypass.

Never mind that the plans have long since been finalised and it’s a bit late for consultation.

Never mind that the time to ask people if they want a bypass is when the scheme was being planned, not after it’s been finalised.

Never mind that at the planning stage YGC didn’t tell anyone that it was going to be a bypass.

Never mind that a bypass cannot accurately be described as the ‘Llanbedr Access Improvement Scheme’, because a bypass will take people away from Llanbedr, not improve access to the community and its businesses.

Anyway, a bit late in the day perhaps, YGC say that they want your views before a planning application is made to the Snowdonia National Park Authority (SNPA). Continue reading “New bypass “consultation”?”

Pennies from Cardiff

According to a BBC news story, the Wales Audit Office has rapped the Welsh Government’s knuckles for being just a bit too casual about public funds made available to the company behind the proposed Circuit of Wales motorcycle race track project at Ebbw Vale.

As much as £9.3m seems to have vanished like snow in August without much by way of due diligence on the part of Ken Skates’ Economy and Infrastructure ministry. He’s the cheerful chappy who echoed his predecessor Edwina Hart’s refusal to confirm that Gwynedd Council had complied with Welsh Government guidelines on consultation while planning the Llanbedr bypass.

Given that according to the Beeb, the Welsh Government’s only response to what appears to be a very detailed and utterly damning report by the Auditor is to say that it is “disappointed”,  one might wonder what hope there is for proper oversight of developments at Llanbedr.

Read all about it here:

Circuit of Wales: ‘Flawed’ decisions on public funding

Afterthought: The Auditor may be on the case this time, but two letters to his office asking if he can legitimately sign off government expenditure on the Llanbedr bypass when Gwynedd Council’s consultants have failed to comply with Ken Skates own departments guidelines on public consultation have been ignored. And those guidelines are supposed to apply to  all transport projects promoted or funded by WAG.

Maybe the auditor prefers to wait until money has been misspent before he acts.

Shhh! Don’t mention the ‘b’ word!

Our county councillor Mrs Annwen Hughes —who actually lives in Talsarnau  not Llanbedr although she is quick to point out that she was born and bred at Crafnant Farm, in Cwm Bychan — posted her manifesto for the local government elections on the village noticeboard, but she seems to have been too modest to mention a certain little word beginning with ‘b’.

 

Although we learn that she will work tirelessly our behalf to ‘ensure educational success and experiences’ at the school, to see that investment at the air field benefits local people and businesses, and  promote the ‘economical benefit’ of tourism — whatever that might be —in this beautiful  area,  there is no mention of her enthusiasm for the Llanbedr bypass and, presumably, the UK Spaceport project that it is window dressing for.

Now some people may wonder quite how a bypass which will deprive local businesses of vital passing trade and help touists to speed through ‘this beautiful area’ without stopping will help with these issues. In fact it’s all rather strange  in view of some of the things that she has said and done in the past. Continue reading “Shhh! Don’t mention the ‘b’ word!”

Community Council non-election

 

Well the good news is that two vacancies on the council have been filled by Caroline Evans  and Robin  Ward.

Caroline, whose family home is Plas Gwynfryn, has a first class honours degree in industrial management from Nottingham University and Robin, who has lived in the village with his Welsh wife for over thirty years, has a first class honours degree in physics  from Aberystwyth University and was head of Radiological Protection, Environment, and Emergency Planning at Trawsfynydd nuclear power station.  So they have quite a range of skills that they can contribute public affairs in Llanbedr.

With plans for a bypass and a spaceport signalling the biggest change that Llanbedr has faced since the bridge over the River Artro was built some 400 years ago, they would seem to have just the kind of skills to bring some kind of sanity to the Community Councils deliberations on such matters. With luck they may also be able to undo some of the harm that has been done by the  council’s appalling failure to keep the rest of us informed about these plans and act as a conduit for the views of both those who welcome these developments and those who wish to oppose them. Continue reading “Community Council non-election”