Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Carmarthenshire; Are Plaid going to walk the walk?

Today's South Wales Guardian features an article from Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths the leader of the 28-strong Plaid Cymru group on Carmarthenshire Council, (not yet online);

"Plaid Cymru is calling on Carmarthenshire County Council to make a New Year's Resolution to be open and accountable to the public in 2013...It is an alarming fact that a culture of secrecy and non-accountability is perceived to exist within the administration of Carmarthenshire county council. 
It is also a matter of dismay that any criticism of the authority often results in a disproportionately hostile reaction via the council's publicity department. 
There is a strong public perception that the council is arrogant and autocratic with too many decisions being made in private. 
This perception has been reinforced by the council's refusal to allow people to film and record open meetings, to release critical Ombudsman reports to councillors or to advertise in local papers that criticise the council. 
Plaid Cymru firmly believe that the public have a right to film council meetings and that elected members have a right to see critical reports by the Ombudsman before they are reported on television. 
Plaid also believes that any attack on the freedom of the press is deplorable and dangerous in a democratic society. 
Plaid Cymru is of the view that the authority's behaviour is bringing the authority into disrepute.
We believe it should urgently investigate means of engaging the public in it's democratic process"

These are strong words from Plaid. They are in opposition of course, but I suspect these words are not just aimed at the ruling Labour/Independent coalition but at the senior management of the council. The ruling coalition are guilty of utter complacency and active encouragement in allowing this situation to happen and carry on. To be honest, how the Independent group had the gall to stand as 'independent' candidates in the elections baffles me, as a political party it was nothing less than false advertising.

Anyway, I digress. There are 28 Plaid Members who are beginning to talk the talk - their Motion to allow filming was admirable and its defeat was a mockery of the system - lets' just hope they walk the walk too....there's a long way to go.

As I mentioned, the planning application for the controversial new 1200 pupil secondary school went in just before Christmas, when it was hoped nobody would notice. A major development such as this should be advertised in the local paper covering the catchment area but with the Council's ban on advertising in the South Wales Guardian, and tantrums in County Hall, local residents are being denied their democratic rights.
I'm pleased to say though that the editor of the paper, through his opinion piece, remains defiant.


Anonymous said...

Under Carmarthenshire County Council's Equal Opportunity Policy, does this mean that those that have been refused Planning Permission for development on a flood plain can resubmit their applications to be considered on the same merit as the proposed new Ffairfach super school.

caebrwyn said...

If you do submit an application make sure you commission the right sort of Flood Risk Appraisal, as the council always seems to do!
As for flooding in Llanelli, the problems over Christmas in the Parc Trostre council-led retail development seem to have been met with great hilarity by the Council press office;

gaynor said...

the standard of written English for their press releases is appalling