Saturday 3 March 2012

Awards...and council spin

Could help but notice our Council has won another 'award' (which I'm sure will look splendid alongside the one from Private Eye). This time it is for the 'new' Carmarthen Market (opened in April 2010). I am very much in favour of supporting the small, local businesses who rent the units I am sure they need all the positive publicity  they can get, particulary as they are in direct competition with the swathe of national retailers the Council decided to plonk in St Catherine's Walk right next door.

However, on closer inspection the awarding body is the 'Consortium of Local Authorities Wales', made up of, as you may imagine, local authorities, and the Vice-Chair of CLAW (nice acronym) is none other than our very own Cllr Ivor Jackson, currently Chair of the Council. The Council press release, which will no doubt appear in the local papers soon has an interesting, but 'uncharacteristic' quote (and photo of course) from Deputy Leader Kevin Madge - interesting because he doesn't appear to have actually said it, He states"The Market overcame considerable site, local community and logistical challenges to deliver an outstanding landmark building"  but a quick peek at the CLAW website shows a similarly effusive article which states exactly the same sentence; "...providing a new market hall, external shops and public space around the historic clock tower, the development has overcome considerable site, local community and logistical challenges to deliver an outstanding contemporary landmark building." Oh dear.

The Market itself is pleasant enough but awards such as this are merely slightly incestuous PR tools to promote Council 'image' and are not designed to help struggling market traders. The council budget, which was passed last week promises to continue the £60,000 three year 'efficiency' programme by 'Increased income from New Carmarthen market units' and include the loss of one member of staff.
In other words, the rent is going up - quite considerably I imagine, so let's hope these traders don't find themselves priced out of the shiny new market.

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