Saturday, 3 November 2012

Weekend round up

Local Plaid Cymru AM, Rhodri Glyn Thomas tweeted yesterday that "Kevin Madge, this morning acknowledges he was wrong on Cross Hands" Clearly the prospect of the impending investigation has prompted a bit of backtracking from Labour's Cllr Madge in the form of a letter to the AM. However, yesterday's Evening Post reports that he will "robustly defend the allegations" and the offending press release is still on the council website.
The saga continues.

Also absent of course, from either the Executive or full council is any mention of the filming of meetings, I would imagine this thorny issue will be ignored for as long as possible.

Sainsbury's cropped up again at last week's meeting of the Standards Committee as thirteen councillors, who are members of the Co-op, sought permission from the council lawyers to speak and/or vote at next week's council meeting. The summary states that  "On 7th November 2012 a report will be presented to full Council upon the steps being taken to promote economic growth in the County. The report will refer specifically to the proposed Sainsbury’s stores in Llandeilo and Cross Hands, the latter having been the subject of an objection by the Co-operative Society". Perhaps I'm missing something but I can't see a report on the agenda, if and when a report does appear I wonder how many other private companies have been named in the council's plan for economic growth? Frankie and Benny's? Costa Coffee?

Monday's Executive Board will consider an exempt report over the transfer of public toilets to community councils, clearly containing extremely sensitive information, perhaps even involving national security, so the press and public will be booted out.

There have been recent rumblings about the off-loading of toilets, sports pavilions, parks, bus shelters and day centres in the County. They are non-statutory services, meaning the council doesn't have to provide them, so to save money, they don't. The big idea was to chuck a lump sum £500 - £1000 to volunteers or community councils and tell them to get on with it themselves. According to sources, and raised briefly at last month's council meeting (swiftly silenced) things are not going quite as planned and in some areas the volunteers are struggling to maintain services.

Not struggling of course is the latest project, the Eastgate Centre in Llanelli. Heavily subsidised with the gift of £3m - £4m of council owned land the Nottingham based developers, they will also enjoy £250,000 per year guaranteed income by renting a whole floor to the council. The council will have to redesign the open plan office, and we learn from Monday's Executive Board meeting that this will cost a mere £450,000 to be taken from the 'reserves'.

The council has a habit of subsidising their various vanity projects in any way possible, but not, of course, day centres and public toilets, which are not quite so glamorous. I have asked, via FoI about further subsidies to the Parc Y Scarlets stadium, and I suppose it's only a matter of time before there's a suite of executive council offices squeezed inbetween the church and the 'therapy rooms' at the evangelical bowling alley.

Also being kicked into touch is the free parking in the couple of weeks leading up to Christmas. Apparently, in their wisdom, the council believe that it would be more helpful to local traders if the free parking was confined to one week in dull and damp January.

Quite what the logic of this is I don't know, other than driving even more Christmas shoppers, who don't shop online, to the out-of town retail centres and the delights of free parking. And it will save the council a few grand...

Update; On the subject of parking, one floor of the new Eastgate Centre will comprise a 55-bed Travelodge hotel. At a recent Executive Board Member Decision Meeting to introduce parking charges for the Eastgate car park, it was decided, bizarrely, to limit the parking to short term only. Hotel visitors beware! 


nospin said...

Any rumblings about progress after the program covering "Trisha Breckman and Eddie Roberts".

RGT wanted a public enquiry and also wanted the police to look again at their conclusions (failings), can't see a good local representative like him letting it go.

caebrwyn said...

I understand that Rhodri Glyn Thomas is currently waiting for a reply to his request for a public inquiry from the Ministers, Carl Sargeant and John Griffiths.