Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A simple planning question....

Great letter in this week's South Wales Guardian from a Llandovery resident and worth sharing below. In May I reported that the town's Heritage Centre and museum had suddenly closed to make way for a business-hub or 'hot desk centre'. The letter writer has posed a very interesting question to Carmarthenshire's planning department.

When it closed, residents had to scramble to collect their artefacts before they were plonked in storage somewhere. With the town in uproar, the Town Council were then forced to find urgent temporary accommodation for what was the only wet weather tourist attraction in the town.
Llandovery's heritage, along with its hundred year old secondary school of course, had gone out of the window and the County Council didn't have to support the museum with an annual grant any more. As with the secondary school, the local Members remained quiet.

Public opinion has wondered just how necessary a business hub is to this very small town, why wasn't anyone consulted, and the letter writer below has asked a very pertinent question - was there planning permission granted for change of use? As far as I'm aware, there was never such a planning application. When the response eventually arrives I'm sure there will be an interesting explanation...

The opening of the 'Hub' was attended by the great and good of Carmarthenshire Council, and neighbouring holiday home owner, Prince Charles, no less. I would imagine that discussions about planning permission, rather like the mention of money, would be far too vulgar a topic for such an array of regal and important ears.

Anyway, Mr Evans is still waiting for an answer;

At the meeting of Llandovery town Council in early June, where the opportunity was given to those who attended to voice our concerns about the closure of the Llandovery Heritage Centre, I asked if planning permission had been granted by Carmarthenshire County Council for this change of use and was told by Cllr Haydn Hudson that no such permission was needed. 
This reply seemed somewhat irregular to me, for in my humble opinion the heritage centre was a leisure facility and the Hub is an out-and-out business initiative. 
Therefore, on July 8th, I sent a brief email to the planning officer in Carmarthen to seek clarification. 
I received an acknowledgment the next day, together with the message that my query had been sent to the planning officer for his attention. 
I waited for a reply, and when one hadn't been received by August 15th I sent the planning officer a further email asking the same question. 
The next day I received two emails from the council, one an automatic acknowledgement from Kevin Phillips and another to say that my query had been passed to Graham Noakes for his consideration. 
Unfortunately as of today, August 19th, I still have received no answer to my question. 
Six weeks have now passed. Three thousand years ago a coracle fisherman taking the high tide on the River Towy from Carmarthen to Nantgaredig, and then continuing upstream against the flow, would have reached the present site of Llandovery in two weeks - even allowing for porterage past the most difficult sections of the river. 
A small detachment of Roman Equites leaving Maridunum at the second hour of the day would have arrived in Alabum by the tenth. 
In 1875, according to Bradshaw's Guide, a traveller could have left Carmarthen station at 12.40pm on the Towy Valley branch line to Llandeilo, where at 1.35pm he could have taken the Central Wales Line train to Llandovery, where he would have arrived at 2.01pm. 
Within that same six weeks, Vicar Pritchard would have composed a dozen verses for Cannwyll y Cymro, William Williams would have written a dozen hymns at Pantecelyn and William Rees would have printed half a dozen leaflets at the Tonn Press. 
Yet in the present age of instant global, and even inter-global, communication, the planning office at Carmarthenshire County Council cannot get a short and simple 'yes' or 'no' answer to Llandovery. 
Mr G R Evans

"Planning Permission?..Just like that!" Prince Charles entertains Mark, Meryl and the toy soldier with his impression of Tommy Cooper.


Anonymous said...

Well said Mr Evans!

Love the caption, Caebrwyn!!!

Anonymous said...

Meryl looks as if she's desperately trying to stop herself from passing wind in the Royal Presence and HRHMJCBE is grinning like the Cheshire Cat. And that's probably because living in Carmarthenshire gets more and more like being Alice in Wonderland every day. The analogy could go on and on - council meetings like the Mad Hatter's Tea Party? .....