Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Vale of Glamorgan Council generating bad publicity.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has had some unfortunate  bad oublicity this week as it joins much of the South of Wales in a new lockdown.

The Council leadership is acurious mixture of Labour and two "Independent" Groups.

The First Bad news that  was that .

The Vale council leaders to sell off a popular wedding venue and community centre have been “misunderstood”.

The Kymin, in Penarth, could soon be sold on a long lease as a restaurant or hotel, after the Vale of Glamorgan council deemed the Victorian house “surplus to requirements”.

Councillors on the cabinet voted on Monday, September 21, to advertise the Kymin on the market.

The plans have been criticised but councillors hit back, claiming critics misunderstood the word “disposal”.

The plans for the Kymin were recently revealed by Miles Punter, the Vale’s director of environment and housing, in a report to cabinet.

Mr Punter said the council was planning the “disposal” of the former community centre: local government jargon for getting rid of something. A private bidder, community group or Penarth town council could be chosen to take over the Kymin.

Mr Punter claimed use of the building would be limited, and any successful bidder would have to use the building as a hotel, restaurant, or community centre.

During the cabinet meeting, councillors sought to allay concerns the building would be lost to the public, by saying Mr Punter had been misunderstood.

Council leader Neil Moore said: “This is being disposed of by a long lease. It’s not being sold off ‘per se’.

“People need to start reading things, because most people don’t.”

Deputy leader Lis Burnett said: “This building hasn’t been used for over a year. We’re all keen this building comes back into productive use as soon as humanly possible".

Of course the length of the "long lease" may be that in many peoples lifetime it may as well been sold

Then came news that 

Plans to build the long-awaited Dinas Powys bypass have been delayed once again as no funding can be found.

Details of how transport could be improved in the village were due to be revealed in spring this year.

But this has now been pushed back by the Vale of Glamorgan Council until November, as finding funding for the improvements is proving difficult.

In November, the council will set out the business case to the Welsh Government, in a process called the Welsh transport appraisal guidance (WelTAG).

Peter King, cabinet member for neighbourhood services and transport, said: “The ‘WelTAG stage two plus’ report for improvements to transport in Dinas Powys, including consideration of the bypass, is due to be presented to cabinet in November this year.”

He was updating councillors during a public meeting of the full council on September 21, on the plans for the Dinas bypass and the problems finding funding.
ort tailored for you

Cllr King said: “In respect of the active travel route between Barry and Dinas Powys, the council made a funding bid to the Welsh Government for this fiscal year, in order to progress this key active travel scheme.

“The bid to Welsh Government comprised a request for funding to take a detailed topographical survey costing £50,000; further ground investigation work costing £60,000; and a public stakeholder consultation costing about £1,000.

“Unfortunately the scheme wasn’t prioritised for funding by Welsh Government this year. As and when the opportunity rises, I will continue to seek funding for the scheme, which forms an important active travel link for this council.”

But as the population of Dinas Powys is set to grow rapidly, questions were raised about why it has taken so long for the council to get the transport projects off the ground.

Cllr Ian Johnson said: “There’s going to be a 20 per cent increase of the population in Dinas Powys. There’s lots of development and not a lot of infrastructure. The active travel route was part of the 2015 local transport plan, with a due finish date of 2020.

“It’s not beyond the wit of cabinet to allocate the funding towards that project, to kick start it. Will you do it?”

Responding, Cllr King said: “If any opportunity rises, we will certainly make further progress, because it’s a route that I'm particularly keen to see completed. It’s an integral part of the matrix that needs making up. So rest assured, when any opportunity rises, we will do it.”

Finally it sems that the council are having problems actually getting together  asattempts to restore local democracy in the Vale of Glamorgan were left in shambles as the council’s first full virtual meeting suffered from “ludicrous” feedback.

The Vale of Glamorgan council attempted to hold its first full council meeting via video-conferencing technology on Monday, September 21.

But councillors complained that excessively loud feedback and echoes left it impossible to understand what others were saying.

General confusion about the voting process also hampered efforts of one of the key parts of local democracy, while some votes were recorded incorrectly.

The Vale council’s IT department was criticised, as other councils and organisations across the country have coped with the switch to new technology, allowing people to socially distance and meet virtually.

But six months after regulations allowing councils to hold public meetings remotely came into force, the Vale council is
still struggling to adapt to the new necessary technology.

During the full council meeting, council leader Neil Moore repeatedly stopped talking to highlight the issue of the echo and the feedback.

Cllr Moore said: “There’s terrible feedback. Can I just stop for a second, please, I’m sorry but this is giving me a headache.

“I don’t know what’s happened there but it seems to have gone away a little bit.

“Somebody’s left their microphone on, this is ridiculous. Could somebody please turn their bloody microphone off?

“I’m not sure whether somebody is sabotaging this. But it’s absolutely ludicrous. I think there’s someone on the phone who isn’t on mute causing the massive feedback.”

One prominent member of the council  is  e former leader of the Conservative group in the Welsh Assembly has been elected to his local council to fight the closure of a village school.

At the timeAndrew RT Davies said he was "bitterly opposed" to plans by fellow Tories in the Vale of Glamorgan to shut Llancarfan Primary School.

Mr Davies is usually very forthright on his Twitter page , but unless he has a separate account as a County Councillor , may be he should be paying more intention to his second job.

As a County Councilor  heclaims a salary o£13,868 before expenses, alongside his salary as an Senedd Minister. When standing for election Davies pledged to donate his council salary to good causes in the Rhoose ward and has since created a community fund which makes regular donations to community groups and worthwhile causes in the area.

It surley can't help to impress his  voters?

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