Sunday, 28 June 2009
Well we finally have a greed a date for completion on selling the Post Office. Julie will formally take ownership on Friday 10th July. We will be closed in the afternoon as the stock take and Post Office Audit take place. It will be nice to finally move forward, ity has taken over 4 months to finalise since the initial acceptance of the offer.
I will have very mixed emotions next Friday, I have enjoyed my time in the shop and have got to meet a lot of people over the 6 years we have been owners of the shop.
I'm sure Carrie (Julie's daughter) and Charlie (Carrie's partner) will do extremely well and take the shop forward. Regulars will have already met both Carrie and Charlie as they are already working shifts in the Post Office and Shop. I wish them all the best of luck and they know I'm not far away.
Kirsty and I will be taking a couple of months off, over the children's Summer holidays, we have breaks planned in Disneyland Paris and Ireland. I will continue with my Council work of course.
Kirsty is away this weekend on the first part of her Mountain Leader (ML) assessment. She completes the assessment in July.
The plan we are considering is to open a new Cafe in Deganwy later in the year. We are looking at the old Sunset Club shop premises next door to the Post Office. Deganwy is starting to build itself as a dining out area and we feel that an everyday cafe is missing from the portfolio. Rather than compete with other establishments in Deganwy we will be aiming to compliment what is already there and build upon the increase visitors coming from the Cycle Path access.
Last Monday we where supposed to have a all day Highways meeting, looking at various parts of the Department and see how the Joint Head of Service with Denbighshire was organising his role. It would have been an extremely useful meeting, but it was cancelled due to lack of interest from councillors. I understand there where less that 20 Conwy Councillors and even less Denbighshire councillors signed up. This was extremely disappointing, the lack of interest is as a poor show.
Highways must be one of the biggest issues that is raised by Ward residents, surely the more understanding we have for the Authority operations the easier it will be to help resolve issues and if necessary influence the business cases for better funding.
From the Finance seminar the week prior to this, it was evident that compared to where the Assembly believe our funds should be spent, Highways has lost out to Education and Social Services over the past few years. This was a decision made made the authority in the past, but it is important that we understand the implications that this has made on the Highways and Infrastructure service that we provide.
Hopefully the event will be rescheduled after the summer, and maybe other councillors will appreciate why these events are useful.
Tuesday we had a talk with regard to Anti-Social Behaviour and the actions open top us as an Authority. Very impressive presentation and makes you think/question whether our current policy is reactive enough.
Next week I'm at Cartrefi Conwy (Housing Association) on Monday for a Board Meeting. We also have meet the Council event at Venue Cymru on Monday afternoon, at which I'll try and make an appearance, depending on how long the Catrefi meeting takes. ( I also have parents evening at Ysgol Deganwy for Kallum & Thomas)
Tuesday I will be attending the Cabinet Sub Committee looking at the Office Accommodation and an Audit Committee meeting in the afternoon.
Wednesday should have been the a Home To School Task & Finish group meeting, but I will have to be sending my apologies, as I have to work 1 day in the Post Office.
Thursday I have a Council meeting in the morning. In the evening I have several places to be including Governors meeting at Ysgol John Bright and Communities Scrutiny committee, but we also have a meeting at Ysgol Creuddyn with regard to Kallum's Welsh Immersion Course, so I'll see what time this finishes.
On Friday I have a joint member development leader training day.
MP, To Stand Or Not To Stand
I have been considering whether to stand as An Independent Candidate at the next General Election.
A few people have suggested this to me and I'm still considering the possibility. It would be a big step and not one to take likely.
As an Independent candidate, it would be quite a financial commitment to make. The deposit would be £500 which is only returnable should you receive more than 5 % of the vote. In addition the would be the marketing costs of running a campaign. One thing for sure would be that I would have a very limited, probably single shot, flyer campaign. I have some offers of help with the creation of such flyers and other election material.
I need to understand whether I would I have a realistic chance of winning, the seat is definitely open at the moment with no clear leader.
With all that has been highlighted in government recently I believe that there should be an alternative to the political party candidates. I feel an Independent candidate who could concentrate on the issues affecting the County without the constraints of party politics would be a viable option to many. I feel the whole political/government system is extremely complicated and prevents really common sense or creative solutions coming forward.
Some will say that I have very little experience in the local government, but I hopefully have demonstrated that I'm a quick learner and can work across the political spectrum. I am also at a point on my career where I could make government my new path forward. Whether I do this at a local level or attempt to try and do it at national level is the question I need to consider.
I obviously work closely with 3 of the other the existing candidates (Mike Priestley (Lib Dem), Ronnie Hughes (Lab), Phil Edwards (Plaid)) through being fellow councillors and I have also met and spoke with the Guto Bebb (Con) on a few occasions. If I was to to choose to stand I don't see any of those working relationships changing. I personally can not see an election being called before Easter next year, so I have some time to consider my options. It will be interesting to see what Electioneering Activity the other candidates will do between now and then. Cllr Mike has made a good start and his election flyer was well received, I think he has set a good start and standard for others to meet.
I will keep you informed of my deliberations.
Sunday, 14 June 2009
going to try and do summary once a week and see how that goes.
The sale of the shop is still progressing but very slowly. The
original date provided by Post Office has now been and gone. The latest
date I have is now traveling July. Classic timing, as this is the date
we have booked to go on holiday. We have booked to go to Disneyland
Paris in July and are travelling down to London by train on the 21st
July. We are hoping that this date may be moved forward, if not then
Kirsty and the boys will travel down as planned and booked, and I'll
have to follow later in the day.
The hope is once the shop has been sold it should free more time to
blog. I'm also am planning to produce a flyer to distribute to
residents in the ward explaing what I've been upto over the last year.
At the moment its a case of working or at council meetings. Evenings
are used tackling emails, chasing case work and preparing for meetings.
A few Local issues I've been working on recently include:
- Beach Clean on Deganwy Prom.
- the successful Deganwy Dash and Prom Day,
- a new Cycle Rack for the Village on Station Rd,
- new signposts and road markings for Marine Crescent in relation to
the Cycle Path,
- new play equipment (to be installed later this year) and maintenance
for the Playground in Cae Rhos, Llanrhos
- Enviornment Action Day at Plas Newydd
- Preparation for the Deganwy Quay Day
- Planning application assistance for Decking at the Quay Marina
- Proposed Allotment area within the LDP on Bron Vardre Ave.
- Interviews for new staff at Ysgol Deganwy.
Within the more wider area:
- I will have my first Board Meeting with Cartrefi Conwy in a couple
of weeks (a lot of reading and preparationrequired)
- I've become the Treasurer for the Conwy District Scout Association.
- Continuing works on the Governors of Ysgol John Bright.
- I'm now a member of 2 additional Task and Finish Froups; Office
Accomodation (Vice Chair) and Home to School Transport.
- I'm a member of the newly formed Corporate Improvement Board
Last weeks meetings:
Planning Site Visits and Committee Meeting, Home To School Transport,
Corporate Improvement Board, Informal Council (Including performing a
presentation on some of the Memeber Development work), "High Street"
meeting with Gareth Jones AM, Mark Jones (Llnadudno Town Councillor)
and others local guests.
Enviornment Action Day on Staurday morning.
This comming weeks council meetings include:
Finance Training, Planning Meeting (tp discuss Environment Agency
report on Tir Llwyd, Kimnal Bay), Member Development Group and
Partnership Scrutiny. If not at meetings I'll be working in the Post
Evening events this week include:
Deganwy Residents Association AGM on Tuesday, Interviews at Ysgol
Deganwy on Wednesday and a Relaunch of the Bus Stop service (Young
Peoples Advice Bus) at Llanwrst on Thursday.
On Friday and for the weekend we are going to Kington Youth Hostel,
for a reunion of friends from my time as a Sponsored Student at a
Telecoms firm in Coventry during the late 80s/early 90s.
I'm still learning a great deal in my work as councillor, I'm starting
to understand more about the political maneovering that takes place.
One thing that happens is the political bargining in relation to Chairs
and Vice Chairs for meetings. Specifically those the bring a SRA
(Special Responsibility Allowance). The diffierent groups (incliuding
Independents) seem to agree who will be nominated as Chairs and Vice
Chairs behind closed doors. There is a case of looking after your own,
but I do feel that there should be a lot more consideration in making
sure councillors that are up to the job are nominated. The "coalition"
tend to try and work it to keep the Conservatives out of the key roles
(SRA) and to spread the roles evenly around the other groups. I suppose
this is the world of politics, personally I have only been asked to
vote for a particular person once, in my first month as councillor.
Having done this, within the same meeting I regretted my vote, which I
stated in the meeting and I reported this in my blog at the time.
Personally I will continue to vote and or nominate those councillors I
believe will do a good job and those I believe put the hours into
preparation work for such meetings. To me it doesn't matter to which
political party they belong. All Chairs and Vice Chairs come up for
election every year. Although the general concensus is that each Chair
and Vice Chair is given 2 years, which is the maximum allowed in the
I find this form of posting, easier if I'm using my Council provided
laptop. I use my private email account to email my posting to the blog.
Direct access is limited for security reasons for Blog sites on the
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Tidy Towns had paid for some very large skips, to be placed in the
area. Together with local residents and volunteers we managed to clear
around 12 tonnes of rubbish. The rubbish came for local residents
properties but also from the back alleys in the area, that had been
used as dumping grounds over a few years.
Of the 12 tonnes around 75% of it will be sorted and recycled.
My thanks to Cllr Mike Priestley who turned up to check everything was
running well. He couldn't help himself and got stuck in to helping.
After a call to him at 10am (we had filled the 1st skip in less than 1
hour), Mike also arranged an extra skip to be delivered.
Many Thanks to Ceri Morris from Tidy Towns, for organising the
sponsorship, arranging the extra litter picking equipment and for all
her hard work.
PCSO Jill Buerdsell, CBM Chris Perkins arranged lots more help from
local police officers and the probation service to assist in the clear
Conwy Town Councillors Samatha Cotton and Christine Gilligan worked
extremely hard all morning. The time and effort that Sam and Christine
put in to events around the area is great, and they are always in
Kirsty, my wife, was there providing the catering facilities,
including Teas, Coffees, Soft Drinks and Cakes. We also received other
refreshment donations from volunteers and residents to help refuel the
This activities are useful events, but something we can not do all the
time, due to the costs of the skip hire. But if anyone has ideas of
where they can happen it is useful event. It brings a community
together and serves a valuable purpose.
The photographs show some of the volunteers and some of the local
children (including my 2) and the skips used on the day.
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Friday, 5 June 2009
I managed to return from a Family Engagement on the Friday evening and take part in the Deganwy Dash, or rather in my case the Deganwy Dabble. The Dash run was a major success with just over 70 competitors turning out. There was a good turnout by spectators along the route. Many Thanks to all the volunteer marshals without which the event could not have taken place. Praise indeed goes to Mr Geoff Clegg for organising the Dash (and also a lot of help with the Prom Day also).
The Prom Day went well, I was out and about with Geoff 7am on the morning putting up signs around the area. Then proceed straight to the Prom to Marshall the setting up of the stalls from around 8am with the great assistance of the other organisers (including Tansy, Christine, Geoff, Sam, Fred, Vicky, Helen, Viv and Bob).
I think the event went well, we had smashing weather which always helps. For our first year and event It was definitely a success. Considering we started with zero funds we have managed to cover our costs for this year and help fund the event for next year.
A couple of weeks before the day, we had the news that the Local Sea Cadet Unit would not be running the Bar B Que, due to changes in the Exec Committee. This was disappointing but it was felt that as we had a Catering Van coming also that we should be OK. Unfortunately the Catering Van broke down on the way to the event and never got here. Hence we were left with no Hot Food Catering for the Day. Its a shame because the would have had a good day.
Personally having been out and about since 7am, I was looking forward to a Bacon Bap.
The other complaints we received where that the lack of Toilets for the event. This I have to admit was an oversight and something we now have the funds to deal with next year. Some stalls did really well, other struggled. Although the Deganwy Castle Hotel
Generally we have had good feedback form the event, and we have had additional offers of help for next years event (including catering and tug of war).
We had good reports in this week Weekly News and Pioneer newspapers.
Some reports also on the School and Police web pages:
I hope everyone who attended enjoyed the day and the local residents where not to inconvenienced with the car parking arrangements.
There a lot of people to thank, including the local Police and the other event organisers, but I want to make a special mention to the Conwy Estuary Lions. The came in at a late hour to help Marshall the entrance to Marine Crescent and control the traffic flow. The did an great job and the fact we did not get any issues along Marine Crescent is proof in what the achieved. It's one of those roles that is not recognised unless it doesn't work. Many Thanks to the Loins for their help and can we book you for next year?
I'll try and post some pictures later.
I'm actually spending a few days in the shop, I've got no meetings until Tuesday (Planning Site Visits). So I working Thursday, Friday, Saturday morning and Monday in the Post Office, its been a while since I've done that.
I'll be taking the boys up to the new Welsh Assembly Building on Saturday afternoon. WAG and Pochin have an open day running from 10am to 4pm.