Monday, 31 May 2010
Sunday, 30 May 2010
County Councillor, Deganwy Ward
Address: 24 Bron Vardre Ave, Deganwy, Conwy, LL31 9UU
Tel: (01492) 592843
Mobile: 07717 543289
Two Years in Office
This is my first newsletter. In it I hope to update you on some of the things I have being doing as one of your Councillors on Conwy County Borough Council and for the ward.
Within the ward I continue to be a member of the Deganwy and District Resident’s Committee. I am also a committee member of the newly formed History of Deganwy Group (Chairperson) and the Llanrhos Old School Restoration Project. I am a founder member of the Deganwy Prom Day committee.
Although this is my first newsletter I do post regular updates on my internet blog site. For those who do have internet access this can be found at:
It’s been 2 years since I was elected to Conwy County Borough Council to represent you all in the Ward of Deganwy.
A lot has changed in those 2 years, not least that my wife and I sold our business, Deganwy Post Office in July 2009. This has enabled me to concentrate and spend more time as your representative on the Council.
The biggest shock I had when becoming a councillor was the amount of time it can take up. Although this can be variable between different Councillors across the authority I always tend to become heavily involved in what I do and this means spending a lot of time at Council. It has definitely been a steep learning curve.
I am a member of a number of committees within the council including Planning, Principal Scrutiny, Audit, Corporate Improvement Board, Conwy Harbour Advisory Committee, Budget Working Group and Partnerships Scrutiny of which I have just been appointed Chairperson. In addition I also attend many other meetings include Cabinet, other Scrutiny Committees and Task & Finish Groups.
My attendance record (93%) is available on the Council’s website.
Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to representing you over the next 2 years of my term.
Deganwy Prom Day
Saturday 5th June 2010
Building on the success of the Deganwy Prom Day and Deganwy Dash events in 2009 the committee decided to repeat the event this year. We have been very busy making the final arrangements for this year’s event.
The Deganwy Dash will take place on the evening of Friday 4th June starting at 7:15pm. The Dash is a 5 mile run along the Estuary Path from Deganwy to Conwy and back, finishing on the green. Runners wishing to take part should contact the organiser on 582631 alternatively entries are available on the day (registration from 6pm). Spectators are very welcome to come and along to support the runners. Refreshments stalls will be available on the Prom.
The Prom Day will take place on Saturday 5th June between 12pm and 5pm, with a full afternoon of events and entertainment. Activities include Dancers, a Fun Dog Show, Community Sports and a Tug of War competition all on the Green. Carnival Queens and the Emergency Services will be in the grounds of the Deganwy Castle Hotel.
Various stalls and refreshments will be available on the Promenade and Green. This event has been organised by the Community for the Community. We also have a great Prize Draw with some excellent prizes donated by Local Businesses (Top prize £100).
Please come and join us for a great day.
Full details at: http://www.deganwypromday.org.uk/
Changes in Deganwy and Llanrhos
The work within the Council and influencing the direction of the authority is just part of my role. I was elected by the residents of Deganwy and Llanrhos, more visible changes I have achieved over the past 2 years are
· Free 30 minute Parking Bays on Station Rd Car Park
· Improved Cycle Path Signage on Marine Crescent
· A Cycle Rack on Station Rd
· New Playground Equipment in Llanrhos (accessed from Cae Rhos, off Conwy Rd, or via footpath from Hill View Rd)
· Defended the Public Conveniences in Deganwy during the Council’s discussions on potential closures. The Toilets on Marine Crescent will be now upgraded as part of the Council’s programme.
In addition I deal with case work of individual residents/businesses (to various levels of success) that need help with Council related issues. Please contact me via the details above.
I will continue to represent the villages of Deganwy and Llanrhos with great enthusiasm and to the best of my ability.
Challenges for the next few years
I’m sure it will not have escaped people’s attention that there is a great deal of concern of the whole nation’s economy. It is a certainty that this will mean substantial cuts to the Councils funding. We could be looking at having to find savings of around £7Miilion in 2011/12 and an additional £7M in 2012/13. As part of a the Budget Working Group within the Council I am working on tackling this task and challenging Council officers in finding these savings. We also have the objective of maintaining Conwy’s as having one of the lowest Council Tax’s in the country. It is inevitable that this will mean a reduction in some services.
I believe I do a good job in Scrutinising the Council, I have been quite vocal on issues such as the Budget, Maesdu Bridge, Venue Cymru and the Local development Plan, to name a few.
As well as being a Governor at Ysgol John Bright I also represent the Council on the following:
Cartrefi Conwy Management Board
Cartrefi Conwy was established in 2008 following a ballot carried out by the County Council in Nov 2007. The tenants voted in favour of a large Scale Voluntary Transfer to the new organisation.
Approximately 3,800 homes and 159 leaseholder flats were transferred along with some related assets.
Cartrefi’s key promise is to bring all its homes up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard by 2012.
Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council
I was asked to represent Conwy County Borough Council on the newly formed Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council (CHC). It will be a challenging role but I am looking forward to getting involved and representing you on the Health Council. The CHC plays an important role in influencing the way that health services are planned and delivered. This ensures the best possible health and wellbeing outcomes for all people in Wales, now and in the future.
Two local groups I’m associated with are:
Llanrhos Old School Project; our aim is to restore the building on Conwy Rd and create a centre for the community. http://www.llanrhosoldschool.co.uk/
History of Deganwy Group; we meet every month at the Peniel Chapel, off Ty Mawr Rd. We will usually have a guest speaker at each meeting. Our aim is to record and document the history of the Deganwy & Llanrhos area.
My congratulations go to Cllr Vicky MacDonald on becoming Mayor of Conwy Town Council. One of Cllr Vicky projects this year is to reform the Conwy Town Band in some form and as such would be very interested in hearing from any local musicians. Please Call Vicky Macdonald on (01492) 583379
Friday, 28 May 2010
Although we have been organising this years event for at least the last 6 months, we are still making changes running up to the last minute. As the message gets round about the event we get requests from various people to ask whether we can accommodate them on the day.
I very pleased about a gentleman who contacted us yesterday. I met up with Mr Jones today on the Promenade to discuss what he had to offer and what we could accommodate. Mr Jones is a regular at the Llandudno Junction Fun Day.
I very glad to announce that the above inflatable obstacle course will be one of the attractions on the Green on the Prom Day on Saturday 5th June.
Mr Jones will also be bringing his Doughnut Machine, which will complement the other refreshments available on the day; Candi Floss, Tuck Shop, Amanda's Sandwiches, Specialist Coffee, Bar B Que by Cantina Restaurant, Ice Cream Van and Tea/Coffee/Cakes at the Kiosk on the Prom.
I will also be visiting Llanrwst tomorrow as part of their Armshouses 400-year milestone celebrations. I'll aim to at least meet up with Andrew Scarratt from the Llandudno and Colwyn Bay Tram Society. They have there No.7 replica tram at the event and they will also bringing this down to the Prom Day. Maybe with Andrew's help we may be able to attract some of the other attractions on show tomorrow to join us for the Prom Day next week. One can try.
We are up to the 100 runners mark for the Deganwy Dash on Friday 4th June. Still places available and/or you can register on the day from 6pm.
Here's the YouTube posting I was directed towards, very entertaining (also stars some local guest house owners)
TheSeahorseBistro — 10 May 2010 — A comical promotional film of The Seahorse Bistro in Llandudno, North Wales. Stunning views of Llandudno; meet the chef/proprietors Gill and Don Hadwin; hear customer comments and be highly entertained whilst looking at mouth watering fish and meat dishes.
I had a meeting today with one of our Community Development officer to discuss Conwy and Deganwy. We have being putting ideas forward to be consider to help tourism, business and community within the 2 towns.
A lot of the ideas appearing on local blogs have already been put forward, but it was good to point people in the direction of the ideas coming forward. Thoughts of Oscar had a recent posting and those ideas posted were shared at the meeting.
A couple of my suggestion/ideas that I have been putting forward since I became a councillor look like they may become reality quite soon. I'll post more when arrangements are firmed up.
The officer suggested I looked at the Seahorse Restaurants YouTube posting. While I was searching for this I came across these 2 YouTube posting. A very talented local singer and the videos promote Llandduno extremely well.
They are produced by a local business: http://www.bottlemedia.co.uk/
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
It was good to get the support of the majority of the committee and I hope the enthusiasm and work I have shown over the last 2 years helped their decision.
It is true to say that due to the political positioning of the groups that I may not have got this role if the Independents where not part of the coalition. I have the support of the coalition members of the committee, which due to the political make-up of the Council meant I had more support than the Conservative nominee.
I do feel that I may have had more support than the official vote as I believe that I had the moral support of some of the Conservative members, but they (some would say rightly) voted for their own candidate.
The Conservatives do make valid issues in saying that except for the Chair of the Principal Scrutiny, which within the Constitution is automatically allocated to the Leader of the Opposition, they are precluded from other positions because they do not get enough support from other parties. I don't what the answer is, this seems to be how the political system (at most levels) seems to work.
There is a chicken and egg story behind this. One side being that the Coalition could be more open in considering Opposition members. On the other side is that the Conservative have a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot, and act as the Opposition just to make a point (even if the point doesn't make sense, or is not backed up be substance).
My preference would be to remove politics from local government all together. We should all be working for the common goal of the continual improvements of the authority within the financial restrictions which are getting tougher by the week. We do work together within the Scrutiny Committees and Working Groups, so why then does it get to Council do all this good work get potentially undermined by parties trying to score political points.
This of course I can never see happen, because a lot of people are always thinking of the election votes, be it for Westminster (this year), Assembly (next year) or Locally (in 2012). And this means the the political parties are always trying to play "one upmanship". As the Conservatives fall into the "Opposition" camp, they are almost forced into having to contradict or object to many things that are proposed.
This post is not supposed to be a pot at the Conservatives in anyway, I just posting on what I hear around the chamber and what I have learnt over my 2 years. The chances are that any "Opposition" operates in the same way. I know one thing for sure and that is that the Conservatives will be giving me a good challange in Deganwy for the 2012 elections.
It will take some brave people to break this trend and decide to do something different. I can not see this happening before 2012. After this it will then still decide on how the election is fought. And there we have the reason why we have the current make up. Due to the actions taken during the lead up to the 2008 local elections, these actions in the end influenced peoples views on who they would prefer to work with.
Like I say we will need some brave people to break this. The other issue being that these brave people have to be ones in the more influential roles within the Council.
The role of Chairman of a Scrutiny attracts a lot more responsibility. There is much more to the role that just Chairing meetings. I think this will mean that my level of attendance at meetings I'm not a member of will be impacted as I spend more time working with Officers and outside Partnerships to understand how they work and helping determine what needs to be Scrutinised.
Due to the additional responsibility and workload this role will bring the position attracts a Special Responsibility Allowance. This allowance is £7,000 per anum which I will receive in addition to the Basic Allowance.
I was quite surprised that we had 2 members of the public attend the start of the Scrutiny Committee this afternoon. This is a very rare event, even though all scrutiny meetings are open to the public. I recognised one of the people but I could not place him directly. He certainly new me. Cllr Janet Finch Saunders also joined the meeting early on and sat with the 2 gentlemen, and hence I realised they must be something to do with the Conservative party. It was only afterwards that I found out it one of the gentleman who I believe is the Conservative candidate for the Mostyn Ward Bi-election, Cllr Gary Burchett.
The last day for nominations for the ward is 12 noon on Thursday. And the poll will take place on Thursday 24th June (assuming the seat is contested).
Update: The second person was Derek Bradfield, who is standing as the Conservative candidate in the Town Council election for the Mostyn Ward. I saw his name in the visitors book but I had to see it written somewhere else before making sure who it was.
I think it is a very good idea for potential candidates to visit Council meetings before standing. The Member Development group, which I'm a member, are going to start looking at what we will be providing for potential candidates leading up to the next election. We should consider sending them details of Council/Scrutiny meetings.
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Published date: 25 May 2010 Published by: David Waddington
HUNDREDS of visitors will be flocking to Deganwy next week for the annual Prom Day celebrations.Revived last year for the first time in more than 15 years, the village will host a family funfair, dog shows, Carnival Queens, dancing, live music and much more.
Monday, 24 May 2010
2. Appointment of Vice-Chair
3. Apologies for Absence
4. Declarations of Interest: Code of Local Government Conduct
5. Urgent matters
8. Education matter for consideration:
8a Review/consideration of memorandum of understanding between Conwy County Borough Council and Llandrillo College
9. Climbing Higher Partnership Agreement - Implementation Plan
10. To consider a report by the Head of Environmental Services on the following matters:
10a Flood Defence and Land Drainage - Welsh Audit Office Quarterly Report
10b Sustainable future
11. Towyn+20 site visit and seminar events
Update Mon 24th May
I've received confirmation this morning that the Pharmacy within the new Boots store on Parc Llandudno is permitted. When the orginal application for Parc Llandudno was approved (before my time) it gave the development permission for one Pharmacy. You can understand why people have the concerns about these developments, and the migration of certain stores from the town centre. I don't understand why we needed another Pharmacy. we already have one in Asda, one just round the back of Parc Llandudno, plus the others in town.
During the recent planning application for Tesco to extend it's goods in Llandudno Junction, we made sure that they was nothing that would compete with current retail units in the Junction. We specifically restricted Tesco from having a Pharmacy or a Post Office.
Orginal Post: 21st May
Thoughts of Oscar has posted (Flunked It As Per Normal) on the Planning Committee's decision earlier this month to allow one of the units to sell baby/children's clothing as part (30%) of its product range:
I was on the committee and as it is such a contentious issue, I felt I should reply. I do recognise that people may not agree with me, but my reason are explained in my comments to Oscar's posting:
I voted in favour of this application to relax the conditions on one of the units to be allowed to sell baby/children’s clothing. Being part of the Planning committee is a very important role and one where the impact of your decisions can be seen by others fairly quickly.
I’m sorry but I cannot remember which members of the committee voted for or against. Cllr Linda Groom did speak on her concerns the scheme could have on the town centre. I do know this was a difficult decision by the members.
On the Planning Site visit the previous day we did spend significant time having a tour around the town centre (Vaughan St, Madoc St, Upper Mostyn St, Mostyn St) before being dropped off behind the Victoria Centre. From here we walked through the centre, along Mostyn St, through Parc Llandudno before reaching Mostyn Champneys.
There were 3 application presented at the committee in relation to the Currys and former MFI units of Mostyn Champneys. We agreed to the units be allowed to install Mezzanine floors. This will see some changes to the Currys stall in the near future. In addition we approved the request for the former MFI unit to be split into 2 separate units. This may not actually happen as a Toy Store have shown an interest in taking the complete unit if the Mezzanine floor was approved. The applicants then, covering themselves if the Toy Store does not materialise, presented the option where a “Mothercare type” retailer had shown an interest in taking one of the smaller units. To aid this case the request had been made that this retailer would like to sell baby/children’s clothing in addition to their other products (cots, buggies, child seats etc). The clothing would be limited to 30% of the unit.
Personally, it being not to long ago having younger children, I felt that Llandudno would benefit from such a store in this location. We found that we would be taking our business to other areas e.g. Chester to make purchase such as these. The ease of being able to visit one of these stores with car parking outside and wider aisles for parents with prams and buggies to be able to move around the store, is something I think is missing in Llandudno. Although we do have a Mothercare in the Victoria Centre and a couple of specialist shops in the town. As part of the application the agents had to provide an assessment as to why this particular store could not be positioned in any current available locations in the town centre. Size and Access where the main issues.
On balancing all the pros and cons I felt attracting a business like this to Llandudno would benefit Llandudno as a whole. It could attract those people who would normally shop outside of the area for such items. I do not take my role on the Planning Committee lightly and feel it is important that we look at all the evidence and make a decision that we are willing to stand by and if necessary defend.
We have looked at a few applications on the Parc Llandudno and Mostyn Champneys estate and any variation we have to look at in detail. I did have a concern that when passing through Parc Llandudno that the Boots store had a pharmacy; I did not think this was allowed on the site, but I’ve asked an officer to look into for me.
Sorry for the long comment, but as you asked the question I felt it deserved more of an explanation.
Saturday, 22 May 2010
- Town Councillors Sam Cotton, Christine Gilligan and Vicky MacDonald
- Youth Service - Deganwy
- 1st Conwy Scouts (Kirsty is the leader)
- Youth Justice Service
- Keep Wales Tidy officer Ceri Morris, who provide must of the equipment
- PCSO Jill Buerdsell
- Guto Bebb,MP and his team
It was lot easier this time due to the number of volunteers but also because of the work performed at the last Beach Clean in March.
Around 30+ bin bags where filled and collected by the Environmental Department of the Council.
Thanks also to the donation of the cakes that helped with rewarding the volunteers.
Friday, 21 May 2010
May 20 2010 by Mari Jones, North Wales Weekly News
CARNIVAL queens, dance demonstrations and a sack race will be part of the fun of Deganwy’s Prom Day.
The day takes place on Saturday, June 5 between 12 noon and 5pm.
Organisers are promising an even better day than last year.
In the autumn of 2008 a committee of dedicated community volunteers was formed to revive the Deganwy Prom Day last year, after a 15-year lapse.
One of the organisers, Cllr Jason Weyman, said: “Much was learned from that first event which will help to make the 2010 Prom Day bigger and better than before.
“There will be all manner of stalls, a barbecue, children’s fair, a Deganwy’s Got Talent contest, tug of war, donkey rides, carnival queen and a dog show, which went down a storm last year.”
On the day there will also be a tombola, face painting and a display by Conwy Yacht Club.
The garden at Deganwy Castle Hotel will host demonstrations by the emergency services. There will also be a fly-by by the police helicopter.
The prom day is being held on a biodiversity area, an area of land managed by Conwy County Council for plants, wildlife and communities.
During the day volunteers will be on hand to take people around the area.
Jason said: “There will be lots more entertainment this year.
“On the green people will be able to enjoy demonstrations by the majorettes, Break ‘n’ Spin Studio in Llandudno, and the British International Rescue Dogs.
“Mayor of Conwy Vicky Macdonald will host races for children, including a sack race and egg and spoon race. There will be a tug of war for adults.”
The day follows the equally successful Deganwy Dash, which takes place on the Friday night before.
This year up to 80 runners took part in the five-mile run along the coastal path halfway between Deganwy and West Shore, running to Conwy footbridge, then returning to finish on the green at the end of Deganwy prom.
Entry forms for the scenic Deganwy Dash can be found at http://www.deganwypromday.org.uk/
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Sunday, 16 May 2010
11am Interview for Tudno FM
Promoting the Deganwy Prom Day and Dash
2pm: Member Development Working Group, Bodlondeb (committee member)
6:30pm: Cllr Vicky MacDonald's Mayoral Inauguration, Guild Hall, Conwy
Representing the History of Deganwy Group and the Old Llanrhos School Restoration Project
Tuesday 18th May
10am Community Health Council - Conwy Local Committee Meeting, Interchange, Colwyn Bay (committee member)
For Information: There is a meeting of the Customers Overview and Scrutiny Committee at 10am
2pm Corporate Improvement Board, Bodlondeb (committee member)
Project/Programme Monitoring Board
7:15pm Deganwy and District Residents Association, Conwy Yacht Club, Deganwy (committee member)
All Residents welcome
Wednesday 19th May
1pm Conwy Excellence Fund Committee, Llandudno Swimming Centre (committee member)
Adjudication on next set of applications for the Conwy Excellence Funding
Thursday 20th May
10am Full Council, Bodlondeb
Annual General Meeting
2. Election of Chairman
3. Election of Vice-Chairman
4. Apologies for absence
5. Declarations of Interest: Code of Conduct
Members are reminded that they must declare the existence and nature of their declared personal interests
6. Urgent Matters
Notice of items which, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.
7. Minutes of the Council
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Council held on 25 February 2010, 31 March 2010 and 20 April 2010.
8. To receive any announcements from the Chairman, Leader, Members of the Cabinet or the Acting Chief Executive
9. Standards Committee
(i) To consider the recommendations made by the Standards Committee at its meeting held on 10 May 2010 regarding the Appointment of an Independent Member (minutes to follow)
(ii) To receive the Minutes of the meeting of the Standards Committee held on, 1 and 12 February 2010, 30 March 2010 and 10 May 2010.
10. Appointment of Committees.
11. Council's timetable of meetings 2010/2011
12. Exempt Items: Local Government Act 1972, Section 100A and Schedule 12A (Access to Information)
To consider passing a resolution under the provisions of Section 100A(4) of the above Act to exclude the Public and Press from the meeting during consideration of the following item(s), as it is likely that, if present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 12, 13 and 14 of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.
13. Designation of Lead Director for Children and Young People's Services
1pm: Informal Council Briefing, Bodlondeb
Primary School Modernisation Project - Draft Strategy and Implementation Plan Consultation
(this is also and agenda item on the Customer's Scrutiny committee on the 18th May)
6pm: Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Bodlondeb (non-committee member)
- Appointment of Chair and Vice Chair
- Verbal update on achievements to date, post the Housing Stock Transfer to Cartrefi Conwy - presented by Mr Andrew Bowden (Chief Executive) Cartrefi Conwy
- To consider a report by the Traffic and Transportation Engineer Officer on the following matter:
-- National Cycle Route 5 - Conwy Morfa to Penmaenbach
- To consider a report by the Acting Corporate Director (and Head of Financial Services) on the following matter: Extra Care Housing Review (lessons learned - Llanrwst and Llanfairfechan) - reform from Service Improvement Board
I'll only be at this meeting for a short time, leaving to attend:
7pm: History of Deganwy Group
Guided Work around Deganwy. Meet at the Deganwy Castle Hotel at 7pm.
First of 2 events, Members free, small charge to non members
Highlighting the History of Deganwy
Saturday 22nd May
10am: Deganwy Beach Clean
Meet on Marine Crescent at the Beach Entrance behind the Signal Box
Equipment will be available courtesy of the Youth Service and Tidy Towns.
Refreshments will be available to volunteers
Saturday, 15 May 2010
I'm really happy that I was able to make Tudno FM's open day om Friday afternoon.
The Planning Training I was on at Bodlondeb finished 30 minutes early and I was able to make it over to Ty Hapus before the Open day closed.
While I was there I was also able to confirm arrangements for Tudno FM's involvement in the Deganwy Prom Day on Saturday 5th June (12 to 5pm). I'm very pleased to announce that Dan Porter who is the Presenter for the Daily Drivetime show (4pm) will be joining us for the event, together with other volunteers form the Community Station.
Many thanks to Dan and Sion Pritchard (News and Programming) for the welcome yesterday. My thanks also to Dave Jones, for excellent insight to the technology and the tour of the studios. The new studio is very impressive and I just hope they can raise the funds to install the Air Conditioning which they desperately need for the equipment and the staff.
I was lucky to attend the original opening of the station and it was nice to revisit and see the advances they have made since July 2008.
Sion invited me to the studio on Monday (11:15am) to be interviewed in relation to the Prom Day.
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
The reason I did this was because during the Cabinet meeting the issue of informing the public was raised. The Head of Service informed us that immediately after the meeting he would be sitting down with the press officer to formulate a public statement. The press officer was also in the meeting.
Today following the press release and the article appearing in the Daily Post, the Cabinet Member Cllr Joan Vaughan criticised me for telling the press to contact the press officer. She stated that the press release had been rushed following the meeting because of the contact from the press.
Firstly I must say that I was following protocol by directing the press to the relevant officer. It had also been specifically stated in the meeting that the press release would be prepared following the meeting.
But more importantly we have been waiting several weeks for this report to come to committee. For the cabinet member to say that they rushed the press release is very disappointing. To then blame it on me is unbelievable. I have until this point not questioned the political aspects of this issue (well not publicly anyway), I have left that to other bloggers. But when I'm so blatantly blamed for something like this, it just provides proof that the Councillor's action of attacking someone else is a defence mechanism to deflect personal criticism/blame. At the end of the day this has happened on this Councillors shift, politically there was nobody else closer to this project.
Although there is ongoing discussion on the expected delay and what actions can be taken to reduce this, the contractor has stated they believe the project is 8 weeks behind schedule. This has to be resolved quickly as 3rd party organisations will need to be involved before the project can complete. Not least Network Rail who will need to be very actively involved when the bridge is put in place above the tracks. For this to run comfortable we need an agreed project plan which shows when each activity will take place and which party is responsible for each task.
By my calculations the 8 week delay from the 30th June, brings the end date to 25th August.
Each week of delay not only causes increased costs from the contractor, it also means we have to pay Network Rail for the ongoing disturbance, we also have to continue to provide the Replacement Bus Service. One other point that occurred to me was the the footbridge currently in place is on hire. This means someone will have to pay for this, I'm hoping this is all accounted for in the £500K announced.
Article from Daily Post (12/05/2010):
Eight-week delay for new Llandudno bridge
May 12 2010 Daily Post
A NEW bridge serving North Wales’ busiest tourist resort will not be open over the summer holidays after it was revealed there would be an eight-week delay in the construction project.
Work on the new Maesdu Road bridge in Llandudno started last November after the old bridge was demolished.
It was originally scheduled to be completed in July.
But now the contractors have warned of a near two-month delay that could cost Conwy county council up to £500K.
It will also mean one of just three main routes into the seaside resort will be closed during the busy summer season, causing major traffic congestion in the town.
The news comes after an in-depth study of the project identified a number of areas of concern.
It was presented to the Principal Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet of Conwy council, where members expressed their concern at the news.
They were told that the reasons behind the delay were a result of design and management issues and some minor weather issues.
Stuart Davies, Head of Highways and Infrastructure Services for Conwy and Denbighshire, said: “I’m very disappointed to be reporting this to members.
“The contractors have suggested an eight-week delay, but we believe it ought to be no more than six.
“Nonetheless, this is a very serious situation, these delays could cost the Authority up to £500k, money we can ill-afford in the current climate.
“It also means continued disruption to local residents and businesses who have shown great patience throughout the project.
“The council is doing everything it can to open the bridge as quickly as possible and limit the cost increases.”
Concerned Llandudno resident Ben Davies said: “This is the only route out of Llandudno in that direction and I have to follow diversions everyday.
“I use Builder Street, which is always gridlocked and now they have put lights on that road so it is even worse.
“During the Victorian Extravaganza it took me 35 minutes to go from Llandudno to Llandudno Junction so the summer is going to be a nightmare for residents.”
Update: Article from the North Wales Weekly News (13/05/2010):
Bridge faces eight week delays and £500k budget
May 13 2010 by Rayyan Parry, North Wales Weekly News
WORK on a bridge that provides a lifeline into Llandudno has been delayed another two months, at a cost of £500,000.
Maesdu Bridge, which provides a main artery in and out of the resort’s West Shore, was demolished in October 2009 after it was reported it was too weak to take heavy traffic.
The initial cost was £1.5m, with a finish date of this June, but now Conwy County Council has admitted the project is weeks behind schedule and thousands over budget.
It says design and management issues, coupled with unforeseen weather problems, are the cause.
Local businesses are also being affected by the delays, with a drop in profits.
Gary Burchett is a town councillor and also runs the Spar store on Alexandra Road, next to the bridge. He has seen a drop in sales since the building work began, and is frustrated by the lack of public information.
“It’s affecting my trade. It’s cost me an average 8% decrease over the past five months,” he said.
“There are no updates, we’re living on rumours.”
The delays began in January when the North Wales coast was battered by wind, rain and snowfall.
Now an in-depth study has confirmed further areas of concern.
The issue was discussed by Conwy county councillors this week.
Cllr Jason Weyman believes developments on the bridge should have been made known to the public earlier. “Cabinet members scrutinised the Maesdu Bridge project. I think I'm fairly safe in saying there have been problems with the project, mainly at the start,” he said.
“We need to make sure we properly maintain it and keep a close eye on it. We’ve got a whole lot of lessons to learn to make sure we don’t make the same mistake.”
Stuart Davies, head of highways and infrastructure for Conwy and Denbighshire, said: “I’m very disappointed to be reporting this. The contractor has suggested an eight-week delay, but we believe it ought to be no more than six.
“This is a very serious situation, these delays could cost the authority up to £500,000 – money we can ill-afford in the current climate.
“It also means continued disruption to residents and businesses who have shown great patience throughout the project. The council is doing everything it can to open the bridge as quickly as possible and limit the cost increases.”
BBC Wales: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_west/8677943.stm
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
My head banging seems to have achieved something.
After the frustration of yesterdays meeting, today's Cabinet meeting was at lot more productive. The Cabinet members scrutinised the Maesdu Bridge Project. I think I'm fairly safe in saying there have been problems with the project, manly at the start.
The scrutiny from Cabinet members was very good and by doing so I got more answers to my submitted questions. Very difficult questions and important where asked of the officers. The Interim Chief Exec also made sure that my remaining questions where answered.
Officers where very open and transparent in the report and throughout the meeting. The report remains exempt because of certain actions that the Council are now taking.
I remained convinced that due to the differences in the £1.5M estimated construction costs and the Actual £2.3M tender winning bid, that there where obviously a lot of unknowns within the project that we should have investigated before proceeding.
There was pressure to proceed quickly due to WAG grant funding deadlines and because of the negotiations with Network Rail on closing the line. In the end I think this was a mistake and we need to ensure the whole council learn from the experiences on this project.
These actions and other issues with the design have come to the current situation.
The importance of letting the public know what has happened was fully understood and a public statement was to be prepared immediately following today's Cabinet (that didn't finish until after 4:30pm). I will wait for this to be issued and will add to this posting. This will detail the current position.
Monday, 10 May 2010
The Conservatives would have 305 MPs, up 95 on 2005, Labour would have 255, down 94, and the Lib Dems 61, down 1. Nationalists and others would have 29, the survey suggested.
Sunday, 9 May 2010
---Development of an Events Strategy
- Report by the Joint Head of Highways and Infrastructure on the following matters:
--- Highways and Infrastructure Joint Head of Service Project
---- Exempt Items: Maesdu Bridge - Project Review and Funding Proposals
- Corporate Modernisation Portfolio:
--- Events Strategy
--- Community Involvement
--- Customer Service Excellence in Conwy
- Finance and Resources Portfolio:
--- Housing Benefit Overpayment 'Write Off' Policy
- Environment Portfolio:
--- Allotment Management Policy
- Corporate and Regulatory Services Portfolio:
--- Appointment of Older People's Champion
- Communities Portfolio:
--- Project Approvals - (i) Attract, (ii) Llwyddo'n Lleol
--- Modular Buildings
--- Update on Affordable Housing
- Infrastructure Portfolio:
--- The Integration of Street Works Section & Street Lighting Section for Denbighshire County Council and Conwy Borough County Council
--- Skid Resistance Policy on County Roads
--- Slight alteration to Council Policy - Concessionary Bus Passes
-Exempt Items: Infrastructure Portfolio:
--- School Buildings, Ysgol Dinmael, Dinmael (CCBC as Trustee)
--- Maesdu Bridge - Project Review and Funding Proposals
-Exempt Items: Communities Portfolio:
--- Theatr Colwyn Improvement Project
Code Ref: 0/35507 - Change of use of stable block to residential. Eriviat Hall, Nr Henllan, Conwy. - Minded to refuse planning permission
Code Ref: 0/36741- Construction of Private Access Road, Associated Fencing and Amendment to Road Markings at Junction of Woodside Avenue with Foryd Road to Provide an Alternative Access to Beachfield Caravan Park. Beachfield & Golden Sands Caravan Parks, Towyn Road / Foryd Road, Towyn. - Minded to grant conditional planning permission.
Code Ref: 0/36744 - Variation of condition 5 of planning permission no. 0/26598 to allow for the insertion of additional mezzanine floor space. Curry's Limited, Mostyn Champneys Retail Park, Llandudno. - Minded to grant conditional planning permission
Code Ref: 0/36745 - Alterations to external elevations and internal works to facilitate the creation of two new retail units. Unit A1B, Mostyn Champneys Retail Park, Charlotte Road, Llandudno. - Minded to grant conditional planning permission.
Code Ref: 0/36746 - Erection of agricultural workers dwelling and installation of new septic tank. Land at Cae Foty, Maes Tyddyn, Llanfihangel GM, Corwen, Conwy. - Minded to refuse planning permission.
Code Ref: 0/36747 - Extension to rest home to include internal alterations. Chaseley House, 26 Whitehall Road, Rhos On Sea. - Minded to grant conditional planning permission.
Code Ref: 0/36751 - Variation to Condition No. 4 to Allow for an Extended Range of Goods to be Sold and Removal of Condition No. 5 to Enable the Creation of Additional Retail Floor Space at Mezzanine Level of Planning Permission Granted Under Code Ref. 0/26598.Units A1A & A1B (Curry's & Former MFI), Mostyn Champneys Retail Park, Charlotte Road, Llandudno. - The Committee is requested to provide indication as to whether it is mindful to grant or refuse permission.
Code Ref: 0/36855 - Erection of conservatory. Ysgol Glanwydden, Ffordd Derwen, Penrhyn Bay - To authorise the Development Control Manager to determine the application under delegation
Code Ref: 0/30815 - Erection of 252 no. dwellings, means of access, play areas and landscaping. Land at Victoria Drive and Marl Drive, Llandudno Junction. - The views of the Committee are requested
I'm no expert on this, but considering the method of how we will vote is likely to be a key point in any coalition I though I would put the above figures together which compares the number of seats allocated to each party on the current first past the post system. And comparing that with if the seats where allocated on pure percentage of votes gained.
Now Proportional Representation is not this simple but it gives and idea in which direction it would point towards.
The chances of any party getting 50% of the votes and hence a majority is very slim. So the chances of Coalitions are much more likely with a PR system. Hence why you can see the reluctance of the Conservatives to move this way.
It is important that Constituencies are represented by a Locally Elected MP, we do not all vote with the party and the local candidates are important to the process. Although it does seem that in this Election a lot have voted with the Main Parties.
If any government are promising to look at this then they should at the same time review the whole democratic structure within the UK. We are overburdened with numbers of elected representatives. The Conservatives have promised to cut the numbers of MPs by 10%, but why stop there. The cost of these change will be substantial, so if they are going to change why not make it worth it.
I lifted the following explanation from the web:
There are a number of different forms of proportional representation:
Single Transferable Vote (STV)
This is the Liberal Democrats' ideal choice. Designed for multi-member "districts" rather than single-candidate constituencies, candidates would need a known "quota" or share of the votes to be elected, rather than a majority. This "quota" would be determined by the size of the electorate and the number of positions to be filled. Each voter would rank candidates in order of preference; the votes would then be transferred if necessary from candidates who were comfortably elected or have done so badly that they have been eliminated.
Alternative Vote (AV)
Voters would rank their candidates numerically in order of preference. If a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, they would be elected. But if no candidate receives more than half the votes, the second choices for the lowest ranked on the first count are redistributed. The process is repeated until one candidate gets an absolute majority.
Proposed by the Jenkins Commission in 1998, this would see the majority of MPs elected using AV and the rest by a "top-up" system. As well as voting for a constituency MP, each elector would get a second vote to cast at a county level or equivalent. Around 500 MPs would be elected under AV and 100 in the "plus" part.
Friday, 7 May 2010
Right now back to the buisness of Conwy County Borough Council.
A report entitled "Maesdu Bridge - Project Review and Funding Proposals" is being presented to Principal Scrutiny on Monday morning and then to Cabinet on Tuesday afternoon.
The report is restricted and the reasons are shown here: http://modgoveng.conwy.gov.uk/mgReasonsRestricted.aspx?ID=17672&OID=21726&OT=A&RPID=395029&BM=AI21726
Members where informed of the report on Wednesday afternoon. I reviewed the document and decided that there was so much additional information required that I emailed fellow councillors and the Head of Service on Wednesday evening with around 15 points that I felt we needed clarification or more information on.
I decided that it was better to send this number of issues to the relevant parties asap (rather than just raising at the meetings), so that they could prepare for the meetings next week. I received several emails (across the political groups) of support for my questions and statements
I was contacted on Thursday by the portfolio holder to be informed that a meeting had been held on Thursday and the answers to all my points will be presented to both meetings next week.
The last question I asked is when the public will be informed of the latest progress with the Bridge works.
Hopefully I will be a position next week to provide more information.
Guto Bebb ----------Conservative --------10,734 -----35.8 -----+6.8
Ronald Hughes -----Labour -------------- 7,336 ------24.5 ---- -8.5
Mike Priestley -------Liberal Democrat -- 5,786 ------19.3 ---- +0.2
Phil Edwards --------Plaid Cymru ------- 5,341 ------ 17.8 --- +3.8
Mike Wieteska ------UKIP ---------------- 632 -------- 2.1 --- +1.0
Louise Wynne-Jones Christian Party ----- 137 ------- 0.5 --- +0.5
-------------------------Turnout ----------- 29,966 ------ 67.2 -- +5.2
Thursday, 6 May 2010
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
Guto Bebb, Conservatives
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Over the weekend I had a call from a local resident regarding a rumor that there was to be a new housing estate on the Recreation Ground enclosed by Tan Y Fron, Troed Y Bwlch and Pentywyn Rd.
The rumor suggested there would be as many as 48 homes to be built.
I believe this may have started from a request by the recently formed Deganwy Football Club, who wanted to use the land as its Football Ground.
The land is owned by Cartrefi Conwy, the housing association set up following the Stock Transfer of the Council Housing stock to the Social Landlord Company.
The initial reply from Cartrefi was to decline the request as no decisions have been made on any of the Cartrefi sites at this time.
I am on the Board of Catrefi Conwy and the operations direct0r did speak with me about this approach some months ago.
I informed the Resident who phoned me that I believed the rumor was unfounded as I had not been made aware of any proposed developments by Cartrefi Conwy, and there was definitely no Planning Application submitted. I also informed the resident that this area of land is classified as Recreation Ground and as such is not available for development. I did confirm this when I was investigating the potential use of land on Bron Vardre Ave as Allotments within the Draft Local Development Plan.
I had a meeting yesterday at Cartrefi Conwy and I promised to speak with the Operations Director and to contact the resident to let them know. My conversation with the Operations Director was very brief and I quickly established that no such plans had been considered. It would be for the Cartrefi Board and through its Development Committee (of which I'm also a member).
I was happy to contact the resident yesterday evening to eliminate their fears. The resident said they would then let the rest of the residents know. I also promised to let local residents know if anything should ever change on this land, which I'm sure will not be in the short term, if ever.