Thursday 23 January 2014

Community Asset Transfers

A report in this week's South Wales Guardian under the headline Parking charges just create a lot of hassle, say Llandovery councillors almost had Cneifiwr choking on his first coffee of the day. Had Cllr Ivor Jackson (Ind) actually woken up, said something mildly critical of the county council and stood up for the town he represents?

Er, no. The councillors raising their concerns were the town councillors, and what Ivor thinks about this or anything else is destined to remain a mystery.

What is upsetting people in Llandovery and every other market town in Carmarthenshire is the annual, inflation-busting increases in the cost of the car parking ticket you need to buy if you want to go to your local shops to buy a newspaper and a loaf of bread. The minimum charge is now 70p.

Llandovery's town councillors would like the county council to hand over the Castle car park, and they are going to write a strongly worded letter to the chief executive, Mark James. Good luck with that.

One of the town councillors mentioned the county council's Community Asset Transfer Programme.

Those warm-sounding words give the impression that those kind-hearted souls in County Hall want to shower us all with goodies, and the council's own official policy document kicks off on a promising note:

"Carmarthenshire County Council believes that community asset transfer is about giving local people greater control in the future of their area and their community."

The problem is that they only want to transfer liabilities, such as public toilets and playing fields, which will land community councils and other organisations with big bills.

In Newcastle Emlyn the Town Council has tried on more than one occasion to persuade the county council to hand over control of the town's car parks, but as councillors have discovered, the car parks are making a lot of money and they are not up for grabs.

A better solution for Llandovery, Newcastle Emlyn, Ammanford and other communities would be to have control of their car parks as well. They would then be free to set their own charges and use the revenue to fund local amenities such as toilets and recreation spaces.

While they are at it, the county's community and town councils might want to take a peak at the massive pot of gold which has been accumulating in the coffers of County Hall in the form of unspent Section 106 contributions. This money is meant to go to community schools and improve local amenities, but doesn't seem to want to leave Jail Hill, as you can see from this Freedom of Information request.

And finally...

The Carmarthen Journal has come in for quite a bit of stick on this blog, but this week it has redeemed itself somewhat with this.


Anonymous said...

The parking charges are killing Ammanford,i will not go
Down there if it's raining,I am not giving this lot in
Carmarthen more money than I have to.If it's raining
I go down pontardulais costs me nothing to park I can get
What I want there,it's a shame but that's it.

Anonymous said...


towy71 said...

two rats pictured together and I know which one I'd poison ;-)

County Hall Mole said...

Poor rat. What did it do to deserve such a fate?

I wonder if the woman delivering the rat will get sued in a tax-payer funded action?

And can Cneifiwr confirm or deny the rumour swirling around County Hall this morning that the rat is expected to be made a Scrutiny Committee Chairman and is being tipped as a possible future Ecxecutive Board Member?

After all, said rat could probably beat The Leader at scrabble.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Cyneifiwr, your final comment is a classic - beautifully done.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the FOI request information tells us very little other than there's nigh on £2 million waiting to be spent to mitigate the effect of various developments. What the answer doesn't say is what the money is meant to be spent on and how overdue it is. If it is overdue, then the Council needs to pull its finger out. Some of the notes are interesting - in some cases cheques have just been handed over with no legal agreement being signed. That doesn't sound very legit, and presumably there's nothing to stop the Council using the money to buy another limo, or fund an extra PR post.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Repulsive vermin. I'd whack it round the head with a shovel. The little rat is quite cute though.

Anonymous said...

I love it anonymous @21.57.
I am sure there are many who would echo those sentiments.Maybe the poor man has taken to his bed in shame but not to worry the Towy church could do a lot to comfort!!

Anonymous said...

Is the man in the picture Vladimir Putin's double? Or is the resemblance to a Russian dictator just a coincidence?