Tuesday 15 April 2014

Council Meeting - Springtime in Carmarthenshire

This month's meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council was for once a pleasure to observe. Cneifiwr was in the public gallery along with a handful of others, but many more were undoubtedly watching the live broadcast.

There were four items of interest today, the first being nominations for the post of deputy chair of the council.

The three main party groups take it in turns to supply a chair and deputy chair, and this year it is Plaid's turn, with the nomination going to the group leader, Peter Hughes Griffiths.

PHG will therefore become deputy chair at the annual general meeting in May, and will take the chair in 2015-16.

Chairing the council involves presiding over the monthly meetings of the full council, but perhaps more importantly representing the county at numerous events, meetings and functions during the course of the year.

Peter has a long and distinguished record of service to the county, and his particular passions are sport and the Welsh language. It is hard to think of anyone who could be better suited for this role, and on a personal level it will mean that his political career will close on a high note.

We will have to wait until the end of the month to see who takes over as Plaid leader on the council, but there is no shortage of talent on the Plaid benches.

Next up was a rare victory for democracy as Kevin Madge announced that the Executive Board would accept a recommendation to give the full council the final say in school reorganisations (council-speak for closures), rather than hand responsibility over to the experts (cough) on the Executive Board.

This about-turn followed a mini rebellion on the Labour benches a few months back when Cllr Anthony Jones (Llandybie, Lab) stuck a spanner in the works of proposals to "streamline" decision making on the future of our schools and hand power to the officers, aided and abetted by the likes of Meryl Gravell.

Hardly had we had time to digest that piece of good news than we launched into the main item on the agenda, which was the report and recommendations of the Census Working Group on the Welsh Language.

The report and the discussion which took place deserve fuller treatment, and will be the subject of a separate post in the next couple of days.

Towards the end of the meeting the subject of a planning application by Pizza Hut to extend its premises in Trostre came up.

Bizarrely this planning application has received a strongly worded objection from Swansea council (here) on the basis that it will take business away from Swansea (bear in mind that we are talking about a branch of Pizza Hut), and so runs counter to the Swansea Bay City Region concept which Mark James and Meryl Gravell enthusiastically signed us up to.

It seems that what Swansea Bay City Region is all about is creating a vibrant and successful city centre in Swansea and stuff the rest.

Perhaps councillors should use the chief executive's absence to take a closer look at what being a part of Swansea Bay City Region will actually mean for Carmarthenshire before we go any further down this particular route.


Anonymous said...

Latest Betting on PHG replacement
Tyssull Evans 3/1
Emlyn Dole 3 /1
Alun Lenny 4/1
Cefin Campbell 5/1

Gwyneth Thomas 20/1

Darren Price 10/1

Winston Lemon 100/1 but 10/1 to revert to labour

Anonymous said...

Revised latest betting
Emlyn Dole 2/1
Tyssul Evans 5/1
Alun Lenny 3/1
Cefin Campbell - bad publicity 10/5
Gwyneth Thomas 20/1 no chance for a women to be elected within current plaid strategy and she is very much not trusted LAB/ Indie Group
Darren Price 8/1

Anonymous said...

Any one of those mentioned has got more brain power than exists in the whole of the Ind/Lab group combined.
I feel faint stirrings of optimism in the air .... let the changes begin!

Cneifiwr said...

I agree Anon @8.31, and anyone of those would be fine by me.

I'm not sure where Anon@23.38 gets his or her view of the world from, but it's not planet Earth.

Plaid has a woman as leader, a woman as deputy leader and a woman as chief executive. So I can't see how being a woman would rule out Gwyneth Thomas.

And what is the bad publicity about Cefin Campbell? Cefin is one of the nicest, most thoughtful and intelligent people you could wish to meet, and he has shown that he can work with other parties. Perhaps that's why the language trolls don't like him.