Caebrwyn has followed up Gloucestershire Constabulary's investigation of the unlawful pension and libel indemnity payments to Carmarthenshire County Council's chief executive, Mark James, with a freedom of information request. We now know that the police took three months to complete their inquiries but did not interview anyone, and there was no correspondence between the council and the police. There was also no involvement from the Crown Prosecution Service.
The only remaining mysteries are what took them so long and what this rather underwhelming exercise cost.
Parc y Trap
It's been a while since this blog looked at the rumbling planning dispute at Parc y Trap in Adpar (in reality the bit of Newcastle Emlyn which comes under Ceredigion).
The application finally came up for a decision this week, with planning officers recommending refusal. After some to-ing and fro-ing and a complaint that the applicant's agent appeared to have taken to e-mailing councillors and ignoring the planning officers, the decision was deferred to another day.
Also in Newcastle Emlyn, residents this week received a leaflet from Aldi explaining its plans for a new store on a development which will also include workshops/employment units on the Castle Motors site. The store group is asking locals to write in to the council to express their support.
This is the latest twist in a planning saga which has now been rumbling on for five years, with the council approving plans for two new supermarket developments, despite questions over whether this small market town (population roughly 1,500) actually needs three supermarkets, and fears about the impact this will have on locally owned businesses.
The Aldi/Castle Motors proposals are likely to receive broad support in the town, something which is definitely not the case with the second proposed development on a site occupied by Cawdor Cars. The Cawdor site was, however, the planning officers' preferred development, and the owner is currently trying to get the council to drop a requirement for a Section 106 agreement - with, it seems, the support of the planning officers.
The Cawdor plans were approved back in 2011 with the backing of Labour and Independent members, and shortly afterwards allegations were aired in the council chamber that Cllr Pam Palmer (Independent) had been seen urging her Independent troops to vote for the proposal, although she denied doing so.
Dylan Thomas and the turbine
The row over the siting of a wind turbine at a farm near Llansteffan also rumbled on, with allegations that Cllr Meryl Gravell had intervened in the planning process. Similar allegations against the veteran Independent councillor have been made in the past, also denied.
A strange and no doubt coincidental feature of both the controversial supermarket development in Newcastle Emlyn and the campaign against the wind turbine in Llansteffan is that there are links to business interests involved in the Scarlets.
A report produced by the Trussell Trust shows that more people are using foodbanks in Wales than in Scotland despite the fact that Scotland has over 5 million people and Wales has 3 million. The report also shows that the gap between rich and poor is growing in Wales.
Kevin Madge, leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, told the South Wales Guardian that he was shocked. His recipe is for everyone to vote Labour at the next general election.
Perhaps the Guardian should have pointed out to Kev that Scotland is run by the SNP, while Wales is run by, um, Labour.
"a requirement Section 106 agreement"
What is that?
It should of course read "a requirement for a Section 106 agreement".
The latest news is that a decision has been deferred for a second time, and that questions have been raised (yet again) about the accuracy of some of the information provided to planning officers.
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