Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Welcome for school award

The news that Carmarthenshire County Council was successful in winning the award in the Road Safety (reducing child casualties) category for the Safe Routes initiative at Carway School has been welcomed by local ward councillor, Tyssul Evans.

Cllr Evans, a Plaid member of the council, and this year's County Council Chair said, "I am delighted to hear of this award for the work being done in a school in my ward. The Safe Routes scheme is an important one; and winning the award shows that even fairly small schools can play a role in schemes like this. My congratulations go to all concerned - most importantly of course, the staff and pupils at the school itself."

Monday, 29 June 2009

Plaid challenge over affordable homes

In a meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council, Plaid's group leader, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, challenged the council's leadership over the implementation of the council's policy on affordable homes. "The policy is a very good one, on the whole," said Cllr Hughes Griffiths, "but I am concerned that we do not always adhere to it. When developers seek permission to build more houses in the county, the council always tries to get an agreement for a proportion of the homes to be affordable. It seems at times, however, that it is too easy for the developers to come back after they have obtained permission, and change the agreement - usually to reduce the number or proportion of affordable homes.

"The result can be that the developments we see in our towns and villages do not go far enough to meet the needs of local people. It's certainly a difficult area, because the council's officers warned very clearly that unless the council is prepared to negotiate over such changes, then there could be a costly appeal which the county could lose. To me, this shows a weakness in the whole area of planning law - once the council has made a decision, we should expect that decision to be implemented."

Cllr John Edwards expressed his concern that the council would not meet its own targets for affordable houses on the basis of the figures presented to the council. He added, "What we need is a system of planning which starts from identifying local need and then responds to that need, rather than a system where developers seek to build those houses which will generate the most profit. Planning should always be led by need."

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Confusion over building rules

Following a plea by a Labour Councillor for Carmarthenshire county council to be encouraged to build new housing, Plaid Councillors have responded by pointing out that it's the Labour Party which is preventing this from happening.

Plaid's housing spokesperson, Cllr Joy Williams said, "I'm very pleased that there seems to be a unanimous view in the council that we should be allowed - and encouraged - to build more council housing as part of the response to the needs of our communities for more affordable housing. It's one thing on which all the groups on the council seem to be agreed.

"However, the Labour group seem not to understand that it's not the Assembly Government which is preventing this from happening - it's actually the rules laid down by the Treasury in London. It's a Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer who is obstructing progress."

Monday, 22 June 2009

Traffic Calming at Llannon

Following representations made by Plaid County Cllrs Emlyn Dole and Phil Williams as well as the local community council, the county council has agreed to consider implementing traffic calming measures along the whole stretch of the main road through Llannon. Welcoming the move, Cllr Emlyn Dole said, "Parts of the road are quite straight, and this has encouraged some drivers to drive faster than the speed limit allows. This creates dangers for pedestrians and other road users, particularly children. I hope that any measures implemented by the council will help to ensure that drivers maintain their speed within the limit set and this can only improve safety locally."

At this stage, it has not been decicded precisely what measures will be implemented, but the two councillors have arranged an open day session when the Transport Dept will be unveiling their detailed plan for road calming measures throughout the village in the village and council officials will be available to hear residents' views.

Cllr Dole added, "I'm glad that the county council is so willing to listen to local opinion on this matter, and looking forward to a successful implementation after the residents have given their input."

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Speeding worries at Llanllwni

The primary school on the main road at Llanllwni is the only primary school in Carmarthenshire where the speed limit is not set at 30mph or lower, according to local county councillor Linda Davies Evans.

The Plaid councillor is working with the county council's officers to seek a reduction in the speed limit, as well as considering other traffic calming measures not just outside the school but also throughout the village of Llanllwni.

"The school at Llanllwni is situated right on the main road," said Cllr Evans. "We all know that the faster the speed, the more serious any injuries are likely to be in the event of an accident. All the other schools in the county have a speed limit of either 30mph or even 20mph, and there are growing calls for all roads passing schools to have the lower limit of 20mph. Yet the speed limit outside the school here is currently set at 40mph. In practice, that means that many drivers are going past at up to 50mph.

"I am asking the county council to reduce the speed limit immediately, and also to consider other steps which can be taken to ensure that drivers abide by the new lower limit. Safety, particularly of school children, must be paramount," added Cllr Evans.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Concern over council house sales

Plaid's councillors in Carmarthenshire have expressed concern over the delays in granting new powers over housing to the National Assembly. The Assembly had asked for the power to stop the sales of council houses in areas of housing pressure, but Labour and Conservative MPs in London have been working together to obstruct the Assembly's wishes for many months, and there is still no resolution to the issue. In the meantime, things have been moving on locally.

Cllr Linda Davies Evans said this week, "Carmarthenshire is one of the few councils in Wales which has decided to retain council housing within the council's control rather than transferring all the houses to an outside agency, and this is something that I very much support. Not only that, but the council is investing heavily in improving its stock of council houses.

"There is a danger, though, that this could lead to a further reduction in the numbers of council houses, since the newly-improved homes will be more attractive to buy. I'm not suggesting for a moment that we should not be improving the houses - of course we should. It's essential that the council, as a good landlord, provides its tenants with high quality housing. But we need to be able to ensure that the investment which is being made serves not only the current tenants, but also future generations of tenants, and that houses are avilable to our young people."

Plaid's Housing spokesperson on the council, Cllr Joy Williams, added, "The One Wales government has recognised the problems that could arise, and has been seeking power to allow councils to retain even newly-improved houses as part of the stock. It is completely unacceptable that Labour and Conservative MPs should be obstructive in the way that they have; and their actions could well be endangering the ability of the council to continue to provide homes in the future."