Monday, 8 June 2015

£5m Link Road on the agenda - No exemption please Plaid - updated

Update 9th June - Despite Cllr Caiach challenging the exemption over the item on the Carmarthen link road, the Plaid leadership, seconded by Pam Palmer insisted it should be held in private and the Chamber voted to go into secret session. Very disappointing.


The agenda for this week's full council meeting has yet to be published. It is listed for tomorrow. I've been informed that there are technical issues on the 'democracy' section of the council's new website, it is noted however that updates to the 'media' section, continue unabated...
Agendas must be available for public viewing for a few days prior to a meeting, so this is unacceptable. I have emailed the press office for copies.
(Update; The press office have informed me that the Welsh version of tomorrow's agenda is now online but the English version can only be viewed at council offices. Other agendas and reports for this week's meetings are not currently available at all - Update 9th June; English version now online, one hour before the meeting..)

Anyway, thanks to Cllr Sian Caiach's blog we are aware of one item on the agenda. This concerns the funding arrangements for the £5m link road for the highly controversial Carmarthen West private housing development, potentially creating 1200 homes.
The Executive Board decided, back in March, shortly after approving an apparently 'difficult' budget, to pre-fund the road.

The decision followed a planning hiccup for developers Carmarthen Promotions Ltd, based in Suffolk and featuring, like the Grillo application, yet another wealthy Lord on it's Board of Directors. The application, for 250 of these 1200 homes, was put on hold by the Welsh Government after it became evident that no firm funding was in place for the 'essential' £5m road.

In a surprisingly quick turnaround the council appeared to have solved the problem and, despite vociferous opposition, the application was granted. The link road 'funding' then, as I said above, went to the Exec Board, as an exempt item, for the rubber stamp.

The Welsh Government has recently stumped up around 20% of the cost but the remainder was apparently going to be sourced from those 'precious' reserves; begged; borrowed and then paid back, in the dim and distant future through possible landowner contributions or a 'roof tax'. The details were vague, but as usual, private interests had been protected...

Full council are now being asked to approve the Executive Board's March decision. Interestingly preparation and clearance work started in April, long before it all went to full council.

What is significant is that this is being proposed as an 'exempt' item, in other words, press and public excluded. There can be no excuse for this other than a reluctance to discuss this controversial project, and public funding, under the glare of the cameras.

With this controversial project the subject of much discussion outside the Chamber, I'm sure I won't be the only person expecting the new Plaid-led coalition to ensure that the exemption is refused and discussions are held in a transparent and open manner, as long as they can persuade Meryl's gang to support them of course.... and let's hope there are no 'technical issues' with the webcast.


Teifion said...

I hope Carmarthenshire County Council have learnt from Pembrokeshires mistakes - PCC happily built a new road in Haverfordwest for a new housing estate and the new Sainsburys - you know what I'm going to say next don't you?

Don't need experts earning £100k salaries to work out that the plan's been pulled surely a verbal contract is worth the paper it's not written on? :-)

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

I saw the pictures, but the only sound I got was the translator - the original language feed wasn't working. I gave up in the end.

caebrwyn said...

@Emlyn Uwch Cych
Perhaps you should let them know