MINUTES OF THE ORDINARY MEETING OF THE SAID COUNCIL HELD IN THE OFFICE IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, LITERARY INSTITUTE, ABERDYFI ON MONDAY, 12th DECEMBER 2016
Present were :- Cllr M Richards Vice Chairman
Councillors :- D Owen
The meeting was chaired by Vice Chairman Cllr. Mike Richards in the absence of Cllr. Bryn Lloyd
AGENDA ITEM 1- APOLOGIES
Apologies received from Cllrs. B Lloyd, G Jones, G Davies, M Reynolds, B Bates & D Williams
AGENDA ITEM 2 – CHAIRMAN’S ANNOUNCEMENTS
Cllr Richards read to Council an e-mail from the Brian and Pat Kelly, regular attendees of Council meetings, apologising for their absence from this month’s meeting and wishing Councillors best wishes for Christmas and thanking them for their work over the year.
AGENDA ITEM 3 – MINUTES OF ORDINARY COUNCIL MEETING 21ST NOVEMBER
It was agreed that the minutes were a true and accurate record of the ordinary meeting, November 21st.
PROPOSED by Cllr Richardson and SECONDED by Cllr Owen
AGENDA ITEM 4 – MATTERS ARISING
Cllr Richardson asked whether any response had been engendered from the Clerk’s letter to all allotment holders regarding the upkeep of their allotments. The Clerk confirmed that there had been no response to date. Cllr Pugh expressed concern regarding the decision by one of the allotment holders to share his allotment with another individual, when there was a waiting list of people wishing to have their own allotment. Cllr Richardson asked whether there was any precedent regarding sharing. Cllr Owen suggested that a letter should be written expressing Council’s concerns. The Clerk indicated that Bob Nickless’ Plot One was a shared arrangement and had so for some years, as was Ian McCutchion’s Plot Eight.
Cllr Owen then suggested that an accompanying letter should be sent out with the invoices for 2017 requesting that any changes to the tenancy should be discussed with Council in advance. It was also agreed to ask Gareth Thomas on Plot Two that his recently confirmed plot share is with an Aberdyfi resident or Aberdyfi second/holiday home owner, in the context of the ‘Rules’ and the terms of ‘Tenancy’.
B/M71/(19.09.16) Public Toilets
Cllr Owen indicated that the matter of toilet closures in Gwynedd, perhaps in the context of forthcoming elections and issues of existing employment contracts. Therefore the matter had been put on the backburner. The Clerk took the opportunity to inform Council that Anwen Davies, who had been conducting negotiations on behalf of Gwynedd Council and had been a positive supporter of Aberdyfi Community Council’s initiatives, including the taking over of our public toilets, was moving on to a new position in Gwynedd Social Services and that Iestyn Pritchard, another supporter of this Council’s initiatives was leaving Gwynedd Council to take up a position at NFU Wales. Cllr Pugh asked whether, in the absence of the regular cleaner due to sickness, the toilets were still being cleaned. Neither Cllr Owen nor the Clerk had been advised of alternative arrangements by Gwynedd.
C/M85/(17.10.16) Christmas Dinner
The Clerk confirmed that Cllr Bates, Cllr Jones, Cllr Davies and Cllr Williams would not be attending the Christmas dinner this year.
D/M98/(17.10.16) Footpath Maintenance
The Clerk has met with Michael Barnes, Aled Evans and Tom Jones and the footpaths maintenance programme for next year has been agreed. Details will follow after the budget has been sorted out in advance of the precept request in January.
E/M99/(21.11.16) Dyfi Bridge
The Clerk has drafted a letter to the Police Commissioner Arfon Jones outlining the concerns over the Dyfi Bridge ‘T’ junction. Cllr Owen had cleared the content of the letter and will be dispatched.
J/M99/(21.11.16) School Building
The Clerk has discussed with CCG the idea of affordable housing, as suggested by Tony Bowron at the recent public meeting. The idea seems to have some mileage and Gwynedd are aware of the idea. Discussions are ongoing. The Clerk has been advised by Iestyn Pritchard that if the site is sold off by Gwynedd it is may well be that Aberdyfi Community Council will be entitled to 20% of the capital gain. Cllr Owen informed Council that he had discussed the matter of social housing with the Chair of CCG and that there was no likelihood of CCG taking over the site, even though the Clerk had been informed by CCG Huw Evans the previous week that CCG was certainly interested. There appears that there is some difference of views at CCG. The Clerk will keep Council informed of developments.
K/M102/(21.11.16) Rockface Repair The condition of the rock face between Fron Goch and Gogarth was raised by Cllr Jones at the last Council meeting. It been netted and the road is now open as usual at that point.
L/M102/(21.11.16) Storm drains The gully team have made another attempt to clear the storm drains but there are still discrepancies and inconsistencies as outlined by Cllr Richardson. Cllr Pugh noted that the drains along Gwelfor Road were also totally blocked. The Clerk was asked to try again. Cllr Fowles suggested that some management of the gully team might be in order to ensure that they are doing their job properly.
M/M102/(21.11.16) Nantiesin car park
The Clerk has been discussing the state of the ivy with Colin Jones and he has been promised a meeting on site. Cllr Richardson noted that the white lining in the car park also needed attention.
AGENDA ITEM 5 – MORGAN VAUGHAN/LITERARY INSTITUTE CHAIRS
Ex Councillor Morgan Vaughan has requested that a plaque be erected to mark his gift of chairs to the reading room. In the absence of such a plaque he wishes the return of the chairs. It was agreed that there was little Council could do as it was a Literary Institute matter, but that in the meantime nothing could be done anyway without written correspondence from Morgan Vaughan. It was agreed that Cllr Reynolds should convey this decision to Morgan Vaughan.
AGENDA ITEM 6 – GWYNEDD COUNCIL REPORT
Cllr Owen expressed his disappointment at the poor quality of the festive lights in Aberdyfi and that next year the matter must be addressed. He also thanked Cllr Richardson for his work in ensuring that at least the Nantiesin car park was once again splendidly decorated. Cllr Owen suggested that it should be an agenda item on the January Council meeting. Cllr Pugh agreed with Cllr Owen and there was a consensus that the wharf area should form the focus of attention for next year.
Cllr Fowles suggested a village competition for next year.
Cllr Owen reported that at the last full Gwynedd Council meeting there were important decisions regarding Council Tax increase and second homes in Gwynedd. Regarding the imposition of a 50% increase on second homes in Gwynedd, there were 45 in favour, 3 abstentions, and one against. The new charges will come into force in 2019. There will also be an increase of 50% on homes that have been empty of occupancy for over six months. Cllr Fowles expressed her disappointment that Gwynedd Councillors seemed to have voted without taking into account the importance of tourism to the area. Cllr Richardson also noted that the considerable amount of building work carried out in Aberdyfi on second homes provided much needed jobs for local people.
It was conceded that there are loopholes in the system of which people will take advantage.
Cllr Owen reported that the Gwynedd cutbacks programme has been very successful in controlling budgets and that the second stage cuts will be smaller than expected.
The Police Commissioner gave a talk to Council and answered questions about his controversial views on the legalisation of cannabis.
Cllr Richardson requested that the grass on Morfa Gypsies be cut in advance of the daffodils coming into flower in the Spring.
AGENDA ITEM 7 – PLANNING
NP5/50/317A 5 Treflan, Aberdyfi
Single storey front extension
AGENDA ITEM 8 – TREASURER’S REPORT
The Treasurer’s report for November was accepted and minuted as a true record
PROPOSED by Cllr Owen SECONDED by Cllr Richardson
AGENDA ITEM 9 – AUDIT ANNUAL RETURN
The audit return has been returned with recommendations for next year
Preparation of budgets in hand
Update risk assessment and minute accordingly in hand
Internal audit update letter with John Roberts in hand
Asset value should be at cost rather than valuation in hand
The internal auditor must no longer assist in preparation
of the internal audit to maintain his independence in hand
AGENDA ITEM 10 – COMMITTEE REPORTS
Meirionydd Area Committee
Cllr Owen attended a meeting in Harlech at which Inspector Dewi Jones indicated that crime figures in Meirionydd had shown an increase of 10% over the last two years. Much of this was domestic violence and ‘cyber crime’ in the context of the growth of online transactions and general usage of the internet, especially internet banking for older people. There were 113 crimes committed in the Tywyn area in the last year, featuring many thefts from caravans, and violent crimes. However, there was some positive news in that we now had 32 police officers in the area. There is some concern at the threat of the closure of the Dolgellau police station which would result in those arrested in our area would need to be transported to Caernarfon for custody, with clear implications, as pointed out by Cllr Richardson, on the time spent, by local officers, out of the area in which they are meant to serve.
Neuadd Dyfi AGM
Cllr Owen reported that the Neuadd Dyfi was thriving but as it got busier, costs were increasing and this needed to be kept an eye on. Des George has indicated that he was trying to offload some of his work. As Cllr Owen pointed out, Des would be a difficult act to follow and perhaps now was a good time to seek some help with ‘paid for’ assistance.
One Voice Wales
Cllr Owen reported that there was still some concern throughout the County about the conduct of BDO external auditors.
The matron for Tywym and Dolgellau Ffion Johnson gave a talk and indicated that the big problem they were experiencing at the moment was staffing, and that there was a drive to recruit locally.
Harlech had increased its precept by £24.00 per household to keep its swimming pool open to its public.
AGENDA ITEM 11 – CORRESPONDENCE
Gwynedd Council Aberdyfi School 6 month tenancy
Dated 8th December 2016
James Bradbury Willis e-mail Request for brochure financial support
James Bradbury Willis e-mail Advising of BT problems with telephone
One Voice Wales e-mail Thank you e-mail for my input regarding the complaints received about BDO Auditors
Platforms Cymru e-mail quotation for cost of removal of trees on Copperhill Street
British Red Cross Request for support funding. (to be discussed at January Council meeting)
Gwynedd Council Launch of initiative to encourage ethnic minorities, women, young people and other under-represented groups to consider standing to become councillors
Gov. Wales Leaflet outlining the facts about payments to County Councillors
Returning Officer Cost estimate to this Council of the forthcoming elections in May. (£1250.00)
AGENDA ITEM 12
AGENDA ITEM 13
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
AGENDA ITEM 14
ITEMS FOR PRESS RELEASE
- Happy Christmas
- On line banking
- Thanks to Des
- Thanks to the Friday lunches team
- New Councillors/forthcoming elections
There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.33pm