MINUTES OF THE ORDINARY MEETING OF THE SAID COUNCIL HELD IN THE OFFICE IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, LITERARY INSTITUTE, ABERDYFI ON MONDAY, 17TH OCTOBER 2016
Present were :- Cllr B Lloyd Chairman
Councillors :- D Owen
AGENDA ITEM 1- APOLOGIES
Apologies received from Cllrs. G Jones, G Pugh, D Richardson, C Fowles, G Davies, M Reynolds and B Bates
AGENDA ITEM 2 – CHAIRMAN’S ANNOUNCEMENTS
Cllr Lloyd confirmed with much disappointment, that the community’s Big Lottery application to take over the old school building and turn it into a multi-generational social hub, through the Aberdyfi Enterprise Trust, has been unsuccessful.
A meeting of the Trustees is to be held on Monday 24th October, 6.00pm, in the Literary Institute to discuss the future of both the Trust and the building, which will now in all probability, revert to Gwynedd for sale on the open market.
AGENDA ITEM 3 – ORDINARY MEETING 19TH SEPTEMBER
It was agreed that the minutes were a true and accurate record of the ordinary meeting, September 19th.
PROPOSED by Cllr Williams and SECONDED by Cllr Owen
AGENDA ITEM 4 – MATTERS ARISING
A/M65/(25.07.16) Willmot Dixon
Willmot Dixon have pulled back from their plans to invest in the village and decided to give us perhaps £500.00 only. Disappointing and perhaps they would have been better served not to promise the village bold ideas before a guarantee of agreement from their contractors. However, they have experienced delays and we can at least keep taking the monthly rental until such time as the school is vacated by their team. No indication as yet when they will depart. Cllr Owen suggested that we write a letter expressing our disappointment, particularly as it was Willmot Dixon who instigated the idea and suggested the target level of financial investment in the community in the first place, and that some considerable time and effort had been invested to put together, again at their request, a programme of fully costed community projects.
Speeding. The Clerk has e-mailed Gwynedd highways for more information on the matrix signs by the old school and is awaiting a response from Awen Edwards, Secretary to Dafydd Williams. Having since spoken with Euan from the regulatory department, these signs are technically all defunct and cannot be re-commissioned. We need to write and request that if it cannot be repaired, take it away and ask for it to be replaced with another traffic calming measure. Cllr Lloyd still felt that a pedestrian crossing is still a priority.
C/M71/(19.09.16) Public Toilets
Cllr Owen updated the meeting on Gwynedd’s views regarding the proposed closure of the public toilets. Although the Gwynedd Cabinet will not be making a decision until their meeting in November, the feeling is that Aberdyfi might avoid the closure of its toilets as they are so vital to visitors to the village during the vital summer season.
D/M73/(19.09.16) Dyfi Bridge
The Clerk has drafted a letter, at Cllr Owen’s request, to the Dyfi bridge engineers, Alun Griffiths. The letter clearly sets out this Council’s views on the plans for the new Dyfi Bridge, in particular the danger of the proposed ‘T’ junction. The draft was read out to Council by Cllr Lloyd and cleared for circulation by Council, and will be sent to Tywyn and Machynlleth councils, AM Liz Saville, Cambrian News and Daily Post.
The Clerk will follow up with a phone call to Julian Davies to discuss progress.
The poor state of some of the Gwelfor Allotments is a cause for concern and Cllr Owen suggested that the Clerk write to the allotment holders and/or the allotments committee to point out that the allotments must be maintained in good order, as set out I their contract.
F/M79/(19.09.16) Catholic Church hedges
The Clerk had arranged for Michael Barnes to sort out the offending hedgerow.
AGENDA ITEM 5 – CHRISTMAS DINNER
The Chairman said that the next venue in line for the Christmas dinner was The Cellar Bistro. He had spoken with Marj who confirmed that she would like to see us all this year.
Cllr Lloyd also felt that with Christmas dates this year he proposed that the December Council meeting should be on the 12th December and the Christmas dinner on Thursday 15th December.
This was agreed unanimously by all those Councillors present.
AGENDA ITEM 6 – ABERDYFI CAR PARKING
Cllr Lloyd suggested that, as so few Councillors were present, that this matter be held over until the November meeting. Cllr Williams stated that, after giving the matter much thought since the last meeting, he felt the issue of potentially charging for parking on common land was fraught with difficulties. Having access to land such as Morfa Gypsies for free overflow parking was of benefit to the village, and that it was very rarely utilised to the detriment of the village.
Cllr Richards, who had originally raised the topic of car parking on common land, was more concerned about the old running track, also common land. He accepted that common land acreage had to be maintained but wanted due consideration be given to the idea of utilising part of the old running track to overnight motorhome parking for visitors to Aberdyfi, as per Barmouth. He had visited the Motorhome show and felt that there was an opportunity for Aberdyfi to capitalise on an expanding market. The normal facilities offered on sites were electricity plug-in points and chemical toilet disposal premises.
Cllr Williams agreed that such an idea had merit but noted that previous ideas for developing the site in question had fallen foul of conservation issues – in particular the otter issues.
Cllr Richards emphasised his point that in his opinion the area was not being utilised or maintained to any benefit to the community. He wanted to confirm current ownership issues.
Cllr Williams also pointed out that wherever this Council identified an opportunity there were always going to be those who would object to overlooking such a facility.
Cllr Lloyd noted that any development might attract unwanted attention from travellers, as had happened in the past. He suggested that all options be examined in the context of future utilisation of the asset for the village. The otters are an issue but it should be noted that the ‘new’ gasworks is now an established conservation project to the benefit of the otters.
AGENDA ITEM 7 – GWYNEDD COUNCIL REPORT
Cllr Owen attended a One Voice Wales meeting in Dolgellau at which Jonathan Cowley, planning Officer for Snowdonia gave a presentation. Section 106 was discussed and its impact might be softened or even lifted with guidance from the Welsh Government.
The BDO audit was discussed and in the context of the upheaval created he was aware of five community council clerks declaring their intention to step down. There was also concern that BDO audit office being based in Southampton and that there was no one there who was a Welsh speaker.
Full Council met in Caernarfon and Gwynedd Council had been praised for their work. With regard to Gwynedd’s revised rubbish collection procedures, first indications are that there have not been major problems, particularly regarding fly tipping, which had been a concern of this council. Cllr Richards had noticed that the public rubbish bins were being used more by visitors to the village during the season.
Cllr Owen noted that there had been a number of local elections in the Bangor area resulting in Plaid Cymru having 39 seats, Independent 21 seats, Unllais Gwynedd 7, Labour 4, Liberal 2, Independent Louise Hughes 1.
Cllr Owen felt that Aberdyfi Community Council might invite a guest to the Christmas dinner and suggested Iestyn Pritchard, who had been so supportive of our Lottery application. This suggestion was approved by Council, unanimously and the Clerk would pass on the invitation.
Cllr Owen noted that the issue of rates on second homes has become an important issue, and that a local second home owner, Bob Longworth, had been writing letters to the press suggesting, as he understood, that second homes should be free of Council Tax.
It was noted that there was concern regarding the possible impact on the holiday industry of imposing greater levels of Council Tax. Cllr Richards suggested that more second homes might become part of a business to avoid the extra taxation, which might cost Gwynedd more than leaving things as they are. Cllr Owen also noted that the policing of how many days a property was let, to qualify as a business, was inadequately policed.
Cllr Williams suggested that if Aberdyfi Community Council was planning to discuss the matter at a later date, the full facts should be established in advance.
AGENDA ITEM 8 – PLANNING
NP5/50/220B 32 Terrace Road, Aberdyfi
Replacement of stairs and wooden decking, creation of steps and terraced area.
NP5/50/L389D 3 Melin Ardudwy, Aberdyfi
Installation of external wall insulation system, rooflight, and new chimney.
Cllr Owen expressed his reservations about the nature of the plans for the Penhelyg toilets, and the proposed public meeting on Saturday 29th October
AGENDA ITEM 9 – TREASURER’S REPORT
The Treasurer’s report for July was accepted and minuted as a true record
The Chairman was pleased to inform the meeting that the community car park had raised, to date this year, £5531.65.
PROPOSED by Cllr Richards SECONDED by Cllr Owen
Cllr Owen, in the context of the financial cutbacks, raised concerns regarding the reduced maintenance of the footpaths and hedgerows in general. The Clerk informed Council that he was in discussion with Aled Evans and Tom Jones who will be liaising and coming up with costings and a plan for future maintenance, in combination with Michael Barnes who will continue with the grass cutting in the village. The discussions will result in budgetary issues in readiness for precept calculations/implications.
AGENDA ITEM 10 – COMMITTEE REPORTS
Harbour Liaison Committee
The next meeting of the Harbour Committee is set for Tuesday 15th November. The Clerk informed the meeting that Barry Davies had contacted him to forward a request to Cllr Richardson asking him to add an item to the Agenda for discussion – The Fishermens’ Storage Area. Mr Davies was very concerned over the general condition of the area.
Seaview Terrace Beach Steps
Cllr Richards raised the matter of the condition of the beach steps on Seaview Terrace.
The Clerk had been made aware that the steps were on the Harbourmaster’s list of things to do.
Roman Road slate slippage
There was general concern regarding the overhanging slate on Roman Road. It was agreed that this was a matter of continuing concern with regard to the safety of walkers.
AGENDA ITEM 11 – CORRESPONDENCE
Gwynedd Council Estates E-mail from Lowri Owen reference our unsuccessful Lottery application and the future of the school building.
There followed a discussion regarding the future of the school building. The consensus view is that any ‘knee jerk’ reaction should be avoided. The Clerk was able to confirm that there were funds in the AET account to maintain a short term presence and that he was hopeful that there would be no real pressure to move out in the short term. Initial discussions with Gwynedd Estates indicated that the lease would be terminated by May 2017 and that the premises should be vacated by late summer 2017.
The clerk was able to confirm that the Trust could continue as long as annual returns were submitted to the Charity Commission as required. Although it was confirmed that the ‘object’ of the charity would need to be stay in focus.
Gwynedd Highways Plans regarding the Culvert under the road at Trefeddian Terrace.
Metric Group Car park meter suppliers. New company ownership
Gwynedd Council Asset transfer questionnaire. Clerk to complete
Gwynedd Council Confirmation of Harbour Consultative Committee – Tuesday 15th November 2016
Gwynedd Council Rough sleeping count questionnaire. Clerk to complete
Dovey Yacht Club Quiz night, 19th October
Big Lottery Confirmation of our unsuccessful application for funding to transform the old school building.
AGENDA ITEM 12
SLCC September issue
AGENDA ITEM 13
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Ombudsman letter Cllr Lloyd asked whether Council was happy with the Clerk’s draft letter of response to Iwan Edgar, copy to be forwarded to the Ombudsman. Council approved unanimously for the letter to be sent.
Literary Institute offices Cllr Lloyd had been informed by Avril Richards that the ground floor offices were going to become available, and was the Council interested. Cllr Lloyd had discussed the matter with the Clerk, who indicated he was happy with the current office arrangement, but that the ground floor storage would be very useful. It was agreed that the matter of taking over the storage room should be discussed with Avril Richards.
Literary Institute offices Cllr Richards noted that the Aberdyfi Cemetery Garden of Remembrance was almost full and asked whether this was matter which required attention. The matter was to be handed over to AA&I for further discussion.
Nantiesyn Car Park Cllr Williams suggested that the Nantiesyn Car park needed some maintenance.
Penhelyg Arms Cllr Williams suggested that Council write to Penhelyg Arms, congratulating Phil on achieving Welsh Pub of the Year.
AGENDA ITEM 14
ITEMS FOR PRESS RELEASE
- Lottery result
- Late November public meeting
- Remembrance Day
There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.50pm