MINUTES OF THE ORDINARY MEETING OF THE SAID COUNCIL HELD IN THE OFFICE IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, LITERARY INSTITUTE, ABERDYFI ON MONDAY, 19TH SEPTEMBER 2016
Present were :- Cllr B Lloyd Chairman
Councillors :- B Bates
AGENDA ITEM 1- APOLOGIES
Apologies received from Cllrs. G Jones and G Davies
AGENDA ITEM 2 – CHAIRMAN’S ANNOUNCEMENTS
Cllr Lloyd congratulated the team who organised the Aberdyfi Food Festival, which, despite the appalling weather, was a huge success. He also noted the success of the August Bank Holiday DoveyFest and asked for his thanks to be passed on the organisers.
He noted that the village had been busy for much of the season, even though the weather had not been very good. The Trefeddian had experienced the second best figures for 10 years.
On a sad note the Chairman notified the meeting that Jeanette, the widow of Judge Brian Grant, has died aged 91. Judge Grant was instrumental in getting support for the Commando monument on Penhelig Parc.
AGENDA ITEM 3 – ORDINARY MEETING 25TH JULY
It was agreed that the minutes were a true and accurate record of the ordinary meeting.
PROPOSED by Cllr Reynolds and SECONDED by Cllr Llloyd
AGENDA ITEM 4 – MATTERS ARISING
A/M59(25.07.16) Brighter Foods
The Clerk has written to Robin Williams at Brighter Foods noting this Council’s recognition of the service he has done to the community, particularly with regard to job creation.
B/M65/(25.07.16) Willmot Dixon
The Clerk has heard from Willmot Dixon who are still assessing the amount of work they are prepared to carry out on community projects. In response to a question from Cllr Owen, the Clerk confirmed that Willmot Dixon had yet to confirm when they would be vacating their temporary tenancy of the old school building.
Regarding the ongoing problems regarding speeding on the 30mph Tywyn Road, there was a discussion on the matrix school limit signs, now out of use. The Clerk was to make further enquiries and report back.
D/M65/(25.07.16) Beach slipway
Cllr Reynolds has spoken with Barry Davies regarding the dereliction of the slate steps down to the beach opposite St Peter’s Church.
Cllr Richardson felt that the slate steps could have been retrieved by the Harbourmaster. Cllr Owen asked whether the steps were required, and that he understood that they might be dismantled under health and safety. Cllr Richardson understood that under the existing financial cutbacks, how would any such work be funded. He also felt that Health and Safety was getting out of hand and that if the argument was taken to its logical conclusion, many aspects of village life could be closed. If there was money in the ‘kitty’ to demolish, why not spend it on repair. The Clerk suggested that the steps may constitute conservation implications. Cllr Williams suggested that as the steps had been in situ for the last 100 hundred years or so, a modicum of maintenance at this stage might protect them for the next century.
AGENDA ITEM 5 – FINANCE COMMITTEE
The Chairman asked the public gallery to be cleared at this point, whilst the matter of Clerk’s remuneration was discussed.
There were no objections to the Clerk remaining in the chamber for the discussion.
Cllr Lloyd confirmed that the Finance Committee, comprising himself, the Clerk, Cllr Owen and Cllr Richards met on 4th August. One of the reasons for the meeting was to instigate the preparation of formalised financial budgets, in line with the requirements of the external auditors, BDO.
The current remuneration package for the Clerk is an hourly rate of £8.44, as a self employed consultant. This rate has been in place since the Clerk commenced duties in January 2012.
The current remuneration for the Clerk of Aberdyfi Community Council is £8.44 per hour, and has not been reviewed during this Clerk’s commencement of employment as a self employed consultant in January 2012. Given the added responsibilities of the Clerk in the context of recent land assets acquisition and management, and the potential of far greater involvement in the management of additional services that may be taken over from Gwynedd Council, it was agreed that the Clerk’s level of remuneration was no longer commensurate with the skill levels now required.
When a replacement clerk is to be employed, in the event of death or retirement of the encumbent, an appropriate financial package would need to be in place to attract the best candidate. Given the above scenario, and using the Tywyn Town Council’s hourly rate of £11.90, the committee agreed that an hourly rate of £11.25 per hour would be prudent.
The Chairman felt that given the extra skill burden now required, and the increasing amount of work, perhaps the contracted hours also need to be reviewed.
Cllr Owen also confirmed that the Clerk would prepare, over the next few months, a written appraisal which would detail all necessary information for either the next Clerk or in case of the sudden and unexpected demise of the current Clerk. This would also impact on the Risk Analysis, which could be updated in line with external auditor requirements.
Cllr Lloyd suggested a revised hourly rate of £11.25 per hour with immediate effect.
Cllr Bates pointed out that the council had possibly been lax in not reviewing Clerk’s remuneration on an annual basis.
Cllr Lloyd proposed that Clerk’s remuneration would be discussed every year at the AGM and that the hourly rate of £11.25 should be adopted.
The proposal was passed by a unanimous vote by Council.
The Clerk confirmed that the current opening hours for the office were 10.00 to 13.00.
The public were re-admitted for the remainder of the meeting.
AGENDA ITEM 6 – ABERDYFI PUBLIC TOILETS
The Chairman read the Clerk’s letter to Gwynedd Council Anwen Davies as follows:
The future of the public toilets in Aberdyfi was discussed at last week’s Community Council meeting, in the context of your correspondence of 21st June.
In a nutshell, your proposal is that this Community Council consider making an annual contribution of £6,000.00 to the cost of running the public toilets in Aberdyfi, specifically the facilities on the Wharf and the Neuadd Dyfi.
This figure represents almost 25% of our annual precept and as such Gwynedd’s proposition is unacceptable and unrealistic. Even if we were to consider increasing our precept for 2017/18 we would not be in a position to make any decisions in advance of consulting with the community and garnering their response to such a hefty increase.
Notwithstanding the above, it is still Aberdyfi Community Council’s intention to proceed with our proposal to take over, with Gwynedd County Council’s agreement, the toilets and finance their refurbishment, via grant funding, investing in a modern, charge for use, facility to bring them up to date, and using the resultant revenues to fund maintenance, energy costs, water, repairs etc.
We have the option to take over the facility through Aberdyfi Enterprise Trust, enablingthe community to take advantage of zero rateable cost.
We have consulted with George+Tomos Architects who have surveyed both sites in advance of project design and we will soon be in a position to share our ideas in some detail with yourself.
The Chairman read the Gwynedd Council’s e-mail of response as follows:
I had an update meeting last week with the Head of Highways.
We discussed your recent letter. The offer that has been put to all Town and Community Councils is to contribute £4,000 for yearly toilets and £2,000 for seasonal toilets with the possibility of looking at long term partnership where there is interest. It is possible to change the status from yearly run toilets to seasonal toilets to reduce the amount of contribution.
As per your letter you are stating that you are unable to contribute but are interested in the long term partnership. Unfortunately the long term partnership is an offer made on the basis that a contribution is received.
As the situation stands I will have to put Aberdyfi on the proposed closure list as you are not in a position to contribute.
We are proposing to hold a meeting with the Tourism Department after the 1st of October to discuss with them what the proposed closure list looks like and how this affects certain areas from a Destination Management point of view I will obviously raise your concerns at this meeting.
I am also attaching a copy of the report that went to the Communities Scrutiny Committee outlining the scheme.
I am more than happy to further discuss this with you and I do take on board your comments.
Cllr Lloyd was angered by this response because Gwynedd appeared to have taken no notice of the need for public consultation with the resultant time issues raised. He then asked for comments from the floor.
Cllr Fowles suggested that perhaps the people responsible for the decision should be invited down, and also pointed out that many businesses in the village did not have toilets on their premises to whom the facility was an essential service.
Cllr Jones, who was unable to attend the meeting, e-mailed the following points regarding this matter.
- Does not Gwynedd have a duty of care to the many visitors to Aberdyfi, particularly those who use the public car park
- Coaches drop off visitors to the village at the public toilets as the first stop, as a matter of necessity
- He believes that the disabled toilet on the wharf may be the only one between Dolgellau and Machynlleth
- If we have a pay for service how do we address the issue of families with small children who wish to use the toilets from the beach
Cllr Bates noted that Barmouth had doubled their precept to cope with the added burden of work in the aftermath of Gwynedd cutbacks.
Cllr Pugh was very aware of the long queues in the summer which indicated the degree of usage of the toilets. He also felt that with the revenues from the car park should be used to support the toilets costs as direct funding.
Cllr Richardson noted that the current levels of service from Gwynedd were at an all time low in his view. He felt very strongly that this Council should not consider paying the £6000.00.
Cllr Owen then discussed his media appearances, in the context of the revenues raised in the car park (in excess of £145,000.00) exposing the plight of Aberdyfi if toilets were to be closed. He had received a great deal of support from many quarters.
Cllr Lloyd then read a letter from a visitor to Aberdyfi which in graphic terms, described the state of the toilets in Aberdyfi.
Cllr Williams felt that a cautious approach might be the way forward, but keep the door to further discussions open.
Cllr Fowles felt that the cost of keeping the toilets open, according to Gwynedd figures (£24,000.00 per annum) were surely an exaggeration.
The Clerk had spoken with Anwen Davies who suggested that we adopt Cllr Williams approach.
AGENDA ITEM 7 – EXTERNAL AUDIT
The Clerk confirmed that the auditors were looking at issuing a qualified audit on the following basis:
- Lack of formal budgets
The Clerk had no issues with this qualification and agreed that formalised budgets would not only keep the auditors happy but also provide a useful business tool
- None registration with HMRC
This has been an issue for the last three years, and refers to the Clerk invoicing Council through the Clerk’s partnership, which provides returns through self assessment. The matter had been referred to HMRC in 2013 for guidance and still awaits a response.
Cllr Richards asked whether there might be any sanctions from Gwynedd in the context of a qualified audit. The Clerk was unaware of any sanctions.
Cllr Williams agreed with the Clerk that the preparation of budgets would be a move in the right direction.
AGENDA ITEM 8 – GWYNEDD COUNCIL REPORT
Cllr Owen noted that Network Rail are cutting down a large number of trees on the road from Frongoch to Aberdyfi. He is concerned that the clearance has exposed the fragility of the stone walls. Cllr Fowles also noted that the newly exposed views across the estuary might create a safety hazard with drivers being distracted.There is a roadworks to repair a blocked drain by the Neuadd Dyfi resulting in traffic lights disruption. Cllr Owen attended a Meirionydd Area Committee meeting at which Iestyn Pritchard gave a presentation. He talked about independent funding for Meirionydd, current and future.
There is a community-led initiative in Barmouth to examine the taking over their harbour and it is planned significantly to increase Barmouth’s precept.
Aberdyfi has been under the spotlight and has received recognition for its recent initiatives in the context of the taking over assets from Gwynedd, including the old primary school.
The Health and Wellbeing Act may create some potential revenues for looking after older people in Meirionydd.
Cllr Owen then briefed the meeting on the amended plans for the new Dyfi Bridge. He had requested to the engineers that the amended plans incorporate a roundabout at the new junction with the road to Aberdyfi. However, the new plans have not addressed this as traffic measurement suggested that there was not enough traffic to warrant the expense. Also, the new road will be effectively de-restricted between Machynlleth and the new ‘T’ junction. Cllr Owen expressed his concerns that these two elements of the revised plan posed a significant threat to the safety of its users, particularly in the context of the appalling safety record of the new road bypassing Dolgellau, which featured ill-conceived traffic lights, instead of a roundabout, resulting in fatalities. He was also appalled at the fact that there will be no double white lines to prevent overtaking approaching the ‘T’ junction. The existing junction with the existing bridge and the Aberdyfi Road will also have permanent traffic lights. The Clerk is to write a letter to the engineers outlining the Council’s objections. The scheme is pencilled in for a start in 2019, but objections will create delays with major ramifications given the threat to projects such as this in the context of Brexit.
AGENDA ITEM 9 – PLANNING
NP5/50/706 The Mount, Aberdyfi
Construction of two extensions and re-location of shed
NP5/50/L389D 3 Melin Ardudwy, Aberdyfi
Installation of external wall insulation system, rooflight, and new chimney
NP5/50/705 35 Terrace Road, Aberdyfi
NP5/50/678C 60 Maesnewydd, Aberdyfi
Erection of two storey extension
NP5/50/L507A 44 Copperhill Street, Aberdyfi
Construction of two storey rear extension
NP5/50/702A 26 Mynedd Isaf, Aberdyfi – revised proposal
Erection of extension
NP5/50/709 Philip Avenue, Aberdyfi –
Alterations, extension and construction of detached garage
NP5/50/159A Plas y Coed, Aberdyfi
Construction of 1st Floor balcony
NP5/50/375B 2 Corbett Lane, Aberdyfi
Construction of single storey garage
AGENDA ITEM 10 – 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 Fowles SECONDED by Cllr Richards
AGENDA ITEM 11 – COMMITTEE REPORTS
Cllr Williams confirmed that Des George was progressing with applying for grant funding to make the final outstanding building modifications to the Neuadd Dyfi.
Mid Wales Health Collaborative Meeting
Cllr Reynolds attended the above meeting and there was confirmation of staff shortages in the area. There is a campaign to recruit doctors and also nurses from overseas. She also informed Council that there are now vacancies at Abbeyfields Homes.
The Clerk attended the recent FLAG meeting in Aberystwyth. There is now a small amount of funding to support our community’s fishermen, but simply not enough to be of any significant use, as most of the paltry amount will be swallowed up by central costs.
AGENDA ITEM 12 – CORRESPONDENCE
Boundary Commission – Wales Announcement of 2018 review of parliamentary constituencies in Wales, initial proposals available on web site www.bcomm-wales.gov.uk
Mrs B Hughes, Kidderminster Letter of complaint about the Aberdyfi toilets
One Voice Wales Confirmation of next Merionydd Area Committee meeting, Cricket Pavilion, Dolgellau – 7.00pm 21st September
Snowdonia National Park Eryri local development plan review – call for potential sites
Gwynedd County Council Precept remittance advice, £11784.06, 28th August
e-mail Steve Myatt Proposal to donate ATC balance of funds to Aberdyfi Community Council, to be used for suitable project.
After discussion, Council agreed the principle, but Cllr Williams felt that it should be discussed at tomorrow’s AA&I meeting.
Baroness Eluned Morgan of Ely Community & Economic Development Survey
AGENDA ITEM 13
SLCC AGM in Hinckley
AGENDA ITEM 14
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Pen y Bryn footpath Cllr Richards had heard that the footpath to Pen y Bryn, from the railway bridge, was restricted by the car parking from the house recently developed.
He also expressed concern about the yellow road sign which has somehow ended up in a precarious position above the road on the bridge parapet, in imminent danger of falling onto the road below.
Cllr Richards brought up the matter of car parking in the village in the context of Morfa Gypsies and that charging might be considered. Cllr Richardson suggested that this might be a matter for discussion as an agenda item at the next meeting.
Spartina grass Cllr Bates expressed his concern at the spread of spartina grass in the estuary, which is creating mud banks, effecting the tidal flows. He suggested that the matter be included on the Harbour meeting agenda
RNLI safety Cllr Williams confirmed that permanent beach warning signs will be installed for 2017. They will be highly visible and the hope is that people will take note of the dangers.
Nantiesyn bins Cllr Williams noted that the Nantiesyn ‘big rubbish bin’ has again have been inexplicably and deliberately been ignored at recent collections, left unemptied for nearly three weeks.
Firestation fingerpost signs Cllr Pugh asked about the new fingerposts and the Clerk informed Cllr Pugh that Willmot Dixon were intending to try and sort them out.
The school building Cllr Pugh expressed concern at the mess the gulls have made in the gutters at the school.
Allotments Cllr Pugh expressed concern at the state of the allotments, as it has become clear that some of the allotment holders are not looking after their plots appropriately.
Catholic Church Cllr Richardson expressed concern about the hedgerow around the now disused catholic church, which is encroaching on the pedestrian footpath.
Magistrates Court Cllr Richardson outlined briefly the proposal to merge a number of justice areas as part of the recent rationalisation programme. It appears the favoured local option is the merger of Gwynedd and Anglesey. He confirmed that a number of magistrates have already resigned. Cllr Williams observed that local justice was being badly served by the reorganisation.
AGENDA ITEM 15
ITEMS FOR PRESS RELEASE
- Well done to event organisers
- Cambrian Sportive
There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.50pm