MINUTES OF THE ORDINARY MEETING OF THE
ABERDYFI COMMUNITY COUNCIL HELD IN THE
COUNCIL CHAMBER, LITERARY INSTITUTE, ABERDYFI,
ON MONDAY, 21st MARCH 2016.
Present were :- Cllr B Lloyd Vice Chairman
Councillors :- D Owen
AGENDA ITEM 1- APOLOGIES
Apologies received from Cllrs Pugh, Fowles and Jones
Cllr Lloyd assumed the Chair in the absence of Cllr Pugh.
AGENDA ITEM 2 – CHAIRMAN’S ANNOUNCEMENTS
In the absence of Cllr Pugh, Cllr Lloyd hoped that the forthcoming Easter Bank Holiday would bring visitors to Aberdyfi.
AGENDA ITEM 3 – MINUTES OF ORDINARY MEETING 15th FEBRUARY
It was agreed that the minutes were a true and accurate record of the February regular meeting.
PROPOSED by Cllr D Owen and SECONDED by Cllr D Williams
AGENDA ITEM 4 – MATTERS ARISING
A/M133/(15.02.16) Gull nuisance
The Clerk has not been able to source gull nuisance signs, but Scarborough in Yorkshire had prepared their own and were a good model to work from. It was suggested that signs be made up and installed in all Aberdyfi take away outlets, particularly the chip shop, where a particular problem had been identified. Cllr Owen recommended that a sign maker from Penegoes could supply what was needed and that the Clerk could get his details from Martin Fowles.
B/M88/(18.10.15) School path from Institute
The path has been cleared by Gwynedd Rights of Way department utilising the Coastal path budget. The badly damaged section of steps will also be repaired and Council registered its thanks to Liz Haynes for her invaluable help regarding this matter. Cllr Richardson enquired as to why the banks by the railway and Lovers Lane had been cleared and sought clarification as to the ownership of the land. It was confirmed that the land, understood to be designated SSSI was owned by Gaynor O’Neill.
C/M96/(16.11.15) Network Rail
Still no response to Council’s invitation to speak to Council.
The Clerk has received no response from BT Geraint Strello regarding the poor broadband service in the area but Cllr Lloyd observed that the number of complaints about the poor service had decreased.
E/M139/(15.02.16) Dolgellau Court Closure
Cllr Richards enquired about representations from this Council regarding the closure of so many of the Magistrates’ courts. It was confirmed that this Council had written to the Department of Justice last Autumn and Cllr Richardson confirmed that he also had spoken with out local MP, but to no avail. He pointed out that as a Magistrate attending a day’s court in Caernarfon he now had a round trip of over four hours for a day.
F/M140/(15.12.16) TIC Planning Application
Cllr Richardson enquired why, apparently, the TIC was reported to be a café, contrary to Cllr Owen’s statement at a previous meeting. It appears there may have been a change of mind, or that the nature of the application had created a mistaken impression.
G/M140/(15.12.16) Public toilets
The Clerk had received historic details of the maintenance budget for the public toilets on the wharf and noted how very little had been spent in the last 12 months. Cllr Williams felt that the annual ongoing maintenance costs may not be so much of a problem as the damage from vandalism. The question was asked about the level of vandalism in Aberdyfi and the response was very little. The Clerk observed any vandalism issue in Aberdyfi, with its record, could well be an insured risk. Cllr Owen confirmed that 50 out of 73 public toilets in Gwynedd were to be closed.
H/M140/(15.12.16) Queen’s birthday beacon
Cllr Richardson enquired whether there was any progress to report regarding the lighting of beacons for the Queen’s birthday. The Clerk is to seek confirmation from Cllr Jones regarding use of his land regarding the beacon.
AGENDA ITEM 5 – GWYNEDD COUNCIL BUDGET CUTS
Cllr Lloyd felt it was important to raise the matter of Gwynedd budget cuts as an Agenda item, following the meeting at Tywyn Secondary School at which Gwynedd CEO Dilwyn Williams presented the outline cuts, as agreed by Gwynedd Cabinet.
- Grass cutting was to be cut from once very month to every two months and would impact on, for instance, Maesnewydd.
- 50% from street names signs
- 20% cut on footpath maintenance, but Coastal Path is exempted. Cllr Bates enquired about Barmouth Bridge and Cllr Lloyd confirmed that the bridge was to stay open. In response to a question from Cllr Davies, Cllr Williams confirmed that footpaths were not pavements, but public rights of way
- Street cleaning was to be reduced
- Big cuts in toilet cleaning and maintenance
Anwen Davies has been appointed as Social Liaison Manager who will discuss with Community and Town councils if they wish to discuss to take over or agree a joint arrangement with regard to services that effect their community. Cllr Davies asked for clarification regarding the employment of someone local if such actions realised cost savings. This action would preserve local jobs as well as reduce Gwynedd costs. The understanding was that Gwynedd Council were open to such a proposition. With regard to public toilets, it was suggested by Cllr Richards that charging for such a facility was not untoward.
In conclusion, Cllr Lloyd suggested that this Community Council should hold back and not be precipitous in deciding any actions.
AGENDA ITEM 6 – GWYNEDD COUNCIL REPORT
Cllr Owen had little to report as the budgets cuts situation had dominated Gwynedd Council meetings.
He did inform Council that Barmouth were to set up a Trust and take over the running of their harbour. There was some discussion regarding the future of the sandshift programme, and its funding. Cllr Owen observed that any independent body might apply for funding, not from Gwynedd. Cllr Williams did point out that there had been no official confirmation of the sandshift budget cut and it was agreed that Council should wait until late summer before any questions be asked. Cllr Bates reminded the meeting that it would surely be in Gwynedd’s interest to clear the sand because of the damage it can inflict on the drainage system and the consequent impact on Highways budgets.
Cllr Richardson pointed out that already a number of drains in the village are already blocked with sand, for example in the vicinity of Costcutter. He also noted that an abandoned pet bed has been dumped in Nantiesyn car park.
Cllr Bates expressed concern over the lengthy closure by Highways of Copperhill Street.
AGENDA ITEM 7 – PLANNING
NP5/50/415/C Former public toilets, Penhelyg, Aberdyfi
Conversion of former public toilets to holiday accommodation
After a discussion on the merits or otherwise of the application, it was proposed by Cllr Bates that the application should be accepted. The proposal was seconded by Cllr Davies. On a show of hands there was a majority decision not to support the application.
NP5/50/563/A Primary School, Aberdyfi
Conversion of school to community multi use facility
NP5/50/696 Troed Yr Enfys, Aberdyfi
Installation access ramp
Troed Yr Enfys, Aberdyfi
NP5/50/693 6, Treflan, Aberdyfi
Construction of side extension
It was proposed that a site visit should be recommended and that an objection be lodged.
NP5/50/147G Panteidal Leisure Site, Aberdyfi
4 camping pitches and toilet block
It was proposed that a letter of support should be sent.
NP5/50/639C 13 Treflan, Aberdyfi
Construction of side balcony
NP5/50/669b Land at Glygyrog Wen, Aberdyfi
Construction of dwelling and septic tank
NP5/50/532C Tourist Information centre, Aberdyfi
Installation of bi-fold doors and part change of use to A3 (Café)
Cllr Williams observed that this planning application was a sensible solution if it enabled Snowdonia to keep the TIC facility open. Cllr Richardson noted that there was an objection from Gwynedd regarding the placing of tables and chairs on the wharfside if a café was to open. He felt this objection was to be countered strongly by this Council as it was unreasonable. Cllr Williams’ also felt that Gwynedd’s objections were unreasonable as the wharf area was a shared working facility.
NP5/50/AD532D Tourist Information centre, Aberdyfi
Installation non-illuminated fascia signs
AGENDA ITEM 8 – TREASURER’S REPORT
The Treasurer’s report for February was accepted and minuted as a true record.
PROPOSED by Cllr Richardson SECONDED by Cllr Richards
AGENDA ITEM 9 – COMMITTEE REPORTS
Cllr Richardson noted that the problem of ‘A’ boards were again creating obstruction on the pavements outside some retail establishments. It was suggested that Council write to all such establishments and ask them to re-think the positioning of their ‘A’ boards. He also expressed concern over traffic speeds in the village.
Cllr Richards noted that the dog poo bins at Pont y Bric were overflowing and that it is totally unacceptable. There was a consensus view that more bins were needed. He also noted that Mr Eric Richards had requested that signs be erected on the playing field showing clearly that dogs were banned from the facility.
Cllr Reynolds reported that the future of Bronglais Hospital was looking positive and that many new medical facilities and professional/medical staff had successfully been installed. There was a temporary problem at the new Tywyn facility whereby the minor injuries unit has been closed because of infection problems.
Cllr Reynolds felt that having access to surgeons from Shrewsbury was largely a result of pressure from the working group and Cllr Owen agreed that the community now had access to improved medical facilities but there was till work to do.
Cllr Bates pointed out that Wales was still 80 doctors short and Cllr Owen noted that the disparity in pay with England was a problem.
Cllr Owen said that the meeting was well attended but noted that in 2014 there were 53 visiting yachts but 2015 there were only 17. Disappointing figures partially the result of poor weather last year. Barry Davies had stated that there was a surplus on the Aberdyfi budget of approximately £14,000. The Harbourmaster had been able to confirm 77 boats had signed up for this season, eight down on last season. Cllr Richardson felt the numbers were disappointing considering that not many years ago there were 120 boats in the harbour. There was a consensus that the estuary sandbanks were a problem but Cllr Davies pointed out that the village was experiencing much lower numbers in general when compared with 20 years ago and that there were many factors impacting this decline.
Cllr Owen said that the cemetery beach is now designated a bathing beach and that although this was in many ways a good thing there were safety concerns and that the amenity needed to have a close eye kept on it. Cllr Williams had serious concerns over safety, particularly regarding the regular rip tide in that area.
Cllr Richardson was concerned about the use of the warning red flag, which in earlier days was only flown when conditions were poor, but is now flown 24 hours a day – hence people taking very little notice.
Cllr Owen said that the beach patrols had been cancelled because of the Gwynedd budget cuts.
Engineering inspections on the wharf piling had indicated that the steelwork was in better condition than originally thought and that the life expectancy had been extended from 2016 to 2020.
There were continuing discussions regarding the compound but there was seemingly no short term solution to the problems, especially regarding the problem of flytipping.
Cllr Richardson voiced his concern over the suggestion by the Ceredigion Fisheries Officer to install a fish processing facility on the wharf – agreeing that such a facility in the village was a good thing, but not on the wharf.
Cllr Williams outlined an RNLI safety initiative had been launched and noted the observations regarding the red flag but pointed out that it had always been a general warning for bathers. There was an opportunity to influence visitors with regard to safety and that he hoped to have some measures in place for the summer. Cllr Williams expressed his concern over the budget surplus as it could be seen as representing under-investment in Aberdyfi, particularly in the context of the axing of beach wardens and the tragic death on Tywyn beach last year. Cllr Lloyd felt that this Council should write to Maritime, copying to CEO Dilwyn Williams, to include safety issues as well as general management issues. Cllr Richardson felt that Gwynedd were short sighted when tourism issues, so important to Aberdyfi, were seemingly put on the back burner. He noted the impending closure of the Lloyd George museum.
AGENDA ITEM 10 – CORRESPONDENCE
Cambrian Coast Railway Invitation to liaise through One Voice Wales
Walking For Life Notification of walk for Life, Sunday 24th April
Air Ambulance Council donation thank you letter
Gwynedd Salt bins letter response
North Wales Police Letter confirmation of contact list for PSOs
One Voice Wales Request for a representative from Aberdyfi to attend meetings
AGENDA ITEM 11 – PUBLICATIONS
Play for Wales
Clerk and Councils Direct
AGENDA ITEM 12 – ANY OTHER BUSINESS
- Cllr Richards opened a discussion regarding a number of issues and budget shortfalls, and his concern for the future of services provided by Gwynedd. He felt that perhaps there were some possibilities regarding the raising of funds from within the community. He noted that in the summer Morfa Gypsies was packed with vehicles not paying parking fees. He suggested that this might be an opportunity for fee generation. It was pointed out by Councillors that it was common land.
Cllr Richards referred to maps and register information. Cllr Davies confirmed that as a grazier of that common land he could confirm that it was registered as such and that there was a precedent to confirm this. Cllr Richards then brought up the matter of the old running track which he felt was a redundant area with potential. This was now a SSSI and conservation area. Cllr Richardson reminded Council that this area had been on the verge of being developed in 1996 but otters were identified on the site and the plans had been abandoned.
The Clerk confirmed that the Council had the original running track lease and Cllr Davies said that details of common land were available from Dolgellau. Cllr Williams confirmed the Common Land Registry was the place to go for information.
Cllr Davies observed that the running track, as a conservation area, might benefit from some careful management, such as pathways to allow controlled access, without disturbing the wildlife. To do so would add amenity value to the village. Cllr Richardson observed that in Pembrokshire, brambles were controlled and a very moribund area was brought to life. He reminded the meeting that the running trach was once known as the Carnival Field and agreed that there was surely a sound argument to examine the benefits to the village of a degree of land management. It was agreed that the cooperation of Dr Andrews was essential and the Clerk agreed to discuss the matter with her. The Clerk felt that the Outward Bound would also like to get involved, as they did with the Pen y Bryn conservation project.
Cllr Davies expressed his frustration at the number of nuisance calls he was receiving and that it was an increasing problem.
Cllr Williams informed the meeting that the RNLI project was progressing well and the completion date is set for the end of May.
Cllr Owen requested that the Police were invited to address the Council and the Clerk was to make the appropriate arrangements.
Cllr Owen referred to the Dyfi Bridge proposal and the existing plan is for the traffic from Pennal to join the main road via ‘T’ junction, which he regarded as a potential major traffic accident black spot.
AGENDA ITEM 13 – ITEMS FOR THE PRESS/RUSHLIGHT
- Sheep worrying
- Royal Weekend Picnic 12th June
- Christians together
- Literary Institute AGM 26th April
- Neuadd Dyfi valuation day
- Neuadd Dyfi lunch April 8th
- Gwynedd Cuts
There being no further business the meeting closed at 9.15pm