Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillors on Powys County Council have secured significant improvements to the way the work and decisions of the Council’s Cabinet are scrutinized. The Cabinet takes all executive decisions on the Council.
Tabling amendments to proposals on changing the Council’s Constitution, considered at today’s (Tuesday 7th March) full County Council meeting, the Welsh Lib Dem group received support from across the Council to secure enhanced roles for the Chairs of its three main scrutiny committees, including their full membership of the Council’s Strategic Overview Board, which scrutinizes service delivery performance. Until now only Cabinet members have been entitled to sit on that Board.
Welsh Liberal Democrat councillors on Powys County Council have expressed their deep disappointment at the Council Leader’s rejection of their request that the council members’ seminar on changes to the renewable energy section of the draft Powys Local Development Plan (LDP), to be held on the 10th April, be held in public and not in closed session.
The Group had made the proposal jointly to both the Council leader and the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Tony Thomas, who has responsibility for the LDP process.
Funding for five new build primary schools in the Gwernyfed catchment of Powys has been approved by the Welsh Government.
Powys County Council have been awarded £11.8million against a total project cost of £23.8million. This will now enable the construction phase to begin on projects in Hay, Clyro, Bronllys/Talgarth, Llangorse and Llyswen.
‘Take It or Leave It’ Vote No Substitute for Proper Democratic Scrutiny on LDP
The Welsh Lib Dem Group on Powys County Council is warning the people of the county that the new Council elected in May will face a ‘take it or leave it’ vote on the final version of the county’s Local Development Plan (LDP), unless the Council’s current Cabinet agrees to give all councillors more opportunities to debate it, before it goes in to its Examination phase before a Planning Inspector.
Recent late changes to the Plan showed vast areas of upland Powys identified as potentially suitable areas for wind and solar energy ‘farms’ (Local Search Areas or LSAs), causing fury among local communities.
Group Leader, Cllr James Gibson-Watt, challenged the Council’s Cabinet at a recent meeting to stop blaming Welsh Government for somehow forcing the Council to produce the LSA maps and admit it has been “the author of its own misfortune”.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillors on Powys County Council are calling on the Council’s Independent Leader, Cllr Barry Thomas, to allow the public to attend a forthcoming council members’ seminar on the further work done on the renewable energy section of the council’s draft Local Development Plan. The seminar is due to be held on the 10th April.
Normally the public are excluded from members’ seminars.
The move follows the furore that followed from the refusal of the Council’s chief legal officer to allow debate on a Motion on the LDP at the County Council meeting held on Thursday 23rd February.
The Welsh Liberal Democrat Group on Powys County Council has warmly welcomed the first occasion when a member of the public has been able to table a question to Council Cabinet members at a meeting of the full County Council (27/01/17).
The idea was first proposed by Welsh Lib Dem Group member Cllr Gemma Jane Bowker and received widespread support across the council. Encouraging wider public participation in local authority business is a key Liberal Democrat policy priority across the UK.