‘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.
Public services across Powys are set to benefit from a £1.93m cash boost- after Kirsty Williams forced the Welsh Government’s hand and secured extra money.
The initial local government settlement left rural councils, and particularly Powys, underfunded. Kirsty fought our corner in the Assembly and brought back the extra cash.
Powys have said the money will be spent on:
- Extra money for education
- Extra money for adult social care
- Preventing changes to four-weekly black bin collections
- Preventing further cuts to rural bus services
Preventing the introduction of charges for post-16 student bus travel
In a huge victory for nurses and patients across Wales, Kirsty’s ‘More Nurses’ campaign was passed unanimously in the Welsh Assembly.
Her bill will facilitate an increase in nurses in our hospital wards, raising the quality of care by reducing the amount of patients each nurse has to care for.
Across the whole United Kingdom, it is Wales where nurses are most overstretched, dealing more patients per nurse than anywhere else.
The bill has the interests of nurses at its heart; it was created with the needs of nurses in mind and is backed by the Royal College of Nursing in Wales.
Kirsty’s success is a much needed good news story for the Welsh NHS, and will improve the quality of healthcare across Wales.
Kirsty Williams is calling for an end to the uncertainty over the future of education in Powys.
Powys County Council are considering:
- Merging Brecon and Gwernyfed high schools
- Merging Llandrindod Wells and Builth Wells high schools
- Closing Llanbister CP School
- Closing Llanfihangel Rhydithon CP School (Dolau)
- Closing Nantmel Church in Wales Primary School
These plans are disrupting childrens’ education and leaving staff demoralised. Kirsty is determined to keep education as local as possible.
She has attended various community meetings over the future of schools, and she led a debate in the Welsh Assembly in which she asked local people for views and relayed their concerns on the floor of the Senedd.
When the Welsh Liberal Democrats were part of the Welsh Government they introduced a small schools grant, which protected schools in rural areas like Brecon and Radnorshire. Other parties have failed to maintain this grant.
Kirsty is calling for an approach which sees a presumption against closure (similar to Scotland), and is also calling on the council to explore the possibility of school federation instead of closure.
£5.3million for Llandrindod Hospital
Work is set to start on the £5.3million development of Llandrindod Hospital.
The money, secured by Kirsty Williams in negotiations with the Welsh Government, will be used to carry out essential maintenance and improvements to facilities.
Kirsty has been campaigning for this investment for a long time, and after securing the money last year, is looking forward to seeing the work begin.