Sunday, March 24, 2013

Same old Labour, same old bull……

As if the people of North Wales haven’t had enough to put up with being snowed in the past few days they have also had to put up with an invasion of Labour Party members all keen to be seen and heard at their Llandudno Conference.

With practised lines about swingeing cuts and protecting the people of Wales they collectively delivered the biggest load of b******t to have hit the North Wales coast in some considerable time.  No need for us Southerners to feel too left out though, apparently the Westminster Shadow Cabinet are going to visit their colleagues down the Bay because, apparently, they think they have a lot to learn from them.

Quite what that is may be difficult for many of us to fathom.  We have a failing education system, a Health service that does not meet the need of the people, and higher unemployment than anywhere else in the UK.  So what do they hope to learn?

‘First Minister Carwyn Jones’ Labour government in Cardiff Bay has often won praise from Mr Miliband and party members across the UK for how it is protecting working families from swingeing cuts coming via Westminster’

So they would protect us from the raised tax threshold, the fuel duty freeze, the cut in duty on beer, etc.  They don’t want to see businesses benefiting from the employers allowance which will mean small businesses will not have to pay National Insurance Contributions (NICs) under £2,000.

Ed Milliband spoke of how Labour are doing a great job protecting families in Wales.  He spoke of what they are doing in relation to the Council Tax Benefit proposals – no mention of labour controlled Councils such as RCT putting up Council Tax for those hard working families by 3.95% and increasing charges for services by way over inflation, around 7 / 8%.

Some of the tweets from Welsh Labour, presumably unintentionally, showed how shallow the Labour ideas pool really is. 

‘Ed: What they did to Remploy was disgraceful. We're going to need some sort of system to help people into work.’

Some sort of system?  Any clues as to what?

‘Ed: we have to cap payday loans and work out a way to provide alternative lines of credit.’

Going to start on that any time soon are they?

Same old Labour, same old bull……

Friday, March 22, 2013

The vagaries of the RCT planning System

There were some very odd items on the RCT Development Control agenda this evening.  There was the case of the barking dogs for example.  A planning application had been submitted to retain a kennels in the Cynon Valley.  The opponents were the brothers and sisters of the applicant – all four of them.  They said it devalued the cottage alongside which had been left to them by their father.

One of the brothers offered to play a recording of the dogs barking “it only lasts a minute.”  The Chair declined. 

The application was approved, against officer’s recommendation, when the local Member spoke up in favour.  The applicant and objectors left, and decided to start a fight outside the Chamber.  All made for a lively meeting.

There were other applications equally interesting although for different reasons.  Like the application to build houses in Coedely – the ward of the Chair of Development Control committee Bob McDonald.

The Officer’s recommendation was to turn it down, for solid reasons as far as I could see.

 To quote the report:

“Set in this context it is important to consider that the application site lies entirely outside the settlement boundaries of Tonyrefail and Coedely where new residential development is strictly controlled unless adequately justified as an exception in an otherwise unsustainable location.

Under LDP Policy AW 3 the DAS refers to the proposed 7 dwellings for social rent and the proposed 25 dwellings for first-time buyers as bringing forward an affordable housing scheme. However, there is no evidence of the proposal being linked to a registered social landlord, such as a housing association, or a clear explanation as to the mechanism that will ensure the dwellings will be sold as affordable homes to first-time buyers and remain affordable in perpetuity.”

Yet the Chair asked that the application be deferred as he had no real objections to the plans but wanted more bungalows included.  These would be the bungalows that the developer claims would be linked to a social landlord but which the Planning Officer says there is no evidence of.

 Strange. Perhaps Cllr McDonald knows something the rest of us don’t?