Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Music at the Swan

The new manager at the Swan is trying something out on Bank Holiday Monday evening. He's asked Bob Evans, who usually does the Wednesday night acoustic session at Baskerville Hall, to run an acoustic session there. As it's a one off, there won't be any free drinks or chips - but there will be plenty of good music if the Wednesday evenings are anything to go by!
The evening's entertainment will start at 8pm.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Honey Cafe, Bronllys

Here's a picture that was shared on Twitter - three great grand-daughters of the founder of the Honey Cafe, Glynwen Davies, now working in the cafe.


The Honey Cafe used to be on the main road to Brecon, when the main road ran through Bronllys. Now the main road veers off to the new roundabouts, avoiding the village, and the Honey Cafe is just on the end of the road through the village nearest to Hay. It's a lovely place to go out for a meal, and the gardens at the back are beautiful.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Local Charities in the Buttermarket

There was a wide array of charity stalls in the Buttermarket yesterday. I didn't take note of all the names, but Riding for the Disabled was selling t-shirts, among other things, and asking for volunteers, and there was a tombola. Hay Theatre Group were there, and Hay Castle Trust were selling raffle tickets and books. Bric-a-brac and toys were on sale as well.
Prize find of the day for me was a Black Dalek! It's about 6 inches high, and it says "Seek! Locate! Destroy!"

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Fishing on the Warren

I know nothing about fishing, but I'm pretty sure this is an impressive catch!


This is a barbel, caught on the River Wye at the Warren yesterday (and then Tweeted by Hay Warren Anglers, which is how I saw it). The fisherman caught two barbel, one weighing 5lb 4oz and the other weighing 7lb 12oz!

The river is on the low side at the moment, but there's obviously still plenty of room in there for quite large fish.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Chicken Farm News

I mentioned the planning application for a local farmer to erect chicken sheds in my post about local government (our local MP is in favour of it). Someone has kindly updated me on the state of play at the moment.
The farm involved is Lower House Farm in Clyro, and the farmer there has just put in new plans for the entrance to the field where he wants the sheds to be built.
The objections to the plans are as follows:

1 Potential affect on the River Wye SAC (Special Area Of Conservation)
which has not been adequately protected by the proposed development

2 Visibility. The first eyesore you see when entering the Gateway to mid
Wales (Hay on Wye) on the A438

3 Road Danger. Access is on an S bend where there has been a number of
serious accidents and someone killed there in Summer 2014

4 Impact on local businesses, Tourism eg Black Mountain View Caravan Park
225 meters in the prevailing wind from the proposed site with the Odour
(ammonia) other B and B,s and local residents at Lower House and Bronydd

5 Potential affect on ancient and veteran trees and local woods (Wet Covert
250 meters away consisting of the oldest trees in Radnorshire) and lichen

6 Affects on local wildlife eg bats, dormice, otters, badgers, etc.

I'm sure Radnorshire Wildlife Trust will be concerned about numbers 1, 5 and 6 on the list.

The link for objections to the plans is:
http://planning.powys.gov.uk/portal/servlets/ApplicationSearchServlet?PKID=141497

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Local Government for Beginners

I was talking to some people in Oxfam the other day, and they had very little idea of which part of local government was responsible for what, partly because it's very confusing, and partly because they've been getting on with their lives and not noticing how local democracy works. One of them suggested that I should have a go at explaining it.

So - this is not a definitive explanation, but I hope it makes things less confusing.

The lowest level of local government is the Town Council. We are supposed to have 11 coucillors in Hay, one of whom is chosen to be Mayor every year. They are not paid for all the hard work they do - and it is a lot of work, and a lot of official documents to read. The Town Council are responsible for the recent work to improve the Glis, and the Woodland Group that looks after the Riverside Path. They check that the playground equipment is safe, and get to comment (but not make the final decision) on planning applications. Recently, they have been putting together a Town Plan, which will help when they are negotiating with the County Council. They will be able to point to the Plan and say "This is what the people of Hay have said that they want." There are two vacant seats on the Town Council at the moment.
The Town Council is also getting the responsibility for certain things that used to be done by the County Council. They now run the public toilets (the County Council wanted to close them down), and with the local sports associations, they run the Sports Pavilion (again, if they hadn't taken it on, it would have been closed by the County Council).

The County Council has 72 county councillors from all over Powys - they are paid for their work. In Hay we are only able to vote for one of these - our county councillor at the moment is Gareth Ratcliffe. However, most of the decisions of the County Council are not taken by the 72 councillors debating an issue, but by a Cabinet of six or seven councillors, who are chosen from the party with the greatest number of seats on the County Council. We in Hay have no way of voting for or against these people - we can only vote for our own county councillor - even though they are making decisions that profoundly affect Hay and the area around it.
They have responsibility for the provision of education in the county - so they are the ones to blame when we look at Hay School and see that a new school hasn't been built yet, and they are the ones who want to close Gwernyfed High School and merge it with Brecon High School in a new super-school in Brecon which they don't actually have the funds to build yet.
The County Council were also responsible for the Community Centre (now a pile of bricks on a bit of waste ground) which was supposed to be incorporated with a new school, which we haven't got yet. They also closed several small rural primary schools over the last few years.
They are also responsible for the Library.
They are also responsible for things like rubbish collection and street lighting.

Complicating matters on the planning front, we are also part of the National Park in Hay, so they have responsibility for planning applications, such as the 80 houses due to be built on Brecon Road, and the 19 houses due to be built on the site of the old community centre.

Complicating matters even further - we are on the border with Herefordshire, and Herefordshire County Council have responsibility for planning over in Cusop, including the Booker's Edge housing development which is due to be built in the field opposite the Co-op. They don't seem to speak to anyone in Powys, even though houses there mean that there will be more children to go to Hay School, and more people in the catchment area of the local doctors and dentists.

Oh, and Bronllys Hospital comes under the Health Authority, which is separate again, and again we in Hay have no vote in whatever they want to do with the site.

At the next tier up, there is the Welsh Assembly. Our local AM is Kirsty Williams, and the Welsh Assembly has funds from central government for things like education provision, which the County Council can apply for.

And above that, there is Parliament at Westminster, and our MP Chris Davies, who has very little influence over what happens at the local level, but has recently voiced approval for the building of intensive chicken rearing sheds at a local farm on the other side of the river in the name of diversity - even though this will impact negatively on the farmer next door, who has been diversifying into tourism and a caravan site (will anyone want to stay there, next to chicken sheds?).

So that's pretty much what we were discussing the other day.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Pokemon Go Comes to Hay

I knew that there were people playing Pokemon Go around Hereford - it got into the Hereford Times.
But now, I am reliably informed that the pyramid outside the Cinema Bookshop in Hay is a Pokestop!
and Pokemon purple rats have been seen at Beer Revolution!