Wednesday, 31 October 2012


On Monday, I went round town looking for a pumpkin to carve. I'd already bought two or three to turn into soup and pasta sauce, but by the time I got round to thinking about carving faces to keep me safe from the spirits of the night, there wasn't an orange pumpkin to be had in the whole of Hay. There were some pale green ones at Stuart's the greengrocer, but that's not quite the same. When I was growing up, we used to carve turnips and swedes - but they're quite hard work, and I couldn't see one of a decent size anyway.
So this year I'm falling back on a couple of candle lanterns, a glove puppet bat (she's called Echo) and a garland of flying crows. The crows came from a lady in Glastonbury, via Etsy (the website for selling crafts), Sharyn Archer at Jack-in-the-Green, and they are quite lovely, and very detailed.

Tomorrow, starting at 11am, Phil Rickman will be in Kilvert's, signing his new book about Doctor Dee. I may be forced to take a liquid lunch!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Police Commissioner

Maybe I'm showing my age here, but the first thing that comes into my mind when I hear the phrase "Police Commissioner" is Commissioner Gordon of Gotham City saying: "Send up the Bat Signal!"

The Bat Signal

Not really the same in Powys, is it?
However, we have an election coming up on 15th November, for a Police Commissioner, and the first candidate for the new post has just put his leaflet through my door.
His name is Christopher Salmon, and he says that "for the very first time you will be able to hold someone to account for policing in Dyfed Powys." He says that the commissioner will be the person to complain to if people are not happy with the way the local police are doing things.
I'm sure that's not right - isn't there something called a Police Authority, being a committee on which members of the public can sit, which is supposed to hold police authorities to account? Or have they been done away with quietly? I have to say, I was never very clear on how members of the committee were appointed, but they did exist.
Christopher Salmon has been chosen by the Welsh Conservatives to be a candidate - which makes me wonder if he would want to be a candidate if the Welsh Conservatives weren't putting him forward. He's local - he grew up on a farm in Radnorshire - and he's studied history and economics at Oxford, followed by Russian and Security Studies for an MA, and he's been an officer in the Army. He says he's not a career politician (oh, good!). I don't think that it's a good idea to have any political involvement in policing at all - the police should be, ideally, non-political, and there for everyone in order to uphold the law impartially. (I say this from a background where my stepfather was a police officer, and I worked for the Metropolitan Police myself for four years).
It will be interesting to see if the other major parties put candidates forward, or if anyone independent wants to stand for election.

Monday, 29 October 2012

More News on the Phone Mast

Posters have appeared around town, with more details about the proposed O2 phone mast on Forest Road - though I don't know who's put them up.
They state that planning law procedure has been breached by the BBNP, and add details of the possible effects of being close to the microwave radiation put out by these masts. In the case of the school, of course, the children will have no choice but to be close to the mast for long periods of time. It isn't proved that the effects will be bad for the children (and adults! Let's not forget the teachers) but a report in 2000 recommended caution in siting the masts, and submissions to the House of Commons Welsh Affairs committee stated that the pulsed microwave technologies have not been pre-tested for safety.
Another problem with the phone mast radiation is that it might be linked to the drastic fall in the bee population, which could affect the entire food chain, as it relies on bees for pollination.

Personally, I'm undecided about the dangers to health, not having looked at the research yet, but here is another case of the National Parks ignoring their own rules and making decisions that affect everyone living in the area without consultation.

If anyone is concerned about the phone mast, it is recommended that people should contact the Hay Town councillors, and there is an address to write to:

Ms Tamsin Law
Chief Planning Officer
Brecon Beacons National Park Authority
Plas y Ffynnon
Cambrian Way

There are also internet addresses to look up for further information, and these are:

Sunday, 28 October 2012


I always enjoy harp music, especially folk harp, so of course I went round to the Globe when I saw Tornish were playing there the other night.
One half of the pair of performers is Gwen, Scottish, but with Welsh roots too, so she was singing in Welsh as well as performing traditional Scottish music. Tim is the other half of the pair, and he's from Yorkshire, living near Cardiff, and plays flute and whistles and drums.
In the interval, I got talking to a lovely couple who were visiting the area. The chap said that what he loved about Hay was that everyone was friendly - people smiled at you - and there were all the little independent shops. "It must be a real community," he said.
They had only come along to the Globe at the last minute - they said they'd had a choice of Des O'Connor in Brecon and African drumming in Builth - but they weren't disappointed by harp and flute in Hay!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Small Business Saturday

Off among the trees there is the Start B&B, just on the other side of the bridge. They have ornamental ducks that swim on the river, and the raft race down to Chepstow used to set off from the field there. That's also where the very first Hay on Fire procession ended up, with a fire labyrinth that anyone could walk round (even I did it, and I was wearing a crinoline skirt that year, that was rather wider than the path between the flames!).

Friday, 26 October 2012

Talgarth Hospital News

While attention is focussed on what's going to happen to Bronllys Hospital, a planning application has been before the planning committee for Talgarth Hospital, that sad shell of a place which used to be the mental hospital.
After years of deterioration and neglect, there was a plan to knock down several of the original buildings, and build 103 houses and a care home (yes, another care home). There was a campaign against this plan in Talgarth, and this week the B&R reported that the plan had been refused permission. One of the reasons was that only 6 of the houses would be "affordable". There are also problems with access on very narrow roads.

So it seems that nothing is going to happen on the site until someone comes up with another plan - and in the meantime that fine Victorian building is rotting away.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Stroke Unit at Bronllys Hospital

There's a good article in this week's B&R about a doctor at Bronllys Hospital who has challenged the health board at one of the public meetings.
It seems that moving it to Brecon will result in there being fewer beds available for patients.
However, if the unit was moved to Brecon it would mean that patients could get an X-ray without an ambulance ride, as the two things would be on the same site.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Proving my Identity

In Hay, everybody knows who I am, or at least, it sometimes seems that way. I'm greeted by name in the bank and the post office and the newsagents, and most of the other shops, not to mention certain drinking establishments.
However, outside Hay it is occasionally necessary to prove my identity - and I haven't been able to do that for a while.
The main documents that are accepted for proof of identity are driving licence (I can't drive) and passport (my passport ran out at the beginning of the year) as well as a few tax documents that I don't have, or proof that I'm claiming benefits (which I'm not). So legally, it's hard to prove that I exist.
Last week, therefore, I checked the exorbitant amount it now costs to get a new passport, and looked around for someone to take my passport photo. When I got the last one, I went into Hereford and got the photos at a booth in Woolworths. Since Woolworths doesn't exist any more (and goodness knows where the photo booth went), I needed another option.
Fortunately, I didn't have to look far. Steve Like at the Post Office now takes passport photos, on a very impressive looking camera, against the regulation pale grey background (and no smiling!) huddled under the stairs to the side of the counters.
And today, voila! My new passport arrived and I can prove that I exist again (and go on a foreign holiday, of course).

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Bad Situation in Mali

According to the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, rebels in Mali who have control of Timbuktu can buy a child soldier for $600 and a wife for less than $1,000. They are paying the families, many of whom are extremely poor, to take the children and women away. The full story is on Yahoo News.
They have also imposed an extreme version of sharia law, which affects women disproportionately badly, and the food situation is bad as the infrastructure is disrupted.
The northern part of the country, including Timbuktu, has been re-named Azawad by the rebels, while the smaller, southern part of the country, which includes the capital Bamako, is still known as Mali.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Mobile Phone Mast

Mobile phone reception in Hay is notoriously bad, and has been for years. I like to tell visitors that it's because Hay is just a little bit skewed from reality, so it's hard for the signals to get through!
Now, though, there are plans by O2 to erect a mobile phone mast somewhere on Forest Road - I'm not sure of the exact site.
The Town Council get all the planning applications, so that they can comment on them, though they don't get to make the final decision. In this case, the Council voted unanimously against the proposal for a mobile phone mast.
Gareth Ratcliffe then went off to the National Parks Planning Committee, of which he is a member, and he was the only person there to vote against the plans. Everyone else voted in favour. Gareth has a Facebook page called Councillor Gareth Ratcliffe's News Updates with more details of the plans and the meetings he attended.
There are lots of health concerns - the mast would be near the school (both the present site and the proposed new site) and the doctor's surgery. People are concerned that there is a cluster of brain tumours in this area, and they don't know what is causing it - could it be radiation from mobile phones?
The National Health Executive says there is no evidence of harm, but this is not convincing the people who are worried.
There are three videos on Hay TV on the issue, interviewing members of the public, and Gareth Ratcliffe and Fiona Howard, which set out what's going on at the moment.
One thing that came out of the videos is that the planning department are supposed to notify neighbours of planning matters such as this - but it seems that the neighbours in Cae Pound knew nothing about it. Gareth is checking up on this, so he can hold the planning committee to account on behalf of the people of Hay.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Small Business Sunday

Here's the Bridge B&B, which was once the home of the last station master of Hay Railway Station - I knew him as a delightful old gentleman of about 90.
Just along the row of houses, No 5 is also a B&B, as well as being the home of Shelley's silk scarves, and Richard's design and art direction.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

More Plans for Bronllys Hospital

The B&R this week reported on the meetings in Hay and Talgarth about the stroke unit at Bronllys Hospital. The health board wants to move the stroke unit to Brecon Hospital, and part of the plans for the proposed care home in Hay (on the site of the junior football pitch) include moving one of the wards from Bronllys into the care home, where the doctors at Hay surgery can care for the patients.
Now it seems that they want to transfer the Bronllys site into the hands of a housing association.
They stressed that this did not mean Bronllys hospital was closing down, and that housing associations build health premises as well as housing, but that didn't stop members of the public at the meeting accusing them of asset stripping the hospital.
They also said that they were increasing the chemotherapy on offer at Bronllys, and could re-locate other services in Powys to the site.
So it all seems rather confusing.

There will be more meetings open to the public over the next couple of months, to discuss specialist hospital services across South Wales and how they will affect Powys. The first is at Knighton's Offa's Dyke Centre on Wednesday 24th October at 6pm, followed by one at Bishop Bevan Hall, Brecon on Wednesday 31st October at 2pm.
Then there will be other meetings in Rhyader, Builth Wells, Ystradgynlais, Llandrindod Wells, Crickhowell and Hay through November and December.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Do You Love Your Library?

There's a national survey going on about library services. It started on 8th October, so there's not much time to get in there and fill in the form to say what you think about your local library. Gareth Ratcliffe only mentioned it the other day on Facebook.
The last national survey (that's national in Wales, of course) happened in 2009, and over 4,000 Powys residents took part, according to the Post free magazine.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

April Jones

I've just been up to the Wholefood Shop with some magazines.
There are still people out searching for April Jones around Machynlleth, and Hay Wholefood is collecting a box of snacks, cakes, fruit, high energy drinks - and books and magazines - to send up for the searchers.
There's also a collection going on at the Co-op, organised by the lady from The Start.

(this is the little girl who went missing a few weeks ago - a man has been charged with her murder, but no body has been found yet).

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Hay Montessori

With all the drama surrounding the rebuilding of Hay School, it's easy to miss other developments in the world of education.
One of these is the idea of "free schools". This seems to be one of Michael Gove's bright ideas (I suppose he's got to have a good one occasionally). This is a school which is free for the children to attend, but which is not part of a Local Education Authority, and which does not have to follow the National Curriculum.
Montessori Schools have been around for years, very successfully - there's one in Monmouth, and there's a group of parents who are hoping that there will soon be one in the Hay area.
They're holding coffee mornings all across Powys to get other interested parents together to discuss the idea. For the Hay area, they are meeting from 9.30 - 11am at Whitney Church Barn Farm Shop cafe on Wednesdays. The first one was today, but they're doing it again next Wednesday, the 24th, and on the 31st.
For the Kington and Hereford area, they are meeting at Kinnersley Castle from 10.30 - 12 noon, on Monday 22nd and 29th. (One of the organisers, Diahann Hughes Hawkins, organised a play group at Kinnersley Castle for two years).
For Presteigne, they will be meeting from 2 - 3.30pm at Bamford's Cafe on Thursday 25th, and November 1st.
They have a blog at with lots of information about the sort of education that can be expected from a Montessori school.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Chef on the Run News

Best wishes to Chef on the Run, as he goes into hospital for a serious operation on his leg.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Small Business Saturday

The Three Tuns pub, once known as Lucy's, now opened up and extended and serving food after the fire a few years ago. Lucy is still around, and seems to be enjoying her retirement.

Friday, 12 October 2012


Several people were talking about this on Facebook last night - and the whole story is on page 3 of the Hereford Times.
A huntsman spider, from Australia, was found in the Granary cafe on Tuesday morning - crawling up a customer's back! Huntsman spiders are huge! (Well, 10cm or 4 inches across is pretty huge for a spider). This one was apparently the size of a tennis ball. They called it Cyril, and took it to the local vet for identification - and now it's going to a new home at the West Midland Safari Park.
The customer it was crawling on had recently returned from Australia, and thought it might have stowed away in his luggage.
Oh, and Cyril is probably a girl.

Thursday, 11 October 2012


There were a couple of chaps standing by an almost empty market stall when I passed by at lunch time, looking extremely unhappy in the persistent drizzle.
They came from a firm called Hyder Consulting, from Cardiff, and they have been hired to provide a variety of options for what to do with the Castle, so that Hay Castle Trust can work out the best uses for the building and grounds. As part of this process, they were consulting the people of Hay for their opinions - and getting quite wet doing it.
I took a little questionnaire, and I will be sending my ideas to them shortly. There are only three questions:
What is Hay missing?
What could the Castle Building and Castle Grounds be used for?
Do you have any other comments on the project or view on the Castle?
So that leaves it wide open, really.
Comments can be sent to
or Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd., HCL House,
St Mellon's Business Park,
Cardiff, CF3 0EY
and the closing date is the 18th October.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


While my Young Man was here, I promised to treat him to a meal at Tomatitos, the new tapas bar where the Wheatsheaf used to be. He's very fond of tapas.
They're still doing work on the area where the snooker table used to be, so it's just the front bar area that is open, with a big board on the wall showing the menu. I let the Young Man order, and we had Spanish beer to go with the food.
The lady who served us was very friendly, and the food was delicious - the calamari rings were just right (I've had them in other places where they may as well have been made out of rubber), and four little dishes, including the patatas bravas (brave potatoes!) was just about right. It was nice to see how much food had been brought in from local sources, too.
We'll certainly be going back again.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Hereford Library

I was browsing through a few blogs today, and I came across a post about Hereford library and museum over on English Buildings. There are some rather nice pictures of the carvings on the front of the building (including a cat stalking a bird) on his post of 29th August.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Football Pitch

Back to the serious stuff....
... and to the proposed care home next to the doctors' surgery - which would be on top of the junior football pitch. The existence of a 90 bed care home would also influence the future of Bronllys Hospital.
123 children use the football pitch - but it's not just the local kids who benefit from it; Hay is the only place with enough football pitches to host local tournaments at the moment. Around 400 children came to the last one, in June. HDCSA, who own the pitches and have signed an option agreement allowing them to sell to developers within the next twelve months, say that the football pitch would be replaced - but it couldn't be next to the existing pitches and sports facilities.
Last weekend there was a protest march through Hay, attended by around 100 people, including members of the junior and senior football clubs.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Weekend

There's been so much serious stuff to talk about that I haven't got round to mentioning my holidays yet. Hay Traveller's Club is brilliant, and so well organised! We had a long weekend in Northumberland. The hotel was clean and comfortable, and the food was very good (and lots of it!). On the way up, we stopped in York, which is a wonderful city, and I finally got to visit Jorvik Viking Centre (and drink some local beer). The following day, we visited Bamburgh Castle, which is now one of my favourite castles of all time, and Lindisfarne, which was surprisingly full of booze! (The priory ruins are impressive, as well). Beamish open air museum was great fun, and they have a Blackpool tram that I might once have travelled on as a child! We were there all day, and didn't manage to see everything. On the way back, it started to rain, heavily, but that didn't matter too much as we stopped at Chatsworth House, which is mainly under cover. They also have amazing gardens, but we contented ourselves with looking at them from the comfort of the house!
I'm writing more about the holiday over on my other blog, Gateway to Ytir, if anyone wants to find out What I Did On My Holidays.
I'll be joining the Traveller's Club again next year (sadly I can't manage to go on any of the day trips planned for the rest of this year).

Meanwhile, in Hay, the Film Society had their first film of the season, in the Booth's Bookshop Cinema, and had to turn people away. The film was The Lady, about Aung San Suu Kyi, the Lady of Burma, who was under house arrest for many years and is the leader of the political opposition to the regime there.
On Saturday, the town was full of opportunities for bargain hunters, with the Car Boot Sale at the school. I found a pack of I Ching cards - I've never seen it done in card form before, and the air was full of the scent of lavender from one stall. I bought a bunch and now my entire house is scented.
In the Buttermarket, the North Weir Trust were having their table sale, but I got there a bit late.
Round the back of the Cinema Bookshop, the people who have moved into one of the two houses there were having a yard sale, to try to dispose of all the bits and pieces they hadn't managed to sort out before they moved.
The afternoon was so nice that I took a book up to Kilvert's, to sit in the sun with a drink for a while. They had Trekker's Ale on from Wye Valley, to celebrate the Walking Festival which will be taking place around Hay all next week.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Small Business Saturday

I haven't done this for a little while - but last time I did, I was at the end of Broad Street, working up towards the clock tower. So here's the Hourglass Gallery, full of interesting rocks and fossils and artefacts from around the world.
Once this was Rogue's Gallery, a craft shop that also did workshops, where I learned to make rag rugs.

Health Meeting

On Monday there will be the first of a series of meeting around the county about health provision - and in particular moving the Stroke Unit from Bronllys Hospital to Brecon. It's at 6.30pm at Hay School if anyone wants to go along, and there will be another one in Talgarth on Thursday.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Roger Hammond

At the beginning of the Council meeting on Monday, there was a minute's silence for Roger Hammond, who died recently after a short illness.
He was very active in support of Hay's twinning with Timbuktu, and was one of the local people who went to Mali to visit Timbuktu. He was also a supporter of Two Towns, One World, which is the organisation set up to promote twinning projects.
In his own work, he set up Living Earth Foundation - and the tributes to him have come in from all over the world on their website. Living Earth was set up in 1987 to work with a wide variety of people on social and environmental problems, trying to find solutions which would work locally. They have projects running all over the world, because some of the problems communities face are now global problems. Just looking down the list of the things they are involved in, I saw projects as varied as Great Ape Conservation in Cameroon, to a scheme pairing schools in Alaska and Aberdeenshire, and he seems to have been personally known to people all over the world.
One lady from Venezuela commented: "Now he is building a better world somewhere."
The Living Earth website is at www/ and they are about to set up a trust fund in Roger Hammond's memory.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Parking and Litter and Police Helicopters

Our local councillors are getting the distinct impression that the County Council is dragging its feet when it comes to sorting out local parking problems (amongst other things).
At the moment there is a moratorium on parking orders, which basically means that nothing is going to change. However, the County Council says that new parking orders can be made - as soon as funding is available. A figure of £40,000 was mentioned to fund new parking regulations. However, Hay car park generates income of £140,000 a year, which would seem to be more than ample for the task.
There was a pilot scheme, which was supposed to be followed by a review - which has never happened. When the Council sent a letter asking what was happening, they got a reply which did not answer the points they had made - so they are inviting a chap from the County Council down to Hay to walk round with them and look at the problems on the ground. They want a full review (as promised) of the parking orders, with a possible re-lining of the car park to fit more cars in, and a look at whether the double yellow lines are in the right places. They also want a resident's parking scheme to be considered.
On the plus side (with Gareth looking, it has to be said, rather smug!) the £47,000 that the County Council is saving because the members of the Cabinet did not take their pay rise is being spent on providing free car parking in the run up to Christmas to give a boost to local shops. Gareth said that the present Cabinet want to give back to the community, unlike the previous Cabinet which was more interested in lining their own pockets!

Meanwhile, there are plans for a Grand Tidy-Up along the railway line, with a letter to go to all the houses whose gardens back onto the line. They're hoping for lots of volunteers to help out, and want to involve the school and the cubs and so on. They are looking at the possibility of funding from the Keep Wales Tidy scheme so they can provide protective gloves to volunteers.
There's also a scheme called Tidy Towns, which is concerned with recycling facilities, and it was agreed that Hay ought to give the impression that it is the sort of place that supports re-cycling rubbish. It would also generate more income for the Council. Someone has complained that the present litter bins are not very visible, being black, and there are some quite smart colour coded litter bins available. The County Council has been contacted about this, but hasn't replied yet (which seems to be a recurring theme with the County Council). Apparently there was a document about recycling in Hay which went up to the County Council six years ago, which was ignored - and maybe it's time they got reminded about that. At the moment 47% of rubbish is being recycled locally, and to avoid fines from central government, it needs to be 53%. There is, however, a new cardboard bank on the car park.

There has been more graffiti under the Bridge, which the County Council should clean off. In the cemetery, the empty house which is for sale there has been attacked with spray cans.
At the same time, Hay is about to see the number of police assigned to the town cut to one PC and a PCSO! (according to "impeccable sources", said one councillor). Inspector Reed, who had previously spoken to the Council, is being asked to return to explain what is going on. Something else he could tell them about is what's happening with the Dyfyd-Powys police helicopter - the arrangements are changing to a national system, and local councillors want to know what that means for our local helicopter, as they haven't been informed by the relevant police bodies.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Gardens and Mazes

Phoebe Boulanger was sitting in the public seats at the beginning of the council meeting. She's the lady from Hayfield Garden, the community garden just over the bridge, and she'd come to show a planting programme to the council for the flower beds around the Library and the front of the Council Chambers.
Her plan is for a trellis up the side wall of the Library (already donated), which will support honeysuckle, clematis and jasmine, with as much permanent planting of cottage garden flowers beneath as possible. She's looking at shrubs and flowers with long flowering times, to create interest in the garden for as long a period as possible through the year. She's also looking at annuals which would, hopefully, self seed among the permanent plants. The garden would be low maintenance, and encourage birds and bees. For the planting and weeding, she welcomes volunteers - the council will put a request for volunteers out on their website, and they're also thinking about involving local groups. There is a small budget to fund the gardening from both the Council and the Library, and Phoebe has found someone who's interested in topiary who is prepared to trim the bushes by the Library into the shape of a shelf full of books.
It was also suggested that there should be a small flowerbed in Hay which could be planted up specially for special occasions - for instance something for Josie Pearson's Paralympic win would have been nice.

Phoebe also had a leaflet with her advertising Hayfield Garden, which is also looking for new members - it's not all heavy digging! There's room for people who seriously want to grow vegetables, people who only have time to go less regularly to water plants or keep records (and like any other group, they have meetings), and people who just want to pop in occasionally to socialise. Everyone who takes part has access to fresh, organic produce, and the surplus is sold to raise funds. Their website is

Meanwhile, the local Lions group want to build a Maze!
They're thinking of something quite small, with something in the middle, perhaps on an Olympic theme. One of the places they've been looking at is Black Lion Green, where there is a children's play area that needs attention. There is also an area off Warren Close which might be more suitable (thinking of the steep hill down to Black Lion Green, which would make access a bit dodgy for those with mobility problems). This idea was received with great enthusiasm, and there was even talk of making a maze into a paying tourist attraction.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Conflict of Interests

There are, understandably, quite strict rules about what a local councillor can and can't do. For instance, if they have a personal interest in a topic under discussion, they have to declare their interest (for instance, being related to someone who has a planning application, or being a school governor if the local school is being discussed). In such cases, they often have to leave the room while the rest of the councillors discuss the issue, and cannot vote. This is to keep the decisions of the council as unbiased and fair as possible.
And that's a good thing.
However, last night the only result of this desire for fairness was to stifle debate. Without legal advice from the County Council, our Town Councillors weren't sure what they could say - or not say. Was it a conflict of interests if you happened to live next door to a proposed development, for instance? Or if you had a business in the town which might be affected by a development? Or if you decided to put yourself forward as a councillor (and won your seat on the basis of that) because of a burning issue you wanted to address - only to discover that you would not be able to speak about it when you got on to the council?
Gareth has been through a legal process to give him a "blanket dispensation" so that he can speak on certain Hay matters (though not vote). Therefore he will be talking at a meeting about Clyro School, where he will be arguing against giving Clyro a large amount of money to rebuild, because he wants the money to be used for Hay School. He will not be able to vote at the meeting.
Our local councillors will also be going through the process for a "blanket dispensation" - though Fiona Howard was concerned about how far they should go on the form in declaring their interests. In a small town like Hay it's inevitable that the same people will end up being part of several local groups - and these rules seem to be more aimed at the County Council level. The legal advisor has also said that if a council member has joined a group, such as school governors, purely because the council asked them to, and to be a voice of the council on that body, then they cannot take part in discussions or votes when they get back to the council chamber - which seems to defeat the object of having them join the group in the first place. It also seems to stop them from finding out what members of the public want, if they are unable to enter into discussions about the issues even outside the council chamber.
There was a lot of confusion in the room, and Clarence Meredith from the County Council will be asked to come to Hay and explain what the legal position is. Paul Griffiths from the County Council is due to come to Hay to speak to the councillors as well.
There were two specific matters that this affected, both of them very important to the future of Hay. One is the school development, and the other is the proposed closure of Bronllys Hospital.
There was a lot of dis-satisfaction about the meetings of the Health authority bodies too - at one of them, the minutes of the previous meeting could not be agreed on as a fair and true record, and it went downhill from there (apparently the person taking the minutes was also speaking at the meeting - and I know from experience how hard it is to do both well). Steve Like was also disgusted by the booklet that was given out at one of the Health meetings - he was led to believe that it would be an overview of health provision in the south east of the county - but it seemed to be mainly about the stroke unit at Bronllys, which may be moved to Brecon. There will be another meeting about Bronllys on Wednesday, 3rd October, at 5.30pm, and three councillors will be going to that (all of them managing to avoid the 'conflict of interest' problems). Steve Like made the point that the thing to remember is that it's not the building that is important - it's the health and well-being of the patients in this area. He was also very annoyed - and so were other councillors - about an email that was sent round criticising him and Rob Golesworthy, and he wants an apology.
This is not the first time that the Stroke Unit has been threatened, apparently - though it has always been saved at its present location before.

There will be a meeting of the Bronllys League of Friends, to which AMs and MPs have been invited, in Talgarth on 26th October.