Thursday, 10 April 2014

More Council Business - Toilets and Missing Documents

The future of the public toilets in Hay is still causing concern. Kirsty Williams, the Assembly Member, has got involved, and the Welsh Assembly has made a ruling that there should be public toilets. However, the wording of their statement is that the County Councils should "develop a strategy" to keep the toilets open, rather than they should run them themselves. The Consultation document runs to fifty pages, and not many people will want to plough through all that. There was talk of a survey of privately owned toilets that were accessible to the public, and of toilets in libraries and other public buildings that would be available (as long as the libraries remained open, of course), and there was also the concern that when public toilets were handed over to local councils or groups like the one in Glasbury, they should be fit for purpose, which means that the County Council should be maintaining them now. There's one in Hay that has been broken for some time, and no sign of it being fixed.
Meanwhile, the County Council have been asked to provide a list of the assets from Hay which were passed over to them in 1974 - and they have replied to say that they are too busy! There have been a lot of redundancies from the County Council (I wish there was a better word than that - if there aren't enough people to do the necessary work, then the ones that were got rid of weren't 'redundant' at all) but that's no excuse for not providing the service that the County Council has a responsibility to provide. It may be necessary to go down the road of making a Freedom of Information request, which they have to comply with - as Nigel Birch said, the "softly-softly" approach doesn't work. It's also possible for members of the public to go through the deed system themselves (much of which is now online), and when the relevant documents are found then they can assess whether specialist legal help is needed.
Work is also needed to maintain the War Memorial, with the centenary of the start of the First World War coming up. When the British Legion were approached, they said that the Town Council owns it. It seems that, over many, many years, proper records of who owns what have either never been kept or have been lost.
Some of the councillors had a day trip to Swansea, to look at the Land Registry, to clear up the ownership of the Gliss. At the moment, the land can't be registered as belonging to the Town Council, because British Rail still have to be contacted about the part that was once railway lines (or whatever body has taken over those functions of British Rail).
Then came the welcome news that Alan Powell has organised the planting of fifteen fruit trees, and has a plan of where they are and what they all are (he took the labels off so no-one would be tempted to transplant them to a private garden somewhere), and he has also bought 20 oak trees himself, which will be ready to plant around Hay in the autumn.
And then they started talking about grass cutting, and I left....

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