Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Council Meeting - Toilets and Car Park, and the Return of the Fire Engine

Last week being a Bank Holiday, there wasn't a Council meeting, so it happened last night instead. And it turned out to be one of the shortest Council meetings I've ever been to - we were out by 20 to 10!
When I arrived, Fiona Howard had just been elected the new Mayor, and voting was going on for the deputy - Rob Golesworthy this year. Then they went over all the sub-committees and looked at how many vacancies needed to be filled and whether anyone wanted to move around between them.

The question from the public (only three of us there this time) was about Mike Bullock's warehouse on the edge of Gypsy Castle, and the work he's been doing there without planning permission. The last thing anyone knew was that retrospective planning permission was going to be applied for, but the deadline for that has passed with no action. So it will be chased up with yet another letter to Powys County Council which they will no doubt ignore like all the other communications from the town council.
There was a lot of unhappiness around the table about the way that Powys County Council keep dragging things out and not doing anything when they're contacted, time and time again.

On a happier note, although the horse-drawn fire engine turned out to be not the one they thought it was, and though it's in much worse condition than they thought it would be, they will still be bringing it home to Hay. For the moment it will go in Rob Golesworthy's spare garage, but they want to put it on a rolling chassis and place it in the middle of the Buttermarket, to add a bit of interest and to start collecting for a fund to restore it. It's not all that big, so the market stalls on Thursdays would be able to work round it.

In preparation for the Festival, Rob is prepared to do a deep clean of the public toilets by the Clock Tower. It's the County Council's responsibility, but the staff they send to do the cleaning are not given enough time to do more than a lick and a promise.
The town council are still debating what to do next year when Powys wants to give up responsibility for the public toilets. Brecon are going to refuse to take over, but are determined that they'll stay open - they've already lost some public toilets around the town. One Voice Wales are advising local councils to oppose the move to push responsibility onto them.
The Welsh Assembly are putting out a white paper, with a section on "building community assets for health" in which they argue that public toilets are a public health matter and that they must be provided across Wales. Powys are going to be reminded that the town council wants to talk to them.

The County Council solicitor is going to be tracked down to his lair, after he told the town council that he didn't have time to produce the information that they requested - which was something that he really should have done (I think it's a statutory duty). They want to know the details of the handover of assets in 1974, when Hay gave things like the car park to the county council to run, so that everyone is clear just exactly who owns what and who has responsibility for what. As Fiona said - how can Powys prove that they own the car park? It might still belong to Hay, in which case Hay should get the revenues from it.
There's also the matter of the school, which was built in 1972 on land which had belonged to Jack Like, and there are rumours of a covenant on the land to ensure that it was always used for educational purposes. It would be useful to find a piece of paper recording that, if it's true. So two councillors are going to check the Land Registry and go to Llandrindod Wells to see the solicitor - or his boss.
Meanwhile, the request about adding a surcharge to the car park fees to cover the extra cost has met with the usual silence.


Disillusioned Voter said...

Are we to infer that public toilet cleaning goes like this: "Time to clean the bog - *LICK, slurp* - now I PROMISE I'll do better next time...."

They couldn't pay me enough to do that.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the Monty Python sketch where Michael Palin is asking the retired major for his daughter's hand in marriage.

Major: What do you do for a living?

Palin: I clean out the bogs in the 'igh Street.

Major: Is there any future in that?

Palin: Oh, yeah! Next year I get a brush!