The Council meeting was postponed for a week this month - and Nigel the Town Clerk kindly rang me up to let me know in advance (I hadn't been planning to go last Monday anyway, because of a horrible cold, but I'm better now). As it was, there were only six councillors present - out of a total of eight. They are still looking for people to fill three councillor vacancies.
So the meeting began with a short presentation from Lydia, from the Bronllys Well-Being Park group. She was asking for Council support for the project, and a councillor to sit on the committee, alongside people from Talgarth and Bronllys. These are the major hubs in the area that they want to support them, and they are also going round to the smaller local councils like Llanigon and Glasbury - Bronllys Hospital serves quite a wide area. They will be holding a launch party on 13th June at 7pm in Hay School, to explain what they are going to be doing on the site.
They also need a local body to hold funds for them (£50,000 was mentioned) until the Land Trust is up and running - but Hay felt they couldn't do this, and it would be better if it was done by Bronllys or Talgarth, which are closer to the site.
Hay's Town Plan has already gathered together some statistics that will be useful to the Bronllys group, and Lydia was told about other resources she could use.
The questions from the public related to the Persimmon development and when it would be possible to see up to date minutes from the Council online. The chap said that he got most of his information from this blog (which was very gratifying, but I don't give a complete record of meetings, just the highlights that I think are most interesting).
The good news was that the new Council website will be up and running by the end of next week! As soon as it is, I'll add a link in the side bar. The website address is www.haytowncouncil.gov.uk, and there is also a Facebook page.
Some work has begun on the Persimmon site, but this seems to be an archaeological dig in advance of the development - though they don't seem to have found anything in the field. The National Parks met on Tuesday to discuss the development - but they told Gareth Ratcliffe that he was not allowed to speak at the meeting! He thought he would be able to put forward objections to the development, and local opinions, but was told he would not be able to. He wanted to mention the flooding problems with the site, road safety concerns and the affordable housing that is supposed to be built as part of the development.
There is some concern that Persimmon will end up not building most of the affordable houses on the plans, because they are in phase 4 of the building plans, and if the other houses are slow to sell, that phase of the development may not happen. Even if they are built, there's a concern that they are being kept separated from the rest of the houses on the site. The hope was that the meeting will be deferred and that people who wish to speak to the planners will be able to later. I don't know what the outcome of that meeting has been.
There was some concern, too, that the new houses will be used as second homes rather than much needed affordable housing for local families.
Near the end of the meeting, Trudy brought up her concerns about making comments on planning matters, because there didn't seem to be a consistent method of doing it - she said that her comments about the Persimmon development had not been put forward to them, and she had ended up commenting as a private individual instead.
Councillors still want to meet with people from the Highways Department to discuss the traffic problems around Gypsy Castle (which will be made worse when the new houses are built). They suggested half past three in the afternoon would be a good time, so the Highways people could see for themselves what the problems are when children are being picked up from school.
It was also mentioned that Hay is being used for a pilot scheme of Speedwatch by the local police, because of on-going speeding problems. The police have been asked about increased resources for the area, because of increased crime rates, and the new local Inspector has said that this will happen. There have also been arrests for burglaries. It was felt that there should be a session with the new inspector, possibly as a feedback session after Hay Festival, which would mean putting the June council meeting back a week to give them time to sort out the feedback.