Friday, 7 July 2017

Council Meeting - Loggin Brook, Disabled Access and Recycling

Meanwhile, back at the Swan....
There are plans for another Transfer of Assets from Powys County Council to the Town Council. This is the area near the church including the footpath, with the Loggin Brook and the old castle mound, and also the Swan Well. The idea is that the Woodland Group would manage the area, and make it into a picnic area - but the Woodland Group might not always exist, whereas the Town Council will always be there, so the idea is that the Town Council will take it over on behalf of the Woodland Group, which will then manage it (at this point, Trudi and Alan Powell left the room due to conflict of interests, as they are in the Woodland Group).
One councillor pointed out that the Town Council are in the middle of three Transfers of Assets already - did they really want to start a fourth? There have been huge problems dealing with Powys County Council in the existing negotiations.
But the decision was that the idea was a good one, and the area would be better managed by the Woodland Group than by anyone else, so they're going to go for it.

Josie Pearson is particularly interested in disabled access around town, for obvious reasons, and made the point that disabled access should be included in the Town Plan. At present, there is nothing about disabled access in the Town Plan, and it was agreed that this should be rectified. She also talked about a scheme called Miles Without Stiles, which is making footpaths more accessible - stiles are okay for able bodied walkers to get over, but impossible for the physically impaired. In some places, kissing gates can be opened wide for wheelchairs with a Radar Key, which is also used to gain access to toilets for the disabled. The gate to the Warren can be opened with a Radar Key, for instance, and the Miles Without Stiles scheme looks at places where kissing gates or other gates can be installed in the place of stiles for ease of access. It's been successful in the Lake District, and there are funds that can be applied for.
The first job is to find the footpaths that can easily be made accessible with modifications - it looks as if Josie will be busy trying out paths in the near future. The power wheelchair she was using at the Council meeting looks as if it can be used over rugged terrain, and she was asked how steep a slope she could manage in it - she's never tried going up the very steep lane at Black Lion Green, so she may be trying that out to see how far she gets. While checking the paths, they will also be thinking about walkers with visual impairments. Obviously, they also need to get in contact with landowners and get them involved. If this could be done, Hay would be one of the forerunners of the scheme in Wales.
And while the council were thinking about disabled access, they considered the narrow pavements and other difficulties around the town. One of the problems here is that pavements are being made narrower and more difficult to negotiate by the many shops which put signboards and stuff for sale outside their shops. This is a matter for the Chamber of Commerce to be involved in, and Josie seems to have some involvement with the Chamber of Commerce, too. They also talked about getting the History Group involved, as they have guided walks, so know the footpaths well already.
The Chamber of Commerce are starting to ask for donations for this years' Christmas Lights - they want to extend the display down Broad Street, and along to the Cinema Bookshop, and Josie asked why the Town Council only gave £1,000 last year, when previously they had given £1,500. This is because the Town Council have so many new obligations now, and only a limited budget.

And also on the theme of disabled access, Dial a Ride now have a special wheelchair which can be used in their minibus, which was paid for by the recycling fund.

Which leads neatly on to the matter of recycling plastic film, which is no longer accepted for recycling by the County Council in the red bins provided to each house. There is a company which offers to take away plastic film, including bubble wrap and plastic bags, for recycling for a small fee - £8.50 for a 1100 litre bin. The fee is because plastic film is very difficult to recycle. The same company (Caepost?) are going round farms taking agricultural plastic waste as well, which is even more difficult to recycle because it tends to get very dirty.
The councillors thought that they should be seen to be doing their best for recycling, and that this was a good idea. The fee could be paid from the recycling fund. They haven't yet decided where to site a plastic film bin - the car park seems the obvious place, but they don't want it to become too cluttered.

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