Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Meet the Council

I was a bit late for the council meeting this week - I hadn't realised that it was being held in the Swan rather than the Council Chambers (in a room with some noisy machines whirring away at the back where the bar was, so I couldn't hear everything that was going on very clearly). The reason for the change of venue was that level access was needed for one of the new councillors - Josie Pearson, Hay's Paralympic champion, and the reason our pillar box is painted gold.
There were quite a few new faces round the table, so it was appropriate that they should be discussing a Meet the Council event during the course of the evening. They will be in the Buttermarket this Saturday, from 10am to 2pm, on a rota, along with the Woodland Group on a table manned by Mayor Trudi Stedman and Alan Powell. Trudi was disappointed that the bacon roll lady wouldn't be on the market that day - she'd been looking forward to that for lunch!
A banner has been ordered, newsletters talking about the Council's work have been printed, and there will be volunteering opportunities and the chance for people to put their names down for regular email updates on what the Council is doing. The newsletter is also planned to be a regular feature, coming out quarterly, and available around the town at the Library, Post Office and other places. One of the volunteering opportunities is to join the Community Speed watch so that they can extend the scope of their activities. They have been quite successful down Newport Street and Brecon Road already. Richard Greatrex, another new councillor, said that not enough people know the good work the Town Council does, and it's important for them to get out and meet the public.
One of the new councillors suggested that they should have an official badge to show that they are members of the council, and not just random people standing around. They will have name badges on Saturday, but something a bit more official will be looked into for other occasions - a bit like Blue Peter presenters always wearing their Blue Peter badge when on duty!
If the day goes well, they will try it again, perhaps with a table on a market day.

They were still working out what everyone was doing - Fiona was reminded that she was the council representative for the Gwynne's Almshouses committee, and the school had sent a message to say they needed a new school governor, and also someone to join the committee to run the swimming pool. Josie expressed interest in becoming a school governor, and David said he would join the pool committee, as long as he wasn't expected to come in to lock up at nights! The pool committee are looking for grants to maintain the pool, and are hoping to appoint a part-time pool manager soon.
And on the subject of the school, Richard wanted to be sure that the fire regulations had not been relaxed for the new building. The town council wants to be sure that a full fire safety survey is done by the County Council, and that there are sprinklers in the building, fire risk being very much on everyone's minds after the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The new bench was mentioned - it's on loan from the Castle until a new permanent bench can be found, which is why it has "Agincourt 600" carved on the backrest.

There was also concern about the new ATM (still having teething problems) at the Post Office. Apparently, the original idea was to move the post box next to the new ATM, but the Post Office decided that the gold pillar box would be adequate. However, the slot on the pillar box isn't big enough for large letters, or some parcels, which can only be posted now when the Post Office is open, so the councillors felt that this was not adequate at all. They weren't keen on the bright lighting around the edge of the new ATM either.

Just recently, a child impaled himself on a spiked railing round the back of the cattle market while climbing over it, so there was some concern about the safety of the railings around town. The ones by the cattle market are a relic of the old railway, but there was also the case a couple of years ago of the man who slipped and fell, impaling himself on the safety railings at the end of Castle Street, which have knobs on the spikes which are supposed to stop people getting impaled. So councillors will be checking to see where there are spiked railings on council land, and investigating ways to keep them safe - perhaps by putting a bar across the top of the spikes, or cutting the spikes off altogether, as the council does have a duty of care. Meanwhile the parents of the child who was injured have apparently said that it is the responsibility of kids not to do stupid things!

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