Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Council Meeting - Miles Without Stiles, Nat West, Transfer of Assets

The Miles Without Stiles project is going well. The National Parks have been very positive and helpful, and grants are available to put in more accessible gates. Match funding can be done with money raised by the local Lions, and also with volunteer hours.

The Nat West Bank on Oxford Road has now closed, and the Nat West van has spent it's first Thursday parked outside the Cinema Bookshop for an hour, from 1.15pm to 2.15pm - the level of service is now one hour a week (but they say they can extend this by a whole ten minutes if it's busy!). On their first visit, they arrived quite early, and had to experiment with the best place to park to pick up the wifi signal they need. So here it is, the Bank on the Road:

The Nat West Community Banker is also using the Council Chambers as an office to meet customers - and he says he's even able to go to people's homes if they can't get to him. He won't be offering a comprehensive service - he can't arrange loans, for instance.
And at the same time, the Nat West have also closed their branch in Builth Wells, leaving only the one in Brecon.

One of the councillors recently went on a training course on Transfer of Assets with One Voice Wales - but said there was nothing in the training about what to do when things go wrong! He told the One Voice Wales people what was happening in Hay, and - well, it was outside their experience, to put it mildly!

And talking of Transfer of Assets - there was amazement that Newtown have been given 100 acres of land by Powys County Council, when they are doing nothing but take facilities away from Hay, especially as Hay is such a big contributor of money into the County Council's coffers. Just the Hay Festival raises around £20 million pounds every year.

There were worries about asbestos in ex-Council houses, with councillors wanting to know if the new owners had been properly informed of the risk. Taking asbestos out of a building costs a lot of money. However, Alan Powell said that he had helped to build some of the Council houses concerned, and there was no asbestos there! [Edited to add: There's no asbestos inside the buildings, but the builders are looking under the roof tiles and under the slate cladding on the outside of the houses.]

Alan also had a story to contribute to the Castle Memory scheme - they are collecting people's memories of things that have happened in and around Hay Castle over the years. He remembered having to rescue a drunken man who had fallen down the slot that the castle portcullis used to go into! The slot is wider at the top and narrows down, so he slipped in and got stuck, and had to be pulled out again.

There was a lot of other business discussed, but it was all quite brief - but one important thing to note is that there will be an Open Day at the new school building on November 30th, from 6pm to 8pm, so more of an Open Evening really. Sturdy footwear is recommended!

And the Fire Service is recruiting locally - they will be at the Lions Bonfire Night at Baskerville Hall on Saturday 4th November anyway, so they may do some recruiting there.

I didn't stay until the end of the meeting, because the council wanted to discuss something in private, so I was asked to leave - which I was quite glad to do by that stage!

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