The December meeting of Amroth Community Council was again held online via Zoom and among matters considered and discussed were the following:
• PCC had been contacted about a replacement streetlight for the one removed at Clos Yr Ysgol, Stepaside, by Western Power. PCC’s street lighting engineer had responded to say he would further investigate the request once they had ascertained the availability of power supplies within the area.
• The clerk had written to Llanteg Gardening Group about taking on additional maintenance work on community-owned land. A response had been received saying that they would like to discuss the issue further and asked about the annual payment for the work carried out. This would enable them to look at what can be achieved with their physical resources, and what needed to be outsourced. Clr. James offered to continue to mow the Clay Pits. Councillors agreed to offer a sum in the region of £500 to Llanteg Gardening Group for additional work and were happy to discuss any equipment needs with them to help them carry out the work.
• Clr. Davies asked that a Memory tree be planted in Amroth Memorial Garden when the work was carried out to landscape it. A discussion took place, and a memory board was suggested as it would better withstand the salty environment. A tree could be planted elsewhere in the ward away from the sea-front. Clr. Harries offered to contact the Botanical Gardens to ask about trees that would thrive near the sea and report back at the January meeting. Councillors agreed that either a tree or board could be placed in the garden.
• PCC EHO had visited Summerhill following rat sightings to try to ascertain what was attracting them and take action to discourage them.
• The clerk had emailed Natural Resources Wales (NRW) regarding clearing the stones in the river by the New Inn. The request had been passed to the river operations manager to see if their team could help with this and they would be back in touch in due course. Following the recent rains and floods, the clerk had been in touch with PCC about the flooding. PCC had also contacted NRW.
• The clerk had emailed DANFO regarding connecting the tap outside the toilets in Amroth
• Community noticeboards. Clr. Harries would attend to the noticeboard in Llanteg first and would work his way through the other boards over the winter, reporting and agreeing repairs to be carried out.
• A casual councillor vacancy notice had been posted. Assuming no election was called, ACC could co-opt a new member after December 18. Applications for this post should be sent/emailed to the clerk by January 10, to include a CV and covering letter. Interviews will be between January 11 and 17, probably by Zoom.
• Following councillors meeting with Claire Williams of Pembrokeshire Road Safety Partnership, Claire had provided a detailed report of actions to be taken on the roads identified. The roads identified were:
– The straight between The New Inn and Mole End in Amroth;
– The speed of traffic travelling both ways through Summerhill;
– The NSL section of road between Stepaside and Pleasant Valley;
– Traffic speed on the road into Stepaside from the A477 through the bends.
As well as specific actions at each location, she listed actions common for all locations:
* PCC to contact Police to see if they are aware of any speed related issues.
* New speed surveys to be added to their request list (However, there is a long waiting list).
* Summerhill – exact position to be determined by community councillors (CC).
* Section of road between Pleasant Valley and Stepaside (currently NSL).
* C3185 through bends or straight?
* Undertake a review of the existing warning signs and ensure that those that are in place are still serviceable.
* Where there is pedestrian activity, and an absence of footways, ensure that warning signs indicating to motorists that there are likely to be pedestrians walking in the carriageway are considered.
* Ensure that where permitted and in line with the regulations that repeater speed limit roundels are in place and visible.
An additional request, which she would ask a colleague to look into, was the provision of signing at the end of the Dramway to the presence of cyclists and walkers.
Councillors reported that the meeting was very productive. Claire Williams had familiarised herself with all locations before the meeting and had some good ideas to help in each location. Councillors expressed their gratitude to Claire for her input.
• Clr. Harvey reported that the signs on the road between Summerhill and Wisemans Bridge had still not been replaced. It was agreed that the clerk contact PCC again on this matter and copy in Clr. T. Baron.
New interim chief executive for PCC: Pembrokeshire County Councillors have voted in Mr. Richard Brown as PCC’s interim chief executive. Richard has been very active with the county’s Gold Command response to the Covid-19 pandemic and was responsible for the successful rollout of the new kerbside waste collection system. The authority is engaging a recruitment agency to search for a permanent chief executive.
Waste collection: In its first 12 months of operation, the new kerbside collection system resulted in Pembrokeshire having a very high recycling rate of 72 per cent. This was 10 per cent higher than in the previous year. Recognising the extra waste arising from Christmas activities, PCC announced that each household could put out one extra residual bag in the first residual collection after December 25. The extra bag put out did not have to be a grey bag, but residents were asked not to use orange recycling bags.
Council Tax 2021-22:
The council meeting on December 10 endorsed the cabinet’s recommendation of a five per cent increase in Council Tax in the coming financial year. The budget for the year is extremely uncertain. At the time of the vote, the Welsh Government had not announced the Provisional Settlement of funding to Local Government for 2021-2022 and the Final Settlement would not be announced until March 2. Consequently, PCC’s budget had had to be based on a conservative estimate that Welsh Government funding would increase by just two per cent. Council will approve the eventual PCC budget and the increase in the Council Tax at the meeting on March 4. I hope that, if the funding from Welsh Government turns out to be better than expected, the proposed increase in Council Tax will be reduced, given the pressure on finances many families in the county are facing.
Councillors have asked that the Second Homes Charge be looked at again with a view to increasing it from 50 per cent to 75 per cent or 100 per cent. This may require a further public consultation.
Firework displays: There was substantial support for a notice of motion covering firework displays at the council meeting on December 10. I and many other councillors hope to have an awareness campaign regarding the impact of fireworks on animal welfare and a requirement to properly advertise public firework displays in position prior to November 2021.
Surface drainage, Stepaside: I have been in touch with the leader of PCC concerning the inadequate surface drainage in Stepaside, which has resulted in a property being flooded. An engineer has been out to inspect the problem and has agreed that remedial work needs to be undertaken. Residents are reminded that if they are being flooded, they should call the fire brigade for help given that the brigade has the pumping equipment to deal with localised flooding. Please also let me know of any report being made to PCC re. flooding so that I can follow up immediately.
Hayloft Cottage, East Llanteg Farm, Llanteg – Extensions and alterations to dwelling along with new access drive (partly in retrospect). Conditionally approved.
Church View, Summerhill – single storey side extension. Conditionally approved
Westfields, Wisemans Bridge – Variation of condition no.1 of NP/15/0363/FUL to extend the period of time to start works until December 17, 2021. It was agreed that an objection be sent. The proposal is very large for the size of plot and in relation to surrounding properties. Right of access and sewage provision was also questioned.
Yard at Band of Hope, Kilgetty Lane, Stepaside – Use of land for the stationing of two static caravans, two touring caravans, two ancillary utility/day rooms in connection with the applicants landscaping business (live/work) (partly retrospective). It was agreed that the clerk ask for an extension of time to comment.
• Pembrokeshire Digital Connectors are offering free one to one support to improve digital skills and help people get online to connect with family, friends, social activities etc. Plus, support to access digital equipment and connectivity. Contact them on 01437 776301 or email at [email protected]
• A resident of Stepaside had contacted ACC to ask if more/wildflowers could be planted around the wards, specifically those that would support wildlife, such as bees. Councillors asked the resident to pass on any information regarding grants to support this work to the clerk. A number of areas were identified in the wards which could support wildflower planting. Llanteg Gardening Group could be consulted on what could be done. The clerk would contact PCNPA to ask if permission is required.
• The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill has been passed by the Senedd
• Across Pembrokeshire, work is taking place to make community opportunities more accessible to people living with dementia and their carers, and PAVS have been working with partner organisations to develop dementia supportive communities and activities. More information can be found on this new online resource – https://padlet.com/cherryevans/x2pxykx6rrojzapo
There are also weekly dementia supportive activities available for people living with dementia across the county, including online choirs, Tea and Natter sessions and socially distanced Walk & Talk groups.
If you would like to be added to the circulation list for the weekly activity schedule, please contact Cherry Evans at PAVS who has been leading this work – 07849 086009 / [email protected]
• A resident of Amroth had written to ask if Amroth council would have any advice on the ownership of the trees running up the hill. The trees generally on the hill were of some concern and did not appear to be maintained by anyone. The tree that recently fell could so easily have injured or killed anyone passing.
The owner of the garden where the tree landed had managed to get the local authority to take responsibility for a section of trees opposite his house and they had surveyed and attended to trees in the near vicinity of the fallen tree. The land further down however appeared to be open to debate with regards to ownership.
In conversation with a long -time resident, she remembered that this section of woodland was originally part of the Colby Estate, but that for many years it had been considered as no man’s land.
As the road was in constant use it would be a comfort to know that the banks and trees were at least checked regularly and appropriately managed. Update: The clerk had written to the National Trust to ask about responsibility and land ownership and they had replied to say it was not in their estate. The clerk would write to PCNPA and PCC.
• Age Cymru had sent through the autumn edition of their bi-lingual newsletter Age Matters. It can be viewed by clicking on the following link www.agecymru.org.uk/agematters
• Catalysts for Care’, supported by Pembrokeshire County Council, PAVS and PLANED.
There is a new directory of small, independent care and support services which you can see here: https://www.planed.org.uk/catalysts-for-care-directory-of-care-and-support-services-in-pembrokeshire/ This page explains the directory; click on the red rectangle at the top to see the actual directory as a PDF doc that you can print out and display for people who would like a hard copy. Please note that this PDF doc is updated regularly to reflect the availability of services as well as new services that join as appropriate.
This is a useful resource to signpost people looking for a care or support service. In particular, the first part of the directory contains a list of ten ‘home help’ services that support people to live independently at home and get out into the community to do what matters to them. You can view the ‘home help’ services on this map to see the ones that are close to you: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/d/viewer?mid=151lt8zq7AOYyGroIgMvXyY27CTnKU13H&ll=51.83959522958418%2C-4.885162050000007&z=10
• Community Delivery Project – review of play area provision. There is a review of non-statutory services within the Environmental Services Division of PCC. In order to sustain some services into the future, communities will need to be more involved in their delivery. One of the areas under review is play areas. PCC is involved with around 120 play areas across Pembrokeshire. With the pressure on local government resources, and the need to prioritise statutory services, PCC are unable to sustain their current level of involvement. Currently, PCC undertakes and arranges regular safety inspections, and in some cases undertakes maintenance, on these sites. This includes Summerhill. See discussion below – to discuss and update on ACC land holdings.
• Pembrokeshire County Council Community Delivery Project Environmental Services. The Community Delivery Project was approved by the council’s cabinet in July 2018. The project is seeking community support for various non-statutory services which otherwise might be at risk of being withdrawn, including: public toilets; play parks; parks, gardens and public open spaces.
There are already examples of communities taking on responsibility for public toilets, community groups running their own play parks, and communities determining how to best manage their open green spaces. The county council is open to discussing innovative ways to deliver these services, so that they are sustainable in the long term and support is available to assist T&CCs in this process. See councillors discussion below – to discuss and update on ACC land holdings
• From the Police and Crime Commissioner. I am currently looking ahead to 2021/22 in terms of what Dyfed-Powys Police’s priorities should be, as well as to setting the annual police budget. I have developed a short online survey which asks for residents’ and business owners’ views on policing priorities and police funding for 2021/22. I would be very grateful for your time in completing this survey please. You can access the survey by clicking on the below links:
Alternatively, email [email protected] or ring my office on 01267 226440 to request a paper copy of the survey.
• The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has appointed a Census engagement manager to support Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire residents and help make Census 2021 a success.
The Census will be held on March 21, 2021. While results will be available the following year, all personal records will be locked away for 100 years and kept safe for future generations.
For more information, visit census.gov.uk or contact: Nia Taylor – [email protected]
• PCC are running a virtual seminar (using Zoom) for looking at the best way to work together to ensure that Pembrokeshire citizens are leading the post-COVID recovery. It will take place at 6 pm on Wednesday, January 20, and is for all town and community councils. More information will be sent out nearer the time.
• The chairman outlined the response to a letter sent to head of legal at PCC regarding the registration of land adjacent to Sea Breeze, Llanteg. PCC replied that they were not responsible for the original registration in 1975 and consequently were unable to correct any possible misregistration as a council. It had subsequently been established that the Commons Registration Authority, a separate body which comes under the umbrella of PCC, had the ability to consider any claims in this respect. Councillors agreed that a letter be sent to the owners of Sea Breeze with appropriate forms so they could approach PCC.
• Summerhill Play Area. PCC had approached ACC regarding taking on financial responsibility for the play area from 2021. This may involve a transfer of asset from PCC. PCC could no longer sustain the financial commitment associated with the play area. Councillors agreed the play area was an asset to the community and should be retained for the benefit of the community. It was agreed to set up a subcommittee of councillors to meet in early January to discuss the issue and to meet with ADCA/Amroth Parish Hall representatives to agree a plan on whether to leave the land in PCC ownership, but pay towards the costs of the park or to pursue an asset transfer.
Grit bin: Proposal to site a grit bin at Clos Yr Ysgol, Stepaside. Following a request by residents and consultation by Clr. Cormack, he proposed that a grit bin be sited at Clos Yr Ysgol in Stepaside. Clr. Cormack showed two locations where a bin could be sited. The proposal was seconded by Clr. Phillips and all agreed. The clerk was to order it from PCC.
Bus shelter bin: Clrs. Harries and James reported that the bin, recently installed by the bus shelter in Llanteg was being misused. Household waste was being deposited in it, including sanitary waste. The bin is for the convenience of bus users and is emptied by the councillors. If the bin continues to be misused, it will be removed. It was agreed that the clerk contact Llanteg Facebook administrators in the first instance about publishing a post on this issue.
• Amroth Good Neighbours – Little increase in demand although there had been an increase in infection in Pembrokeshire. It would remain active over the winter to support residents.
• Exercise Jantzen – No progress this month due to other projects taking precedence.
• Road names – A full application plus supporting documents had been submitted to the Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant Scheme.
• Amroth free WIFI – A full application had been submitted to the Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant Scheme following approval of the EOI.
• Play Area, Summerhill – A full application had been submitted to the Enhancing Pembrokeshire Scheme following approval of the EOI and an application for additional funds has been made to the Big Lottery Fund. A match-funding contribution has also been approved by Amroth and District Community Association
• Brown signs – An application has been sent to PCC.
Councillors expressed their appreciation for all the work that has been done to get these project applications ready for submission.
• A significant pothole on the road between Kilanow Farm and Little Kings Caravan Park had been reported to PCC, but remained unfilled.
• Despite reports to various organisations earlier in the year, the hole, and unstable stones on the bridge at Wisemans Bridge had not been repaired and had deteriorated further with the high tides and river flooding. This was now a serious health and safety issue. The stones were used as stepping stones by walkers and were not safe. It was agreed that the clerk report this again to PCC and copy in Clr. T. Baron.
Date of next meeting: Thursday, January 21, at 7 pm. This will be via Zoom unless informed otherwise. Anyone wishing to observe online, please send your email address to [email protected]