WHAT SORT OF WAY IS THIS TO RUN OUR NATION?
WHICHEVER way one looks at it, whether supporter of Conwy Council merging with Denbighshire or not, the whole process has proved to be very bizarre indeed.
Last year, following the publication of the ‘Williams’ report, we were left in no doubt by the Welsh government that the merger of the two authorities WOULD take place.
In an effort then to be in the driving seat of this ‘inevitable’ merger Councillors in Conwy were ‘encouraged’ to put a business case forward. Incredibly, this was to prove to the Welsh Government that we could do what they said was going to happen anyway.
So we set about working through the business case, putting a great deal of effort into pulling it together and submitted it within the very tight time frame that was set for us. There will have been a huge cost to this in staff time alone.
We now learnt quite unexpectedly that our business case to merge the councils as the Government wanted us to, did not meet their criteria, even though they were their own criteria and even though it was recommended in the Williams report. What was it that could have brought about this sudden and dramatic change of heart? We don’t know. So, what happens next? No one seems to know that either, least of all the Welsh Government, or if they do, they are not sharing it with us.
I have only one question left. What sort of way is this to run our nation? I do have an answer to that. Not this bizarre way! circumstance, house prices falling simply shows the assumption of similar bigoted views held by prospective buyers, cost of maintenance is a joke when we consider the fiasco of the “bunker” cost in Colwyn Bay.
How far we have come from welcoming the poor, orphan, widow and stranger. No-one knows the future circumstance, it would well become us to remember we may all one day need the welcome and shelter of a safe haven provided by the compassionate hearts of others. build more houses on a lovely piece of land in the lower part of the village which currently provides a wildlife haven for a range of birds, animals and insects.
This new venture falls under the perceived need for ‘affordable/social’ housing. Yet without much effort I can see there are a number of houses for sale in and around Llanfairfechan and the Conwy area.
So why is there a need to use up valuable green space? The argument that the houses for sale are all privately owned and therefore may not fall into the category of ‘affordable/social’ is a somewhat bogus. Surely some of the houses currently on the market must be suitable to meet the apparent need?
In addition, some of the money earmarked for ‘new-builds’ could be channelled into making minor changes to some of the existing housing stock e.g. changing a house into two/three flats etc, so making them ‘affordable’?
Of course, I am not a qualified builder, but I would envisage generally the monetary outlay for such changes would be less than building a new house? And the impact on the environment would be minimal.
I appreciate that many of us are driven by economic factors, and most of us look for the easy short term option, but, some things are more important than money.
I believe that we all benefit from ‘green spaces’, be it in terms of being able to enjoy walks, breathe better air, or wonder at the diversity of life that they hold.
This is why every piece of ‘green space’ should be cherished. Not just for now but for the future and for those that come after us.
Certainly, we need to address what is needed now in terms of housing, but equally, we need to be aware that decisions made today affect the future; for a very long time; be it to our benefit or detriment.
Being of a certain age I am reminded of the words of a song from my youth, “We pave paradise, put up a parking lot”. I think most people who live in Llanfairfechan would agree that it is indeed a piece of paradise! Let’s hope there is enough paradise left for the generations that follow us.