North Wales Weekly News - - YOUR VIEWS - Cllr Phil Ed­wards Cab­i­net Mem­ber Hous­ing, So­cial Care & Health, Conwy County Bor­ough Coun­cil Name and ad­dress sup­plied Vanessa L Dye Llanfairfechan

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.

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