1. A Piece of Really Good News!

The Home Bargains retail chain opened their new store in Buckley, on the old Somerfield/Co-op/Budgens site, on 17th February, 2018. From the scrum at the opening and much of the whole day afterwards, anyone would have thought it was a Boxing Day Sale. Let us all hope the store proves attractive and makes enough steady and profitable progress to become a long-term part of Buckley’s overall retail offer. As at Aldi, the free car park is an attraction.

2. Ongoings!

There are several issues of interest to residents which are currently “pending” in process and progress terms. Some of them are:-


1) De-pedestrianisation of the presently pedestrianised part of the town centre.
On this one, your town councillors are still awaiting firm and detailed proposals from county council, which were asked for way back in September of last year. As I did assure readers in my December newsletter, if any firm and formal detailed proposal comes before town council, to de-pedestrianize the area, I shall call for a Local Referendum on the issue, so that the will of the town’s residents and the shopping public can be expressed and, hopefully, be taken notice of, one way or the other.


2) The Precinct, now Buckley Shopping Centre.
The owners, Spurscow Developments, recently decided, after discussions with their agents, to remove the seating within the shopping mall. Alongside of that, the Town Council needed to remove the wooden cabin which has, for a few years now, become Santa’s Grotto at Christmas times. Both decisions were reluctantly forced upon each entity because of the anti-social and destructive attitude of mainly just one known and identified teenage idiot who clearly needs some better guidance and local authority control, if he is to avoid becoming a continuing town nuisance and his own worst enemy as he grows up.

Along with the deliberate vandalization of the Town Council’s cabin, there were repeated episodes of mis-use of the seating, with youths damaging the seat, sitting on the back with grubby shoes on the seat portion and generally making themselves a total, frequently foul-mouthed, nuisance to ordinary people of all ages who wished to use the retail shops within the Precinct. I have represented to the Precinct’s owners, via our town centre manager, for the placement of a vandal-proof seat, because such do exist. Response from Spurscow has been a polite but firm, “Not a chance!”


The Shopping Centre does have two live CCTV cameras covering most, if not quite all, of the public movement areas of the building. They are linked to the CCTV control room at county hall, so one might have expected that episodes of anti-social behaviour would have been picked up promptly by control room staff, reported without delay to the Police Control Room and the culprits apprehended and dealt with appropriately. Sadly, it would seem, that the CCTV control room has too many screens and too few staff watching them, while the police force has priorities other than dealing with misbehaving youths.


Some progress has been made in converting the one-time NatWest Unit into a format more readily identifiable with retail activity. Spurscow Estates and their connections are working hard to find a tenant capable of bringing into the town centre some activity which is new, attractive and sustainable. We all wish them good luck in that worthwhile endeavour.

 

3) Proposed Housing Development South of Meg’s Lane.

Leith Developments’ outline planning application for 168 houses on the Green Barrier land below Meg’s Lane is still progressing, slowly. It was originally thought that it would appear before planning committee on 6th December, 2017. However, process and technical problems have slowed progress, so that, as I compile this newsletter in the middle of March, the best that I can set out is that the application is unlikely to appear on the Agenda for a planning committee meeting until the middle or end of April at the earliest. As I have said in a previous newsletter, the application breaches various planning policies, which permits all of us to be very hopeful that it will be refused.

 

4) The Old Buckley Baths Building.

On this one, I am aware that the Directors of the entity established some four years or so ago, to see to completion the conversion of the building into a multi-purpose community hall, are not finding it quick or easy to obtain, from the Charities Commission, the granting of formal registration as a charitable activity. I am advised that much correspondence is flowing and some small progress has been made. However, until that essential charitable status is obtained, little visible progress is likely. This is another one where all that we who are not directly involved can do is to wish the directors good luck with the project.

 

5) The 14 Houses in the area bounded by the Fire Station, Manor Drive, Jubilee Road and the Home Bargains Store.

Just what Edwards Homes are up to, in relation to moving forwards to actually build these houses, for which planning permission was granted many months ago, is no longer a mystery. The appearance just after Valentine’s Day of a Hymac and the clearance work then started and presently ongoing, seems to indicate a willingness to crack on with the building of the intended houses. Full marks to the company for not just land-banking the project.

 

6) Grwp Cnefyn and the 24 Maisonettes by the Library.

Having been granted planning permission for the development, on the site of the once Precinct Medical Centre, all too many months passed without any signs of actual commencement of the project. As a result, the site became an undesirable centre for squatting and anti-social activities, to the point where your county council had to order the demolition of the neglected and dangerous building. Having been forced to tear down and make the site safe and with Buckley Town Council formally asking when the company intended to start building, there are now signs of actual building progress. That is good news!

 

7) The Future of Parish, Community & Town Councils.

As I have explained to readers before, there is still no certainty coming out of the Welsh Assembly Government about exactly what shape of local government they intend to impose upon the nation as of 2022. The almost furtive replacement of Mark Drakeford as Local Government Minister by Alun Davies, AM, towards the end of 2017, brought nothing by way of clarity about the shape of local government post 2022, when the next round of local government elections is due in Wales. Nobody from Cardiff appears to have formally advised that the suggested 3 Regional Councils are off the table, nor that the planned reduction of Parish, Community and Town Councils from 735 to 100 or 120 has been scrapped.

 

The Independent Commission looking into that is, seemingly, still doing its work. However, rather akin to the style of a certain Donald Trump over in the USA, Alun Davies has gone public in his personal Blog with a view that it is “Time for the Welsh Assembly Government to say sorry” over previous “hectoring and arrogant” attempts to push county authorities towards potential mergers. According to press reports published on 22nd February, 2018, his view is that the WAG had tried to implement policy, “Expressed in intemperate language, with criticisms that have been unwarranted and unjustified.” His comments that the WAG’s policy on local government reform has, so far, “failed to deliver any meaningful reform of either the structure or ways of working in Local Government” can only be regarded as both accurate and welcome. However, his reported observation that he has been left with the “absolute belief that local government has the ambition and the vision to transform our communities” and to deliver on that “they need the powers and freedoms to chart their own courses” makes this town and county councillor raise a wary eyebrow.


His Blog sets out that he has “written to council leaders for their ideas on devolved powers and would publish a route map on how to deliver them.”


If he has so written, the contents of the letter have certainly not, as yet, found their way down to me as an opposition backbencher.


While I can commend his apparently open and conciliatory tone, I have a fear that if 22 Local Authorities really are left to go in 22 different directions, each according to local whim, only chaos and confusion will result. Neither does anything stated in his Blog appear to deal with the year on year decline in adequate funding for Flintshire and other Local Authorities.


Nine years or so ago, Local Authority Leaders, via the Welsh Local Government Association, sought to work constructively with the WAG, to define what tasks were better organised and delivered nationally, regionally and locally. That clear picture has yet to appear. Until it does, the delivery of Local Government Services, at all levels, will remain imperfect and expensive.


Just to confuse matters further, Cllr Vivienne Blondek and I were appointed by Buckley TC to represent the council at a Seminar in Wrexham on 7th March, 2018, in connection with a “Review of Community and Town Council Sector in Wales” as the heading to the event read. Off we both went, with high hopes of learning something of the future plans from the WAG, both in council numbers and delivery of services. To our dismay, we found ourselves sitting at one of five tables of a dozen or so delegates, in the Memorial Hall, being addressed by a WAG appointed Panel. The members of the Panel wished those present to answer the following four questions, on behalf of our respective/collective councils:


1) What should Community and Town Councils be responsible for?
2) How should they operate?
3) What’s standing in their way to deliver for the local community?
4) How do councils ensure they best represent their local community?


We spent 20 minutes, working with a table facilitator, discussing each topic. Apart from the fact that your town council, like all other such, provided answers to these questions way back in December of last year, at the behest of the then new Minister, the exercise is pointless unless and until we are advised of decisions relating to Regions, the future of County Councils and the numbers and sizes of the Community and Town Councils after 2022.

 

The Panel members present on 7th March in Wrexham were unable to discuss those issues as they were not part of their appointed remit.


To make the sweeping changes which still seem to be hovering around, or waiting in the wings, down in Cardiff, requires detailed planning, workable transitional arrangements, comprehensive consultation, adequate resourcing and smooth, seamless implementation, if chaos, confusion and a considerable waste of public money are to be avoided. What is needed from the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services is rather more than openness and contrition, welcome though they may be. What the nation needs for local government to be truly on top of its game is some clear vision, sound plans and adequate funding; backed by firm and decisive leadership. 4 years is little enough time in which to undertake such a root, stem and branch change. Whether our latest A.M. in the hot seat is up to the challenges, only time will tell.

 

3. GDPR!

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force as of 25th May, 2018. It is really important that everyone who collects or processes data, whether at the level of a lunch club, social club, charitable organisation, or whatever, understands the implications of the new legislation and obtains a clear decision as to whether or not the new regulation applies to them. The legislation is mainly, but not exclusively, aimed at Organisations and Employers of all sizes. It is designed to better protect detailed personal information about all of us from easily falling into the hands of the unscrupulous and the Hackers, of whom there are all too many in this digitalised modern world. Identity theft is a very profitable and wide-spread activity for organised criminals. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website has a wide range of guidance notes and advice, along with a helpline (0303 123 1113) for any queries you may have. If you have any concerns, don’t be afraid to use that number.

 

4. Here We Go Again!

Similar to the “Jimsul” planning application, which was refused some few years back, SKYE Homes have recently publicised their intention to shortly submit a detailed planning application to county council for the construction of a mixed-use housing project behind the existing houses South of Spon Green and West of the houses on Bannel Lane. The intended application proposes 435 housing units, plus a modest retail location with parking and some open space. Proposed accesses onto existing roads are shown as being where MJ Garage once was on Spon Green; off Grassy Lane and well below where the present access exists to the “Spitalfields” buildings off Bannel Lane. The land is part of the Green Barrier running from Bannel Lane across to Padeswood Road South and is currently not within the proposed development zone for Buckley. Like the Leith Developments application (See 3.3) above) this has to be recognised as being provoked by the present lack of any existing Local Development Plan for the county, including our town, allied to the alleged absence of a fully planned 5-year housing supply for the county.


A public open day for this item was held on Monday 12th February, at the Holiday Inn complex alongside the A55, by the developers involved. My wife and I duly attended. I was less than impressed by what I saw and heard.


Local residents who have already spoken to me about this latest application have been nearly unanimous in wishing to oppose it, for reasons of not wishing to see another 1,000 or so cars added to an already crowded roadway system, a lack of any proposed infrastructure by way schooling, medical facilities and so on. A well-attended public meeting on the subject, held at the Cricket Club on the evening of 22nd February confirmed a strong opposition to this latest development effort, not only from residents immediately local to it, but from elsewhere in the town, because of the major impact it would have on roadways, schools and medical facilities, along with additional demand on basic utility services.


However, rather akin to the Leith Developments application at the Meg’s Lane end of the road, if this putative application is to be turned down, it will have to be on planning policy reasons. A residents’ committee has been formed to organise opposition to the intended development. I will work with that committee as it moves forwards.

 

5. Future Well-being Plans.

For the past year or more, this county, along with the other counties in Wales, has had operating an organisation called the Flintshire Public Services Board. Prior to adopting that name, following a directive from the WAG, the entity was known as the Flintshire Local Services Board.


The four statutory members are Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Flintshire County Council, Natural Resources Wales and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Other entities invited to involve themselves include North Wales Police, FLVC and Coleg Cambria. The Welsh Assembly Government also has a seat at the table.

 

The core roles of the PSB are indicated as:-
* Produce and deliver a Local Well-Being Plan.
* Work together to find solutions, set priorities and develop objectives to meet the challenges that one organisation, on its own, would be unable to resolve.
* Collaborate across sectors to design and provide local public services that meet agreed objectives and make the best use of money, people and resources.
* Develop and maintain effective relationships built on trust.
The core role of producing and delivering a local Well-Being Plan is commendable, but it is somewhat complicated by the fact that the Plan seems to be required to follow that which is laid out within and as required by, the WAG’s Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which I rather doubt very many, if any, of you are even aware exists.


There are 7 well-being goals built into the WAG plan. They are:-
* A prosperous Wales
* A resilient Wales
* A healthier Wales
* A more equal Wales
* A Wales of cohesive communities
* A Wales of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language
* A globally responsible Wales


During a two-hour long workshop on the subject, which I and a couple of dozen or so other county councillors attended on 7th February, 2018, the outline of Flintshire’s Draft Future Well-Being Plan was presented and discussed. That indicated the existence of 5 priorities, set out as:-


1) Well-Being & Integrated Living
2) Community Safety
3) Resilient Communities
4) Economy
5) Environment


Within the Flintshire proposals, each Priority carries information on “Why” it exists; “Evidence” available; “Action” needed make it happen and; “Impact” on the local community once achieved.


Flintshire’s Draft plan, running forwards to 2023 and on towards perhaps 2035, will come together, designed by the combined efforts of members of the Public Services Board. It is time-tabled to be processed through to County Council’s Cabinet for approval on the morning of 24th April, 2018 and to Full Council on the afternoon of that same day, before being published in May. There was a period of public consultation on the Flintshire Draft Plan. That ended on 2nd February, 2018. During that consultation period, a total of 258 responses were received. 231 of them at the half-dozen or so public engagement events, 23 via the website consultation and 4 detailed responses from the partners and organisations of the PSB itself as well as from the Future Generations Commissioner and Welsh Government.


Given a population currently on record as in excess of 154,000 in the county, that figure of 258 responses positions itself as a statistically meaningless 0.17%. At date of compiling this newsletter, 3rd week in March, a lot of information on the Plan is still available via the Flintshire PSB’s website or by putting “Flintshire’s Future Wellbeing Plan 2017-2023” into most IT search engines. I urge readers to take a look at what is there.


If you do take a look and decide that you wish to make comment and perhaps have your views heard, despite the closing date of 2nd February, you might be able to get our newly elected A.M. for the area to take an interest and represent your views to the PSB

 

6. BREXIT.

While our wishy-washy UK Cabinet wobbles its spineless way towards some form of appeasement Brexit, I thought readers might like to see the following facts and figures from the 1975 Referendum, when the question was whether or not voters wished to stay in the “Common Market,” the 1997 Wales Referendum which established the Welsh Assembly Government and the 2016 Referendum on leaving the EU.


1975 1997 2016
Votes for 67.3% 50.3% 51.9%
Votes against 32.7% 47.7% 48.1%
Turnout 64.3% 50.2% 72.0%


In the two previous Referenda there were no ill-informed or emotional howls for re-runs. The populations and the Parliament of the times simply accepted the democratic will of the majority, as is proper. Is it that our modern-day society simply no longer understands, or values what democracy means? Or is it that Rabbi Lord Sacks’ recent observation on a generation which appears to worship only the self, the me and the I, is correct?

 

7. Community Speed Watch (CSW).

I make no apology for repeating the schematic which appeared in my last newsletter. Speeding is not only unlawful, it is also an anti-social behaviour.


Remember, please, that as members of the national organisation, we only record vehicles being driven at 35mph or above in a 30mph zone or 46mph or above in a 40mph zone. Our high-visibility tabards or jackets and cluster of three of us at roadside are difficult to miss, but vehicles still zoom past us at crazy speeds.


In 2017, the seven members of the Buckley Speed Watch team were out, just for an hour, at various police approved roadside sites around the town on 162 occasions, always in daylight hours. We recorded a total of 2,516 vehicles travelling at or above our recordable levels. Of that number recorded, 2,327 were passed on to NWPolice for cautionary letters to be sent to owners. That represents a 92.5% level of accuracy, which is not too bad in statistical terms. It also represents 72% of the total number of the letters initiated by CSW teams across the whole of North Wales during 2017.


The highest speed recorded was 74mph in a 30 zone. Interestingly, although we do get the occasional foul-mouthing
and somewhat impolite gestures, we get far more friendly waves and words of approval. Also, far too many requests for us to appear on this road or street than we have people resources for. For anyone interested in joining us, feel free to contact me by phone or email. You are welcome to come along as an observer at roadside any day we are operating, just for a few minutes, or a whole hour, to see what our CSW activity really is all about.


Our records, because we maintain our own filing system for speeders, tell us that we now have 122 second timers, 37 third timers and 1 fourth timer. We also have a handful of drivers who have told us to our faces that because they do not extract £s from pockets or put points on to licences, the letters from NWPolice are just a joke. Something to be laughed off and binned.
For any drivers who are taking that attitude, please note that the traffic count data, speeder percentages and the few highest speeds recorded are passed on to our FCC StreetScene staff and from them, on to the Wales GoSafe Team.


Arising from our data, collected over the past year, the GoSafe van will now be appearing on roads in the Buckley area where they have never before been seen, so, if any reader is a member of the “You are a joke!” brigade, do please have a re-think, because there is a sting in our tail, which could cost you £s and licence points if you continue to exceed the legal speed limits.


Finally, to the majority of drivers who use the roads responsibly and carefully and the many who appreciate our community safety efforts, a huge “Thank You.” You are the warm heart of the community. Long may you go on beating.

 

8. How Well Is Flintshire Doing?

According to the Wales Data Unit, whose latest figures available are for 2016/17, Flintshire, with its population of over 154,000, compares favourably with other Welsh County Authorities. In general outline, your county is set out as currently having:-


* More people per square kilometre than Wales as a whole.
* A higher percentage of people aged under 16 than Wales as a whole.
* A higher percentage of people aged over 65 than Wales as a whole.
* The 5th lowest percentage of people claiming Benefits in Wales.
* A lower average Band D council tax than Wales as a whole.


In terms of comparing performance for 2016/17 with the previous year of 2015/16, your county council did better in 57 of the 100 statistical indicators, stayed the same in 8 and performed worse than the previous year in 35 of them.
Compared with other county authorities for the period, Flintshire was among the better performing councils in 36 indicators and among the poorer performers in 8 of them.


In terms of customer approval, of a random 127 people, 40.1% thought that the council provides high quality services, 28.4% thought that the council is good at letting people know how it is performing and 31.5% thought
that the council does all it can to improve the local area. While most of us are aware of the wisdom that there are lies, damned lies and statistics, if those statistics from the Wales Data Unit are accurate, is there a need for the county to up its game in performance terms? Answers on postcards to the Leader of Council and Chief Executive, please – and don’t forget the stamp!

 

9. Alcohol, Drugs and Driving.

It is a sad thing to reflect upon, but a reality of life today is that all too many of the generation, coming along behind those of us who are in the nominally retired age-group, appear to be totally unable to face up to the rough and tumble of everyday life without stuffing themselves full of alcohol, opioids and other narcotics, on or off prescription.


In past years, all that was needed to keep our roads moderately safe, was the presence of uniformed police, in or out of vehicles, backed up by the ubiquitous breathalyser. Neither governments, nor ordinary citizens gave much thought to the possibility that aside from alcohol, other mind-bending and judgement-impairing substances might be swilling around in the bloodstreams and brains of drivers of motor vehicles. That was until the death of a 14-year old girl in 2010, killed by a car driven by an apparently hallucinating cannabis user. That one case caused a change, or a modernisation, of road traffic law. In 2015, for the first time ever, “drugalysers” appeared and along with them, fresh laws relating to the offence of drug-driving. In the years since then, among the number of drivers pulled over and tested for whatever reason, the percentage testing positive for alcohol excess has remained constant at about ten percent. However, of those tested for drug-driving, the level of positive results has increased to 60%, with cannabis and cocaine being the most prevalent traces.


In a Daily Mail inquiry last year, 36 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales responded, providing figures for the previous 12 months. The figures revealed that of the 5,857 roadside drug tests, 3,718, or 63%, proved positive. Notably, the Sussex force reported an 82% positive figure. Please do not feel smug about the high figure being for a far distant police force. The figures for Cheshire were, that of the 863 drivers that force stopped, 57% proved positive for drug-driving. Having inquired about figures from the North Wales Police Force, I was advised the force does not have such available..


Given that the working population of Flintshire has, on average, a greater travel to work distance than any other county in the UK, the figures are cause for a wee bit of worry, about just what might be in the bloodstreams and minds of the drivers around us. Going on from there, what impairments are that sad and sorry crew carrying into their assorted workplaces, as they arrive still under the influence of the narcotics they have taken on board, one way or another? How long before it becomes necessary for employers of all sizes, who care for the welfare of their workforce, to insist that their employees submit a saliva sample as they clock on?


The picture emerging of a drug-raddled society should also give us some cause for concern about future longevity for many of those pitiable drug-addicts; for that is what they are. Modern medical research tells us there is the potential for people being born recently to live to be a hundred or more. Not, I would suggest, unless many of them learn to live in and deal with the real world, without alcoholic binges, sugary drinks, fast food meals and opioids.


Mind you, if there is a growing cause for concern over opioids in this country, give a thought to the presently on-going and worst-ever drug-addiction epidemic which the USA is struggling to deal with. Over there, in the past few years, drug overdoses have killed an around 64,000 people per annum.


No wonder that the Michigan State Police Force, following the example set here in the UK, not long ago started using drugalysers themselves, publicly stating that it was, “…in an effort to cut down the rising number of fatal road accidents caused by drug-impaired drivers.” Other states are expected to follow suit shortly.


Sadly, the bare statistics hide the human tragedies of individual lives, families and communities damaged or torn apart because of drug addiction. Those unfortunates who suffer from it need curative help and those who promote and deal in the drugs trade need hanging. Perhaps, when we unshackle ourselves from the EU, we shall be able to do just that.

 

10. Proposed Changes to Parliamentary Constituencies

It is perhaps time to remind readers that in 2015, the UK Government floated proposals to reduce the number of MPs in Parliament from 650 to 600 overall. For Wales, the proposal was that numbers would reduce from the present 40 to 29. That meant boundary changes, which brought about several Commissions, each for a different area of the UK. Thus it was that the Boundary Commission for Wales came into being and commenced its work. On the 13th September, 2016, the Commission published its initial proposals aimed at getting parliamentary constituencies in Wales down to the required 29.


A period of 12 weeks was then given for consultation on those initial proposals. Public hearings were held around Wales and written submissions invited.


In February of 2017, all of the responses to the 12 weeks consultation period were published and a further 4 weeks were allowed for interested parties to comment on the latest representations made by others. Recently, the Commission has published its Revised Proposals, for public consultation.


The entire document is nigh on 150 pages long. From it I have extracted and copied, without change, the portion applicable to our Alyn & Deeside Parliamentary Constituency. The relevant portion reads:-


2018 REVIEW REVISED PROPOSALS REPORT
5. Alyn and Deeside (Alyn a Glannau Dyfrdwy)
5.1 The existing constituencies affected by the proposed constituency are the following:
5.1 a. The existing Alyn and Deeside CC has a total of 60,550 electors which is 19% below the UKEQ of 74,769 electors per constituency and 15% below the minimum of the statutory electoral range of 71,031 electors per constituency.
5.1 b. The existing Delyn CC has a total of 52,388 electors which is 30% below the UKEQ of 74,769 electors per constituency and 26% below the minimum of the statutory electoral range of 71,031 electors per constituency.
5.2 In the Commission’s initial proposals, it was proposed that a county constituency be created from:
5.2 a. The whole of the existing Alyn and Deeside CC; and,
5.2 b. The electoral wards within the existing Delyn CC and County of Flintshire of Argoed (2,130), Gwernymynydd (1,371), Leeswood (1,543), Mold Broncoed (1,878), Mold East (1,491), Mold South (2,155), Mold West (1,965), New Brighton (2,347), and Northop Hall (1,248).
5.3 This constituency would have 76,678 electors which is 2.6% above the UKEQ of 74,769 electors per constituency. The suggested name for the constituency was Alyn and Deeside. The suggested alternative name was Alyn a Glannau Dyfrdwy.
5.4 The Commission received a representation at the Wrexham public hearing from the current Member of Parliament for Delyn which stated that Gwernaffield should be included within the Alyn and Deeside proposed constituency due to its local ties with the town of Mold, and that the electoral ward of Northop Hall should be included within the Flint and Rhuddlan
proposed constituency due to its links with the electoral ward of Northop. This was supported by other representation received by the Commission and the Labour Party submission. The Commission also received an alternative scheme from the former Member of Parliament for the Vale of Clwyd which is discussed at paragraph 3.5 of section 5 pages 25 and 26.
5.5 The ACs concluded that the electoral ward of Gwernaffield should be included in the proposed constituency because of its local ties with Mold and that the electoral ward of Northop Hall, which has local ties with Northop, should be included within the proposed constituency of Flint and Rhuddlan as discussed at paragraph 4.4 of section 5 page 29.
5.6 Having considered the representations, the Commission accepts the recommendations of the ACs and proposes to include the electoral ward of Gwernaffield in the proposed constituency to avoid breaking its links with the town of Mold and to include the electoral ward of Northop Hall within the proposed Flint and Rhuddlan constituency to avoid breaking its links with the electoral ward of Northop. The Commission received an alternative proposal from the former Member of Parliament for the Vale of Clwyd, previously considered at paragraph 3.5 of section 5 page 25.
5.7 The Commission therefore proposes to create a county constituency from:
5.7 a. The whole of the existing Alyn and Deeside CC; and,
5.7 b. The electoral wards within the existing Delyn CC and County of Flintshire of Argoed (2,130), Gwernaffield (1,602), Gwernymynydd (1,371), Leeswood (1,543), Mold Broncoed (1,878), Mold East (1,491), Mold South (2,155), Mold West (1,965), and New Brighton (2,347).
5.8 This constituency would have 77,032 electors which is 3% above the UKEQ of 74,769 electors per constituency.
5.9 There was a general consensus that the name proposed in the initial proposals is appropriate. There were alternative names recommended along with alternative configurations. Deeside was proposed by the Conservative Party.
5.10 The ACs considered that the name proposed in the initial proposal was as appropriate, or more appropriate, than any others proposed in the representations.
5.11 The Commission agrees with the ACs that the name proposed in the initial proposals is appropriate. It therefore recommends that the proposed constituency should be named Alyn and Deeside. The suggested alternative name is Alyn a Glannau Dyfrdwy.
In September of 2018, the Commission will submit its Final Recommendations to the UK Secretary of State, who must lay before Parliament an Order in Council, which must be debated and approved (or rejected) by both Houses of Parliament.

 

11. Later This Year.

This year’s Annual Buckley Fun Day is scheduled to take place on Sunday, 20th May, 2018. As has become habit, the Precinct Car Park, the Pedestrianised Area and the car park opposite the Spar Store will be given over from late morning to late afternoon, to events, assorted entertainments and offerings from diverse local voluntary groups. There will be the chance to pat and hold all sorts of live critters and beasties, from spiders to snakes and from cats and kittens to Llamas. Why not start off the day’s enjoyment with a burger, hot-dog or a Cornish pastie, followed by a visit to the ice-ream van? You can walk off the additional calories with a couple of hours of wandering around the events and exhibits afterwards.


Meanwhile, the online community interest group, Buckley Events and Activities (BEAT), are in conversation with our Town Centre
Manager, Andy White, with thoughts of organising a purely musical festival in the town. No date yet, because as they are probably learning, it takes quite a lot of time, effort and know-how to bring such an event together. Even if such an event has to be pushed onwards into a date in 2019, at least those involved are trying to create something positive for the town, unlike the mindless wreckers who have caused the removal of the seating and Santa Cabin from the Buckley Shopping Centre.

 

12. FCC’s 6.7% Community Charge Increase for 2018-19.

Unfortunately, assorted politicians opposed to the present UK Government have used the word “Austerity” as a blanket cover/excuse to lay all of the present ills of the nation and this county, of which there are several serious ones, at the doorstep of No. 10 Downing Street. Downing Street is not to blame for all of them, but, the one that they are responsible for is why your Community Charge has risen above the 5% level this coming tax year.

 

Over several past months, during debates on the coming financial year’s budget, councillors of all varieties had been looking to cap your increase in community charge for this year to that 5% mark. What defeated us was that Downing Street handed a 2% pay-rise to teachers for the coming year. That was for several good reasons, starting with a shortage of teacher recruits. All very well and good. However, Downing Street provided no funding whatsoever to cover that pay-rise burden.


Given no additional funds for education either from Westminster or from Cardiff, head teachers were forced to start looking at disposing of staff, increasing class sizes, amalgamating classes across year groups and decreasing support for children with additional learning needs. Not at all good!


Fortunately, Cllr. Richard Jones spotted a fairly substantial nest-egg of money unspent in the current year, tucked away in the accounts. By allocating that to education and by adding the 1.7% of community charge above the 5% increase, your county councillors were able to see a way of providing the county’s current cohort of students of all ages, with nearly all of the £2million needed to avoid educational damage for what will become the adult population of Flintshire in times ahead.
There are indications that there will be a little more money coming in to FCC, in months ahead, which will be directed to schools, so that the total burden of that £2million can be carried without almost certainly damaging any child’s future potential educational achievements.

 

13. Car Parking Charges in Buckley,

The Labour administration at county council intend to increase car parking fees in the 2018-19 financial year. In the face of that, your Town Councillors, of all political colours, are investigating every option we may have to provide free car-parking in all car parks, for the convenience of residents and visitors and the benefit of our retail and commercial outlets all around the town, whose success and survival is crucial to the community’s future well-being.

If you have problems and need a word of advice I am always at your service and available, on my home phone number of 01244 549421, or via email at arnoldwoolley@outlook.com or arnold.woolley@flintshire.gov.uk. My website is available at www.arnoldwoolley.com. Finally, if you no longer wish to receive my newsletters, please email me with your house address, so that I can ensure my periodic scribblings never darken your letterbox again.


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