Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Cardiff Labour Council ignore residents wishes in second community poll

Cardiff Labour Council ignore residents wishes
in second community poll 
Cardiff Labour Council and its leader Phil Bale and deputy leader Sue Lent run  - the council that never listens to its residents 

Cardiff Cabinet meet tomorrow to reject the results of the Llandaff community poll overwhelmingly in favour of asking them to reconsider the proposed housing developments in North West Cardiff.

They will also again reject the plea to reopen Waugron Road recycling centre.recycling, 

And of course the wishes of residents who value the bus station are ignored completely too. 

Cardiff Labour Council ignore residents wishes in community poll 
Cardiff Labour Council ignore residents wishes in community poll

Monday, 25 May 2015

No Blue flag for Barry Island - parents beware

No 'Blue Flag' for Barry Island; no beach awards for other VoG Beaches
Parents will be especially concerned that their favorite resort Barry Island doesn't have a blue flag - who wants to risk allowing their children to  swim and play in shitty water?  Who wants to go surfing in dirty water.++ 
No Blue-Flag award for Barry**; despite meeting the bathing water guideline standard over the summer of 2014; the Vale Council did not submit Barry’s Whitmore Bay for approval, perhaps because they missed the standard in 2013 (better weather in 2014) [1] and didn't want to risk failure again.
None of the Vale Beaches gets a beach award (Blue Flag or Green Coast or Seaside award) because the Council did not submit them. 

Jacksons Bay beach failed the guideline water quality standard in 4 of the 20 samples (taken weekly), as Enterococci data indicate sewage pollution.  However, Whitmore Bay failed in just 2 of the 20 samples, so could qualify overall.  Likewise, Cold Knap and Southerndown both qualified but were not submitted for awards.

The Vale Council also discontinued monitoring at Fontygary, Llantwit Major and Ogmore beaches, so the public cannot know the water quality.

Under half of the Euro-designated bathing beaches in Wales are nominated under the Blue Flag scheme (47 of the 102 total) because facilities like lifeguards and toilets are needed and dogs excluded.  But the only ‘resort’ beach in Wales omitted is Barry’s Whitmore Bay – astonishing when the Vale Council claims to be promoting Barry as a resort, say Friends of the Earth.

We believes the omissions relate to the continuing sewage problem. The failures at Jackson’s Bay (four water samples) and Whitmore Bay (two samples) relate to sewage overflows from the Cog Moors works.  This sewage works is overloaded and discharges untreated sewage during high rainfall [2].  Welsh Water added UV treatment of the overflows in 2011/12 but this proved inadequate in 2013.

The Vale Council is not objecting to the sewage failures as it chooses to permit more housebuilding (as at Wenvoe and Culverhouse Cross) that loads Cog Moors works even more.  The Council and Dwr Cymru do not require these developers to contribute towards upgrading sewage treatment facilities, in order to comply with standards.

The Vale Council’s LDP (Local Development Plan, delayed for public inquiry) wants excessive house building (10 000 homes compared with the 5700 of government projections), mainly in Rhoose and east of Barry in the ‘green belt’, all of which feed the Cog Moors sewage works.  There are no new or expanded sewage facilities in the Ofwat-approved plans to 2020; instead of pressing for these, FoE accuse the Vale Council of favouring its housing development ambitions above Barry’s bathing water and Blue Flag status.

[1] 'Blue Flag' failure at Barry Island = inadequate sewage works at Cog Moors

**  WalesBathing Water Report 2014
Note the NRW reporting uses the old Bathing Water standard, whereas Euro-Blue Flags are awarded on the revised standard (rBWD) which is compulsory from 2015
Table 8 shows Jacksons Bay is likely to fail the IE (Enterococci) standard, while Whitmore Bay and Southerndown have a risk of failure.
Table 9 indicates Whitmore Bay like Jacksons Bay failed in 2013 (‘good’) but met the Blue Flag (rBWD) standard in 2014.
Tabled 10 shows Blue-Flag qualifying Euro-beaches,with Whitmore Bay not qualifying in 2013 and 2014. 

++ Wales  Surfers Against Sewage 

Friday, 22 May 2015

NRW stops Cardiff Council who have no permit for their incinerator ash operations

Scam over Viridor’s Incinerator Ash is ending
Cardiff Council’s efforts to make money from Viridor’s incinerator ash appear at an end.
The metal screening equipment was yesterday taken down off the tip and is now parked up next to the buildings on the tip.   Ready for press photographs if you hurry.

Viridor was forced to install metal separating equipment at its incinerator from end April.  Temporary plant has been brought in, operating within the building, so without the dust-blow at Lamby Way.  They are installing modern magnetic and eddy current separators for long-term use.
Cardiff Council was forced to submit a “Risk Assessment” of its metal screening operations on Lamby Way tip.  The NRW has not accepted it, as “not provide sufficient detail in their assessment of potential impacts of dust generation”. 
CATI points out that it’s a poor, amateurish document that in no way measures up to the NRW’s guidance, or to the similar operations in England by Raymond Brown Ltd (Andover) who call themselves ‘specialist’ in incinerator ash processing.
CATI has pressed NRW (Natural Resources Wales) to take action against Cardiff; they were found to have no permit for their incinerator ash operations.  Eluned Parrott has likewise pressed for action to stop the toxic dust from incinerator ash spreading to residential areas of Rhymney/Rumney and Tremorfa.
The NRW has been slow in taking action, but at last !

UPDATE on Ash Tip operations stopped
The ash screening equipment and conveyors have now been covered over, to protect from Press photographers. 
Cardiff Council's JCBs and dumper trucks are now spreading the mounds of ash over areas of the site (claiming for 'engineering' or 're-profiling' the site), raising clouds of dust blowing in today's strong winds.  This incinerator dust is toxic, but the Council (with collusion of the NRW) ignore the harm to health and environment, pretending it does not get off site.

Splott incinerator campaigners hit out at Cardiff council for 'breaching duty of care' over Lamby Way recycling site​

Monday, 18 May 2015

Public acceptability of Cardiff Bus Station proposals

Recent letters to the Echo have questioned scrapping Cardiff’s bus station on a promise of another, on an over-small site, years in the future.  Your columnist David James criticised putting “transport infrastructure second to the demands of developers – as Cardiff seems to be doing” (30 April, Echo p.14).

The 29th April planning decision on Central Square does not settle the issue, for Councils have in law to test ‘public acceptability’ of major transport infrastructure.
This Council ‘consulted’ the public just on whether the bus station should be in front or behind the rail station. Then came ‘stakeholder’ discussion of problems and opportunities.  Next - says the core Welsh document on transport planning (WelTAG) – public acceptability of the proposal will be a key test. 

Are the present Council leaders really intending to omit public consultation and acceptability?

The previous Council leadership (Lib-Dem/Plaid coalition) did consult in 2011 on a similar siting of a new bus station.  The Welsh Government said then (2012) the Council needed to   “revisit the WelTAG work, including appropriate engagement with the public”.  The current proposals are further changed, in particular to exclude bus access via Saunders Road (by the Great Western pub).  They block any operating of the bus station during match-day closures. 

The developer-plans for Central Square do not decide over transport planning.  The council owns the land and must use it in the best interests of Cardiff, bearing in mind environmental and transport issues.  Let the Council now lay out their plans clearly, show how they meet (or fail) the principles for a Bus Station and truly multi-modal transport hub, and subject them to the public acceptability test.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Broke Cardiff Council hires Blair adviser

Not so long, about 2 years, since Cardiff labour faced criticism for proposing to recruit £80k advisor for council leader Heather Joyce which was described as obscene.  

Absolutely broke Cardiff council still faces “many significant challenges” in raising school standards, inspectors have warned. So Cardiff’s director of education Nick Batchelar says Cardiff Labour Council enlisted former UK Government adviser Robert Hill to act as a “critical friend” in the drive to raise standards in the city. Mr Hill, who worked under Prime Minister Tony Blair, will join the authority in June and is expected to stay for at least a year.  Paul Orders Cardiff Council Chief Executive suggests the regional education consortium, not Cardiff Council, will pay Robert Hill. Councillors are unhappy the role wasn't advertised. His salary hasn't been disclosed.
Find him on twitter Robert Hill @Robt_Hill
He seems keen on academies and how to improve them by creating Academy chains We dont have academies in Wales. He likes competition and partnerships between schools - bigger the better man.
Mr Hill said there is a “strong case on both educational and cost-effectiveness grounds” for the majority, and potentially all, of schools in Wales to be part of a formal federation or hard cluster with shared governance arrangements.
If approved, the federation or cluster could be primary-to-primary or secondary-to-secondary in structure, to be led by an overarching executive headteacher. Typically, federated schools retain their own identities but share services in order to enhance opportunities for their pupils. Currently, school governing bodies have the final say on federation but Mr Hill suggests the Welsh Government take a stronger role in setting out “clear direction of travel” for schools to work together more formally.
Robert Hill Tony Blair's Political Secretary. Former health adviser to Tony Blair at No.10, became Political Secretary to Blair in 2001. Used to work for the Audit Commission and Capita. He was a press officer for Tony Blair before the 1997 election

Between 1997-2001 Robert Hill worked in the No 10 Policy Unit as the Prime Minister’s adviser on health issues. Charles Clarke became Education Secretary in October 2002 Robert Hill joined him as his special adviser then to the Home Office to advise on police reform, immigration and criminal justice issues until May 2005. 

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Carl Sargeant - Cardiff Bus Station not more than local importance

On election day Carwyn Jones feigns concern about the bus station when he should know that his Welsh Government dismissed it and refused to call it in because it does not appear to raise transportation issues of more than local importance and therefore call in is not supported 

 Carwyn Jones warns Cardiff not to compromise public transport at Central  rather late the BBC and offices have been given planning permission already He refused to call it in as it isn't important enough - here is the letter signed by the DECISIONS BRANCH for the minister for natural resources.  

Minster for natural resources Carl Sargeant 

WG NO CALLIN letter 1 

WG NO CALLIN letter 2

WG NO CALLIN letter 3 

WG NO CALLIN letter 4

WG NO CALLIN letter 5 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

20 things you need to know about Cardiff’s new Bus Station

Cardiff Council PR man Ian Lloyd Davies drums up 20 things you need to know about Cardiff's new Bus Station – Fact v Fiction  01 May 2015 for Cllr Ramesh Patel - with biased Answers and some vital questions avoided.   

We bring you our Alternative 20 things you need to know about Cardiff’s new Bus Station

Here are alternatives – attempting to be open and honest –
using the documents posted on their website.
Question 1: Is Cardiff to get a new bus station?                                            A.  Maybe not. Cardiff council hasn’t £10-20 million for building costs. The site they allocated is small and huge office buildings planned above it may be delayed (picture at end).  The Council doesn’t own the site for the adjacent waiting hall, information office, food kiosks and loos, nor have funds to buy it.

Q2 How will buses access a Bus Station on the Marland House/NCP Carpark site
A.  From Wood Street, nearly opposite Westgate Street. This means awkward dog-legs for outgoing buses via Havelock Street into Westgate St, crossing buses queuing to enter the bus station. The consultants Aecom considered highway changes to meet the worsened bus and traffic congestion, including stopping general traffic on lower Westgate St, but were not sure they could work.

Q3 How will the pedestrian safety issues be addressed, with turning buses crossing the main pedestrian routes? 
A.  The consultants’ Buro Happold judgment “represent a safety risk to pedestrians” was suppressed by the officers’ report.  New traffic lights coordinated with those at Havelock Street will delay buses and limit numbers though the Bus Station.

Q4 What about claims that air pollution in the confined Bus Station will be high
A. Consultants considered the illegal-high levels of pollution in Westgate and St Marys Streets, finding only small worsening.  They omitted pollution levels in a new bus station and the council officers decided to ignore them too.

Q5 Will buses currently stopping on Wood St and lower St Marys Street use the Bus Station and integrated transport hub?
A.  No.  Planning was only to cover the 41% of city buses that use the current Bus Station

Q6 Will the Bus Stops and shelters on Wood St be replaced?
A.  No.  Inward buses will have only a set-down stop with no shelter, outward (westward) buses will have stops and shelters in Tudor St.

Q 7  I’ve read that the bus station won’t be ‘world class’ and not big enough for the future.  Is this correct?
A.  Yes. The Council has dropped its ‘world-class’ claim.  They would make do with 14 stands by cutting bus dwell-times to about 6 minutes (compared with present 10-12 minutes from 22 stands).  Coaches could not be allowed 20-30 minutes for loading and for driver comfort-breaks as present. Future Rapid-Transit services would likewise not be allowed time-tabled waits.  There’s no space for predicted increases in bus and coach services. There’s no space for Bendibuses nor for layover bays, which Cardiff Bus wanted.

Q8 What about accommodating the national coach services?
A.  The consultants said to provide a Coach station ‘elsewhere’. The Council did not report this and have done nothing, apparently hoping coaches would stay in the temporary Sophia Gardens coach park.

Q9  Will the new Bus Station function on Stadium-event days?
A. No.  Buses are not to use the Saunders Road access, by the Great Western Hotel, as in previous plans. The Council ignored its consultants Buro Happold who wrote “careful consideration must be given to how the bus station can remain operational on an event day”.

Q10 Why can buses not use the simpler Saunders Rd access, avoiding congestion and conflict with pedestrians?
A.  Because the Council reserves this access for a new 350-space car park for businesses on the Square

Q11 Why give the BBC centre 217 parking spaces in the new Saunders Rd carpark?
A.   The 83 parking spaces in the BBC’s basement are too few for the workers there. Cardiff Council thinks they need carparking within a 50-metres walk; in comparison, bus-users are supposed to walk up to 400 metres to their buses under the 1988 guidelines that Cardiff planners use.

Q12  What about concerns that the BBC will be a focus for demonstrations and a target for bomb attacks?
A.  The police Wales Extremism & Counter Terrorism Unit had many concerns, saying the Rail Station would have to be closed on occasions. The developers have been asked to take into account made the many recommendations on security enhancements

Q13 Are the BBC’s plans for open public access compatible with security
A.  No. The public exhibition space and passage through to Wood Street are vulnerable to persons carrying explosives.  Bollards would be provided all round the building against bomb-carrying vehicles, but retail units adjacent and on the ground-floor remain vulnerable. 

Q14  Who will pay for the special security measures
A.  The police report warns of capital and revenue costs. The developers will meet initial capital costs for bollards, including rising bollards and their supervision; the public purse pays for on-going policing and maintenance, while the public suffers from public transport disruptions.

Q15  What benefits does the BBC get from the Central Square siting?
A.  Like other businesses in the Central Enterprise Zone, they pay reduced rates and get special capital allowances.  These tax-benefits are to attract new jobs in Business and Financial Services, yet the jobs are simply transferred within Cardiff and are not in the BFS  sector.  The criteria set by WG officials still allow these benefits to Welsh companies (‘crony capitalism’).

Q16 Are the developers making the normal S.106 payments towards transport and other communal infrastructure
A.  No.  Nothing for transport infrastructure outside the detailed planning site, nothing towards a new Bus Station, nothing towards a cycling hub and bus/rail station cycle-parking. Cardiff Council did not require the BBC developers to pay for sites for the new bus station and transport interchange.

Q17  Why was the replacement Bus Station not included in the Central Square plans along with the BBC Centre?
A.  Cardiff Council wants the freedom to cancel the new Bus Station if they can’t get new grants for it, or for reasons of practicality or because they prefer more car parking.

Q18  It’s said the new bus station won’t be integrated with the new Metro system if one is built in the future. Is this true?
A.  Yes. The on-street Metro-tram option is routed along lower St Mary’s Street and Wood Streets with no space allocated for a Metro-station. If a station with raised platforms could be squeezed into Wood Street, at the Marland St junction, the planned hotel on the corner site would prevent direct access into the Bus Station.  The plans also block the alternative tram route via Saunders Road into a possible Metro station alongside the Bus Station.

Q 19 Why close the bus station on 1st Aug., over 2 years before a new one will be ready?
A.  The Council is disregarding the Welsh Government policy Where transport improvements will be needed to enable the proposal to go ahead, these should normally be provided first” because their priority is to meet the wishes of the developers and the BBC.

Q 20 Why no consultation with the Cardiff public on the details of these highly important plans
A.  The Council held the minimal consultation for small planning applications, but not the special exhibitions and consultations normal for large applications of wider public interest. The Council decided that their consultants AECOM would “engage with a range of key stakeholders” but not the public. The over 150 e-documents with this application are hardly accessible to the general public, with no explanatory material.  The local (Cathays) councillors did not help.

Spot the “new transport hub, linked to Cardiff Central Railway Station, on the eastside of Central Square”. The Bus Station site is half-hidden under 500,000 sq ft of new commercial developments. The bottom building with canopy is supposed to be a transport interchange.  A 350-space car park is planned too, with access via Saunders Road (off picture, bottom left), under or over the Bus Station.
Phase 3 of Central Square development
Spot the Cardiff Bus Station site half-hidden under 500,000 sq ft
 of new commercial developments. The bottom building with 
canopy is supposed to be a transport interchange. A 350-space 
car park is planned too, with access via Saunders Road 
(off picture, bottom left), under or over the Bus Station.

A Cardiff Bus users campaign join us on facebook here  - This is not related in any way to the Bus Users UK or their branch office Bus Users Cymru who support the labour party plans.   

Utrecht to build world’s biggest bike park – for 12,500 bikes Business April 27, 2014    Building group BAM has been contracted by Utrecht city council to start building what it claims will be the world’s biggest bike park – a three storey construction with space for 12,500 bicycles. The initial contract, to build the first phase of the bike park, is worth €8m. The total cost of the project is €48m, BAM says. The underground bike park will form part of the redevelopment of the area around Utrecht’s central station and will be completed by 2018.

More or less the same size as Cardiff, the Dutch regional capital Utrecht knows a thing or two that Cardiff might have learnt before it gave consent for the BBC to land-lock the site of the current bus station. Not only will Cardiff have to wait many years for a new bus station, it will be without one. The city is promised a ‘state of the art’ transport interchange. It had better note that Utretch already has one. 

Utrecht to build world’s biggest bike park – for 12,500 bikes