Sunday, 27 July 2014

Council betrays STAR area residents

We think it very important that everyone in Cardiff learns the real history of this council’s betrayal of residents in the STAR area.
Their latest announcement that they plan to cut by a third the sum spent to build the hub on Splott Park is just the latest in a long line of promises they have broken.
Contrary to the propaganda, this is not an investment: it’s a cut, and it is aimed at one of the poorest communities in the cityThe replacement hub, in violation of all promises, is smaller than the area covered by Splott Pool and the STAR and if benefits, advice and other council services are to be provided from the building as planned then there will be very little space for leisure. More housing on the site of the STAR Centre will put even more pressure on services.
Closed by Cardiff Labour - Splott Pool 
When this council announced 18 months ago that it intended to close Splott pool, the whole community in the STAR area rose up and fought the plan. Leisure and youth services were already inadequate. People understood that any cuts would do serious damage to the community. The campaign was so well-supported that the council was forced to back off, and instead promised a state-of-the-art replacement facility on Splott Park.
Ten-pin bowling, diving boards, log flumes and a gym better-equipped than private providers were mentioned as the consultation took place. Councillor Huw Thomas suggested that the hub would attract people from outside Cardiff, and compete with the Olympic pool in the Bay! But then plans for the hub came out, revealing that none of the promised improvements were included. Councillors had pledged that Splott Pool would stay open until spades were in the ground to build a replacement facility. Instead, it closed last April.
Happening in Ely/Caerau - Ely Library
closed by Cardiff labour 
Parents are now struggling to keep their kids on the straight and narrow all summer. Even this, however, has proved not to be enough for them. Now the council is planning to cut services to the bone. At a packed meeting at Saint Saviour’s Church two weeks ago the SOS STAR Area campaign resolved to stop them. If the council can’t build a replacement facility on Splott Park that will be an improvement to leisure services for the area as promised, then there should be:
1. No demolition of Splott pool.
2. Refurbishment of the original pool building.
3. The retention of the STAR centre.
We have called a protest lobby of the next surgery of local councillors and we urge everyone who cares about the communities of Cardiff to attend outside the STAR Centre on Splott Road at 9.30am on Saturday, August 2.
If they get away with it in Splott, they could target your area next.
Cardiff labour closed Ty Nwydd care home Heol Trelai,Caerau/Ely.  The cruellist cut of all.
Gareth Wilcox, chair
committee members Darren Warburton, Ross Saunders,
Cath Peace, Dave Bartlett, Christine Read, Jacqui Bond

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Cardiff council backed org urges Scottish companies to move to Wales if YES wins

BBC  reports Scotland referendum: Firms invited to move HQs to Wales   A  business group is writing to leading Scottish companies urging them to move their companies to Cardiff if the country votes for independence. Cardiff Business Council's move comes ahead of the vote on 18 September to decide if Scotland remains in the UK. It is targeting companies in the financial services sector, including the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). The letter emphasises Cardiff has an enterprise zone specifically for financial services companies. The business council (CBC) wants companies like RBS, Scottish Widows, Standard Life and the Student Loans Company to move their headquarters to Wales in the event of a yes vote, BBC Wales has learned.

Has this policy been discussed by Cardiff Labour council - since when has Cardiff labour council decided to oppose Scottish independence? Phil Bale hasn't mentioned this in his blog or at any democratic meeting.  Is it appropriate for Senior staff of Cardiff Council, Neil Hanratty, Ken Poole, Louise Prynne, Chris Hespe all on the board, to have agreed this decision to encourage Scottish companies to move to Scotland in the event of a YES vote? 

Who and what  is Cardiff Business Council 

The business council  was set up by Councillor Russell Goodway, Ex Cabinet Member for Finance, Business and Local Economy in July  2013 Cardiff Business Council describes itself as is the new business-led organisation set up to grow Cardiff’s private sector by marketing and promoting the Cardiff Capital Region as a world-class destination for business investment and tourism. Cardiff Business Council is also acting as the primary link between the City of Cardiff Council and the local business community, be they inward investors or indigenous businesses.

Nigel Roberts
Managing Director, Paramount Office Interiors -- extensive boardroom and leadership experience, including 4 years as a board member of the Cardiff Chamber (that went bust) 6 years on the board of Cardiff Met and Vice President of Glamorgan Cricket
The lead Council employees who are directors of Cardiff Business Council are:
Neil Hanratty
Director of Economic Development, City of Cardiff Council
Ken Poole
Head of Economic Development, City of Cardiff Council
Louise Prynne
Marketing & Commercial, City of Cardiff Council
Chris Hespe
Director of Sport Leisure and Culture, City of Cardiff Council

Monday, 21 July 2014

Premature closure of the Bus Station for development purposes

In the rush to accommodate the BBC new build on the Bus Station - a decision made behind
Cardiff Bus Station No date for a Replacement
Cardiff Labour Council will CLOSE and DEMOLITISH
the  station by JUNE 2014 #Bteam
closed doors with NO consultation what so ever...the 
BBC requires Rightacres Property Co Ltd on behalf of the coucil to be in position to sign these Heads of Terms within 3-4 weeks Sod citizens. Yet 
Cardiff labour Council tries to justify closing the Bus Station before the new one is built, in spite of the detriment to services  - costs to operators in diversions and congestion delays and worsened services for passengers?
Cardiff Council cynically claims it remains fully committed to delivering a new modern bus interchange, 'adjacent' to Cardiff Central Railway Station and just 'preferably' as part of an Integrated Transport Hub. Why can they not cooperate with  a design for a fully integrated rail/ bus station?  A new railway station plan has been announced overlooking the fact that it is a grade 2 listed building 
The cabinet decided that there is no problem having Agreement to the closure of the existing bus station by June 2015 to enable the commencement of construction of the BBC development.  Disposal of land at Central Square. More false promises from Cardiff labour - who are prioritising the BBC office over the bus station for which no design plans exist - nor is there any dates for start of completion of a bus station

 We want a fully integrated rail/bus station

The plans to the Cabinet show an under-sized bus station... 18 stands, smaller than Newport and Swansea... with no space for bendy buses, none for expanding services in line with the LDP and no space for Coaches. ie. no integrated transport hub! Nor is there space for a Metro station - does this really imply dumping the bus station, giving this space to the Metro? That would fit with claims of no money for rebuilding the bus station, whereas in 2011 they had plenty for it (£12million from the £17million WG funds for the Herbert St bridge). Can't trust Cardiff Council's words !

Premature to sign a Memorandum of Understanding - plan to sell off the bus station site  Is it lawful for the Council to enter a legal commitment on the disposal of public land in advance of public consultation on the issue?
Cardiff Labour council officers’ decided to offer the Central Square site to the BBC, without the priority due to the Council’s policy for an integrated transport interchange [March 2011 Exec Business report for a new public square and transportation interchange, reflecting high quality public realm commensurate with Cardiff’s position as a European Capital City]
Is it prudent (and lawful) for the Council to commit itself to the BBC development, in view of the substantial planning issues, the nonconformity with the development plan and City Centre Strategy (+ reducing traffic), and inconsistency with the Enterprise Zone [central Business zone for Financial and Professional Services]?
Traffic to and from the BBC Office - questions 
As BBC traffic movements are special to them, what numbers has the BBC given for movements to and from the building (distinguishing small and large vans as well as cars)? Wales on line said 200 car parking spaces but no indication how they would enter or leave the site!
What contribution to air pollutants and impact on the AQMA from this traffic.
Agreement with Rightacres over the Site 1 development (s.15): seeing that developers are normally required to provide landscaping and public realm land rather than develop up to the boundaries of a site, how much such land is included in the calculations on land-swap of land from Central Square (confidential Appendix 7)?
Air Pollution and the St Marys St/ Westgate St AQMA
The Council ist legally bound to have a strong presumption against development that does not improve and potentially worsens the traffic pollution in the AQMA...
Is there evidence that the interim arrangements would reduce pollution, as the expected reduction in bus numbers in Westgate St is small but traffic congestion emissions will rise; and will the pollution be worsened on other central streets in view of the  longer bus journeys and increased bus congestion?
After the new bus station with increased bus numbers, plus the extra traffic from the BBC and other Central Square developments, air pollution in the AQMA would potentially be higher than present – what assessment have Cardiff council made of this?
Missing Funding??
Under Berman rule there was £17 million from the Herbert St bridge and two £2m tranches of sustainable Travel City, quite enough to fund the new Bus Station (~£10million);  has the WG refused to allow the £17million to be used on a new Bus Station or has the Cabinet other designs for this money?
As the public realm improvements include necessary accesses to the bus and rail station/transport interchange, cycling facilities etc., could these not be funded by the Herbert St fund, rather than rely on capital funds and S.106 contributions facilitated by Rightacres (doubtless as part of a deal benefiting these developers)?
Public Consultation after the decision
Arranging public consultation over the August holiday period and for less than the 12-week standard is bad practice.  As Ramesh claims it’s a “major consultation exercise” (Echo 12 July), will he arrange major consultation events in September?
Bus Station option to south of Railway Station
What progress has been made in negotiations with Railtrack over the 2009 option (Fi. 11 of Technical Appendix)? 
Previously it was considered that a new bridge over the Taff would be necessary for this option – what reassessment of this issue and the funding of such a bridge been made?
As the 2011 considerations led to a firm decision for a Bus Station on the Marland House site, is the proposal to re-consult on the southern site not serious and a diversion?
Part of Central Square given over to building contractors (s.20)
Cardiff has suffered from allowing contractors to use this very visible site for years. Why should (Rightacres) contractors not instead fix to use the derelict site of the old W Mail & Echo offices for the works compound, or some other empty site, instead of Central Sq?
Bus operation if Premature Closure
referring to the AECOM report (appx to Exec Business report of 30 Jan 2012)
Time for a change
Westgate Street Bus Stop too small Not enough seating
for disabled and Elderly bus users - narrow footpath 
Stage Coach need their services to reach the rail station area, not stop in Greyfriars Rd. AECOM leave that undecided.
The Library Loop of Canal St => Hayes Bridge Rd => Custom House St already suffers congestion which will worsen (is it feasible to stop unloading vehicles and stop cars waiting for John Lewis car park?)
The Penarth Rd => St Mary's Link loop is subject to delay at several traffic lights - routing more buses that way – could the traffic lights be converted to bus-triggering?
For Coaches to reach Park St as planned, the sharp corner from Wood Street and narrow lane (Scott Rd) are impossible, while no car drop-off/waiting is proposed yet AECOM failed to list changes as essential works.
AECOM admit increased length of bus routes and bus-on-bus congestion at stops. This extra cost to operators and worsened service to passengers could be quantified.
Under WelTAG* the impact on passengers and operators has to be assessed and consulted on. The WG's Transport Planning unit (Corinna James to A Greagsby of Cardiff Bus-users, 27 Jan 2012) wrote the:
Council's proposals have now changed. As such, we are continuing to press the Council on the need to revisit the WelTAG work, including appropriate engagement with the public and other key stakeholders.  
The WelTAG guidance... developed to plan and appraise all transport proposals that require funding and/or approval of the Welsh Assembly Government. WelTAG is the overarching guidance whose principles and practices are to be applied to all modes, to all types of transport investment proposals, at a strategic or scheme level.

Westgate Street nightmare for bus users 
The “transport hub” in Westgate Street stretches over 100 metres, the shelters and seating are quite inadequate, exposed to wind and rain; pedestrian routes to Central Station and a second “transport hub” by the Library are lengthy and cross busy roads with no pedestrian priority.
The Library 'hub' stretches round John Lewis's into Custom House Street, has poor shelters open to the weather (merely an overhang on the library building), no seating and no toilet or cafe facilities. Van's stopping to unload and cars to and from John Lewis's obstruct bus movements. The Greyfriars Road hub/interchange has no shelters on the south side (most buses use) Thus the  “transport hubs” are a recipe for rotten facilities and no priority for buses.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Phoney Consultation Exercise - False Figures given by the Council

1. Phoney Consultation Exercise after decision has been made - findings contradict Cardiff Labour councils decision to close Waungron Rd

2. False Figures given by the Council's argument for two super-centres

1. Phoney Consultation Exercise that was too late and then the results which were conclusively against the closure of the most popular and well used HWRC at Waungron Rd
ENVIRONMENTAL SCRUTINY COMMITTEE 14 JANUARY 2014 Present: County Councillor Mitchell (Chairperson); County Councillors Clark, Derbyshire, Hyde, Lomax, McKerlich, Merry, Parry and Walsh  

Members of the Committee wished to express their serious concerns about the communication that had taken place around these proposals. It is not acceptable for Elected Members representing the areas of Cardiff that contain HWRCs to be emailed on the same day that this item was scrutinised, and to make matters worse, not all the correct Members were captured by this communication. At the latest, Members should have been contacted when papers for this item were circulated, three clear working days before this meeting. Additionally, Members felt that this information would have been in the interest of all Elected Members, as all will have constituents who are affected by the proposed changes.  
 Members recognised that Phase 2 of the consultation on the Waste Strategy was now being launched, which presented the proposals outlined in the presentation and preceding e-mail to improve the efficiency of Cardiff’s Household Waste Recycling Centres at two HWRC 'super-sites'.
 Members were particularly concerned that the ‘change timeline’ presented to the Committee, and the need to obtain a Cabinet decision in Februarydid not allow adequate time for the results of this consultation to meaningfully influence the proposals should the service redesign in its current form not be supported....  

Members were not convinced that the savings projections of £300k per annum and projected capital receipts for the two disposed sites were accurate

There was  no discussion on the consultation report as it took until 8th April 2014 at CARDIFF COUNCIL ENVIRONMENTAL SCRUTINY COMMITTEE Buried in AGENDA ITEM: 7 CORRESPONDENCE UPDATE – a 'Summary' of the Consultation on household waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) which has Jan 2014 on but which the Cabinet member for the environment said in his letter it took place in Feb 2914.   

2. False Figures given by the Council's argument for two super-centres - see below

1. Most of the claimed savings are 
a) from new service - £100k income from commercial waste recycling - a guess that appears to ignore costs of non-recyclable waste disposal and management/supervision
b) from ceasing to send HWRC materials for "post sort" externally, but sorting more efficiently at the supercentres.

The only significant saving is the £50k on staff (two posts, one at Waungron Rd and one at Lamby Way).
#  Extra costs from material not taken to the HWRCs (flytipped or put in black bags) have been ignored, seeing that most people say they will not drive over 2 miles (55% CHECK) or over 3 miles (85%) to the HWRC.
#  Extra costs in traffic congestion, driver-time, road-wear and fuel costs of extra distances driven to the supersites are all ignored (these all covered in Welsh WelTAG assessment, supposed to be used in transport assessment)

Q: .. the information to justify the claim re. HWRCs of the £135,000 saving and that in the Phase 2 waste strategy survey   "The overall saving would be in excess of £300,000 per year."

How is the £135,000 saving for the HWRC made upThe saving comprised of a part year effect of £50,000 connected with restructuring our staff structure and £100,000 anticipated income from opening the commercial WTS at Bessemer Close.    [small saving on staff; big guess on commercial waste income ... without costs of extra to landfill etc]
 How will the saving in excess of £300,000 be made up

The saving effectively relates to a different way of operating ensuring that we divert material from the residual waste bins ourselves rather than rely on the costly process of post sorting material. In essence, by stopping material going for post sort at a higher cost (approximately £2.1m) and by increasing the amount of material recycled from the residual waste stream and thereby reducing our costs (approximately £1.8m) we will be able to deliver a saving £300,000 from the difference.  There are also smaller savings relating to staff shift pattern changes which will reduce overtime and agency spend.   [end a v. costly post-sort for greater separation at bring site (guess)

Thursday, 10 July 2014

B team Bob on Splott pool 'something will be provided for the residents of the area'

From Save Splott Pool page on facebook - The B team responses 
  • Sal Cardiff Just got this back from Sue Lent (Deputy Leader). "I am not sure where the “recent reports” originate.
  • Please be assured that proposals will be brought forward soon.
    July 8 at 7:53pm 
  • I can tell her how these reports of backtracking on promises to Splott started ...

           They originate from the last full council meeting when labour Cllr Peter Bradbury couldn't give assurances about the promised splott pool. Cllr Bradbury said the whole capital programme is currently being would be irresponsible of me to come here and give assurances at the moment

    Gretta Marshall @Grettaelaine tweeted during the meeting 
    "Very worried no assurance for STAR community on new hub and 25 m pool from Cabinet Member                        
  • Lynda Thorne @LyndaT48 "yes very worrying considering the capital included in budget agreed by council" More here Cardiff Council Watch: Labour party hypocrisy Betrayal of Splott
  • Sal Cardiff Got this from
    Bob Derbyshire
  • Sally
    Thank you for your email. Any suggestion that we will not go ahead with a replacement for the Splott pool is a little premature. The Cabinet member responsible for this is working hard to ensure that something will be provided for the residents of the area. It seems likely that an announcement will be made shorty.

  • What people think of that! 
  • Phil Daw I like ***to ensure that something will be provided for the residents of the area.**** we had something ............ it was called the pool [small gym, community room,] car park, external changing rooms, bowling greens, bowling pavilion and park ran...See More
  • Jacqui Crowley exactly - we already had it and it got closed.
    18 mins · 
  • Sal Cardiff I don't like "proposals" and "something", that's not even "the hub that was already proposed and approved"

From Ross Saunders LATEST 38 mins 
Full report from the excellent campaign meeting to follow. BREAKING NEWS is that it looks like the Council are going to try and force through another cut in funding. The old plan for the hub was a cut in reality in leisure services (30% less spent on leisure in the area). But even that isn't enough for this Council. They now want to build a cut-price version that will be a third cheaper and cannot but mean an even greater reduction in services for an area that didn't have enough to start with. Their plan is for a £6 million hub not the £9 million they were touting. We are a long way from the diving boards, bowling alley and water slides promised by Councillors. Really heartened by the determination of campaigners (about 70 in attendance, many more wanted to come) to fight the plan. Protest planned

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

B team Ramesh Patel ignores cyclists

'BUS LANES – PROPOSED EXPERIMENTAL USE BY ADDITIONAL VEHICLE TYPES' that is motorbikes and taxis to you and me reported as simply  Six month trial will see changes to Cardiff's bus lanes Strangely there is no mention of cyclists, not a single mention. There is also no mention of the Active Travel Act. The ink isn't dry on that, yet it has been completed ignored 
"Local authorities are required to have regard to this guidance when creating or improving 
active travel routes"
For Ramesh Patel and his labour friends information The Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 is landmark Welsh law supposed to make it easier for people to walk and cycle in Wales. The Act makes it a legal requirement for local authorities in Wales to map and plan for suitable routes for active travel, and to build and improve their infrastructure for walking and cycling every year. It creates new duties for highways authorities to consider the needs of walkers and cyclists and make better provision for them.

Back to the Cabinet decision on  'BUS LANES – PROPOSED EXPERIMENTAL USE BY ADDITIONAL VEHICLE TYPES'  What is the Active Travel advice on that - here it is 
37 BUS LANES Motorbikes There is often pressure on highway authorities to permit a wide range of other users to use bus lanes, including taxis, private hire vehicles and motorcycles. This can reduce the benefits afforded to cyclists and should be avoided 

The B team - Bale cabinet papers Reasons for Recommendations 
11. To allow private hire vehicles to use bus lanes, so that their customers would be subject to the same journey time as they would in a licensed hackney carriage, and to allow two-wheeled motorised vehicles to use bus lanes, in support of the Council’s transportation policy.

Councillor Ramesh Patel, the council’s cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, said: “This is a good opportunity to trial the use of bus lanes by these additional vehicles as new technology in the form of CCTV cameras will soon be in place, which will allow us to identify permitted and unpermitted use of the lanes. 
Ramesh Patel  “There is a clear argument, from a consumer as well as an environmental perspective, for allowing private hire vehicles to use bus lanes. “Two wheeled powered vehicles cause less congestion than cars and require less parking space at their destinations. He went on...“If we can encourage this as a form of transport, it will contribute to reducing congestion in the city.”
No, no, no, Ramesh, and the B team this is NOT a clear argument - it is a manifestation of extreme ignorance of any environmental perspective and it is not a way to tackle congestion nor does it pass for a policy to tackle congestion. It is yet more evidence of a half baked transport policy  that could have been dreamed up on the back of fag packet.  
Cabinet is recommended to agree that an Experimental Order be made allowing private hire vehicles and motorised two wheelers to travel along the bus lanes in Cardiff, and subject to a satisfactory review in 6 months, the associated Bus Lane Orders to be amended on a permanent basis to this effect.  ANDREW GREGORY Director 6 June 2014