Thursday, 10 September 2015

Where Does All The Money Go? A Mini Rant


We're used to seeing public money get wasted in Ceredigion. Pointless alterations to train stations; digging up green areas when there are already enough paths; scrabbling for ideas to spend money; and Ceredigion County Council spending money to enable supermarkets to come to the county and suck money out of the region (in opposition to local independent shops which would keep it in the county and make it a more interesting place to live and visit, rather than becoming the same as everywhere else).

Ah. All that money spent on the train station. And the 
one thing customers are often desperate for - the toilet - 
continues to be closed whenever you need it.

We won't even go into all the money the council wasted on its Unitary Development Plan (UDP)/Local Development Plan (LDP) debacle. These documents are still used by the Council as justifications for granting planning permission to developers (often to build on greenfield sites), as if the things the Council put in these documents many years ago (and well out-of-date now) can be used later on to justify developments. Many people spent days responding to the awful UDP, only to find that the Council then dropped it anyway when the UDP was thrown out by the Welsh Government as being no good.

It is no wonder the county's residents didn't have the heart to then deal with the Council's "new vision", the LDP (a renamed UDP with minor changes). The truth is that the LDP doesn’t represent the views of the people affected by it: it was mostly just developers trying to get sites added, then Planning accepting it even though it went against their own policies, and an obscure commenting system that took days to deal with so put people off responding (I’ve heard that from a lot of other people who were demoralised by it). Basically the LDP is seen by many as a document where Ceredigion County Council and developers divided up the county, planning for a massive increase in housing and in-migration (which was not wanted or needed and is now out of date anyway). This is not a document with validity, yet the Council cling to it; it is not accepted by residents, yet the Council acts on it, and uses it as a justification for granting planning permission. E.g., from one County Council letter:
"An application at this location, subject to meeting the site specifics cited in the LDP (see details set out in Volume 2A of the LDP) and plan policies generally (see Volume 1 of the LDP), is likely to lead to a permission being granted due to its allocated status. Therefore the potential use of the site has been established through the LDP."
I dread to think of all the money wasted by the Council on the UDP/LDP.

Aberystwyth University has been criticised for similar issues, such as building on greenfield sites (possibly related to the accusations of them having insufficient ethical and green policies). Another money-related issue is their giving huge salaries to senior staff (in common with other HEIs, sometimes paying more than the US President despite the unpopularity of some staff). The university happily spends huge amounts on consultants though - nearly £90,000 just in 2011-12 (source).

Money for Aberystwyth University bosses, not for the workers:
Cambrian News, 20th March 2014, p5

2 comments:

Anthony Jones said...

Train station spending is Welsh Govt, not Ceredigion.
Not many ACTUAL examples of bad spending.

CIN said...

We only said it was public money, which includes Welsh Government money. The later examples were Council ones.

Nonetheless, I'm sure the Council were consulted and approved the changes, they work with the rail authorities on issues like this - https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/English/Resident/Travel-Roads-Parking/Public-Community-Transport/Rail/Pages/default.aspx