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Bodlondeb closure decision to be ‘called in’

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IN A dramatic turn of events, it has been reported that the Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee could call in the planned closure of Bodlondeb Residential Home, Aberystwyth, as a first step to securing a vote on the issue by the whole Council.

On Tuesday, November 7, the Council’s Cabinet, voted unanimously to back the closure of the home on or by March 31, 2018. The Cabinet also decided that no new admissions would be made to the home before that date.

No formal announcement has yet been made on a call-in of the Cabinet’s decision, but given the Council’s pre-Christmas timetable, if the decision is to be reconsidered by the Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee and then voted on by the full council, an Extraordinary meeting will be required of the Scrutiny Committee, possibly as early as next week, in order to get Bodlondeb’s fate before councillors at their meeting on December 7.

REACTION TO CLOSURE DECISION

Defending the Cabinet’s decision, the Cabinet member responsible for Social Services, Councillor Catherine Hughes said: “The decision to close Bodlondeb was a difficult one to make; I’m very aware that the home has served older residents of the county and their families well for decades. The demand and needs of older people are changing with people opting for care in their own homes. This decision allows the Council to use resources effectively to ensure the best possible quality of care for our older residents.”

Indicating that the fight was far from over a Ceredigion People’s Assembly representative said: “Despite the community’s strong campaigning, Ceredigion council has favoured austerity again today. Our concern reaches further than Bodlondeb care home – this is just one example of cuts to services.

“The council insists that the answer is austerity, without looking at alternative ways to make ends meet and have taken the easy way out today by cutting provision for the most vulnerable.

We are looking at the possibility of taking the decision to a full council meeting, and that other Ceredigion councillors will not want to deprive the residents of Ceredigion further.”

Former Ceredigion MP Mark Williams said: ‘The council has simply failed to recognise the need for a vision of adult social care provision across Ceredigion; is retreating in its role as a public sector provider; and is mistaken in its view that as the number of elderly grow then its residential care provision should be reduced’.

A spokesperson for the Save Bodlondeb Steering Group said after the meeting: “Of course we are disappointed, it is a major blow to our hopes of making the Cabinet see the flaws in a plan which leaves the biggest centre of population within the County without its own council run care home, or indeed any replacement provision for the foreseeable future.

“However, we are not planning to rest up at all.  We are extremely hopeful that sufficient Councillors will disagree with the Cabinet decision so that the decision may be ‘called-in’, that is the matter be brought before a meeting of the full Council to discuss.

“We would to thank those Councillors who did speak passionately in defence of Bodlondeb: Cllr Harris, Cllr Lloyd, Cllr Lloyd Edwards, Cllr Elizabeth Evans, Cllr Ceredig James, Cllr John Roberts, Cllr Steve Davies and Cllr Alun Lloyd Jones.

“This decision is a real test of the Save Bodlondeb Campaign’s resilience but the fact that so many of us were prepared to travel to the Council Headquarters and protest outdoors in such atrocious weather is testament to our determination to achieve our goal, which is to Save Bodlondeb until suitable provision is in place.”

Local AM Elin Jones, Llywydd Cynulliad Cymru, also condemned the decision to close the home: “I’m saddened that the cabinet has found itself in the position of proposing the closure of Bodlondeb. In my view, no decision to close should have been taken until a properly consulted plan for the provision of elderly care in the Aberystwyth area was in place.

“It feels as though the cart has come before the horse.

“The Council needs to move quickly to give reassurance to the people of the Aberystwyth area that the needs of the elderly population for the years to come will be met by the council and other providers.”

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Aberystwyth: Driver on drugs hits lorry and causes ‘road chaos’

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A DRIVER high on drugs caused 15 miles of chaos as he approached Aberystwyth on the A44.

Brian Pitts hit an oncoming lorry and road signs as he drove on the wrong side of the road.

A car passenger filmed him because she was sure a serious accident was about to happen.

Pitts, aged 57, of Delmont Close, Tipton, west Midlands, admitted dangerous driving and driving while unfit through drugs he had taken.

Dean Pulling, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that on June 16 last year Pitts had been driving his Rover MGZR, towing a trailer full of wooden fencing posts, towards Aberystwyth from his home.

Richard Brooks followed the car through Llangurig and became so concerned he telephoned the police while his wife Victoria filmed Pitts on her mobile.

The Rover collided with a 13 tonne lorry driven by Andrew Paxton but failed to stop.

Pitts failed to take a roundabout and hit road signs and an embankment but still carried on.

During the 15 miles, said Mr Pulling, oncoming traffic had to swerve off the carriageway to avoid a collision.

Several motorists telephoned the police to report what they were witnessing, he added.

Pitts came to a stop in the middle of the road and another motorist snatched the keys out of the ignition–and noticed that Pitts had been driving with a dog on his lap.

Mr Pulling said police officers could tell there was something wrong with Pitts, but an alcohol text showed he was below the limit.

“He was clearly unfit,” said Mr Pulling, although it was still unclear what drugs he had taken.

Pitts was taken to Aberystwyth police station and then to Bronglais hospital, where he appeared to recover after treatment. But he soon deteriorated and had to be taken back to the hospital.

Pitts developed pneumonia and had to be kept in for nine days.

His barrister, Tom Scapens, said when Pitts had been shown the mobile telephone footage he felt physically sick.

Judge T Mervyn Hughes jailed Pitts for 10 months and banned him from driving for four years.

He told him, “If you had not been stopped I am quite sure you would have caused serious injury if not death.”

Pitts was told to pass an extended driving test before getting his licence back.

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Motion to support the reduction of plastic use in Ceredigion approved

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In a Full Council meeting on 22 February 2018, the Council unanimously supported a motion to reduce the use of plastic and to support plastic reduction initiatives in Ceredigion.

The motion was proposed by Councillor Mark Strong and was seconded by Councillor Gethin Davies. The motion calls on Ceredigion County Council to support the various ‘Plastic Free’ campaigns throughout the county by reducing single-use plastics within Council facilities and offices and to promote the use of sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics at all Council supported events.

Councillor Mark Strong said, “I’m delighted that the Council unanimously supported the motion. This is an important step for the Council but we must carry on to reduce plastic use. Everyone has a responsibility to reduce the environmental damage caused by plastic. Carrying out small acts such as buying milk from your local milkman supports the local economy but in turn also supports our environment by using reusable glass bottles.”

The motion also calls on the Council to encourage local businesses, organisations, schools and communities to move away from single-use plastics and use sustainable alternatives as well as to support beach cleans and other events which aim to raise awareness of the issues of single-use plastics under the “Plastic Free”, Caru Ceredigion, Tidy Towns or any similar initiative.

The motion was amended in the meeting to include the establishment of a Members’ Task and Finish group to support measures to reduce the Council’s use of plastic and to support initiatives in the county that reduce plastic use.

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Richards-Keegan cleared of sending underage girl nude pictures

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A BOW STREET man has been cleared of charges that he sent an underage girl photographs of his penis.

Paul Robert Morgan Richards-Keegan, aged 21, had denied two allegations of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Richards-Keegan, of Tregerddan, said the only messages he sent her via the internet were in response to approaches from her and did not include photographs of his private parts.

Catherine Richards, prosecuting, had told a jury at Swansea Crown Court that the 14-year-old girl had shared messages with Richards-Keegan via Snapchat.

At one stage police issued to him a child abduction notice, which he signed, instructing him not to contact the girl

In 2016 she told her mother that he was again sending her unwanted photographs of his penis attached to messages.

Richards-Keegan was arrested, and told police he had obeyed the order apart from messages he had sent after being contacted by the complainant.

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