AT A recorded vote this morning (Nov 20) Ceredigion’s Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee voted to back the Cabinet’s decision to close Bodlondeb Residential Home by the end of March 2018.
In refusing to remit the decision to Full Council, the committee dashed the hopes of campaigners fighting to retain Bodlondeb until adequate replacement facilities are in place.
The vote was nine to seven with no abstentions.
Dinah Mulholland, the Ceredigion Labour Party representative on the Save Bodlondeb Campaign Steering Group,
said about the decision: “What an amazing battle the community and the campaign group has fought to try to save Bodlondeb Residential Home. I am blown away by their passion, creativity, kindness, knowledge, abilities, skills, and above all their sheer determination and tenacity. When Ceredigion Council began their consultation to close Bodlondeb Residential Home I think that the council were genuinely surprised at the strength of community feeling against the closure, and to be honest I think they then tried to railroad their decision through.
“The ‘consultation’ itself was a farce. The council were shocked by the community’s response, and the strength of the campaign, but their priority was to win what they perceived as a battle, at any cost, when they should as elected representatives have been listening to the overwhelming majority of their residents. Why they did this I am not sure. The stakes were clearly thought to be very high (and in the months to come we may find out exactly what it was that was at stake).
“Some of our elected representatives thought they knew better than the people who elected them, but there were others who fought long and hard with the Save Bodlondeb Campaign. It’s a very sad day for Penparcau, and for democracy in Ceredigion, and a day that people won’t forget.
“In times to come we may look back on the events surrounding the closure of Bodlondeb Residential Home, and see it was at this moment that the old guard of the Plaid Cymru led council found themselves to be profoundly out of touch with the electorate. That it was this expedient and undemocratic act that marked the end of that old guard’s control of the council and therefore the end of respect for them as a representative political force.
“Because people will only take so much, and how can any elected body disregard the strength of feeling and knowledge of residents to that extent and expect to be respected, let alone re-elected?
“Local government is so important in how it directly shapes our lives and impacts on our futures. Ceredigion Council needs new faces and fresh voices that can represent us in a respectful and benevolent way. It’s time for change.”
There will be more on this breaking story later and in this week’s Ceredigion Herald.
Parents saving on average £350 on childcare per month
Parents in Ceredigion have saved an average of £350 a month on childcare costs after the introduction of the Childcare Offer in September 2018.
Parents and guardians of three and four-year-old children living in Ceredigion can be eligible for the offer if they work the equivalent of 16 hours per week. This includes self-employed parents and seasonal workers.
The Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services, Councillor Catrin Miles said, “It’s great to see that the Childcare Offer is having such an impact across Ceredigion in the first few months. The savings will only increase as more parents register for the scheme. This will have a real positive effect on the lives of many parents. I urge anyone who thinks they are eligible to find out.”
Ceredigion County Council manages the scheme in the county, and will manage the scheme in neighbouring counties as the scheme is rolled out in 2019. The Welsh Government fund the Childcare Offer.
Parents and guardians who want to see if they are eligible can visit the Childcare Offer page on the Council’s website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/ChildcareOffer.
Police manhunt now extending beyond Dyfed-Powys region
POLICE looking for a man who attacked a police officer on Saturday afternoon have evidence to suggest he has now left the Dyfed-Powys force area.
The investigation team is now working with other forces as the operation to find him continues.
The man has been wanted by Dyfed-Powys Police since Saturday, when he attacked a police officer who stopped the car he was travelling in. The officer stopped the car based on information that he was connected with criminal activity in other areas.
Extensive searches have been carried out in Ceredigion, using the armed response unit, dog unit and NPAS helicopter, and officers now have evidence to suggest he is in another area.
A second man who was arrested following the incident has now been charged.
Wayne Dobson, aged 29, has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm, criminal damage, aggravated vehicle taking and vehicle damage, and two counts of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.
Chief Superintendent Peter Roderick said: “This has, and continues to be, a long and intense investigation, which now involves colleagues from other forces as efforts are focussed on locations outside Dyfed-Powys.
“We understand that there has been a high level of concern in our communities since Saturday afternoon, and we would like to thank the public for their patience as operations have been carried out across Ceredigion.
“Due to the nature of the enquiry, and information we have been working from, the level of detail about the wanted man that we have been able to release has been limited, but we have endeavoured to keep our communities updated as best we can.”
CCTV to return to Aberystwyth
ABERYSTWYTH is set to have it’s CCTV returned to the town.
The CCTV was scrapped in the town five years ago following a cost-cutting move by Ceredigion council.
Work is due to start this month with 10 state-of-the-art cameras, Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn have confirmed. The system was removed in 2014, despite strong opposition.
Rising crime rates and falling conviction rates, has seen a call for the reinstatement of the system ever since its removal.
Ceredig Davies, Aberystwyth Councillor has said: “Switching off the town’s CCTV cameras was a retrograde step, and as the councillor in whose ward all the cameras are located I looked forward to them being reinstated.
“I have had numerous conversations with the Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, on the matter and on behalf of residents and visitors to the town I applaud him on keeping his election pledge.”
When Dafydd Llewelyn took over from Christopher Salmon as Police and Crime Commissioner, he mad a key campaign pledge to return the CCTV to the town. Speaking on the reinstatement he said he was “very pleased” to stick to his promise.
He added “Aberystwyth is a busy town within the Dyfed Powys Police force area where CCTV is required to safeguard communities and assist in investigations.
“Crime mapping analysis has identified 10 locations for cameras for the town that I am delighted that work is to begin there very soon.
“A project of this nature is very intricate and complex. The CCTV project team is working team is working hard to keep the project moving along as swiftly as possible.
“Work starting in Aberystwyth marks the halfway point of the project.”
The removal of the old CCTV system is said to have saved Ceredigion council £150,000 a year.
The new CCTV system set to start in Aberystwyth is part of a larger project, which will see 120 cameras in 17 towns across the region by completion.
The images will be fed directly to a monitoring room at Dyfed Powys Police headquarters Llangunnor, Carmarthenshire where they will be monitored by dedicated staff.
Marie McAvoy, project manager said: “I am grateful to the team I work with for their continued determination to ensure this project is delivered for the benefit of the communities we serve.
“I am also grateful to Ceredigion County Council and North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency for their assistance and support in ensuring that this reinvestment in CCTV in Aberystwyth is delivered.”
Mark Collins, Chief Constable said: “I’m confident the system will prove to be an invaluable asset in preventing crime and responding to emerging incidents swiftly before they escalate.
“Evidence from the CCTV cameras will also no doubt prove an important investigative tool for officers.”
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