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Tesco illuminations upset neighbours

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screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-16-36-27AN ABERYSTWYTH woman has started a petition to get the new Tesco store in Aberystwyth to turn its lights out. Alexandra Parr asks: “Why does a small town need to be illuminated day and night by a big new Tesco shop and car park in the town centre, very close to residential areas?”

Stating that Tesco’s lighting is a waste of energy, Alexandra Parr also says that the supermarket is causing light pollution: “It just makes no sense to have these big lights on an open topped car park on in daylight, and then continue to be on all night when the shop is not open.” For the residents who live on ground-floor level near to the car park, she says ‘it is like daylight shining into their windows’.

“Tesco have gone ahead with this massive illumination with no thought for the residents of the town, the planet’s resources, and it doesn’t seem much thought at all.’

As of Wednesday (Dec 14), the petition had gathered 443 signatures. When complete, Alexandra Parr intends to deliver the petition to both Tesco Head Office and Ceredigion County Council. A regular visitor to Aberystwyth who lives in Bath

commented on the petition online: “I have been horrified that in this environmentally aware age that TESCO firstly, want to and second ly, that the Local Authority has allowed the indiscriminate floodlighting that now dominates the whole vista of the town from near or far. By the proper placement of the appropriate lighting fixtures, and by selective ‘as necessary’ switching all TESCO-specific requirements can be easily satisfied without having to detrimentally affect the Welsh environment, and at the same time annoy the town’s residents nearby and everywhere else within line-of-sight.”

Switch-off switches!

Independent experts on carbon emissions, The Carbon Trust, state that, on average in the retail sector, 25% of an organisation’s electricity costs come from lighting. In 2013, France passed a law on the lighting of non-residential buildings that required shops and offices to turn off their lights one hour after the last worker leaves a building. Shop window displays should be turned off at 1am and shop windows may only be lit from 7 am or an hour before opening time. Back in 2013, experts calculated that if the UK adopted a similar law, it could save almost £1.20 billion per year. In terms of light pollution, the International Dark- Sky Association cites research which suggests that artificial light at night can negatively affect human health in a number of serious ways. Moreover, they point out that glare from bad lighting is a safety hazard. Glare decreases vision by reducing contrast, which limits our ability to see potential dangers at night. This is particularly the case for older people.

Tesco’s environmental policy states that: “Following the UK’s 2010 Climate Change Act, we made an ambitious commitment to become a zero carbon business by 2050 and have set medium-term 2020 targets to help us achieve this, specifically: To reduce CO2e emissions per square foot of our stores and distribution centres against a 2006/7 baseline by 50%.” So, by any measure, including their own, it seems that Tesco should consider switching off at least some of the shop and car-park lights to save their neighbours grief, save themselves a lot of money, and save a bit of carbon from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change: Every little helps! Now, who said that?

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Appeal following Aberystwyth assault

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Dyfed-Powys Police is appealing for witnesses following a suspected assault in Aberystwyth on Saturday, February 1.

A 59-year-old man sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital.

A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of ABH and released under investigation.

The incident occurred at around 9.30pm on the corner of Upper Portland Street and Terrace Road.

Police are aware there were a number of people in the vicinity at the time of the incident and would like to speak to anyone who saw what happened, or may have information that could help the investigation.

Please call 101, visit bit.ly/DPPReportOnline or email contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired you can also text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/1743/01/02/2020/02/C.

Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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Leading the way in managing planning

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A KEY Officer in Ceredigion leads the way in sharing what it’s like to have a career in planning.

Russell Hughes-Pickering is Ceredigion County Council’s Corporate Lead Officer for Economy and Regeneration, which involves being the head of planning. He has been part of an informative article in February 2020’s edition of ‘The Planner’, the official magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Russell Hughes-Pickering is one of twelve Corporate Lead Officers who sit on the council’s Leadership Group. He says planners need to “be politically astute and look above plans and policies”. This means understanding the organisation, their role in delivering corporate objectives and thinking strategically “so they see how they fit in across the board and in turn help deliver better services and better places for people.”

Russell left Llandovery College in 1985 to start a degree in planning at the University of Westminster. He started work at the London Borough of Hounslow in 1989 as a planner before becoming the lead officer in development plan work in 1997.

The RTPI’s article delves into the careers of a chief planning officer and is campaigning for heads of planning to be incorporated into local authority senior leadership teams. This is amid fears of a declining profile and diminishing corporate presence of spatial planning.

Russell continues, “The more I’ve been involved in preparing corporate plans or the council’s development programme, the easier it is to see, influence and ensure planning is involved at the right time. This has helped avoid issues when major projects go through their planning stage, whether that’s a town centre development, a change to a care home or a new school. Fortunately, I’m involved in an excellent leadership group where the culture focuses on improvement and helping each other to achieve better services.”

He moved back to Aberystwyth in 2000 when taking up the Principal Forward Planner role at Ceredigion, before becoming the Assistant Director for Planning in 2006. This job evolved from a primarily planning remit to one that also included building control and housing matters. In May 2013, he became Head of Performance and Improvement, then became Head of Performance and Economy in 2015. From 01 April 2018, Russell has been the Council’s Corporate Lead Officer for Economy and Regeneration.

When asked what advice Russell would give younger colleagues, he wants to see more authorities improve arrangements on major development projects by setting up corporate development and project management groups and involve planners in them. He also wants to involve the next generation of planners. He said, “Young planners should get involved in these as much as possible so they’re involved in a wide range of service improvements, embrace projects or new development, seek ways to help progress and improve them, and engage in a positive way.”

Councillor Rhodri Evans is the Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, which includes planning. He said, “We are grateful to Russell for his vision and strong voice for planning matters in Ceredigion. A planner has a big part to play in helping to develop and deliver corporate priorities. It shapes the future of our county for future generations.”

The council’s decision to prioritise the planning process shows how the council is working to reach its corporate priorities of boosting the economy and Promoting Environmental and Community Resilience.

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Elin Jones calls on Ceredigion community groups to apply for ATM fund

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Elin Jones, Assembly Member for Ceredigion, has called on community groups to apply for The Community Access to Cash Pilot in order to make sure that ATMs are readily available in rural communities.

The initiative has been launched by UK Finance, the collective voice for the banking and finance industry in the UK.

Responding, Elin Jones AM said:

“Access to cash is still essential for many people, but getting access to cash can be particularly difficult for many communities. We’ve seen bank closures in many towns in Ceredigion, particularly in rural areas, despite opposition from customers in many market towns. Mobile banks do sometimes ease the burden, but the availability of these services is often infrequent.

“I’m glad this initiative has been launched in order to help local communities to identify and secure appropriate access to cash and payment services.

“Community groups are being encouraged to access the fund by applying on the UK Finance website, and I would be happy to assist any community group that is interested in applying. Please feel free to contact my office and I would be happy to help in any way that I can.”

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