A PRESS RELEASE issued by Equinox PR, the media agency responsible for Cardigan Castle’s public relations, has announced the resignation of historian Glen Johnson from his role at the controversial development.
The statement reads: ‘Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust (CBPT) trustee, Glen Johnson, has today (August 17) handed in his resignation, following months of online harassment from a local opposition group’.
A quote in the same statement attributed to Mr Johnson reads: “The main reason for my resignation is to protect my family from the virtual persecution currently being dealt out by a small number of individuals who have taken exception to the Castle and its trustees because the project is not precisely as they would like it.
However, on July 3, on his Facebook page Mr Johnson announced: ‘Ten years ago I quit all 16 committees which I sat on, and told myself not to join any more. In the last three years I have gone back on this decision and have sat on another 4 committees. I’m now clearly remembering why it was that I quit in the first place. It might soon be time to hang up my hat again’.
The timing of that announcement coincided with the suspension of former director Cris Tomos and the visit of Carwyn Jones to the Castle. Mr Tomos and his employers have subsequently entered into a compromise agreement incorporating a gagging clause.
That post was followed up on July 22 by a further announcement on Facebook: ‘Quit my membership of all committees today bar one – will bow at the AGM in the autumn. It will be such a relief to return to obscurity!’
Jann Tucker, Chair of CBPT, the charity responsible for restoring Castell Aberteifi, said: “It is with great sadness that we confirm the resignation of Glen Johnson from the board of trustees.
“Glen’s remarkable knowledge of the Castle and the history of Cardigan has played a huge part in making the site what it is today and we are pleased that he will continue to support us in the capacity of a volunteer – a role he first took up 30 years ago.
“On behalf of all the trustees, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Glen publicly for his tireless work and wish him well for the future.”
Mr Johnson said: “It has been both a privilege and a pleasure to have seen the Castle advance from a building site to a wonderful amenity for the local community that will attract large numbers of visitors to the area, and to have played a role in that transition.
“I started out as a Cardigan Castle volunteer back in the 1980s, and over these many years, have had the privilege to meet and work alongside the most remarkable, talented, dedicated and extraordinary people.
“It will be my honour to return to join their number, where I intend to continue to train tour guides, give tours, prepare exhibitions, give lectures and write articles, all to promote the rich heritage of Cardigan Castle.”
Three weeks ago, The Herald invited Chair of Trustees Jann Tucker to respond to criticism of the Castle project through an interview with this newspaper. That followed our publication of a letter bearing Ms Tucker’s name but sent from Facilities Manager Sue Lewis’s email address.
Our invitation received neither the courtesy of an acknowledgement nor a response.
A report on Golwg360, the Welsh language news website, also suggested that the trustees were eager to meet with those with concerns about the direction the Castle project had taken.
After that Equinox contacted our columnist and commentator Hefin Wyn immediately after the publication of an article in Golwg several weeks ago to propose a meeting a couple of days later, with only minor players from the castle involved. Hefin replied that the notice was too short, and he made it clear that he expected to meet the senior trustees.
All went quiet.
Equinox got back in touch a couple of days ago proposing a meeting with “some of the trustees” (no names) in private and before the middle of September, i.e. before the AGM.
A level results still high in Ceredigion
THE ‘A’ level examination results published today by the WJEC (15 August) show that high standards are being achieved in Ceredigion schools once again. 97.9% of entries for WJEC examinations were graded A* to E, with 27.9% of the entries achieving the top ’A’ grades.
Ceredigion pupils continue to outperform the Welsh average. More pupils in Ceredigion achieve the top ’A’ grades and A* to E grades. The below table shows a comparison with average Welsh figures. These don’t include Welsh Baccalaureate results and those from examination bodies other than WJEC.
Wales 2019 Ceredigion 2019
Grade A* – A 27.92% 27.0%
Grade A* – B 56.0% n/a
Grade A* – C 77.5% n/a
Grade A* – E 97.9% 97.6%
Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services. She said, “I would like to extend my warmest congratulations once again to Ceredigion’s sixth form students for their successes in this year’s A Level and AS examinations.
These results are the culmination of a long journey through school life which has seen them nurture and develop the academic and interpersonal skills that will enable them to move confidently into higher education, training or employment in fields of their choice. I wish them good luck for the future and would like to sincerely thank all who have contributed to their school journey in any way.”
MP Ben Lake calls for reform of police funding
HAVING recently shadowed Dyfed Powys Police officers in Aberystwyth, the Ceredigion MP has again urged the UK Government to review the police funding formula for rural areas.
Mr Lake visited Aberystwyth police station as part of the #GiveADayToPolicing campaign, a scheme for Members of Parliament to better understand the challenges currently facing police forces across the UK.
During his visit Mr Lake had the opportunity to experience a variety of aspects of local policing – from spending time with the neighbourhood policing team, meeting officers from different departments, and discussing policing challenges with front-line police officers.
Mr Lake has challenged the UK Government on several occasions to reform the formula for police funding – highlighting the need for the funding formula to take into consideration the seasonal pressures on forces, particularly the significant increase to the population of coastal areas during the summer months.
Mr Lake said: “I am very grateful to the officers of Aberystwyth police station for their welcome, and for taking the time to speak with me. I now have a better understanding of the challenges our police officers face, as well as a deeper level of respect and admiration of their work and commitment to public safety.
“As I have previously stated, we cannot expect a one size fits all approach to work effectively across the whole of the UK, and as such, it is imperative that the criteria used to allocate the Home Office police grant are revised so that they reflect the increased demands and unique challenges facing rural forces in areas such as Ceredigion, especially during summer months.”
Mr Lake added: “It is widely acknowledged that Welsh police forces have suffered under the present funding formula, and so it is high time that the UK Government either amends the formula accordingly, or devolves the responsibility for policing to the Welsh Government so that they may do so themselves.”
New waste trial launched in Aberystwyth
A NEW trial has been launched in Aberystwyth as part of the Caru Aber campaign, to help keep the town centre clean on waste collection days.
Heavy duty sacks will be placed on Aberystwyth streets on Monday afternoons before the black bag collection on Tuesdays in the following streets; Portland Street, Portland Road, Queen Street, Corporation Street, Eastgate Street, New Street and Cambrian Place.
Black bags should be put in the sacks by 8am on Tuesday mornings for collection. The intention is that the sacks contain the waste until it is collected. The sacks will be retrieved after the waste has been collected to avoid clutter and obstruction on the streets.
Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “We see this trial as a practical and relatively cost effective way of responding to long standing issues relating to domestic waste presentation in Aberystwyth town centre. The sacks will also provide a visible reminder to residents in the town centre on what days to present their black bags.
“The trial forms part of the Caru Aber campaign, and the wider Caru Ceredigion campaign, where the council looks to work with local communities to address issues which are of concern or are important to them.
“This innovative approach is another example of positive proactive action the council is taking. We hope that the residents of the town centre will play their part by making good use of the sacks as this will be the critical factor in measuring the success of the scheme.”
Clean recycling and food waste should continue to be presented on a weekly basis in the containers that the council already provides through clear bags and food caddies.
Ensuring that the right waste is presented in the right way and on the right day will help to make sure that the town’s streets are kept clean and that the waste is contained, managed and treated in the most cost effective and environmentally friendly way as possible.
The sacks were first used in readiness for waste collections on Tuesday 6 August 2019. The initial feedback is positive as they have worked to contain the waste on the streets, which were noticeably cleaner.
This latest initiative is developing on feedback and experience from two other trials undertaken. The success of the trial will be monitored on an ongoing basis and reviewed to reflect the experience which will include looking at ways of engaging all residents.
For more information about the new scheme, please contact the Customer Services Contact Centre on 01545 570 881 or by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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