February 2014

March 11, 2014

It is good to see some of the aspirations and priorities for the Town and Area Plans coming to Cabinet. These have progressed due to the hard work and commitment of officers and members and it is important to note that these Town and Area Plans will develop a more strategic approach to investment within our communities and develop a level of confidence for residents and businesses.

As usual, there are highs and lows in politics and Denbighshire welcomes the Welsh Government funding to help us deal with the floods and impact of the severe weather. As an authority, it would have proved difficult to deal with this without Welsh Government support. On the other hand, we were informed by the Minister for Education that £20m was being allocated to poor performing schools. I have difficulty in understanding why schools in the most deprived areas of Wales do not qualify for this funding but I believe this can only be testament to the leadership in the Rhyl schools which the Welsh Government doesn’t see as a concern.

I was fortunate to travel to London this month with other Leaders from North Wales to meet the Secretary of State for Wales. It was a positive meeting and we discussed the developments on the progress on the prison, the electrification of the Holyhead to Crewe rail line and the Wylfa B project. These are three key projects for North Wales and we are committed to working together with local suppliers to maximise local employment from the construction and operation perspectives.

Once again, I have to apologise for being late with my blog but as the sheep have started lambing there seems to be no sense of time and as the Spring emerges, there is more farming to do.

I have once again purchased an heiffer to take to the shows in the Summer and have not yet given her a name. She is all black and very friendly – any thoughts?

January 2014

January 30, 2014

New Year has entered with quite a force for cabinet, where there has been some difficult discussion and decision-making around school reorganisation, Clwyd Leisure Ltd and the budget.

As an authority we are entering a very difficult phase on two major fronts: The financial situation and future settlements from Welsh Government are going to make it difficult to maintain the level of service that we have provided in the past and councillors will face some challenging decisions and options to consider in the budget setting process over the next few years.

The second issue, which will have to be carefully monitored, is around the options that arise from the Williams Report surrounding the reorganisation of Local Government. At present there are a lot of politics to consider at Cardiff Bay and we await the outcome of these deliberations – which hopefully will be clearer by April.

The important issue for me is that there is good understanding of the expected financial benefits – initial costs and efficiencies, that there is a clear time line for delivery and that local government is allowed to continue improving services for the benefit of residents. I am concerned that through reorganisation the accountability for democratic decisions is going further away from residents and that the real benefits are unknown.

Finally, I have, like many other people, made a New Years resolution: to lose weight, by adjusting my diet and better exercise. I have now purchased a turbo trainer for my bike to exercise indoors. The first few weeks were very uncomfortable from a sitting down perspective! I have asked many for advise on what could be more comfortable seating arrangement with no real answers. Have you any advice?


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