Monday, May 03, 2010


Congratulations to Cadoxton Barry FC who won the South Wales Senior League Division Two in their first year as a club.

The idea last Summer, of what was seen by some as a bit of a shotgun marriage of Cadoxton and Barry, was to create a ‘second’ club in Barry that would grow and get promotion through the Welsh pyramid system.

That vision was rewarded on the weekend as the Linnets won the championship with a thumping 11-1 victory away at Cascade.

Local derbies with Sully Sports, Cogan and St Athan await next year.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Well, do your homework....

Last night, Plaid’s economic adviser, Dr Eurfyl ap Gwilym, appeared on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman.

It was what could be called a robust interview where Paxman came off decidedly second best after making some rather vague assertions about Wales without being able to back them up.

Newsnight were using figures from the Centre for Economic and Business Research to suggest the high role of state funding in specifically Northern Ireland and Wales compared with, for example, London.

But the CEBR figures are compiled using a tortured methodology which is open to question and interpretation.

They’re not the only ones to try and use the figures – the Wales on Sunday got into a fight with Adam Price about them last year as well.

Eurfyl made the point that, actually, more public money is spent, per head, in London, than in Wales.

That’s according to clear figures from the Treasury, (the Public Expenditure Statistics Analysis) accepted by the Office for National Statistics, not played around with by an outside organisation. Indisputable facts.

Paxman had the figures in front of him and, at one point, quotes from them but refuses to quote the figure for Wales which would prove him to be wrong.

He could quite easily have turned around and said, “so what, so there’s an English region which has more per head spent than Wales, that’s not really the point is it?”

But to do so would undermine the purpose of the piece, which was clearly to suggest that Northern Ireland and Wales are reliant upon English largesse.

Wales needs a fairer, needs-based funding formula which reflects that we have more elderly people, more younger people and larger rural areas.

It is only Plaid that have fought for that in the past and will put it at the forefront of negotiations in a balanced parliament.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Two years since Barry Cinema closed

Today is two years since the Theatre Royal, Barry Cinema, closed its doors.

Barry used to have five cinemas, now there are none – with the Theatre Royal still standing on the corner of Broad Street and Gladstone Road, maintained by the Save Our Cinema Association (SOCA) who are fighting to re-open.

For many people, not having a cinema is a practical issue about a form of entertainment - taking a family of four to the cinema in Cardiff can cost upwards of £40.

But the loss of the cinema is something which still touches many people in Barry because of its iconic nature.

It is a clear example of Barry lacking in a facility which most people take for granted and which people think should be open here.

Fighting for facilities, especially arts and cultural facilities across the Vale, is an important part of my campaign this year. Barry needs a cinema, an arts space, somewhere that people can create and contribute, and I passionately believe that the community is enriched by people participating and generating ideas and interaction.

Back before it was trendy to do so, I started a Facebook group about the cinema, which had nearly 2,000 members within a fortnight.

Unfortunately, that was when we realised that the power of Facebook isn’t the same as a man determined to close something down.

SOCA and other groups looking to improve the cultural life of Barry and the Vale have my full support, and I hope it won’t be long before we can have the cinema back.

In the meantime, there is an exhibition at Victoria Park about the history of the Theatre Royal, open until next Saturday, 17th April.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Town council maintain Waterfront Power Plant objection

I was pleased that Barry Town council’s planning committee last night agreed to maintain their strong opposition to the Sunrise Renewables wood-burning plant on Barry Waterfront.

Although the planning officer’s advice was not to object, subject to various conditions being met, the committee listened to residents from the local Docks Incinerator Action Group and Vale Friends of the Earth speak on the subject before agreeing to stick to the strong objection that they gave to the previous plan.

The committee will be meeting again shortly to discuss any additions they want to make to their submission to the Vale of Glamorgan’s planning committee, who will have the final say.

Unfortunately, unlike almost every other unitary planning authority throughout Wales, the residents from DIAG or Friends of the Earth will be unable to address the planning committee directly due to the Vale’s policy of refusing to allow local residents or even community councils to address the meeting.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Vale Friends of the Earth

Last night I went to the Friends of the Earths’s Vale branch where the main point of discussion was the re-tabled Sunrise Renewables application for an energy generator at Woodham Road on Barry Docks (over a pint at the CAMRA Good Beer Guide pub, the Castle).

A very similar application was refused by the Vale Council last year, and is going to appeal, but in the meantime a new one has been laid – and is under discussion at Barry Town Council’s planning committee tonight.

The Town Council can only offer advice on planning issues, they don’t make the final decision, but where last year’s planning officer’s advice was a strong objection, this time around the advice is rather more non-committal.

I’ll be joining Friends of the Earth and local residents at the meeting tonight in an attempt to get the committee to strengthen that advice.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Keeping Bryneithin Open

I was at Bryneithin Home’s Easter Party last night (with Derek playing harmonica as the entertainment).

Although the home is not closing immediately, as initially expected, due to clauses in the contracts of some of the residents, the Conservative Council are still planning on closing Bryneithin as soon as possible.

In the papers, I accused them of cutting off their nose to spite their face.

If the home has to be kept open until the final resident is no longer with us and must be maintained to the proper standard (over a timeframe which could be many years), then surely the Council would be better off investing in upgrading and using Bryneithin as a model example for elderly mentally infirm homes.

There is a need for an EMI home in the Vale and it makes no sense to waste taxpayers money through the provision of services for a small number of people when you could get better value from more use of the facility.

The Keep Bryneithin Open group will be having a table-top sale this Saturday, 10th April at Lee Hall in Dinas Powys.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Ysgol Gwynfor?

Last week I was proud to be one of the guests at the unveiling of a bust of Barry-boy Gwynfor Evans, the first ever Plaid Cymru MP, pacifist and language campaigner.

The bust was the brainchild of Ysgol St Baruc’s retiring deputy head, Gwenno Huws, who formed a small committee including Dulyn Griffith, Alcwyn Deiniol and Geraint Evans to raise money for the bust, which now stands in Barry Library.

Addressing the audience, Ms Huws noted that one thing noticeably lacking in Barry was a meaningful memorial to this great man.

With a consultation underway on Welsh language education in the Vale, and a new Welsh primary school being one of those suggested, wouldn’t it be more than appropriate to name the new school ‘Ysgol Gwynfor Evans’?

Ten years of Labour v Ten weeks of Plaid

This week saw Barry named the seventh Strategic Regeneration Area in Wales, with Plaid’s Jocelyn Davies AM, Deputy Minister for Housing and Regeneration coming to Barry on St David’s Day to do the honours.

As many readers will know, one of my chief concerns is the economic development of Barry, and specifically the significant retail and tourist opportunities that we have on the Waterfront, the former Docks area.

The £9 million coming from the Welsh Assembly must be wisely used by a Tory Council who sadly do not have an impressive record when it comes to economic development.

When I attended the launch of the Barry Survey results on Friday at the YMCA Hub, I jokingly noted the excellent timing and pointed out that the real ‘result’ was the recognition that Barry is a special case – a town which has suffered from chronic under-investment for too long but unable to access the European funding that many towns in Wales have been able to get.

This is a real result for Barry and shows the impact of Plaid in government.

Labour had held the regeneration portfolio at the Assembly for ten years. It took just ten weeks for their Plaid Cymru replacement to recognise the problem and take action.