One of our ongoing campaigns in the Vale of Glamorgan is to ensure that local residents, or at least community councillors and representatives of groups, should be allowed to speak at Vale County Council planning meetings.
16 of the 22 unitary authorities allow some form of representation so that local people are able to clearly put forward their opinions on planning proposals so that they can be taken into consideration by the planning committee. Not the Vale, though.
The issue has come to a head after a series of contentious planning proposals in the area, from Cemetery Lane to St Athan where frustrated members of the public felt that their voices were not being heard or treated fairly by the committee.
The Vale’s Tory cabinet has already thrown out the proposal once, while the council’s community liaison meeting last month descended into farce as the Vale councillors on the committee voted to accept the cabinet report on the matter while community councillors wanted to refer the issue back to cabinet.
The Vale’s attitude towards this has been so poor that a number of councils are actively considering leaving the Vale’s council charter which governs rules and responsibilities between the unitary authority and the community councils beneath them.
The campaign takes a different turn tomorrow (Tuesday) as the Welsh Assembly’s Petitions Committee responds to a petition signed on-line and off-line by many community councillors in the Vale, and from further afield.
Organised by Plaid’s leaders on the Vale, Nic Hodges, and on Barry Town community council, Shirley Hodges, it will be an interesting test of the Assembly’s petitions committee (which includes a Conservative AM from the Vale of Glamorgan) to see how they deal with the issue.