Jacob Williams
Tuesday 19th July, 2016

VIDEO: Narberth cabinet decision call-in

VIDEO: Narberth cabinet decision call-in

Further to my Facebook post last night, the Pembrokeshire Herald has published its article and video of yesterday’s debate – the little bit that was conducted in public, that is.

This, for those unaware, was the extraordinary meeting of PCC’s ecomomy overview and scrutiny committee which was called to consider my call-in of cabinet’s decision relating to the former Narberth school site.

PCC cabinet, on July 4th, approved a deal – in secret session – to slash its previously agreed sale price of the prime real estate to developers, and also to give them a huge loan.

I called-in cabinet’s decision for a number of reasons, as I set out in a previous post.

I intend to write about the meeting at a future time, but there are no restrictions on what can be reported about the initial debate.

This is where the committee was tasked with approving or rejecting the recommendation made by Pembrokeshire County Council’s director of development – Dr. Steven Jones – that the public and press should not be allowed to remain to hear the call-in debate, on grounds of commercial sensitivity.

The debate was captured by the Pembrokeshire Herald, on film, which you can see below.

In alphabetical order, those councillors who voted to exclude the public and press and to convene in private session are:

• Cllr. John Allen-Mirehouse, Hundleton, IPPG
• Cllr. Wynne Evans, Narberth, IPPG
• Cllr. Paul Harries, Newport, IPPG
• Cllr. Stanley Hudson, Milford Haven North, Conservative
• Cllr. Michael John (committee chair) Llangwn, IPPG
• Cllr. David Pugh, Kilgetty/Begelly, IPPG
• Cllr. Tom Richards (committee vice-chair) Letterston, IPPG
• Cllr. Ken Rowlands, Johnston, IPPG

Those councillors who felt the public interest outweighed any commercial secrecy, voting to allow the public gallery attendees to remain and for the meeting to convene in the open are:

• Cllr. Jonathan Nutting, Pembroke St. Michael, Pembrokeshire Alliance
• Cllr. Gwilym Price, Goodwick, Labour
• Cllr. Jacob Williams, East Williamston, unaffiliated independent
• Cllr. Michael Williams, Tenby North, Plaid Cymru
• Cllr. Guy Woodham, Milford Haven East, Labour

TWO ABSTENTION:

• Cllr. Mike Evans, Tenby South, unaffiliated independent
• Cllr. Peter Morgan, The Havens, IPPG

The Pembrokeshire Herald’s write-up is here.

From my Facebook page:

Monday evening:

Had I not been playing tennis this evening I would have updated on today's events earlier on – the outcome, at least,…

Posted by Jacob Williams – jacobwilliams.com on Monday, 18 July 2016

Sunday evening:

NARBERTH CABINET DECISION CALL-IN UPDATE: A recent development means I have now become a member of the committee which,…

Posted by Jacob Williams – jacobwilliams.com on Sunday, 17 July 2016


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14 Comments...

  • Flashbang

    Is Mike Evans part of the reserves bench for the IPPG?

  • Martin Lewis

    And they wonder why the public throw accusations of brown envelopes being passed around.

  • Keanjo

    Good question Flashbang. Another good one is whether Wynne Evans should declare an interest?

  • John Hudson

    Surely there would have been large chunks of this debate concerning the council’s own approved rules and statutory powers over this matter?

    This would not have contravened any commercial confidentiality and WE would have been allowed to view and hear officers’ advice, what notice members took of it, and draw our own conclusions on the legal background. Perhaps legal officers did not fancy being questioned in public?

    So much for openness and transparency in this “improved” council.

    We have not been allowed to know anything, presumably on advice from council officers, accepted by the supine majority of a scrutiny committee that negates public accountability.

    After my personal experience of having my comments to this O&S incorrectly recorded as being “the true and fair record” of what I actually said, I have little confidence in written minutes.

    For those with an interest in such matters see the relevant minutes of the Economy O&S meeting of 27 April, concerning the Cleddau Bridge.

    The approved minutes record what the council reported together with my comments as read to the committee stuck on as an addendum.

    I personally think that the council’s version gives a completely different colouring, but maybe I am biased.

    My advice is to be wary of any meetings with the council, minuted or not.

  • Bemused of Pembroke

    How is it when OUR money is being given away and OUR property is being sold at a knockdown price we still cannot be told the details?

    If commercially sensitive information is really such an issue to the developer then I suggest they get themselves a commercial bank loan!

    This all smacks of roofs and window frames.

  • Welshman 23

    This a major surprise, the sheep have followed Farmer Adams.

  • Chris Lawton

    Jacob you are truly a star and the exact kind of councillor this county is desperate for! Unfortunately you seem to be surrounded by self indulging, self interested clowns! I really hope collectivity we can do something about that next May 🙂

    What reasons could Mike Evans have for abstaining? I was quite surprised by that.

  • Pembs. Exile

    If the Narberth venture fails and any part of the loan is not repaid, will those councillors who authorised the loan be surcharged for any shortfall?

  • Pembs. Exile, those days when councillors could be liable to foot the bill for poor judgement (non-criminal, of course) are long gone!

    Chris Lawton, I don’t know why Mike Evans abstained – especially since he spoke so strongly in favour of the public interest. We might have expected him to vote accordingly.

    In fact I have updated the voting list to include a SECOND abstainer!

    Like Cllr. Mike Evans, Cllr. Peter Morgan neither voted for or against excluding the public.

    However, Cllr. Mike Evans raised his hand when the legal officer asked for ‘any abstentions,’ Cllr. Morgan didn’t, he just sat there!

  • Paul Absalom

    The Rebecca Riots started because parish taxes were not being spent on the roads and the parishes tried to tax people again with tolls.

    Almost 200 years on taxes are not being spent on what they are meant for.

    PCC in their infinite wisdom loaned money to Bluestone, how much did they get back? Very little.

    I hope there are some good people in Pembrokeshire getting ready to take on the incompetent councillors who have the power next may. Rant over!

  • El Griffo

    If the price for the site has been slashed then surely it should be put back on the market in order to get the best price possible?

    On another note, can anyone get a loan from the Bank of Pembrokeshire?

  • Phil Hart

    This is yet another example of the arrogance of the IPPG members who the public will not keep in office.

    Jamie’s sheep will be gone in 2017 along with the so called leader. Bye bye!

  • Goldingsboy

    Mr Hart, why are you so sure that the IPPG won’t be able to return to their overflowing trough after 2017?

    Perhaps Jacob could remind us all, just how long have Jamie’s animals had unrestricted grazing rights on the Kremlin estate?

  • John Hudson

    Goldingsboy is right inasmuch as a core group of independently elected councillors get together, post-election, and persuade others to join a constructed majority group to take over “control” of the council and incidentally get to share out SRAs.

    There is nothing to stop this happening again. Why do independently elected councillors feel the need to join such a group? Not all can get the few SRAs.

    What other inducements are offered? There must be some benefit, for them, or their constituents. If this is the case, why are there so many unaligned who have not joined the IPPG?

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