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December 2009

As members of Pontypool Community Council we have formed a Coalition Group within the Council. Our objective is to question, monitor and query all issues and budgets in order to stop wastage thereby giving Pontypool tax-payers value for money. We also want to ensure that money allotted to the council is being used to benefit ALL areas covered by Pontypool Community Council.

Budget Away Day As highlighted in a previous newsletter, the Budget Away Day was planned to be held at the Parkway Hotel on the 10th December. This would have resulted in all Councillors attending to be able to claim a £34 allowance plus Petrol expenses on top and a free meal on top of the rental of the room. We felt this waste of public money was totally unacceptable and needed to be stopped. After complaining the Council

has done a u turn and are now holding the meeting in the Civic Centre at no cost, although there will still be a buffet even though the meeting finishes at 12.30, This just proves that three people talking common sense can make a difference after all! Christmas Trees This year due to the rising cost of supplying trees to 9 wards, it was recommended to council that 3 wards should do without a tree this year. After the twinning fiasco and other wastage of money on Jollies, we are pleased that a Labour Councillor saw some sense and put a proposal forward to make cuts elsewhere in order not to lose three trees. We seconded this and are pleased that the Labour Group are at last listening to the opposition and putting grass root services first. At the Full Council meeting on 30th September the Coalition Group put forward two motions. The first motion was basically asking for the Council to consider setting up a working party to look at ways to make savings within the Twinning Budget. Also to consider suspending Community Councillor Visits to

the twinned towns to cut costs and to redirect the monies saved into core grass root services we provide. As a Coalition Group we cannot see what benefit our wards gain from sending Councillors abroad up to four times a year. We didn’t just decide to highlight twinning spending, we spent time within the community asking constituents for their views and then acting on them. We didn’t think it was unreasonable to question these activities or to ask for a working party to be set up to look at ways to make savings. As expected we lost the vote, which was recorded. The full meeting minutes are available to download from our website. No one from the Labour Group spoke on the motions except for the Labour Leader who just kept repeating that it was this council’s policy to support twinning. Perhaps it is time that the Council’s policy was changed. With regards to attendance of twinning conferences, the policy is that the Chair, Leader and Clerk should attend. If those individuals are unable

THE PONTYPOOL COMMUNITY COALITION NEWSLETTER – Published by The Pontypool Community Coalition Group 2009 To receive these Newsletters electronically send your email address to: Please recycle this Newsletter after reading or better still – give it to a friend.

to attend then it would be the Vice Chair, Deputy Leader etc. Festival attendance is through a strict rota basis. You can download a copy of which Councillors over the past 5 years have attended visits abroad at the tax payer’s expense, from our website. The second motion put forward was to either suspend or reduce the amount of money (£50,000) we give to Pontypool Town Regeneration each year. We feel that this is too much to give each year out of our budget just to one ward. We wanted part of the money to go towards special projects in each ward and a part of it to go towards setting up a free swimming scheme for the children within the Pontypool Community Catchment area. Yet again the motion fell on deaf ears and was voted out by the Labour Group, the £50,000 grant was then passed at the November meeting for Pontypool Town. Twinning and Regeneration are not the only topics that we will be questioning. We have been spending time talking to constituents, who have given us their views on a number of other issues which they aren’t happy about.

We will be addressing these to Council in the near future. Chain of Office The price of extra links has risen since the last newsletter to £1838.32 for 15 links to be added, or £1315.60 for 9 links. Rent Increase A new 10 year lease for the Community Councils Offices in Commercial Street Pontypool has been put forward at a charge of £19,500 per annum from 1st June 2009. A rent increase for our storage facility has also been submitted, bringing the new rental for the unit to £7,330 per annum. Youth Council Due to the Clerks absence and new office staff, there have been no meetings so far this year.

currently in the process of setting up a new website for the council – as Webster is no longer suitable for their needs. More information will be given shortly. Christmas Calvacade This was an outstanding success and brought a lot of extra trade into the town centre. We heard a lot of positive feedback during the day. We are hoping that next year Pontypool Community Council will run more events and move forward with the times, to provide the community with good grass root events and to freeze or even reduce their share of the Community Charge by making savings throughout the budgets and reducing costs.

The Youth Council DEN was based in the TRAC office in Pontypool which has now closed. The intention is to move the Youth Council into the top floor of the Community Council Offices and start recruiting new members. We will be following this closely and will keep you updated as more information becomes available. New Website The Community Council are

Finally – Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year from the Pontypool Community Coalition Group.

THE PONTYPOOL COMMUNITY COALITION NEWSLETTER – Published by The Pontypool Community Coalition Group 2009 To receive these Newsletters electronically send your email address to: Please recycle this Newsletter after reading or better still – give it to a friend.

December Coalition Newsletter