Serving The Town of Tredegar with News & Information Since 1991  

 

 

 

Title:

Tredegar Town Council. An independent view of its current position, responsibilities and conduct in the rejuvenation landscape of Tredegar, South Wales, UK.

 

Issue Date:

February 2008

 

Author:

Web-team,  www.Tredegar.co.uk Ltd

( webteam@tredegar.co.uk )

 

 

 

 

White-Paper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008 


 

If you find it difficult to know who is responsible for what, in terms of public services in Tredegar, then this white paper may contain answers you are looking for.

 

The website, www.Tredegar.co.uk was created in 1991 with its main aim to promote the Town of Tredegar, its individuals and businesses. It also provides a service to promote the long and famous history of the town. It is, and will always be free from any external influences of any kind. It now operates under the control of a dedicated limited company called "www.Tredegar.co.uk Ltd" which is a not-for-profit community company.

 

For more information and the mission statement that the web-site operates under, please visit www.tredegar.co.uk/about_us.htm

 

The web-site operates a heavily used public forum where people from the town (and indeed from around the world) can have a say on current and historic items of interest. One of the main questions aired by the users of the forum , including residents and Council Tax payers of the Town of Tredegar, was that nobody actually knew who was responsible for what within the two local councils that operate within the town. That being, Tredegar Town Council (TTC), and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council (BGCBC). Indeed, the situation becomes more clouded when you also include the other Tax payer funded organisations within the town.

 

It was decided that a project would be set up to find out this information, and publish it on the www.Tredegar.co.uk web-site for future reference.

 

This white paper is the result of the project.

 

An electronic version of this white paper can be found and downloaded by clicking the link below:-

 

http://www.tredegar.co.uk/gallery/gallery.asp?action=viewimage&categoryid=&text=white&imageid=3661

 

 

 

 Page 1 of 15

 

 Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008


 

Tredegar Town Council came into existence in 1974, from the remnants of Tredegar Urban District Council, abolished in the same year. Its headquarters are located in Bedwellty House within Tredegar Park. Bedwellty House is a Grade II listed building. Both the residence and park, originally owned by the Pomphrey family, were given to the people of Tredegar by Lord Tredegar in 1900. That same year, Tredegar Urban District Council moved their council offices into the house.

 

A picture of Bedwelty House taken from the Town Councils web site


Members are voted in and stay in place for a duration of four years. The current members list (from TTC website) at February 2008 consists of the following people:-

 

Alan M. Fox

Megan Fox 2

Anita Hobbs 2

Stephen R. Osborne

Haydn L. Trollope 1 , 2. 3

Simon P. Watkins 1, 3

Gerald D. Woolf

Tony Gregory 2, 3

Keith Hayden 1

David W. A. Howells

John C. Morgan 2, 3

Malcolm Cross

Michael W. O'Sullivan

Margaret Retallick 3

Diane Rowberry 3

Roger W. Thomas

Alyson E. Tippings 3

 

Key:-

1= also current or past member of BGBCC

2= also current or past member of Tredegar Development Trust Ltd

3= also member or past member of Communities First

 

The current Town Council are classed as a “labour Controlled” Council.

 

Page 2 of 15


Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008

The current council hold meetings every other Wednesday at Bedwelty House, starting at 6:30 except for the month of August each year.

 

The public can view these meetings, and the minutes of these meeting will be available under the Freedom of Information Act, made available in the local library.

 

The next elections for members of the Tredegar Town Council are held in May 2008.

We felt it only fair and proper to ask Tredegar Town Council directly, some basic questions so we could draw up our own conclusions on the way Council functions. We decided against using posts on our very own web-site forum (www.tredegar.co.uk/forum), as that could lead to closed or biased questions, and one-sided opinions.

With this in mind, we drew up a letter directly to the council that I, as a Community Charge Tax payer living in Tredegar, could reasonably ask the Town Council, and also some other general questions that were lifted verbatim from the forum. Again, questions that were reasonable enough to ask of a local town Council. As you can see for yourself below, these questions were not intended in anyway to be contrite, rude or difficult. Indeed, these questions I would ask any current member, or potential member of Tredegar Town Council.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 3 of 15


Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008

 

 

 

Page 4 of 15


Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008

 

 

Page 5 of 15

 


Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008

 



After telephoning Cllr. Michael O'Sullivan, arrangements were made to hand deliver the letter immediately, on the January 29th 2008. The letter was also sent via email on January 30th 2008, as a means to confirm delivery.


Shortly after we delivered the letter, we had an initial response from Tredegar Town Council.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 6 of 15


Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008




I urge you at this point, to revisit the original letter we sent on the 29/01/2008. To receive an official letter from my own Town Council that says, "We are taking legal advice on the content of your letter...", is simply unnecessary at best, and threatening at worst.

 

Page 7 of 15


Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008


Now remember, we were trying to learn the very basic functions of how our Town Council operates, and how the Members contribute to the Town Council. The questions did not seek explicit or compromising answers, but merely to open up effective an avenue of communication, between Council and a Tax-Paying Resident.

To receive a letter from them with this content made us initially believe that something had failed badly within Tredegar Town Council. It is difficult to move from this standpoint.

 

You will note in our original letter, we made it clear that all correspondence between myself and Tredegar Town Council, would be made available for the users of the www.Tredegar.co.uk website, to view and comment upon. Of course, this information was available anyway under the Freedom Of Information Act.


We also informed the Town Council in the same letter, that in the year of 2007, the www.Tredegar.co.uk website received over 404,000 visitors, and over 7,000,000 hits.


When all these facts are taken into account, it made the Councils response even more bizarre.

We did not receive anymore correspondence from Tredegar Town Council until February 8th, 2008. Their response contained three pages of text.

The first page we received was a standard covering letter consisting of a few sentences at most.:

 

 

 

Page 8 of 15


Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008

 

 

 

 

 Page 9 of 15


 Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008

 

 

Page two of the reply from Tredegar Town Council contained the minimalist answers to the questions we originally asked, and presented in a most unhelpful manner.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 Page 10 of 15


 Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008

 

 

 Page three of the letter from Tredegar Town Council gives answers to "question 6" from our original letter.


The response we received from the Town Council of Tredegar was to put it simply, disappointing. We found it hard to understand, after having requested the answers to simple and relevant questions that the Town Council responded in such an unhelpful and arrogant way.

 

We wrote back to the Town Council on the 15th February 2008 to express our disbelief in their two letters we received from them to date.

 

 

 Page 11 of 15


 Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008

 



 

 

At the time of writing, we have not received a reply pertaining to above letter.

 

 

 Page 12 of 15


 Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008

 

Conclusion
Looking though the shambles of the responses we had from Tredegar Town Council, let’s concentrate on the core subject matter.

Looking at the list of responsibilities Tredegar Town Council supplied us with, it does appear that the Tredegar Town Council is indeed responsible or accountable for very little in the way of substantial matter.

They have no final budgeting control on any rejuvenation of the town’s core infrastructure.

They have no decision making to planning matters within the town. They may only lodge an objection.

Several of the members of the Town Council do sit on other organisations that receive tax payers’ monies, and/or grants from a public source. We asked this question specifically do determine if influences could be made that could benefit the town of Tredegar, if the power was not under the remit of the Town Council directly. Tredegar town council did not provide us with details on these organisations, but again this information is available under the freedom of information act.

Several members sit as governors on local schools, but they would act as individuals and not as the Tredegar own Council as claimed on their own list of responsibilities.

The first item Tredegar Town Council list that they are responsible for is the Town Clock. This is a keystone of the history of Tredegar, which requires maintenance and other pro-active work as you would expect of such a unique and Grade II historic listed structure. Tredegar Town Council does not employ any qualified project managers, mechanical or electronic engineers, except when urgently required. These are the type of people that should be responsible for the running and maintenance of the Town Clock. Such people are employed (and paid for by the Tax payers) in the Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.

It also appears from the information supplied by the Town Council that Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council supplies no funding for the maintenance of the Town Clock. The question must be asked, if Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council are responsible for the building and maintenance of the new multi-story car park in Ebbw-Vale, why are they not responsible for the running and maintenance of the Tredegar Town Clock? The same can also be asked of the War memorial and the Bandstand located in the Park.

Claims that without Tredegar Town Council we would not have a "Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council", but instead an "Ebbw-Vale Council" is neither clear nor understood.

Also claims that the town has improved in the last twenty or so years cannot (by its own admission) be because of actions or policy from the Tredegar Town Council, as they are not responsible for rejuvenation.

 

 Page 13 of 15


 Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008



We are uncertain of the actual budget of the Tredegar Town Council to fulfill its own list of responsibilities, but we will be requesting this information under the Freedom of Information Act and publishing the information.

However, it could be claimed that the Tredegar Town Council does provide a service for the distribution of grant monies for organisations & groups based in the town of Tredegar.

Grants paid out in Financial Year April 2006 to March 2007 from Tredegar Town Council

Churches & Chapels:-

Glyn Baptist Church £150.00
Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception £150.00
Bethania Congregational Church £150.00
Trinity Spiritualist Church £150.00
Christians Together £250.00
Sardis Chapel £200.00

Cultural & Sporting; Section 137:-

Air Training Cadets 2167 (Tredegar Sqdn) £200.00
Bill Harry Tenants Association £250.00
Blaenau Gwent Arthritis Support £250.00
Blaenau Gwent Otters Swimming Club £250.00
Bobath Childrens Therapy Centre Wales £100.00
British Heart Foundation £150.00
British Red Cross £250.00
Catapult FC £200.00
Cefn Golau Junior Angling Club £200.00
Childline Cymru £100.00
Cylch Meithrin ABC Playgroup £250.00
Devils Martial Arts £200.00
Friends of Bedwellty Park Society £250.00
Friends of Bryn Bach School £250.00
Gwent Valleys Sports Club for the Disabled £200.00
Heads of the Valleys Gateway Club £250.00
Hospice of the Valleys £500.00
Kidz'R'Us £250.00 (plus Special Grant £250.00)
Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod £50.00
Macmillan Cancer Support £100.00
North Gwent Table Tennis Centre £200.00
Parc Bryn Bach £1000.00
Peacehaven Tenants/Residents Neighbourhood Watch Association £250.00
Re-Liance Bus Preservation Group £250.00
Royal British Legion Tredegar Branch £250.00
Shelter Cymru £100.00
Sirhowy Angling Club £200.00
Stocktonville Senior Citizens Association £250.00
Tredegar (Mon) & District Canine Society £250.00

 Page14 of 15


 Tredegar Town Council. White Paper February 2008

Tredegar & District Floral Art Society £250.00
Tredegar Art & Craft Club £250.00
Tredegar Athletic Football Club £200.00
Tredegar Camera Club £200.00
Tredegar Community Archive Group £250.00
Tredegar Corps of Drums £250.00
Tredegar Gardening Club £250.00
Tredegar Hospital Linen Guild £250.00
Tredegar Ironsides RFC £200.00
Tredegar Junior Cricketers £200.00
Tredegar Junior Netball Club £200.00
Tredegar Ladies Netball Club £200.00
Tredegar Mixed Voices £250.00
Tredegar Round Table £250.00
Tredegar Scout Group £200.00
Tredegar Town AFC - Seniors £200.00
Tredegar Town Band £250.00
Tredegar Town Partnership £250.00
Tuesdays Over 60s Bowling Club £200.00
Wales Air Ambulance £50.00
WRVS £50.00

Total amount £ 12’450


We also consider that some of the other, smaller responsibilities listed by them are valid to the community. However, the administration and running of the Town Council is paid for directly by the council tax payers of Tredegar. As pointed out by themselves, Tredegar Town Council does not receive any money from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council nor any monies from business rates in the town.

Looking at the limited size and as such the expertise of the Tredegar Town Council, the main financial draws on it, including The Town Clock, Bandstand and War Memorials, needs to be moved to the budget and control of the Borough Council. Only there it would seem, the expertise and financing are available for the correct running and maintenance, thus offering better value and service levels to the council tax payers of Tredegar.

It is urged that the public of Tredegar are given clear and precise information, on what the Town Council is actually responsible and accountable for to avoid confusion when reporting issues and concerns with the running of their town.

 

P. Topping.
Director & Resident.

www.Tredegar.co.uk Ltd (A not for profit community Company)



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