Archive for March 2010


The meeting got off to a shaky start as the sound equipment in the room, set up to be friendlier with the public, malfunctioned.  So we all trooped into the council chamber which is much preferred by most members.   Agenda Item 8 would bring either heartbreak or euphoria, dependent upon the decision. Having spoken to the Planning officer on several occasions as it was to be a large extension and neighbours had objected, I was very happy that the applicant, P had leant over backwards to alter plans on seven occasions to meet the Planners demands.  A round robin of identical letters had been handed in opposing the scheme; yet the Planning officer thought that no more than four houses in the local vicinity would be affected.   No one has objected to me and the Planning Officer, knowing about the protracted negotiations was happy to get the item approved under delegated powers rather than more unnecessary delay by sending it to the Planning Committee. It was an odd situation as I and my ward members had opposing views.  I was content with delegated powers but another member demanded committee determination which was his right. Cllr Hilary McGuill spoke for …..


Busy week.  Monday morning site visits on the Planning committee bus just for starters with the day ending at Hawarden Community Council, where allotments were on the agenda.  Unusually, our deliberations were observed by a member of the public who had come to listen to the debate.  When I took over the gavel as chair of Community & Environment Committee, it seemed courteous to invite the resident to at least join us at the table even if he was not allowed to speak.  A quick thinking Cllr. Clive Carver proposed suspension of Standing Orders to allow the resident to address us, a brilliant idea which we endorsed unanimously.  Noel, our appreciated and much loved Clerk summed up the situation thus far to find much needed land for allotments. Members are desperate to satisfy an overwhelming demand for constituents to dig. Resident politely put his point which involved an access problem to an area we had ear-marked as suitable for cultivation. We had a useful debate, although inconclusive.  Hopefully, compromise can be found but whatever happens; it was a good night for democracy when we could listen to the people we represent and strive to find solutions to common concerns.

COUNCILLOR CAPERS- 4– 8th March 2010.

A musical treat was served up courtesy of Flintshire Music Festival last Saturday.  Chairman Colin Legg and I were guests of Festival Chair, Sylvia Taylor and Laurence Ralsthorne, Head of Flintshire’s Culture Services. I had known Laurence from Assembly days and a picture of us leaning studiously over a monitor can be found in my book, “Leeks from the Back Benches”.  Laurence beamed proudly when he identified his daughter as one of the musicians on stage. The programme opened with the Jazz Band who wearing black trilbies and shades romped through several toe tapping pieces with the pianist jumping up and down, whilst giving the ivories a real battering as he roared through the performance.  Next up was the Senior County Harp Ensemble, one of whom gave the stellar performance of the night.  Sophie was just stunning.  Abandoning the Jazz Band, she rapidly descended to take up post behind one of the huge harps and each piece was magical.  One really hit the “reel back in time” button; Paganini’s 18th variation which transported me back to the 50’s when I was a Junior Technician in the WRAF.  All those years ago, I found myself posted to back of beyond rural …..