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Month: May 2018

From our Chairman: Awards, AGM and a Party

From our Chairman: Awards, AGM and a Party

Architecture Award. Every year we make an award for good design of a building which complements its setting. Last year we gave our Award to the Wye Valley Canoes development in the old chapel at Glasbury. Please let us know of your suggestions.

Rural Wales Award. We are delighted to announce that this year, the recipient of the Rural Wales Award will be Chris Bruce who lives near Hay on Wye. Chris is a wizard with mapping and GIS – turning complex data into visual form overlaying maps. He has been a godsend to us in visually representing the potential damage to our natural environment, its biodiversity, and its communities inherent in the proposals contained in the Renewable Energy parts of the LDP. This is complex and highly skilled work that has enabled us to get ‘one-up’ on the poor case put forward by the Council. The Award will take place at the branch drinks & nibbles party in June (see the last item below).

Annual General Meeting. This will take place at 2pm on Thursday 6th July at Howey Village Hall. (Howey is a village between Builth Wells and Llandrindod Wells, about 2 miles from Llandrindod. Turn off the main road at the signpost to Howey and the hall is on your left. Map and more detailed directions.)

Chairman to retire. I shall be retiring from the Chairman’s role at the AGM and your help is sought once again please? Will you be willing to stand as Chairman? The branch has a brilliant committee who are very good at getting on with things. They support the Chairman very well and it is therefore a role that will appeal to someone who wants to guide our branch work, allow the team to get on with the detail, keep them motivated and be prepared to criticise authorities where necessary and praise where required. We have over 180 members now – by far the largest branch in Wales – someone out there must come forward and volunteer please? We also need one or two new committee members, especially someone who would like to lead on our social events.  We are a friendly and productive bunch – do come and join us.

Invitation to a summer fund-raising drinks and nibbles garden party. All members and their partners are invited to an informal drinks and nibbles garden party at the home of the branch Chairman, Peter Seaman. This will take place from 3pm on Sunday 11th June at Brynhyfryd, Scethrog, LD3 7EQ near Brecon. (Scethrog is on the A40, 9 miles from Crickhowell and 4 from Brecon. Turn off A40 at signpost to SCETHROG. Up hill for 50 yards, and then turn right at red phone box. Brynhyfryd is a cream coloured cottage in front of you. Parking around the village. Map.) We need to restore some money to our branch funds and to help in our planning ‘battles’ so please support the event. If you are unable to come, donations are very welcome and cheques should be made payable to ‘Brecon & Radnor CPRW’ and sent to our branch treasurer, Ann Payne at Glanffrwd, Llanfihangel Talyllyn, Brecon, LD3 7TL.  The event will give you an opportunity to meet members of the committee who are working so hard on the LDP, and to acclaim Chris Bruce, whose expertise in mapping and website technology has been a game-changer in our work to save the Powys countryside, when he is presented with our Rural Wales Award. Please confirm your attendance by phoning Peter on 01874 676225.

Peter Seaman MBE
Chair, Brecon & Radnor Branch,
Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales
Registered charity number 239899

Powys LDP – Update #5 – 20/4/2017

Powys LDP – Update #5 – 20/4/2017

1. Hendy Wind Farm at Llandegley Rocks near Penybont P/2014/0672:
You have probably heard that Powys Council have announced their intention to bring this application before the Planning Committee on the 27th April, next Thursday. This highly controversial 2014 application is for 7 wind turbines of height 110m, together with substation, control building, access tracks etc. The application number is P/2014/0672 and documents, consultee responses and objections can be found on the application website here. The agenda for the Planning Committee meeting containing the Officer’s Report and recommendation will be posted on this link . It is not currently available (at 20 April 2017). Until we have this we cannot know whether the Planning Officer will or will not be recommending approval.

www.welshcountry.co.uk/open-spaces-society-renews-fight-against-beauty-spot-wind-turbines/

It is concerning that this contentious application is being brought to committee during election purdah, and before the publication on 12th May of the revised reports to support renewable energy policy in the LDP. We understand that the Council is waiting for landscape reports informing LDP policy on wind and solar developments in the county. This would seem to be vital information to inform any decision on this application.

27th April is also the very important day in the LDP Examination, where the Inspector will consider safeguarding of assets including landscape, biodiversity, the historic environment and public rights of way.  Powys County Council must be aware that many people would like to attend both meetings.

The site of this application was not included in a wind Local Search Area in the proposals put forward in late 2016 as (according to the Met Office average annual wind speed data supporting the consultant AECOM’s Renewable Energy Assessment) having insufficient wind to be economically viable as ‘wind resource’.

2. Local Elections 4th May:
This is a very good opportunity to ask candidates what they will do about those issues which concern rural residents in Powys, including not only service provision, but also protection of local landscapes and biodiversity, and promotion of the interests of tourism and agriculture businesses, key to our rural prosperity. We are sure we are not alone in hoping that our new councillors will be looking to make some significant changes in the manner in which our council operates and ensure that they are running a professional and truly accountable local authority, which listens to the concerns of local people. Details of candidates can be found here (opens as a PDF) and contact details should be provided on the candidates’ campaign literature.

When it comes to the LDP it is important that all candidates understand that:
–         Until the LDP is finalised, the UDP remains the County’s planning tool. It is not true, as our current Cabinet have said, that in the interim Powys is without planning law.
–         Powys Council must take responsibility for the proposed Local Search Areas which have caused so much anger and distress. No doubt there was significant Welsh Government pressure, but that cannot excuse the Council’s total failure to defend the county and residents, or their decision to allow AECOM (a company with connections in the renewable industries) to effectively write renewable policy for the county.

3. Brecon and Radnor Action Group Fundraiser 11 May 2017:
Please see here (opens as a PDF). This promises to be an enjoyable musical evening supporting an important cause.

CPRW Brecon & Radnor Committee

Powys LDP – Update #4 – 14 April 2017

Powys LDP – Update #4 – 14 April 2017

1. COULD YOU BE COUNTY COUNCILLOR FOR YSCIR?

No candidate has come forward to replace Gillian Thomas as County Councillor for Yscir ward. This means the nomination period is extended and anyone wishing to stand should contact Sian Lewis-Davies, Senior Elections Officer, on electoral.services@powys.gov.uk for more information and to obtain nomination papers. Unless there is a sudden rush of nominations, it’s likely anyone coming forward now will be elected unopposed.

This is a great opportunity to help make some changes in the way Powys County Council does things.

2. LDP HEARINGS SESSION 11 – “SAFEGUARDING STRATEGIC ASSETS & RESOURCES” 27TH APRIL

This important hearing will deal with protection of our landscapes and biodiversity. The full agenda, together with CPRW’s and other participants’ hearing statements, can be found on Session 11: SAFEGUARDING. Both CPRW local branches and Head Office have put in very full statements setting what we see as key issues concerning the LDP’s proposed policies for protection of our environment – see link above. We hope you will find these informative.  The hearing will take place at 9.30 on Thursday the 27th at the Media Resource Centre, Oxford Road, Llandrindod Wells, LD1 6AH and our barrister will be there; please contact the Programme Officer, Tracey Smith tracey.smith@powys.gov.uk if you wish to attend. There’s no doubt that the presence of a public audience conveys an important message to the Inspector, and Welsh Government and Powys representatives.

3. POWYS PRESS RELEASE ON PROPOSED REVISED RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICY

It seems that Powys County Council is working on a ‘U turn’ with its proposals for the Renewable Energy parts of the LDP. The Council’s latest press release is set out below together with our response that we have sent direct to Councillors (we have also issued a press release along the same lines). The Council’s press release is of course a blatant attempt to spin the story and we hope that if Councillors read our comments they may have a better understanding of the true facts. Please do lobby your local County Council candidates if and when opportunities present themselves. This LDP shambles must never happen again.

Our response:

Dear County Councillor,

CPRW refers to the press release issued by Powys County Council yesterday (10th April) titled ‘LDP Update’.

The following is the response from the Montgomery and Brecon & Radnor branches of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales

CPRW welcomes the news from Powys County Council that it is preparing a ‘U-turn’ on its renewable energy proposals. However our response is also tinged with considerable caution because if it had not been for CPRW’s vigilance, the original proposals  of the Council would have escaped public scrutiny and their multiple failings continued to remain hidden.  We therefore will wait for the full publication when we can examine the revisions in detail and come to an informed response. Powys County Council Cabinet seemingly has no recognition of their neglect of public responsibility in proposing major policy without any regard to local circumstances. We hope County Councillors will recognise the scale of damage that officers and the Cabinet would have done to Powys, and very nearly did, had it not been for CPRW. Nor do they demonstrate any understanding of the huge commitment of time and financial cost their  actions have caused to many people and organisations. 

CPRW is most grateful to the hundreds of its supporters across Powys who have given support, both by objecting to the LDP and by donating to its fighting fund. In the meantime, we will continue to highlight to the LDP Examination the Council’s proposals in the Plan that still fail to give proper recognition to rural Powys, its communities, biodiversity and its fabulous landscapes.

There are two lessons (among others)  that need to be taken on board by Councillors. The first is  to ensure that the new Council looks at how these ‘Further Focused Changes’ happened to ensure nothing similar could happen again. This should be done by proper and forensic scrutiny. The second is to accept that effective public consultation in the end results in better policies .

Yours sincerely,

From the Chairs of Brecon & Radnor Branch and Montgomery CPRW Branches

Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales
Registered charity number 239899
www.cprw.org.uk
www.brecon-and-radnor-cprw.wales

And Powys Council’s Press Release:

News Release

MR 51 April 10, 2017

LDP Update
Immediate Release

Results of a revised Renewable Energy Assessment needed as part of the Powys Local Development Plan will be published next month, a seminar of Powys County Councillors has been told.

Extra work on the Local Development Plan was called for by the council’s cabinet in January for submission to the Planning Inspectorate as part of the Examination process. This decision was taken following the consideration of the comments received on the LDP’s Further Focussed Changes.

The additional work has been reviewing a range of issues that would impact on the renewable energy assessment, in particular the elements that relate to renewable wind and solar energy production. The work has included the following considerations:

• The Royal Air Force’s (RAF) low-flying tactical training area over a large part of western Powys.
• A buffer around the Sennybridge training area.
• Appropriate buffers for special protection areas to protect bird species, requested by Natural Resources Wales (NRW).
• A visual impact buffer placed around existing and proposed windfarms to take account of cumulative impact.
• A buffer to all designated landscapes which include two national parks and two areas of outstanding natural beauty.
• Consideration of grid connection and landscape impact.

Powys County Council, Strategic Director Place, Paul Griffiths said: “The LDP is the most important planning document we have and it is essential that we have a robust plan in place. It is a policy for the future and it is vital that it is fit for purpose.

“Although the work is still in progress, initial findings show that applying the constraints has resulted in a significant decrease in the number and extent of proposed local search areas in the county that are available for both wind and solar energy development. The council will publish the results of this additional evidence on its LDP webpages on May 12th 2017”.

“The finalised results will be submitted to the Inspector as part of the LDP planning examination in advance of the deadline for hearing statements. It is likely that the council will be recommending changes to the LDP’s renewable energy policies to the Inspector so that these can be discussed at the hearing session. If the Inspector considers changes to the LDP are necessary, these will be subject to further public consultation so that the Inspector can decide whether the changes are acceptable,” he added.

Key LDP dates:
12th May 2017 – publication of the revised Renewable Energy Assessment and its accompanying landscape assessment.
5th June 2017 – Deadline for Hearing Statements for LDP Hearing Sessions 15 & 16 on Renewable Energy.
28th and 29th June – Hearing Sessions 15 and 16 on Renewable Energy.

Further information about the LDP and the Examination process including hearings can be found on the Council’s LDP webpages at:
http://www.powys.gov.uk/en/planning-building-control/local-development-plan/

ENDS
John Evans
Rheolwr Cyfathrebu
Communications Manager
01597 826377
07884 234711