Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gwyl Y Felinheli 2008

My home village, Y Felinheli is very fortunate to have one of the top village festivals in Wales - Gwyl Y Felinheli.
It is a credit to all those who volunteer time This years events are well undeway and this evening we all warmed up for the Euro final with some congregational singing in the company of Cor y Penrhyn (Penrhyn male voice choir) accompanied by Enesmble Pres Biwmares.
If you are anywhere near North West Wales this week the varied programme and events in the Gwyl are well worth a visit.

Caernarfon needs "emergency" marketing

In welcoming Eluned Morgan MEP to Caernarfon last Friday I have made a call for an "emergency" marketing campaign for Caernarfon to help the town through the current problems of redevelopment and change.

I discussed with Eluned the challenges which face the town as it goes through a period of major change. My key message remains the same. The decision about Victoria Dock has been made, and the big challenge now is that the 'old' and the 'new' town must find effective ways of working together for everyone's long term benefit. When there is disruption and change that is not easy, but the focus must be on making the best of the changes taking place. To help in that I am calling on Gwynedd Council and the Welsh Assembly Government to lead an "emergency" marketing campaign in local hotels, caravan parks and camping sites during the Summer holidays to ensure visitors are not put off coming to the town. This will ensure the town can best respond to the challenge of this change and be helped through a difficult period.

It often falls on local councils to lead marketing initiatives and given the impact of the current scheme it would seem very sensible to put an emergency campaign in place which will help traders over the Summer period and make sure the town can benefit from the investment and change.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Do Wigley and Jones now think a "bribe" is a good thing?

I suppose we all come to revise our opinions over time.
It was during the lead up to the last Assembly election that Dafydd Wigley and Alun Ffred Jones AM issued a letter referring to the role of regeneration grants and that using such incentives to attract companies could be a "bribe". I called for the withdrawal of such a stupid allegation and note that no such noises have been made with recent job creating announcements by the One Wales Government.
It seems the Plaid leader of Gwynedd Council has no qualms about an Assembly grant, and I wonder whether the Deputy First Minister sees his announcement as a "bribe" or, my view, just sensible use of monies to help support and improve the local economy ?
As I say we can all change our opinions over time, especially if we move from the opposition benches to Government limos!!

Bloggers rage - "Poor Martin"

Dear me it seems that to blog we now require perfect spilling (!!) of every word, and to spend our waking time checking postings. Little did I realise that giving a little of my time to offloading random thoughts, stories, pictures and ideas would cause such upset. I don't force anyone to read this - indeed I am sure there are more constructive uses of time.

However after previous rounds of 'nat' attacks on the blog I do generally moderate and that can cuase some delay in posting comments. For example yesterday I was largley away from a pc after the posting on Cymdeithas Cledwyn, and I have only just caught up with a couple of comments-which are now posted.

I am more than happy to take the personal criticism and insults - perhaps it makes someone out there feel better. In contrast to the frustration expressed by Ordivicus, I think blogmenai has posted some valid comments about creating reasons to vote 'for' something, rather than just being anti-Tory.

Perhaps in truth a few of my nationalist friends just get upset at a Labour voice posing questions, poking the local establishment and who just won't go away (like a bad rash).

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ymgyrchu yn Y Fro - Campaigning in the heartland

I will join Eluned Morgan MEP in Caernarfon this morning for the launch of a report by Cymdeithas Cledwyn on Labour's campaign and electoral work in the Welsh language heartlands of West and Norh WestWales. This is one of the reviews that arose from the last Assembly results and makes for interesting reading.

Diddorol fydd ymuno ac Eluned Morgan ASE yng Nhaernarfon wrth lawnsio adroddiad Cymdeithas Cledwyn ar ymgyrchoedd Llafur yn Gorllewin a Gogledd Orllewin Cymru. Dyma adroddiad diddorol ac un arolygiad gan Llafur ar ol canlyniadau etholiadau Y Cynulliad yn 2007.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Red-Blue upsets them all

It seems my simple message that following the next Westminster election the people of Arfon will have a red or blue government has got under the collar of a few more people. Ordovicius -link on right hand side if you want- carries this lovely paragrpah in his recent posting about Gwilym Euros of Llais Gwynedd (yes, I'm just catchinhg up!)

"Gwilym, not wanting to exert himself too much with standards, has obviously decided to emulate Martin Eaglestone's purile style of blogging, which does note bode well for his chances of being reelected in 2012, as Martin himself has yet to discover any sane reason why anybody should vote for him".

Very entertaining - although the personalised attack on Gwilym Euros seems a little OTT. People in Plaid Cymru really must come to accept election defeats a little more gracefully. Winning and loosing elections is one price of democracy. However :

New hospital in Tremadog
Multi million pound investment in regenerating Caernarfon
Investment in new facilities in Ysbyty Gwynedd
Communities First work in Caernarfon, Bangor and Dyffryn Nantlle
New multi million facilities at Bangor University
Rail investment
New court buildings
Plas Pawb intgrated children's centre
Ty Cegin healthy living centre
DWP offices in Parc Menai

etc etc etc - the list of acheivements could get boring.

It seems a better option to me that letting in the Tories - and yes I beleive that wasting a vote on Plaid does not make much sense for Wales, and in protecting our evolving Assembly (oops here I go again !)

Squeeze on local government ?

I have often wondered how long it can be before local government feels the squueze of an Assembly Government making promises that it does not directly control. The latest report on delivering more affordable homes is another example of a WAG promise that partly (largely?) depends on the vageries/variations of local authorities.
Can the One Wales government afford to have a flagship policy that is does not more directly control ?
Will the idea that the Minister take more direct control of performance lead to changes in the existing relationships of central and local ?
Will people really care provided the homes are delivered ?
Of course it can always be convenient to have systems which mean a lack of delivery is linked to some complexity between differing layers of government responsibility. But a promise of 6500 homes won't be forgotten and with the downturn in the housing market it is looking more challenging, unless someone signs some big cheques for direct delivery of these homes.
There is also a need to get shifting. It takes time to build homes - ask a planner - so its time to get the skates on.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Upsetting blog meani

Having taken a break I am only just catching up with the recent blog postings of others. It seems that my recent arguments in the local weekly press about the next Westminster election clearly now being a clear red-blue choice has upset the prolific blogmenai. Roughly and abruptly translated "The problem with Martin Eaglestone" is that by making this choice very clear it is negative campaigning, and giving people a reason why they should vote Labour.

Fair argument menai, but while Plaid may be quite happy to consider deals with the Tories, and we know that the Party of Wales in Arfon voted to support the 'Rainbow' in the Assembly, some of us are still motivated by the desire to keep the Tories out.

Voting Labour in Arfon in the next Westminster election is one simple way to acheive that outcome and protect Arfon from the Tories.

Now I need to speak to Gordon about riding out the storm and providing the good reasons why Arfon needs Labour - but those investments and new opportunities were listed in the press if ignored by menai in his posting.

Passenger overboard !

Dafydd Iwan has had a bad political year and might have hoped comrades in the Party of Wales would give him some comfort and activities to occupy his spare time and energy. Well not so it seems, and Elfyn Llwyd has decided there is no better time to kick a man then when he is falling.
Some of the opening comments in this Presidential campaign point to potential fireworks ahead.
Of course Elfyn will also be open to public questioning and perhaps we can usefully probe a few issues on what he new knew about the goings on in Cymad, what and when he knew, as he tries to become a national political figure leading his troops on the path from "navel gazing" to a brighter future.
Right time to frame some legally correct questions for Mr Llwyd........

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"It is a funny issue, planning"

So lets start with an article in the Guardian that caught my eye and the debate over reforms to the system of town and country planning, which is where I earn my daily crust.
The Westminster government have some worthy aspirations to reform the planning system which can make it more fit for purpose in a fast changing world. Yet it is not proving straightforward and it will be interesting to see how our Welsh Assembly Government take forward some of these issues in Wales.
The RTPI (planners professional body) today put out the following release about changes to the Bill.
Whether in your local community or on the national stage planning can kick up a debate.

Had a break!

I suppose we all need a break to deal with life sometimes so I think the longest break in postings since I started blogging is now over.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

From "Y Doc" to Afffordable Homes

Well the Victoria Dock development has not yet delivered any affordable homes, although some form of off site provision is mentioned whenever questions are asked of gwynedd Council. This is of interest as the Joseph Rowntree foundation today published reserach on affordable homes in rural Wales. As someone engaged in town planning to earn my daily crust I found much of the report familiar, and am not really persuaded by those of the recommendations that lead us to yet more research and evidence gathering.
Property prices are beyond incomes, the existing property owners benefit and the social concience it seems is not yet big enough to show enough care for those unable to enter the market. The billions might impact on tax rates - a windfalll tax for affordable homes ? (noting that as government prepares for a development levy the market takes a nasty turn).
The focus is best placed on proactive steps to increase supply, and building a concensus for more capital to build more homes. The recommendation which caught my eye however was the need for a "seismic upward shift in affordable housing provision" which takes us to the whole debate about the adequacy of house building rates in recent years and is a challenge to the prevailing culture of recent years whic has at times been anti-development.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

More Victoria "Doc" Fictoria photos

The photos of Y Doc caused some interest and I have therefore posted a couple more shots taken in Sunday's glorious weather.
Anyway more marketing stuff here from Watkin Jones web site.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Dinner at the "Doc"

A nice lunchtime having Sunday dinner with members of Arfon CLP. A new monthly 'Sunday lunch club' with a once a month social get together. Better than that politics thing!
Anyway this month's venue was the much debated Doc Victoria Dock - the "new" face of Caernarfon. With shops, hotels and restaurant now open it is becoming more lively, although still stimulates much debate over scale and design of the development- even in the lunch club!
So here are a couple of pictures. Some members popped off for a nose at the 'show homes' which come in at the local price of around 750k and 620k . The smaller apartments are around 220kk. Good luck to anyone who has the cash to enjoy the waterside luxury.