Proposals will see present community council disappear

A surprise document has emerged from Monmouthshire County Council advising of suggested boundary changes within the present structure of community councils across Monmouthshire.
If the recommendations in the document released by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission are accepted by the Welsh Government, this would be the most radical shake-up of community councils seen in living memory.Capture2
The present wards that currently comprise Llangattock-vibon-avel Community Council are proposed to be carved up and merged into two new super community councils of Whitecastle and Skenfrith.
The review of boundaries is suggesting Skenfrith be made a new community council of seven councillors formed out of areas from the following: Crucorney; Grosmont; Llangattock vibon avel; Llantilio Crossenny.skenf

This Skenfrith community council would have three new wards: Cross Ash – three councillors;  Llanvetherine – two councillors;  Skenfrith – two councillors.
This would form part of the existing Llantilio Crosseny electoral ward.

The new community council of Whitecastle will be formed from current communities:  Llanarth;  Llangattock Vibon Avel;  Llantilio Crossenny;  Mitchel Troy;  Monmouth. 

This new proposed council will have the wards of: Llangattock Vibon Avel – one councillor;  Llanvihangel-Ystern-Llewern -  one councillor; Newcastle  – two councillors;  Penrhos – two councillors;  Rockfield and St Maughans – two councillors;  Whitecastle – two councillors.
This community council would also from part of the Llantilio Crosenny electoral ward.

Councillor Desmond Pugh, representing the Skenfrith ward said that this document was "strangely familiar" to one he submitted revisions to in 2014.
"This would see a huge change in the area we represent, as Skenfrith has historically seen itself closely connected to Monmouth. Now the proposed boundary changes would see us weighted more towards the Abergavenny area.
" I can see a number of councillors standing down if these proposals are accepted by the Welsh Government as this tinkering with boundaries that have worked well for many years, is just another example of spending money for no good reason" he added.
"We sit voluntarily on the council to serve our community and see areas of service such as roads, drains and verge cutting continually pared to the bone, then to see money and resources thrown at such an unneccessary re-arrangement of council boundaries will be the tipping point for many.
"Clerks will have to re-appointed and websites re-written at a cost to the taxpayer when we could be resurfacing roads," he added.

Any representations concerning the matters in this report should be addressed to the Welsh Government not later than 11th March. Representations should be sent to: Local Government Democracy Team Democracy, Diversity and Remuneration Division Welsh Government Cathays Park Cardiff CF10 3NQ Or emailed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The full documents can be read here: https://goo.gl/Jyt11J

New travel planner in development stages

A NEW travel planner for journeys is being aired by Monmouthshire County Council. Zipabout intends to build up a picture of the needs of residents in planning journeys.
They are developing an innovative platform that brings together journey planning enquiries to understand the sorts of journeys people are wanting to take and how they want to travel. Over time, they say, this will start to produce a good picture of travel needs and levels of demand within the county. The longer term idea is that this insight can show where services could be refined (e.g. departure / arrival times tweaked) or where there may be sufficient demand for new services (e.g. on demand services into railway stations from surrounding catchments). The journey planner, in time, will also be able to provide disruption information (e.g. advising if the bus is delayed) and in-journey assistance to help people through their journey.
The journey planner offers the chance for people to register and log in (this is so people can receive the in-journey support options that are planned). However, people can use the journey planner without registering. Users can test journeys either by clicking on the map or by typing in their start/finish points in the journey planner form. Testing and trialling the journey planner is a vital part of understanding what works and how both the technology and travel services can be improved to meet the needs of communities.
The journey planner can be found here: https://monmouthshire.zipp.to/

Give it a go, and if you would like to take a short survey (about 5 minutes - make a cup of tea), let them know what you think. Be nice.
The survey can be found here:

 https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VSSXMG6

 

 

Solar panel plans and Cross Ash Under 5s under discussion at this week's meeting

At the meeting of 6th February, councillors met to discuss a number of matters on the agenda.
One of the items up for discussion was a plea for help from Cross Ash Under 5s group. They are based in a specially converted room at Cross Ash Hall and are a charitable organisation "running on a very tight budget". Organised by a volunteer parental group, they rely on fundraising activities to keep them going and are finding it increasingly difficult to meet their running costs and asked the community council for help.
Councillors agreed that the group provide a valuable service to the community and agreed provisionally to gift them £100 to help them meet expenses. It was mentioned that sight of their accounts may help councillors decide whether this was sufficient or a further donation would be prudent.
Plans on the table this week was a solar array at old Llangattock Farm, DM/ 2019/ 00064.
The array is to have a footprint of 3m x 13m, with the top back edge at 2.5m high and the front top edge to be 0.5m high - the panels are tilted at an angle of 35 degrees to the horizontal giving a sloping surface. To be sighted parallel to and 2m away from the boundary fence. The array would be about 50m from the boundary with the highway.
A new road access was being considered.  Llangattock ward councillors were looking into whether to recommend approval or refusal.
The provision of houses was discussed at Cross Ash with the focus on the old garage site (pictured) under the ownership of Steve Martin.

 Cross ash 0330A request was read out from the landowner looking to the council to support him in what is proving to be a difficult and expensive plot of land to convert into a site for houses. The underground storage tanks from the former garage pose an extra burden on the cost of making the site suitable for homes.
Councillor Lane has been looking into the provision of affordable homes in the Cross Ash area, with a number of sites on the radar, but none so far have been deemed appropriate or available. 
Picture copyright Henry Pugh

The next meeting will be on 6th March at 8pm at Hilston Park. The meeting closed at 9pm.

Free trees from the Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust are giving away free trees to anyone who applies and meets their eligibility criteria. They want to make sure everyone has the chance to plant a tree this year and provided you have permission from the landowner, you can apply for a pack of trees today.ctp medium gallery new college stamford students wtml

Successful tree pack applicants will receive their trees in November 2019. All their subsidised or free products have defined eligibility criteria; should you not meet those, or they consider the product to be otherwise unsuitable, they will offer the most appropriate product available.

They will share your details with their nursery partners, contractors, couriers, sponsors and any other third parties involved directly in the funding or delivery of your Woodland Trust trees. The Woodland Trust, or a nominated partner, may apply Legitimate Interest in order to contact you to process your order.

Tree packs include: Wild harvest; hedge; copse; all-round year colour with packs suitable for urban or wildlife cover.

Visit the website today: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/free-trees/

Newcastle defibrillator launch

Newcastle's defibrillator, the last one of the network of five installed in north Monmouthshire, is set to be officially launched before Christmas.

Newcatle defb 0284

Residents and interested parties are warmly invited to the opening ceremony on Saturday, December 22nd at 2pm to the village green where hot mince pies and punch (bring your own mug!)  will be served before the phone box will be officially dedicated as a defibrillator station.

The Village Life Project has been busy refurbishing the former BT phone box adjacent to the bus shelter so it can serve as a 'life-station' for cardiac arrest emergencies and supplement the other stations in the network; Cross Ash, Skenfrith, Maypole and Rockfield.

A collection will be made to raise money for some spring bulbs and summer wildflowers on a nearby verge, and to help support the Village Life Project, who rely upon grants and donations to fund their volunteer work.

Tom Pitts-Tucker explained that it's important to get trained up or refresh skills. "That's a general message for the whole of Monmouthshire of course. Lots of organisations out there are available to provide CPR training. The challenge lies in changing attitudes towards more resilience and self reliance in a crisis and overcoming peoples' reluctance to get involved. Within Llangattock VA Village Life is to hand! Anyone local would be welcome at one of our informal small group training sessions.

N Rockfield defibrillatorThey only need to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange it. We will be reinviting those who have been before for their annual refresher in due course," he added.

"The sessions are relaxed, friendly and quite sociable. They last a couple of hours, are accredited by Welsh Ambulance and result in an official certificate. Last year the Village Life Project managed to train or update about 120 people so the target  this year is 150! The tally to date since the summer has reached around 50. Our main drive will get going in the New Year, now that the work to get the two last new AEDs in place has been completed"

 Details of forthcoming 'lifesaving skills' classes on how to use the machine will be posted here and on the Newcastle Facebook page.

Defibrillators updates

Tom Pitts-Tucker has asked us to post updates for the Village Life Community Project:

Village Life News - Autumn 2016

Village Life News – June 2016

Village Life News - March-2016

Village Life News - February 2016