Exactly one week ago today, as a first step towards starting a grassroots 'good governance movement' on Anglesey, I asked contributors to help in providing suggestions to create a "Peoples Manifesto" for local government on the Island. I'm delighted to say that the thread received close to one hundred comments - each containing constructive suggestions and proposals addressing almost every aspect of local government on Anglesey. Diolch yn fawr to you all!
Below I have attempted to compile all the comments and suggestions to create a 'first draft' of our Peoples Manifesto:
Education and Leisure
- Commission a review of all Ynys Mon primary and secondary education needs in the short and long term so that any rationalisation of services is taken based on an understanding of what the Island's educational needs are to prepare for the future
- Allow the formation of 'free schools' so that parents can choose in which language they want their children to be educated - this is particularly important in order to make Anglesey more attractive to entrepreneurs who might like to settle and develop businesses in Anglesey
- Protect local libraries as they provide the means for residents to enhance their knowledge and skills
- Commission a review of all leisure facilities on the Island, both in the public and private sector
- Work in partnership with adjacent local authorities, the NHS and private providers, in order to identify and eliminate costly duplication of services and encourage and support good working practice.
Highways, Transportation & Maritime (including the Port of Holyhead)
- Recognise that improved transport links to bring Anglesey closer to the business centre of the UK are absolutely crucial for encouraging businesses to set up on the Island and further economic development
- Campaign for an upgrade to the North Wales costal main line (its crazy that it takes one hour to get from Bangor to Chester)
- Campaign for Holyhead to be linked to proposed highspeed rail link - this would make Holyhead the prime gateway to Ireland.
- Campaign for Anglesey Airport to fly to an extended destination list, including London, Ireland, Midlands, etc. and not just Cardiff
- Accelerate the re-provision of services along the Gaerwen-Llangefni-Amlwch rail link
- Consider putting highway services out to competitive tender
- With relation to Holyhead Port: build on good work already achieved by working closely with Stena and others to develop the port commercially and encourage trade as a gateway to Wales and North England
- Separate the functions between the running of the Council, and policing of the Council, by the appointment of Good Governance Commissioner to deal with complaints against the council not resolved by the council including: Freedom of information requests & Compliance with Data Protection Act.
- Recognise that the Island's future rests on promotion and support of small businesses, not just one or two large employers; therefore consider ways to reduce the costs of running small businesses and provide support to encourage growth of existing small businesses and establishment of new ventures
- Promote the inward migration of forward thinking entrepreneurs
- Hold an independent review into the cost effectiveness of the policies followed by the IOACC's Economic Development Department
- Set up a committee or similar grouping of successful business people on the Island who can advice and review the actions of the council Economic Development Department.
- Provision of better training opportunities on the Island
- Promote Anglesey's unique prehistoric, Celtic and Druidic past by developing a visitor centre to provide more information and better access at Barcloddiad Y Gawres or Bryn Celli Ddu (this is especially important when you consider that the majority of tourists brought by cruise liners to holyhead currently get on coaches for day trips to Betws Y Coed etc off the island!)
- In relation to the above point, campaign for the return of the Llyn Cerrig Bach treasures from Cardiff, and house them at a suitable venue
- Anglesey's uniqueness is that it is an island - promote that uniqueness by promoting its as destination for water sports, yachting etc.
- Promote and support Anglesey's windmills rather than closing them down - Anglesey was called Mon Mam Cymru due to its flour production therefore these windmills are an important part of our heritage
- Consider creating a big attraction in the centre of the island, something like Greenwood Centre crossed with Eden Project crossed with Center Parc, including walking, riding and cycling paths. Boating etc. 3 swimming pools with slides, waves etc. Discounted entry and season tickets for residents.The site could be council owned. They would plan the layout, build infrastructure like roads, carparks, paths, WCs and some buildings. then have say 20 or 30 plots scattered around for rent.
Environment, Property and Smallholdings
- Renovate the incredibly poor state of some of IOACC tenant farms
- Investigate the feasibility of entering into partnership arrangements with neighbouring authorities in order to reduce cost, duplication and functions (e.g. share chief officers)
- Investigate the feasibility of devolving greater powers to community/parish councils
- Improved control over the priorities of the local police
- Set up a 'Good Governance Commission' led by someone from outside Ynys Môn. Any complaints not satisfactorily resolved by the Council should be referred to the commission
- Complete transparency regarding council officer salaries over certain threshold - no ifs, no buts.
- Requirement for candidates standing to become a councillors publish their manifesto online on the council website 2 months prior to elections
- Independent candidates should also state prior to the election which grouping they will join if elected
- More consistency and transparency
- Review whether industrial agriculture represents 'unspoilt' natural landscape which currently prevents planning permission being given to build on this land
- Consider introducing a scheme whereby people can build traditional cottages in vernacular styles using local materials. Don't allow paved or tarmaced drives, but promote walking to a house. Promote renewable energy. This would create affordable homes, a whole industry to support it, revive traditional building skills, give hope to local people and keep them here, and demonstrate meaningful sustainable living, not just tick-box style schemes currently in-vogue.
- Greater transparency (all procurement projects greater than £10,000 to be listed on IAOCC website)
- Preference given to local firms
- Relaxation of some ridiculously over-the-top 'box ticking' which currently prevents smaller Anglesey firms from being able to bid for IAOCC contracts
- Support Wylfa B, but insist that Horizon also sets up a suitable multi-million pound charitable fund on Anglesey (similar to the Shell fund) which can used by IOACC to provide support to certain activities (esp. economic developement, education & leisure)
- a reduction in electricity bills for everyone on the island should Wylfa B get built. A 30% reduction would save households several hundred more £ a year.
- Insist that there are members of the public sitting on the Shell Trust.
- Also that the Treasurer of the Trust files his reports on time; not doing so smacks of contempt for those whose money it is.
Provision of Council Services
- Working with the Post Office, other local providers and community council’s establish where possible one stop shops in the provision of council services. Provide funding to develop training for non council staff in provision of such services.
I'm sure that on reading through the above many of you will have additional thoughts or ideas which you might like to include. Equally you might like to edit or adjust these existing items. Accordingly I would like to invite everyone who is interested to directly edit the above document which I have hosted on an online collaborative editing site. You can access it as follows:
On logging on feel free to give yourself a 'username' (you don't need to register or give your email so its completely anonymous) and make whatever changes you think will improve this draft. In doing so remember that you are making a solid contribution to improving the current mess we have in Anglesey County Council.
P.S. I should also add that if someone wants to have a go at improving the structure of the whole thing, grouping items better and generally enhancing and simplifying the text, please be my guest!