What's the strategy again? Change everything by the Nolan principles (very good start, but hardly something that should be put forward as new or surprising). Nolan first published his seven principles in 1995 - a year BEFORE the new-style IoACC came into being!! And then we have change the world by dialogue with the public.
Interesting, apart from when you read through to affordable housing - something of immediate urgency for our young people - you realise that dialogue and consultation very clearly fails to include the public who want and need that housing. So no change there, then.
This is the disease that afflicts this and many other Councils - a belief that they and their private partners know what's best for the people. Developers are only interested in their bottom line, so whilst they should be involved, they shouldn't be driving the agenda. Go to any meeting about housing, and you'll find planning staff on one side of the room, and developers on the other. The public seem by their absence to think they're not welcome, which is something the Council should address.
It's always exciting to say things like 'get things up to 21st century standards'. Actually, what is needed is simply a timeless dedication and commitment to a better local governance. We should also learn from other countries, whose 21st century standards often appear to be from the 23rd century, relative to ours.
Again on economic development, there is a revealing absence of the term 'small (and medium-sized) businesses'. Even the Chancellor will tell you these are the backbone of the economy. But they are completely ignored as a provider of potentially far more jobs than even Wylfa 'B' in the longer term. I find that very worrying, and it perpetuates the long-held Council belief in 'big solutions' that generate big headlines; these are only part of the answer, however attractive or obvious they might seem.
Planning: it would have been nice to see some tacit acknowledgment of the very real concerns that people have about the unfair and inconsistent way planning is perceived to operate on Anglesey. But there is nothing, which may indicate more emphasis on protecting the department than addressing the problems within it.
Governance: Accountability of councillors good to see. We would also like to see a '3 strikes and you're out' system for those councillors too busy with other matters to attend meetings they ought to be at.
In all, we of course genuinely welcome this move by Llais i Fôn. But the clue is in the name: A Voice for Anglesey. The people are its voice, and the Council is (or should be) its ear. I think this manifesto makes only very slow progress towards truly accepting the people as having an important, valid and legitimate part to play in forming the future of the Council and the island.However, once again, praise where praise is due: well done to the Llais i Fôn councillors for being the first to put together and distribute their manifesto! I hope all other groups will follow their lead and also forward their manifestos. It is the differences in policy between groups which I want to see - and it is those differences which will spark debate and strengthen local democracy on Anglesey.
Moving on to Cllr Everetts comments. Again well done to him for taking the time to engage openly and swiftly with the People's Manifesto. The only part of his reply with which I would take issue is this:
"Allowing supermarkets outside of our town centres has created a lot of employment, in my home town of Holyhead the retail park now employs over 600 people we should not forget that, and if you look at the size of just Morrison’s alone it would be impossible for that to be built in the town centre, and the community are calling for choice and these big named retailers to come to the Island, I have said for some time our towns need to diversify and target the tourism market more just like they have done in Conwy."
The retail park in Holyhead may well employ 600 people - but how many of those 600 jobs are new jobs and how many have simply been 'cannibalised' from existing local businesses? It is no secret that retail in Holyhead's town centre is in serious decline with large numbers of vacant shops and the rest mostly struggling to stay solvent; the same is true in Holyhead's satellite towns. There is no doubt that Holyhead's retail park is probably the prime reason behind this. Of course people do want the choice and cheaper prices which the large national retailers bring, but as an Island we need a more savvy economic development / planning policy which tries to find a balance between more choice on one hand and supporting local shops and businesses on the other. For example, can there be any justification whatsoever for allowing five supermarkets (Asda, Iceland, Lidl, Aldi, HomeBargains) to set up on the edge of Llangefni - a town with a population of less than 5,000 people? We also have to remember that local shops are actually small businesses run by local entrepreneurs who largely reinvest their profits locally by buying in goods and services from other local businesses - unlike the larger national retailers.
Which leads me on to a question for you all: why is it do you think that some of Anglesey's towns (Menai Bridge and Beaumaris in particular) have such thriving town centres full of local small shops, yet the centres of other towns on Anglesey (Holyhead, Llangefni, and Amlwch spring to mind) are slowly declining into irrelevance?