Leaders and clerks from town and community councils came together with representatives from Carmarthenshire County Council recently at a summit organised by Nia Griffith MP. The purpose of the summit was to try to get ahead of the impending changes in local government, which might see Carmarthenshire form part of a larger Dyfed, and feed up from the grassroots how we would like to see things shaped to try and strengthen local democracy and get the voice of the people of Llanelli and the surrounding area better heard.
Participants were trying to be constructive within the context of the changes and raised a number of very pertinent questions and practical issues. They agreed that as the legislation progressed they would find it useful to continue to meet and develop ideas.
Summing up at the end of the meeting, Nia Griffith MP said,
“Whether local government reorganisation leaves Carmarthenshire on its own, or makes it part of a new Dyfed, we need to grapple with the issue of how our town and community councils can get local people’s voice heard, whilst, at the same time, recognising that they cannot take over the running of services without a different financial settlement. Nevertheless we do want a local say in issues like planning and licensing. We are therefore very anxious to know exactly how the proposed area boards would work, who would be on them, and what powers and responsibilities they would have. Representatives of town and community councils here today are very clear that they would much prefer a model of voluntary collaboration between councils on specific issues, rather than any form of forced merger. The Clerk of Llanelli Rural Council has pointed out the benefits of the four councils with cemetery responsibilities, namely Llanelli Town and Rural, Llangennech and Pembrey and Burry Port, to share expertise, and we could certainly out this forward as a model to the Minister Leighton Andrews AM. This has been a useful start and we clearly will have more to discuss as proposals develop.”