The petition to keep Parc Howard in public ownership was mentioned by Cllr Deryk Cundy as he put a question to the County Council’s Executive Board on Monday 4th January. In his question Cllr Cundy asked the Plaid-Independent Executive Board to look again at their plans to divest the Council of the responsibility for the County’s parks, and asked in particular that Parc Howard should be kept in public ownership. That is precisely what has been requested by the 5,313 people who signed the Parc Howard petition, started by Nia Griffith MP. As a result of the question, Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of the Council, responded by agreeing to meet the members of the Parc Howard Committee.
Commenting on the Leader’s response, Nia Griffith MP said,
“I am pleased that the Council Leader Cllr Dole has agreed to meet the members of the Parc Howard Committee, but I am very concerned about his suggestion that it should be up to the hard-working volunteer committee members to come up with ideas to raise the £108,000 per year needed to run the Parc; I’d like to thank all the Parc Howard Committee members for their hard work, and certainly they can raise money for specific projects, but they have stated quite rightly that it is simply not realistic in the long run for them to raise the annual running costs. I hope the Plaid Council Leader will realise that, and make a proper commitment for the County to fund the Park. He was quick enough a couple of months ago to pour scorn on the petition, saying it was unnecessary, but now he needs to put the money where his mouth is.”
Welsh Labour Assembly candidate Lee Waters has branded the Plaid Leader’s approach as cynical and disingenuous saying,
“When over 5,000 people signed the petition started by Nia Griffith MP the Plaid-led Council back-tracked on plans to sell-off Parc Howard. But the U-turn hasn’t lasted long. The Council Leader Emlyn Dole is now cynically sowing the seeds for ditching the pledge by placing the burden on local volunteers to come up with a solution. It shouldn’t be for the volunteers of the Parc Howard Association to find a way of keeping this treasure in the hands of the people. That’s what we elect a Council for. Plaid talked a good game before taking power in Carmarthenshire, now it’s time to deliver.”