Wednesday, September 05, 2007

When the going gets tough in Powys.

I hear on the Montgomeryshire 'grapevine' that several Powys councillors are having cold feet about their policy of closing small rural schools. I was showing the New Mills Women's Institute around our garden tonight when I had two calls informing me of a possible capitulation by councillors to public pressure.

A difficult issue for me. I instinctively oppose the Council's determination to close small rural schools, but I recognise that the Council is under a lot of financial and Assembly Government pressure to reduce surplus places - so I will not criticise Councillors who decide to ignore my protestations against closures, as long as I feel that they have given due consideration to our objections. Sometimes tough decisions have to be taken. I've been there myself. Up until now the Council has demonstrated a combination of determination and devious tactics (which I have condemned) to drive through its agreed closure programme. Until today, it seems.

I suppose there are Council elections coming up next May! Some councillors have felt the wind of voter power up their lower garments - and intend to buckle under pressure. I'm told that the Lib Dem Councillors could join up with some Independents to take decisions about closures away from the Board which runs the Council, returning it to the floor of the chamber. I can see an interesting row blowing up in Llandrindod Wells. It really will be interesting to see whether the Leader of the Council, Michael Jones stands up and leads.

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