Thursday, March 11, 2010

Peaceful Protest in Newtown

I've never been on a demonstration - unless the million strong march in support of foxhunting, which took place in the run up to the passing of the Hunting with Dogs Act counts. As I recall, that was just a gentle stroll through the streets of London. But I was thinking of carrying my first placard tomorrow morning - but eventually decided against it. Let me explain.

Background to this is the development of a new 39,000 sqr. ft. Tesco supermarket in Newtown, Montgomeryshire. Now, I don't share the antipathy some hold for the supermarket giant. Its brilliantly managed, and provides what the customer wants. Welshpool people are shopping in Newtown!! Even Mrs D, Welshpool through and through, shops there. But I was not in favour of this development being granted permission. As far as I recall, local opposition at the time was led by Conservative Assembly Candidate, Dan Munford, supported by me. I recall the developer's transport experts putting on a display for a large crowd of us at the Elephant and Castle, which I thought was fantastical 'cobblers'. My opposition was based on likely traffic congestion and damage to the distant town centre. But permission was granted. I was 'gobsmacked' when the Assembly Government did not call the application in - and refuse it.

And then to make matters worse, the Assembly Government required Tesco to pay for the installation of traffic lights in place of the McDonald's roundabout. I thought this was nuts. Not all of those I consult on these things agrees with me here. Whatever, the combination has created utter chaos since Tesco opened for business a few weeks ago. The issue is 'What happens now'? Working with local councillors and AMs, I've been trying to generate some concern in the mind of Ieuan Wyn Jones, Deputy First Minister at the Assembly, who is the responsible person. And something called a SCOOT system has been installed today, which is predicted to improve things.

And then, along with hundreds on others, I received a message on Facebook from our MP informing us that he, personally, was going to fix it - if the problems had not been sorted by 9.00 tomorrow morning. Must admit this alarmed me. Only a fool would disrupt traffic (and make the situation worse) or interfere in the traffic controls (which would risk human life). Anyway, it seems that the Police warned the MP that he would be arrested if he went ahead with his plans - and rightly so. So Mr Opik has arranged a placard waving protest instead. I'm with him on this, and would like to have gone along in support. But in the end, I decided I shouldn't intrude on my political opponent's plans. But I'll be there with him in spirit, and all those who join in. Probably drive past and give them a toot - unless the traffic jams are too great!


Anonymous said...

This is typical Lembit Opik attention seeking behaviour. He's probably done nothing in the run up to any of all this, but now wants to make a big noise. Did he not will the police to arrest him over that stupid Segway he insists on promoting. And of course, here we have yet another photo op for the County Lies. At least if you turn up, Glyn, you'll get yourself in that godawgul paper. Because, remember, you have to stop describing yourself as "a mere sheep farmer" and start seeing yourself as the legit and grown up representative for Montgomeryshire

Anonymous said...

As one who drives through Newtown (and worked there for many years) I know how bad the traffic could get before this all happened.
Recently- since Tesco has opened- it took me an hour and 46 minutes to drive from the tannery to theatre Powys!! NOT GOOD!
I will seriously be looking at alternative routes in future.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Glyn Davies said...

Anon - Sheep farmers are never 'mere'. Most of the sheep farmers I know have more common sense, and better judgement than most politicians I know. And anyway, I sold my flock last year, so I know longer qualify anyway!

I decided not to join Lembit on his protest because I did not want to push myself into his event. And I must admit that placards and protests are not my style anyway.

Jim - Council officers are reassuring me that the position will be better from now on, though there were problems before. I have been travelling in via LLanllwchaiarn for years if going into Newtown late afternoon. By-pass needed.

Anonymous said...

I think PCC have pressured WAG Trunk Road Agency to improve the sequencing already. Fingers crossed, for Newtown's sake.

Gary Price said...

Glyn, Ieuan Wyn Jones would see the traffic chaos first hand if he drove down from North Wales to Cardiff Bay, Rather than use the very expensive ( Public Funded) Highland Airways service from Anglesey to Cardiff, better known as Ieuan Air, This news story just confirms that like the Montgomershire MP, Mr Wyn Jones lives with his head in the clouds.

Tcoah said...

On demonstrations and the emotions and subjectivity that are sometimes put before common-sense.

Take the save the Llanishen reservoir campaign - where common-sense has been thrown to the wind.

Are residents below Llanishen Reservoir unaware they are voting for 1.5 million tons of water to be stored above their houses and local school? If the earth embankment dam bursts - there will be massive loss of life, including children. Llanishen reservoir is at 45m elevation (nearly 50 yards elevation). It was built at that height to supply water to Cardiff by 'gravity assist' or 'gravity feed', but as such the elevation presents a clear danger to the school and residents below the dam if there is a breach. If there is a breach we would be looking at an Aberfan in the heart of Cardiff, the nation’s capital.

Anonymous said...


I thought the Dog Turd costume on display today says it all.

Anonymous said...

Soo, Lrmbit Opik did not declare TWENTY THOUSAND POUNDS he received for writing about his saddo love life......I wonder if the tax people, the County Times et al will pick up on this? Or will slippery Lembit get away with it again?? After all, he got away with the free cruise, claiming allowances whilst living with his girlfriend etc etc etc The list is SO endless I can't be bothered with it!

Anonymous said...

well not so sure about the improved sequencing....all that happened this morning was that the lights have changed i.e. llani rd - pool rd now move at the same time whilst Kerry rd - cambrian bridge take turns in moving (exaclty as it was but the other way round !!) we were travelling towards newtown centre (llani way) but a car from that direction thought he had right of way and cut straight across us heading for Kerry Rd (a very rude merc driver with very expressive hands) we had right of way surely as we were going straight ahead ???? luckily we were in a large 4x4 and he would have come off worse - i dread to think what would have happend if we had collided in my car a small corsa - i have no idea why they dont let left turn trafficmove against a red if clear, and also make it a light controlled four way junction ????? is it me ?? it seems so simple

ajg38 said...

Well i popped along to the protest this morning to show my support to local businesses (like myself) suffering because of the new traffic system. 9am i were there bright and early and raring to go. I was absolutely amazed when Lembit made us all give a big round of applause to the lads who had worked sooooooo hard on the lighting system all week and for restoring normality back to the town. NORMALITY is this man out of his mind? I thought the idea of the protest was to push for having the roundabout reinstalled not to applaud the god darn lights. After this i saw red .... amber ..... green then some shades of blue, black and purple...and thought what a waste of time this is im going back to work while i still have a business to run. Where do we go from here i ask.

First time voter said...

In my view its another example of politics when it suits. Plackards? Dodgy leaks to the media? Whats the difference? Come on Mid Wales politicians. Ditch the electionering and give us voters real reasons to vote for you. A few morals and ethics go a long way

Glyn Davies said...

Roman - I've driven into Newtown four times over the last few days, and no trouble each time. Perhaps it is better, but Newtown traffic is not going to improve until there's a by-pass.

Gary - Even if Ieuan were to see the mess, he would do nothing but ask for a report - which is what I hope he will do. Over the last few weeks I've been encouraging people to write to him - and their Assembly Members. Its another of these issues that's not much to do with MPs and wanabe MPs - except in the general sense of wanting to be helpful. The Conservative 'voice' on this issue has been our Newtown councillors and Nick Bourne AM. No ides where Mick Bates has been. He should have been the lead player.

Tcoah - I think Jonathon Morgan AM has been an effective campaigner on this issue. Tell me otherwise if not.

Anon 2 - Tell us more about this £20,000. I've heard nothing about this. Just being nosey!

Anon 3 - I sympathise. The whole thing has been a disaster. No good me muttering 'I said it would'. All I can do now is push for a review by an expert in traffic management and a new by-pass.

ajg38 - Sorry but I missed you. I hadn't wanted to be there at the start, because I didn't want to appear to be camara chasing, or making it look like a political event. Came along after 10, and no-one was there. I was expecting a protest all day! My intention was to show support, but it sounds as if it was not the quiet dignity that I was anticipating. I did not expect the protest to have changed anything. Our Councillors and AMs should be doing that. I'm in touch with some of them, and know that they are.

Anon 4 - One man's 'dodgy leaks to the media' are another man's 'exposure to the public of an issue they should know about'. Politics should be about getting things done. Sometimes that can involve 'leaking' (though I don't like anonymously) - and sometimes it can involve protest (though it should have a beneficial purpose).

Tcoah said...

"I think Jonathon Morgan AM has been an effective campaigner on this issue. Tell me otherwise if not."

... yes,, JM is campaigning very effectively for holding 1.5 million tons of water at 45 metres elevation above hundreds of houses and a school which will be wiped out if the earth embankment dam ever fails. We will have an Aberfan in the heart of Cardiff.

It is nonsensical in the extreme to campaign for such a MASSIVE amount of water to be stored above so many lives, which include children who have no say.

Llanishen reservoir is a man-made reservoir - it was built at 45 metres elevation (about 50 yards) to enable water to be supplied to Cardiff by gravity feed as a function of the height of the artificial reservoir.

It is absolute madness to keep such a massive tonnage of water about what is now a densely populated suburb of Cardiff (the school was not 'there' when the reservoir was built).

Anonymous said...

Re Opik's recent non disclosures, see Richard Kay piece in the Mail last Friday. He got paid 20k by a Sunday newspaper - Mail on Sunday though Kay doesn not mention the title - for bleating on about his disastrous love life in two articles. If you, as others have already done, check out his parliamentary disclosures, you will see tha it has not been declared and presumably tax has not been paid on it. And we're going back to end of summer 08 here. More than worth checking out. What DOES this idiot do with all his money? An undeclared 20k for two articles, on top of all his other bits and bobs, including the prono rag "writings", when the average salary in Mid Wales is around 15k.

Blodyn said...

Can you do anything about the traffic lights between your farm - well from the chapel - and Berriew? They have been there since last Friday but I can't fathom out why and since last night (to my knowledge) they have not been working.

Blodyn said...

Brilliant - they've gone! Can I win the lottery tonight?