Thank you very much.
Now Mike James is here this evening. Is there anything you wanted to add Mike.
Councillor Mike James ( Labour)
“Yes sure. Huw has bordered on slightly where we are. I think Cilfrew has brought it home to a lot of you in this chamber on how you get it wrong. Planning Law is so meticulous and it is Planning Law. You cannot get involved in any of these things until it is over, because once you do you can’t get involved ……and that’s how you saw Councillors leave because they were told by the Legal Section that if they did say they could be, it could be a criminal offence because they had attended meetings in Cilfrew in regards to the unit that was planned there. So that is why until tonight I have been unable to come to your meetings, because that would have shown that I was prejudiced in a way…… I really congratulate you on what you have done especially Ira, because that was a really brave thing, I have got to be honest. It took a lot of guts to do what you did and it could have cost you a lot of money. But you won the day and it did. The Evening Post has been supportive to you all and so has the BBC and they should be applauded for that and some of them have gone completely over the top with it, I think they are hoping you are going to keep on rolling with this, because it is good press. What the administration did in returning it to the DTI under their licence, which they gave, because when we had the site meeting up on the site there were things there, safety features that were being lied about, being lied about unfortunately by our Officers. Geoff White and our planning girl Nicola were blatantly lying that they did not know anything about a gas main that was put in 15 years ago. I knew it was there, but they did not even know, they were saying there is no gas main in this area at all and yet there is a cut in the trees across the mountain where it went through and put that into the collective parts of what you had found out yourselves we had it overturned. The DTI have made the correct decision, took them long enough to do it perhaps, but still they made the correct decision. We were fortunate, if it was not the need for Trebanos to be blasted. Three years ago they knew that mind. Three years they knew that there were geographical faults in Trebanos that were going to give them problems. There was a Company called Enterpose who planned the whole of this pipeline and priced for it for three million pounds more than Land & Rock or Land & Marine put in for, but they knew then the problems that were going to be in the whole length not only here but onwards. We developed a World Heritage Site in Brynmawr and now they are going through the centre of the Brecon National Park and I do not think that is a good thing but what they have said is they are going to remove every section of soil and turf and put it one side and mark where it came from and it would be put back. It becomes farcical if you listen to all these things. Cilfrew is something that I do not think we as an authority could argue very much with because when Cilfrew was put onto letters and e mails that were being sent through I honestly expected to see Pontardawe as Cilfrew and 500 yards up the road this new pumping station they are putting up. When we actually got there I was amazed it was as if Pontardawe was here and the pumping station was on top of the Gwrhyd Chapel. It was so far away it became, you had to see it to believe it, so I could not really see how I could support that, although the turmoil in the chamber again as with Trebanos was embarrassing to say the least with people getting up and walking out and other people coming in and other people sitting down and other people getting up. It was embarrassing to see and I hope I never ever see that again, we have got to have some sort of guidance in planning by our legal officers and our planning officers as to where we go in situations like this and there was a fear I believe in certain of my colleagues, labour Councillors who did not want to be involved and for that reason did not attend, but you can’t always be a Councillor when it is nice and hide away when it goes wrong. So thank you for inviting me tonight and I am really pleased to bring you up to speed with where I am on this and if there is any more you are going to talk about a pipeline I am going to leave anyway just in case there is something you will need support with later on’.
Yes exactly. Thank you very much for coming Mike and can I just say that having sat in the Swansea Council chamber 3 weeks ago, they made an equally appalling cock up. I do not think………
Well we should not be doing it. We are effectively. We have professional paid legal representatives and advisers to Councillors to tell them how to proceed and how not to proceed and I really believe that Carol John cocked up wholesale and then tried to cement over it with all sorts of bullshit that we were supposed to believe. But the crux of it is our Officers were lying blatantly about safety features that should have been known about. So congratulations to you all it was a good fight and you deserve all the applause you can get from everybody’.
Geoff White – Head of Planning at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council
Nicola – Nicola Pearce – Planning Officer at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council who attended at site visits and also attended in the chamber during voting.
Carol John – Head of Legal Services at Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Monitoring Officer.
Heather Pickford – Chairwoman of CRAG ( Cwmtawe Resident’s Action Group)
Gwrhyd Chapel is between Rhyd y fro and Cwmllynfell and at least 3 miles from Pontardawe