Friday, 26 June 2009

Fib Dem R Berman attacks green granny!


I am surprised that you feel it necessary to attack me.

Any council with modern and accurate awareness about carbon footprints would immediately see the need to reduce the number of huge articulated lorries INTO the city centre and a listed park!

A dummys guide to carbon reduction would tell you that road-building leads to large increases in traffic levels, locking us in to a carbon-intensive pattern of development and behavioural change is vital! And it would inform you that the solution is to move the nursery and take lorries out of the park and the city centre! Moving the problem and destroying the park in the process for £1.4 is not a solution!

The key challenge for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from transport in Wales is to reduce inappropriate and unnecessary car use and of course lorry use. Traffic in Cardiff is forecast to grow by 7% - 10% over the next 5 years. This is higher than the average for Great Britain. In Cardiff, air and car travel account for 95% of the City’s ecological impact and the average resident travels over 15 miles a day by car and cllr? (1) Nothing short of a huge change in how we travel is needed to halt current trends. It might therefore occur to you that using the front of the city Hall for Clllrs to have FREE parking is old fashioned, outdated practice yet you feel it is necessary to limit the citizens right to protest to facilitate parking for Cllrs – this is the equivalent of instigating parking outside Buckingham Palace! Cllrs should set a good example of behavioural change! And you talk of reducing your carbon footprint whilst sipping water from your plastic bottle of water? What is the carbon footprint of that and what is wrong with welsh water from the tap and how much does it cost?

Equality impact assessment

I asked you and FIB DEMS Cardiff what disability equality impact assessment had been conducted in making the decision to build this bridge and road, as required under the DDA 2005.?

Please may we see a copy of the report on the disability impact assessment?

Will yopur consyultation with disabled people be lawful if the information about the design of the bridge and road are not accurate and are found to be downright misleading and wrong . I suggest a meeting with Cllr Berman, McEvoy and Howells with the disabled access group and myself and others to discuss the true dimensions and gradients of the bridge and road you propose to build. I know what I am talking about as I worked for the DRC as a policy officer. As a disabled person myself and the mother of a disabled boy who has epilepsy and is filled with horror at the prospect of sharing a road with articulated lorries.

The council has repeatedly neglected to inform the public that the access bridge is almost 30ft wide, What’s more, the bridge will be practically 200ft long from the point it enters the park on North Road to where it finishes.

“It may even be longer because of the gradient – one in six. With such a gradient the 40-ton lorries using it will not be able to do so safely, so it seems likely that the bridge will have to be extended at a less fierce gradient – which will involve eating up yet more green space.

A gradient of 1:12 is desirable where possible.

Lies and misinformation to the public

I have e-mails to Cllr Jon Aylwin over the early tree- felling, to which he and the Council never replied, which indicates unlawful planning behaviour.

Questions and lies

How exactly does Cllr Berman imagine an access bridge for articulated lorries that’s almost 30 feet wide, and raised on concrete pillars, and paths doubled in width for long sections to accommodate these giants, can possibly be disabled friendly or “enhance” a Grade I-listed park.

Coun Howells lies at the exhibition relating to council plans for Bute Park

The artist’s image of the proposed access bridge was misleading to say the least, and the council officer present was forced to admit that the image was “ephemeral”, and that in reality the bridge would be larger, higher and more visible.

The map published alongside Coun Nigel Howells’ piece in the Capital Times had been doctored to show the council’s proposed developments in a more favourable light.

Council Executive continue to repeat more spurious claims about public support for the proposals. Below I quote two independent and authoritative sources:

December 2007: CADW wrote, ‘This area of the park is at present tranquil woodland and lawn dotted with specimen trees. The dock feeder canal runs quietly through it, flanked by an unsurfaced path and wider tarmacked path/roadway. There are no modern intrusions and the nursery enclosure to the west is well screened from the area…. The introduction of a wide modern road and bridge into this unspoilt area would in our view be unsympathetic and highly visible.’

February 2008: Chief Strategic Planning and Environment officer Sean Hannaby wrote to Tom Morgan, the Council Corporate Director, ‘I have a copy of the Committee report that is due to go out tomorrow, recommending refusal for the bridge. I have considered the matter carefully and am satisfied that I have no credible alternative…. We have a legal duty to protect or enhance the character of the park and cannot use highway issues as a reason to set that aside.’

However the Council has already begun preparatory work on North Road in spite of the Council’s own planning condition insisting that no ground clearance or tree cutting should begin during the bird nesting season running till July 31st.

The last 70 years have seen massive incremental damage to the four parks. You can download here the BPA leaflet given to every councillor on Thursday. It shows the degree destruction and privatisation that has been allowed in that time and which has escalated over the last few years.

Acting on behalf of the scheme’s opponents, environmental lawyer Richard Buxton has written to the council warning it not to start work before the end of July.

One of the planning conditions for the scheme says work should not proceed during the nesting season, which lasts until July 31.

Cardiff council is disregarding its own planning conditions by starting work on the site. The noise and disruption caused by the contractors in their compound adjacent to the park will inevitably cause distress to nesting birds.

Unlawful felling prior to planning

The Conservation Area officer was not notified (as required even for urgent work) nor consulted on all the trees (>75mm width at 1m height) to be felled.

The inspection and felling recommendation was last Sept., then the

beech tree was inspected for bats in case CCW needed notifying.

All the trees on a 16 metre stretch of the boundary and their stumps were removed - a huge impact on the Conservation Area as well as the Park - one huge stump 500mm across is still visible evidence.

Was the Bridge decision at planning lawful?

In fact there may be grounds to challenge the planning permission on the basis of corruption with decision-making in planning being a quasi-legal process?

The Executive Member responsible for the Bute Park scheme intervened in a major way during the planning committee hearing. Cllr Nigel Howells spoke from the position of ward councillor (“if Jayne Cowan can speak, so can I”), but spoke as Executive Member sponsoring the project without declaring his interest. He spoke fluently and at length on the genesis of the project and ambitions for it, and that the decision on a new access opposite Corbett Road had been made by the Council in 2007.

The protocol for receiving oral observations and representations from councillors says observations or representations must be confined to addressing material planning considerations. The Committee Chair did not stop Cllr Howells breaching this requirement.

As the Parks Dept where the applicant, Cllr Howells being Chair of Parks as well as the responsible Executive Member clearly had a prejudicial interest. Cllr Howells did not (as far as we heard) notify the Planning Committee and public of this. In cases of prejudicial interest, the Protocol says: Do Not participate or give the appearance of trying to participate in the making of anydecision on the matter by the planning authority

His intervention of course breached this. And the open way in which he abused his Councillor position to air arguments for the scheme, in effect arguing for the applicant, breached the ‘key principle’

It is not enough to avoid actual impropriety. You should at all times avoid anyoccasion for suspicion and any appearance of improper conduct

Bute Park new access, Bridge and Roadways, planning application 07/02649/C

Assessors of the Planning application (from Highways Dept and Parks Dept) were not independent of the “applicant”; Paul Carter and ?? presented cases at the Planning Meeting. We objected that assessments from the two departments are not professionally independent. The Planning Officers said they have no way of getting independent advice on highways options and traffic safety, but have to accept the options appraisal report under Paul Carter's name [Annex 2].

RE Prayers

I laughed rather than heckled. Perhaps you would provide us with the text of this bizarre ‘prayer’ which will explain the guffaw!

I am sure you are aware that the Town Hall watchdog organisation, the National Association of Local Councils, which is observed at many town halls, describes prayers as merely an "old custom" which might upset councillors and members of the public of other religions as saying Christian prayers before council meetings might infringe human rights and equality laws. I have been a councillor in the past and am very surprised that Cardiff continues with this very dated old custom!

But the National Association said the practice, which is observed at many town halls, was merely an "old custom" which might upset councillors and members of the public of other religions.

I got chucked out of the council meeting after having to sit there from 4.20 to 8.30 to have them deal with the motion which you threw out like a dictator and replaced it with a new one to suit you, despite standing orders to the contrary. The Constitution 14.6 states the new motion "must not negate the motion" the new motion was not an amendment as it DESTROYS the original motion.

I got thrown out as a Cllr in executive pleaded that a new bridge £1.4 million was necessary to avoid any accidents in the future ...just move the risk ...I shouted 'take the lorries out of the park, stupid' and got thrown out of the meeting!

After I left the talking shop continued and ended with a challenge to Nigel Howells and everyone calling the LibDem sheep.

1. Cardiff’s Ecological Footprint (Cardiff Council, BRASS Research Centre, Cardiff University and WWF Cymru – September 2005)

Anne Greagsby

Rodneys email to me

Dear Anne,

As you know the scheme will cut down vehicle miles travelled within the park – and hence it will lead to a reduction in carbon emissions within the park. This is because once the new road access is in place the distance vehicles will need to travel within the park to get to and from the nursery will be significantly less. A significant proportion of the vehicular traffic which enters and leaves the park is doing so to access the nursery. Overall, the scheme will clearly lead to a reduction in vehicle miles travelled within the park.

I appreciate that in order to reduce carbon emissions to effectively tackle climate change, some difficult decisions will have to be taken and that there will be some people who will oppose these measures. We are perhaps straying into the sorts of arguments that often surround proposals for wind farms. Wind farms may alter the appearance of the surrounding environment but no-one would argue they don't contribute to tackling climate change. Whilst I appreciate your continued opposition to the new road access, the Council's administration takes the view that in this case cutting carbon emissions should take precedence.

As for your belief that the matter is not justified on the grounds of health and safety, you may be interested in the views of the Chief Executive of the Cardiff & the Vale Coalition of Disabled People, Charles Willie, who wrote the following e-mail to the Council earlier this week:

Having seen the recent ‘Dragons Eye’ programme on the proposed Bute Park developments, I thought it important as chair of the Access Focus Group to dispute much of what was said in that programme and from a disability access perspective offer our full and unequivocal support for the project. This support follows our most recent visit and tour to the park, and is therefore from a practical and evidenced based basis.

The two main contentions that we have are with regard to public consultation and health and safety

First with regard to consultation we are very concerned about the accusations surrounding the lack of public consultation and engagement around the project. Plans for and access to information has been in the public domain for sometime. We have been aware of the minutes of the Executive Business Meeting, 11 September 2007 that go in to great detail about the proposed plans and impacts. This has been supplemented by our own engagement with the project both with regard to the Access Focus Group and as with regard to the Cardiff and Vale Coalition of Disabled People there has been good contact and involvement with particularly John Green about the project. So the view that there has been no consultation is totally inaccurate

With regard to the vehicle access bridge, during our tour of the Park this was discussed at length and from those discussions it was clear that the new access point (from a disability access and safety perspective) at the top of park is to be welcomed as it would divert vehicles away from the pedestrian paths. The need for this became clear when as a group we encountered heavy plant vehicles which emphasised the danger that those particularly with sensory impairments could face.

Finally, can I express my sincere disappointed that you even heckled the Lord Mayor's chaplain during prayers at the start of yesterday's Council meeting. This is not something I have ever witnessed before and I know many people found it offensive.

Yours sincerely,

Rodney Berman
Leader of Cardiff Council

Charles Willie referred to this document


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EXECUTIVE BUSINESS MEETING: 11 SEPTEMBER 2007. CITY CENTRE STRATEGY 2007 - 2010. REPORT OF CORPORATE DIRECTOR ...... Cardiff Castle / £3.1m for Bute Park ... - Similar -
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

terrorists, morans, liars, well Mr berman you are a bad driver you jolly well know that you deliberatly ran over my foot on the afternoon of April 23rd.outside The City Hall how's that
to throw in the ringrip