We have listened

24 JAN 2014

‘We have listened’: Swansea’s ruling Labour group alters proposals on care homes, parking charges and school crossing patrols

From: South Wales Evening Post; Saturday January 24, 2014

CITY leaders in Swansea insist they have listened to the public after rowing back on a number of controversial budget proposals.

From care homes to car parking, libraries to lollipop men and women, Swansea’s Labour administration has gone back to the drawing board.

And it said this was ample proof that its public consultation on the budget proposals, which ended on Wednesday, was no sham.

“People accused us about not being serious about the consultation,” said councillor Rob Stewart, cabinet member for finance.

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“But this demonstrates that we are serious, and that we do listen and change our position.

”The Labour administration will publish its revised budget proposals shortly.

They will be debated by full council at an earlier than planned meeting on February 11.

Mr Stewart said the revised proposals were:

– A commitment not to close any residential care homes before April 2015.

– Giving Pennard library campaigners a further eight months to look at different ways of funding the service, plus a commitment to review library services throughout Swansea to match provision better with demand.
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Protests take place at first Swansea Council public budget consultation

20 DEC 2013
Protests take place at first Swansea Council public budget consultation by Amy Downward
From: South Wales Evening Post; Friday December 20, 2013
THE first of a series of public consultations on Swansea Council proposals attracted more than 20 residents on Thursday night.  Cabinet members and senior officers were on hand at a public drop-in session at West Cross Community Centre to discuss proposals about libraries, culture and tourism.  It was the first of four themed sessions being staged over the next few weeks about proposals aimed at making £45m in budget savings over the next three years.  Residents and council members attended the consultation to protest against the proposed changes to Pennard Library.  Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West, said:  “This protest shows the depth of feeling I am getting from people about these plans.  “I hope that this display of people power convinces cabinet members to go back to the drawing board and think in greater detail about how they make reductions.”

Councillor Nick Bradley, cabinet member for regeneration, said:   “It was great to see so many people there taking an interest.  “I wanted to reassure people that no decisions on any proposals have been made. “What we want to do is listen to our residents and take their views into account first.”   He said Thursday’s drop-in session showed residents value the services the council provides and also understand the financial challenges are not of its making.  He said: “There were some valuable discussions, particularly about libraries and Pennard Library. “My message to residents of Pennard is that if they are interested in taking over the management of library services in their community we want to work with them to see what can be achieved.  “We haven’t made any decisions and we aren’t proposing to reduce non-statutory services like many other councils have done; we’re aiming to create a smarter, leaner and more efficient council.  “If these proposals are approved we’ll be spending £1.5m a day in Swansea supporting communities and the local economy.”

Three further public drop-in sessions on adult services, education and young people and community and transport issues are planned for early in the New Year.

There will also be meetings with key stakeholder groups prior to the consultation closing date on January 22.

Senior managers at Swansea Council are also engaging with trades unions and staff on the savings proposals.

It is anticipated the final decisions on the proposals will be made when cabinet reports to a meeting of full council in February.

Online consultation was launched last week at www.swansea.gov.uk/sustainableswansea

AM Peter Black lends support to Pennard Library campaign

13 DEC 2013
AM Peter Black lends support to Pennard Library campaign, by Amy Downward

Pennard Library

Pennard Library

From: South Wales Evening Post; Friday December 13, 2013

ANOTHER AM has lent their support to the campaign to keep Pennard Library open.  The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has added his voice to those calling on Swansea Council to rethink their plans to close Pennard Library.  Mr. Black has written to the council asking them to explain the rationale behind setting out proposed changes to the library.  He said:  “The loss of a library is always to be regretted.  “But in this case that loss is made sharper by the fact that there is no alternative facility for many miles and no other library on the Gower peninsular.  “Nowadays libraries are about far more than books.   They also provide a range of other services including internet access for those who cannot afford it at home.  With so many services now only available on-line that will leave a big gap for the communities served by this library.  “I feel strongly that Swansea Council needs to think again and keep this library open.”  Councillor Nick Bradley, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said on Thursday that no decisions have been made.  He said:   “People will have the chance to give views on all our savings proposals as part of a comprehensive consultation exercise that’s now started.  We will be publicising the library consultation events through library posters and our internet-based social media.”