“Rumney Rec: No-one should think the fight it over”

Vaughan Gething, Labour candidate for Cardiff South & Penarth with Lorraine Barrett AM

If you aren’t angry that Cardiff Lib Dems decided not to register Rumney Rec as a village green then you are in a small minority. The village green application included a long history of facts and difficult legal questions to answer. The uninterested observer may think the anger at the Council committee is simply disappointment after all a public inquiry with a QC was held to help resolve these questions.”

That isn’t the full picture. As Cllr Derrick Morgan rightly said Rumney Rec is an issue that arouses passionate feeling and the overwhelming support of local people. Derrick Morgan set out a number of problem areas in the advice that did not make sense and required further explanation. However the Public Protection Committee decision was scarred by Lib Dem intransigence and the refusal to listen to local people. Hardly surprising as only the Lib Dem led Council objected to the village green application.

Don Taylor from RREEL wanted to address to committee as did I. I told the chair of the committee that I didn’t want to filibuster, I wanted to ask questions and address elected representatives on an issue of huge importance of people in East Cardiff. We could have been allowed to speak, even for a brief period of time. However the Lib Dem Chair of the Committee decided that the public should not be allowed to address their elected representatives for any period of time.

The report of Mr Blohm itself contains a number of factual inconsistencies. For example he found that Squire Williams regulated use of the land that is now the Rec. No evidence was presented that this was the case. In fact evidence that Squire Williams did not regulate use was given at the inquiry by the Hobbs Sisters, Joyce Pitman, Ray Connolly and Jeffrey Bonsey. Despite people who were there at the time telling him what happened Mr Blohm reached the opposite conclusion.

The report also had puzzling legal findings that none of the Lib Dem members of the committee were interested in asking questions about. For example Mr Blohm’s conclusions on implied licence appear to directly contradict advice that he gave on his own chambers website on 8 March 2010.

All this and more was highlighted to the Committee. All of it was ignored by the Lib Dem members including East Cardiff Trowbridge Cllr Geraldine Grant who decided that the Rec should not be protected. I know from being a Cllr that it isn’t good enough to follow blindly every piece of advice without asking questions. It isn’t just reasonable for Cllrs to ask questions and demand answers when they don’t understand the advice they are being given or when the advice does not make sense. It is the duty of Cllrs to ask questions when that happens. If they aren’t prepared to do that why bother standing for election?”

When I was a Cllr we had meetings where external lawyers were present so Cllrs could ask questions to ensure they understood the advice they were being given. Yesterday the Committee were told that they wouldn’t get any more answers regardless of the questions they asked.

Labour Cllrs, Tory Cllrs and even a Plaid Cllr wanted to have their questions answered. However the determination to see off the Rec came from Lib Dem Cllrs who looked and talked like they were acting as a party block. Its no wonder watching Llanrumney Cllrs Heather Joyce and Jackie Parry were furious.

No-one should think the fight is over. A legal challenge and judicial review is difficult and expensive. Even if that does not go forward there is a still a planning process to contend with and a Council election in 2012. Somehow I don’t think we’ll see much of Rodney Berman and Neil McEvoy in East Cardiff when the 2012 Council election comes around.

The community fight to save the Rec has shown dignity, passion and rare ability to present a convincing case. The campaign will continue and I will continue to be in people’s corner.

Vaughan GethingLabour and Co-operative Party  Welsh Assembly Candidate for Cardiff South & Penarth

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Vaughan Gething: “Berman’s verdict on Liberal-Democrat rule in Cardiff is complacent and inaccurate”

Rodney Berman - Liberal-Democrat Council leader. "Out of touch with the public he is supposed to serve."

Vaughan Gething, Labour Assembly Candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth, argues in a guest post for CARDIFF EAST that the Liberal-Democrat run Cardiff Council’s decision to site the new Eastern Cardiff High School on the Rumney Recreation Ground belies Rodney Berman’s verdict that after six years of Liberal Democrat rule “We’re doing just fine” in Cardiff.

Rodney Berman‘s verdict on six years of Liberal-Democrat rule in Cardiff in an interview with the South Wales Echo, “Berman: ‘We’re Doing Just Fine'”, (Read that interview here ) was as complacent as it was inaccurate.

Rumney Recreation Ground is a true symbol of Liberal-Democrat rule in Cardiff. A much loved piece of open space in the east of the city that has been used by the communities of Llanrumney, Rumney, St. Mellons and Trowbridge for close on a century is to be destroyed in an act of civic vandalism. Hundreds of people use it each day and will lose it if Cllr Berman gets his way.” Continue reading

Berman: “I appreciate people don’t want to lose Rumney Rec…”

Cardiff Council's leader Berman speaks out on Rec fate.

Liberal Democrat Council leader Rodney Berman yesterday broke his silence on the fate of Rumney Rec during an interview with the Guardian Cardiff.

The interview was titled: Leader of the council speaks on school reorganisation in the city

Cardiff East requested an interview with Councillor Berman but was told that he was a busy man. Councillor Berman suggested that we e-mail him some questions. We e-mailed him 10 Qs that we list below.

We issue an open invitation for Council leader Berman to answer the questions in the spirit in which they were intended. We will also offer Mr. Berman the chance to include his own words as to the rationale behind the council’s plans for building the Eastern High School on the Rumney Recreation Ground.

We make Mr. Berman the promise that we shall post his answers and words in their entirety and without comment for you to read. Continue reading