Cllr Rhys Taylor calls to support Upper Bangor business community

2139025_bf726c82Councillors are calling for Upper Bangor to become a Business Improvement District following the implementation of the scheme on the High Street. 

A business improvement district (BID) is a defined area within which businesses pay an additional tax (or levy) in order to fund projects within the district’s boundaries. The BID is often funded primarily through the levy but can also draw on other public and private funding streams.

Bangor is one of nine areas (shared with Caernarfon) that will receive funding from the Welsh Government to make improvements within the designated area.

Business Improvement Districts (BID) have been formed across the UK with up to ÂŁ1m a year raised in bigger towns and cities to drive economic development – with businesses in control of how the cash is spent.

Businesses vote on a BID Proposal or business plan, and BIDs must seek re-approval after a fixed term, of up to 5 years. The BID levy is typically set at approximately 1-2% of the ratable value. BIDs are business let and see businesses working in partnership to improve the business community in a geographical area.

“Unfortunately Bangor’s BID doesn’t extend as far as our business area in Upper Bangor, and I want to change that, drawing on experience from the High Street to support our area,” said Cllr Rhys Taylor.

“This would make Upper Bangor a welcoming place for visitors and residents, and would keep Upper Bangor as a thriving business community.”

Some of the things that have happened elsewhere are;

  1. Car parking & Transportation
  2. Safety & Security
  3. Marketing/PR & Events
  4. Cleansing
  5. Supporting & Attracting Business

Both Swansea and Merthyr Tydfil have succeeded following becoming Business Improvement Districts.

 

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Plaid’s promise of ‘local solutions’ on school closures broken.

The top line of Plaid Cymru’s 2012 manifesto read as follows;

“Plaid Cymru councillors are a crucial part of the team of Plaid Cymru representatives at all levels of government who are listening to what everyone in our community has to say and are working hard to make people’s lives better.”

In a recent meeting of Full Council in Gwynedd, Councillors from across the region were asked to vote on how school closures should be decided upon. An ongoing problem across the county for many years. Plaid Cymru Councillors voted, en bloc, in favour of giving the Cabinet the power to decide on school closures.

A council without strong opposition has just pulled the carpet from underneath Councillor’s feet – Full Council has even fewer powers. Another nail in the coffin for democracy in Gwynedd.

In 2012 Plaid Cymru launched its manifesto, setting out its vision for a Plaid Cymru governed Gwynedd Council. In that manifesto, Plaid Cymru said;

“Plaid Cymru councillors will continue to lead the discussions resulting from a reduction in the numbers of children and the need for fewer buildings by negotiation in order to find local solutions.”

In a letter to local press another resident said they could not believe that Plaid Cymru “the champion of small rural communities, the bastion of Welshness” was pursuing a plan of school closures.

School closures has massive impact on local communities, the future of local rural communities, and on pupil’s and individual’s sense of belonging, and those who live, work and represent those communities now have very little influence over the decision to close or keep schools open.

Plaid also promised the following to the electorate;

  • Our aim is to create an education system that produces rounded individuals with a strong sense of belonging
  • Plaid Cymru will introduce an innovative scheme in the world of education that concentrates on children who are not at present achieving their full potential
  • Plaid Cymru believes in developing viable rural education for the future
  • Our ambition is to create an education system that will thrive in the future with an emphasis on enabling strong headteachers to lead in their communities
  • Plaid Cymru believes that federalisation, lifelong schools, co-operation, building new area schools are options to be considered in different circumstances.

In April 2012 Llais Gwynedd Leader, Councillor Owain Williams said: “The school closures have no educational, economical or environmental basis and is nothing more than the Plaid Cymru-run Council’s blinkered campaign to destroy the county’s most  fragile communities both socially and culturally.”

Plaid should remember that democracy isn’t something for at the ballot box – it happens every day, yet local people are becoming less able to hold their council to account and influence decisions made.

Whilst politics should remain separate to education, communities are an integral part of education and it’s important that communities remain at the heart of schools and education across Gwynedd and across Wales. This is another example of how Plaid Cymru controlled Gwynedd Council is not acting in the best interests of local people, fail to hear what local communities have to say, and are failing to recognise the collective power of individuals to shape decisions about their communities.

Arfon Lib Dem call for more support for local businesses through Bangor Pride project.

10x7cm300dpi_000Arfon Liberal Democrats were pleased to hear that in a report which scrutinised the Bangor Pride project, the project was praised for its successes.

The project which was set up by Gwynedd and Bangor Councils, the Police, Keep Wales Tidy, and the Environment Agency with the aim of improving the city for residents and visitors alike, received praise for its work in addressing environmental issues and in sharing best practice across the country.

Promoting civic pride amongst those living, studying or working in Bangor was described as “very commendable and challenging.”

However Arfon Liberal Democrats are calling for Bangor Pride to do more for local businesses in the area.

Cllr Rhys Taylor said, “It’s great to see that the Bangor Pride project is meeting its goals of creating a sense of civic pride and addressing environmental problems, but more needs to be done. Times are tough for businesses across Wales and the UK, and Gwynedd Council’s Business Rates have come under fire in recent months. The Bangor Pride project now needs to do more to give the local economy and our local businesses a boost, to ensure that Bangor is able to compete with shopping destinations across the region, attract new business developments, and draw people into the area to live, work, and study.”

The scrutiny report said that “there was no clear evidence of activity by the Business Group except for the successful scheme to celebrate the visit of the Olympic Torch during May 2012.”

“Increases aren’t fare!”

Bangor Mail 22.1.14
“A BANGOR councillor is concerned after receiving complaints regarding bus ticket fayres.
Cllr Rhys Taylor, who represents the Menai ward for city, said he had contacted both Gwynedd and Anglesey councils about the recent changes made to Padarn Buses ticket pricing and arrangements.
“Weekly tickets have been withdrawn (£18 per week) and have been replaced with four weekly tickets for Anglesey and Gwynedd (£85), the cost of which increased overnight from £60.
“I understand that changes have been made following a reduction in local authority (and Welsh Government) cuts to the service, however customers are frustrated that such increases and changes have been made at such short notice, especially during a difficult financial month for all, including many families and individuals.
“I appreciate that nothing can now be done, however I do believe that as a company receiving public funding, the local authority should take steps to ensure fairness for customers, many of which rely on public transport for a range of commitments, including employment.
“The poorest in our communities will suffer as a result of Padarn passing on service cuts to passengers, which is unfair during a difficult economic climate for many people, especially as parts of Gwynedd and Anglesey are among the poorest in Wales, with the average salary in North Wales below that of South Wales.” “

You can read the full article – Bangor Mail 22.1.2014