Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) is calling for a public consultation to be carried out now on plans by the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council to franchise-out money-making commercial enterprises at Cosmeston Country Park.
Cllr Williams says “As the Vale of Glamorgan ward councillor for the wonderful Vale treasure known as Cosmeston Country Park, I urge the Labour Vale council to act at this early stage to get the public’s opinion on seeking ,future venues – or to leave the park as it is – before the council and prospective companies waste their time and money.”
Cllr Williams – as a former chair of the Vale’s audit committee – says he realises the council’s tight financial position, but says it “seems absurd to go through a total process [of inviting bids from potential contractors] – and then and only afterwards ask the public for their views.”
He does not want the council to benefit financially if such schemes would be at a “cost to the general public.”
Cllr Williams remembers as a boy playing at Cosmeston when “it was the old cement works” , and later recalls – as a councillor – serving on the committee on the original development of Cosmeston Country Park chaired by Margaret Box (wife of the late Cardiff MP Donald Box) . It was she, he says, who had the original vision for the creation of the Country Park .
Cllr Williams – who received an MBE in recognition of his long public service – says that many of the Vale Council’s proposals for the new revenue-generating attractions at Cosmeston Country park will involve “physical additions, whilst others will appeal to a very select audience – to the detriment of others”.
He says “I may be completely wrong – and the public may welcome these future attractions – but now is the time for consultation on the use of park, – not to be consulted later, on semi-approved schemes.”
The Vale of Glamorgan Council claims it is “committed” to preserving the special nature of Cosmeston Country Park but says it recognises “the need to diversify its appeal in order to ensure long-term sustainability”.
Two new features currently being considered for Cosmeston will require local authority planning approval . On consultation, the Vale Council makes no promises and says only that “the public will be able to share their views on these once planning applications have been submitted.”