At Friday’s inaugural meeting of the newly-elected Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council – a new committee, called the “Democratic & Civic Services Committee”, – is to be set up to (amongst other things) “consider migration into Penarth, establish links and community cohesion“.
It’s thought to be the first time Penarth Town Council has ventured to develop policy in the sensitive area of inward-migration.
The “Democratic and Civic Services Committee ” has 12 specific – mostly administrative functions – but amongst them is one “to consider migration into Penarth , establish links and community cohesion”
The old ‘Town Twinning Committee”, which was responsible for links with towns in other countries,has now been discontinued . [Under the previous Labour administration (2012-2017) either NO foreign towns wanted to twin with Penarth, or there were problems with those which DID show an interest. The only town which WAS already twinned with Penarth – St Pol de Leon in France – wouldn’t respond to emails or letters ] .
Now, the new Democratic and Civic Services Committee is to take on the old ‘Town Twinning Committee’s ‘ role and is – the council says – to “strive to continue the formal link with Saint Pol de Leon and to introduce new links with homeland and European/international towns as appropriate”.
The immigration remit of this new committee was not discussed by councillors when proposals to set it up first emerged in a written report on January 26th – a report which was only partially read-out to members.
Subsequently no candidates standing for election this month mentioned immigration in any of their election literature . One PDN source said some people might doubt whether Penarth Council has any democratic mandate from the electorate to adopt any particular view on immigration.
The new initiative is part of a wide-ranging overhaul of the Penarth Council’s committee structure . The committees comprise groups of councillors who meet in public session at regular intervals to discuss specific topics. Their decisions are then referred to the full council for ratification. The names of all the committees – as used in the last administration – have now been changed.
- What was previously known as the ‘Policy and Finance Committee’ has become the “Policy, Development and Innovation” Committee. [ The Council’s “Strategic Review Group” – the secretive nature of which has been criticised in the past, will now become a sub-committee of both the Policy, Development and Innovation Committee and the new “Democratic and Civic Services Committee”.
- The ‘Planning and Transportation Committee’ has become the “Planning and Infrastructure Committee” [ The new name is something of a misnomer as Penarth Town Council isn’t actually responsible for any infrastructure: roads and pavements are the province of the Vale of Glamorgan Council. When it comes to planning , the council only has a consultancy function – and it is the Vale of Glamorgan Council which makes all the final decisions on planning applications].
- The old ‘Leisure and Amenities’ committee – which oversaw the Paget Rooms, the Kymin, the Cemetery and the allotments, – has now been re-named as the “Venues, Facilities & Events Committee”.
- Financial matters will now come under a new Finance and HR [Human Resources] committee.
The first meeting of the new council is on Friday May 19th 2o17 when a new Town Mayor and Deputy Mayor will be elected by members.