Tempers flared at the most recent of meeting of Llandeilo town council where it was agreed to “move to the next stage” of Carmarthenshire county council’s asset transfer programme despite stark warnings from the body which oversees Welsh town and community councils.
One Voice Wales had stated that town and community councils should be “extremely cautious” when considering the adoption of local authority-owned assets, such as parks, sports facilities, libraries and public toilets.
The town council has been approached by County Hall to consider taking on responsibility for Penlan Park and Parc Le Conquet.
Llandeilo town clerk Roger Phillips warned councillors he had received advice from the supervisory body urging councils “not to entertain any transfer of facilities unless a full due diligence process has been carried out”.
One Voice Wales also stated that councils “consult with their electorate” prior to agreeing any asset transfer detailing the inevitable rise in council tax required to cover the financial implications of maintenance and running costs.
“In short, the message is do not proceed unless all conditions have been met,” Mr Phillips told councillors.
However, Councillor Edward Thomas, who sits as both a town and county councillor and is a member of the Independent Group’s ruling coalition at County Hall, said: “I think we should move on to the next stage.
“There are lots of things we would have to get done before we could enter into any agreement. We as a town council do not have to enter into anything unless we know all the facts – this is just entering the next stage.”
The suggestion however was met with incredulity by the clerk.
“Are you going to do this against the advice of One Voice Wales and before you consult the electorate?” he asked.
“There is a sports clubs association – which involves the tennis and bowls clubs which are the two most affected - and if we speak to them then we are engaging with the electorate,” said Cllr Thomas.
“We are fortunate that our rugby and cricket clubs took over their own pitches 20 or 30 years ago and that the football team has the use of the school pitches.”
Cllr Thomas suggested councillors – and a representative of the two clubs – meet with a county council officer to discuss the transfer of the parks to town council control.
Cllr Robert Jones added: “We cannot consult the electorate unless we have a structured plan in place.”
Councillors eventually agreed with Cllr Thomas’ proposal to arrange a meeting with local authority officers and “investigate moving to the next stage”.