Let's take over Ammanford Park, says councillor
9:31am Tuesday 5th November 2013 in Ammanford news
AN AMMANFORD town councillor believes townspeople would be better served if the town council assumed responsibility for the day-to-day running of Ammanford Park.
Cllr Andrew Lewis told members of the planning committee they should seriously consider taking on 'a parent role' as Carmarthenshire county council continue to ponder the future of parks throughout the county.
But some members expressed scepticism at the idea, demanding to know how the town council could find the necessary funding to adopt such a lead role.
"I feel we should take the park over and sub-let it back to individual clubs or whoever else wants to use it," Cllr Lewis told colleagues. "As the town council we should take responsibility for the town.
"I would rather us take over the parent role because the people of Ammanford are currently getting a worse deal than they would if we were in charge."
Cllr Lewis's bold comments came ahead of a crunch meeting between county council chiefs and county sports clubs on Tuesday (November 12).
Cllr Lewis argued that 'an umbrella body' would prove more effective than the county council's approach of dealing with clubs individually. "Their policy is to divide and conquer," he claimed.
Cllr Wendy Evans advised caution on grounds of potential costs. "Just take the trees in the park for example," she said. "If you want to cut one down it would set you back £850."
Town clerk Miriam Phillips warned they would need to employ a workforce if such a move became a reality.
Mayor Irena Hopkins was more forthright. "People in this town are finding it hard enough to afford to eat as well as heating their homes," she said. "Then if we came along and say their council tax is going up that'll be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
"Sporting organisations do a heck of a lot for kids and, while I'd love us to be able to take over Ammanford Park, I just don't think we have the purse."
Deputy mayor Jonathan Jennings also expressed unease at the suggestion. "Every one on this council does another job," he says. "In Carmarthenshire county council they are being paid to do this kind of work.
"They are devolving the responsibilities of unpaid people like ourselves and I do not think that's right."
Cllr Jonathan Davies said – given the cuts facing the local authority – it had to be accepted that County Hall could no longer support sports club as it had in the past.
Cllrs Hopkins and Jennings confirmed they would attend Tuesday's meeting and report back.
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