Annual Report for Llanrhian Community Council

Having been a Community Councillor since 2017, I was delighted to be the Chair of Llanrhian Community Council for 2021-22. Below is my annual report.

Llanrhian Community Council Past Chair’s report – 2021-22

It has been an enjoyable year being the chair of Llanrhian Community Council and there is much to reflect on that we can be proud of during the past municipal year.

Firstly, if you’re reading this report and wonder what a Community Council is, it is set up by statute and is the most local tier of democratic representation. Run by local residents to act on behalf of its area, Community Councils are comprised of people who care about their community and want to make it a better place to live.

As well as representing the community to the local authority, Community Councils can facilitate a wide range of activities which promote the well-being of their communities. They can bring local people together to help make things happen, and they can advise, petition, influence and advocate numerous causes and cases of concern on behalf of local communities.

Despite Llanrhian Community Council being one of the smaller councils in Pembrokeshire, I think that our combined efforts mean that we have had a positive impact on the communities that we represent, which this year have included the following:

The playpark in Trefin. We initiated this project just before the first national lockdown with a community engagement day in March 2020, and have recently seen the first real steps in improving the run-down community playpark in the village of Trefin. As a full refurb and refit was beyond our financial means, not to mention the difficulty of sourcing contractors, we have recently run a successful crowd-funding campaign which raised over £1,000, and in collaboration with Gwelliant Trefin Improvement (GTI), between us we have contributed £4,000 in addition to the crowdfunded £1,000 to carry out landscaping and tidying of the area.

In addition to this, and also collaborating with Llanrhian Connected Community and GTI, we held a volunteer day in March 2022 which saw around 25 local volunteers turn up and garden, paint and tidy up the area further, which meant that a few weeks later GTI held a very successful ‘Easter Eggstravaganza’ event at the playground. This work is very much Phase 1 of improvements to the playpark, with further initiatives to come.

Volunteers at Trefin playpark

Defibrillator in Llanrhian. In response to a request from a local resident, we agreed to fund a new defibrillator in Llanrhian. Already managing and maintaining defibrillators in Porthgain, Croesgoch, Square & Compass and Trefin, we decided to crowd-fund to raise the necessary funds, and shortly after launching the campaign we were gifted a new defibrillator by St David’s First Responders. As we’d already raised significant funds, we were ultimately able to purchase another unit, meaning that we were able to replace the aging defibrillator in Croesgoch, and provide a new machine in Llanrhian. At the time of writing, all the permissions are in place for the install of the unit in Llanrhian and we are just waiting on the electrician to do the necessary install.

Cefn Gallod Residential Development. This is an example of where we have advocated on behalf of the local community, with a contentious planning application in Trefin that would have a significant impact on the amenity of residents living in and near Cefn Gallod. We therefore held two public meetings to hear resident’s concerns and views, and reflected these in our strong objection of the development to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (PCNPA). Despite a narrow majority at the PCNPA planning committee, at the time of writing a legal challenge has been submitted, so we will continue to monitor the situation.

We’ve actively represented resident views on planning issues such as Cefn Gallod

Llanrhian Connected Community project. Predominately funded by Pembrokeshire County Council’s ‘Enhancing Pembrokeshire’ grant fund, Llanrhian Community Council has also contributed financially to this project, working to create a stronger and more resilient local community across the Llanrhian ward. We now employ two ‘Community Link Officers’ on a part time basis, who are actively helping draw upon the collective strengths of our community, support local community groups, and help people feel more connected to their area. The project is doing this by facilitating events such as the ‘This is your community day’ and the ‘Community Climate Collaboration’ events held at Ysgol Croesgoch, and by improving communication across the area with a newly launched e-bulletin and the relaunch of Llais Rhian just around the corner. Members of the Community Council were also part of the team that received support from Wales Council for Voluntary Action and Nesta, which has helped clarify our understanding of working with communities and helped us generate new courses of action for this innovative project. The project reports to Llanrhian Community Council monthly.

4Wards Project. Llanrhian Community Council is also part of the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund working with ‘Together for Change’ exploring what it means to live well across the St David’s Peninsula. Currently nearing the end of this project, we are aiming to secure future funding to continue to promote community resilience and help stimulate local economic regeneration.

Speeding traffic. As Chair of the Community Council, and with my County Councillor hat on, I submitted a bid to PCC’s ‘community works fund’ which has resulted in two ‘driver feedback signs’ being installed in Croesgoch and Square & Compass. The feedback from residents has been very positive and will also enable us to gather data on average speeds which in turn might help us lobby for a reduction in the speed limits in these areas.

The Driver Feedback Sign in Croesgoch

Planning consultations. In addition to receiving all local planning applications across the area for our comment as a statutory consultee, we have also responded to planning consultations from Welsh Government, PCNPA and PCC on matters such as second homes and conservation areas, and we have developed a new confidence in being able to ‘push back’ where appropriate.

Communications. We are active on social media platforms including our Facebook page and Twitter account, where we regularly get good engagement and reach by sharing local stories and snippets, and have recently invested in replacement notice boards for those who might not be on-line and who prefer more traditional methods of keeping up to speed.

In other areas, we continue to manage the public toilet in Trefin with a local resident being paid for this work, we’ve recently overseen and paid for improvements to the bus shelter in Croesgoch, and we continue to operate a policy of funding local causes where appropriate. We’ve also been able to resolve a long-standing issue with GTI which helped fund the playpark improvements.

This year we will say goodbye to Cllrs Brigit Thurstan and Cllr Becky Annis who have stepped down having made a valuable contribution and will be missed, and I’d like to thank them for their service. We also welcomed Cllr Katy Jenkins who is already getting stuck in and is proving to be a real asset.

To conclude this report, I think we’ve represented the community effectively, and we’ve done all of this under the continued restrictions of Covid, meeting virtually for the entire year. In my opinion, all of our Community Councillors have made a positive contribution to our area, bringing diversity of thought, strong local networks, energy and enthusiasm, with a good geographical spread across the parish. I’d like to thank them all as they have made my role as Chair a lot easier, underpinned by the consistently excellent support of our Clerk, Vanessa Walker.

Diolch,

Cllr Neil Prior

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