Homebase Llanishen Closing Down

Homebase Llanishen will be closing down this summer, with discounting at the store starting tomorrow.

Homebase, which announced 42 store closures last year as part of a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) struck with creditors, has used a break clause on the lease, with dozens of jobs set to go.

No doubt this news has come as a shock for workers at the store and it’s vital that Homebase helps all affected staff find new work over the coming months.

There are rumours that a house builder has purchased the site and are set to submit a planning application in due course.

I’ll keep you posted.

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McDonald’s Submit Planning Application On Former Harvester Site, Ty Glas Ave

For the past month there have been rumours rumbling that McDonald’s were interested in taking over the recently closed Harvester site opposite Llanishen Leisure Centre. Well, after McDonald’s publicly denying it, they’ve now confirmed it with a bundle of planning applications.

Despite assurances from McDonald’s only a few weeks ago that they were not going to be taking over the former Harvester site, they have gone ahead and submitted several planning applications.

It’s very disappointing that McDonald’s have been releasing inaccurate information about their intentions with the site – obfuscating the community is not on!

Located just a few hundred metres from the gates of Coed Glas Primary School, and less than half a mile from Llanishen High, this will be the closet McDonald’s to a school in the whole of Cardiff. It will also be closer to houses than any other McDonald’s in Cardiff. And, of course just across the road from a Leisure Centre.

Goliath corporations like McDonald’s are of course fully entitled to look after their interests and pursue commercial opportunities that they think will be fruitful. But it is very difficult to see what good will come of a McDonald’s wedged between a Leisure Centre and a Primary School.

We’ve gone from having no fast food outlets in Llanishen, to potentially having 3 in less than 3 years. This rapid change is inevitably going to lead to additional challenges for the community, many of which aren’t obvious right now – but will be over the coming years.

Lots of us like to have the occasional unhealthy meal, but there are enough McDonalds’ across the city for our unhealthy desires to be accommodated – along with a chip shop just up the road from this site.

You can take a look at the planning applications and submit any comments you may have by clicking on the links below:

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LATEST: The narrowings will be removed in 2020! More information to follow soon.

Update on Removal of Road Narrowings on Heol Hir

One of our election pledges was to get the road narrowings at the top and bottom of Heol Hir removed. After campaigning on this issue for 2 years, we have a progress update to share.

The Council have submitted a bid to Welsh Government for funding to get them removed, and if successful the work would be completed this year.

The road narrowings are located at the top and bottom of Heol Hir between Llanishen Village and Excalibur Drive

Alternative traffic management provisions would be put in place but traffic would flow significantly better than at present. This would be a major victory for local residents and a significant improvement on the awful road narrowings that plague motorists every day.

Council officers should hear by early May whether the bid is successful and I will update this blog with more info as soon as I get it.

LATEST: The narrowings will be removed in 2020! More information to follow soon.

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Under Threat Bus Routes Saved

In January, Cardiff Bus announced that they were planning to cut loss-making bus services across the city, including the 86 that serves Llanishen, Thornhill and Lisvane.

Earlier today (19 March) Cardiff Council announced that through a tendering process, Cardiff Bus will continue 4 of the routes and Stagecoach will operate 2 of the routes.

Lots of effort has been put in to highlighting how important these services are, particularly to older people, over the past few months by many people across the city.

And the Council Conservative group has submitted a petition, a motion, an alternative budget, and has asked plenty of questions to get the Labour administration to listen. And we are glad they finally have.

Here’s just some of the work the Conservative Councillors in Cardiff have been doing about this issue:

  • We submitted an alternative budget last month, with an extra £250,000 for the bus routes that the Labour administration have now managed to get the money for (wonder where they got the idea from…)
  • We raised a motion in January calling for changes to Cardiff Bus directorships.
  • At last months Council meeting, a petition was submitted against the planned scrapping of the 86.
  • We’ve asked a range of questions of the ruling Labour group, including the cabinet, about Cardiff Bus.

Although in an ideal world these bus routes would pay for themselves (or even turn a profit) through ticket receipts, it’s important that as much of the city is served by good transport links as possible. There’s no denying that we are some way from that (morning commute on the train anyone?) and more focus is needed on delivering high quality services for the city.

With a whole host of new housing developments planned for the north of the city, effectively managing transport infrastructure is essential to ensuring the developments are sustainable, and the city doesn’t grind to a halt.

Myself and colleagues are continuing to make the case for better transport infrastructure and if you’ve got any views please get in touch.

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Brexit: What Next?

Earlier this evening, the Government’s Brexit deal was rejected (again). There’s some more important votes in the Commons in the next few days that will shape how Brexit will play out over the coming weeks.

The Government’s Brexit deal was defeated by 391 votes to 242. 40 MPs (39 Conservative and 1 Labour), who voted against the deal in January, switched and voted for the deal this evening.

Tomorrow, Parliament will vote on whether to keep no-deal on the table, and depending on that result, on Thursday will vote on whether to ask the EU to extend Article 50.

The Parliamentary machinery has unfortunately meddled enough to scupper the idea that the Government could take things right to the wire (e.g. the day before we leave) to clinch a deal, but for Parliament to say that it rejects no-deal, would mean the one bargaining chip left would no longer be in play.

But there are no hidden agendas in Parliament when it comes to Brexit, every MP has openly declared which faction they’re in (deal, no deal, no Brexit), so the prospect of weakening the Government further is an exciting prospect for many opposition MPs (as it always is).

But, despite Parliament looking like it’s split three ways, there is a Parliamentary majority for an amended Withdrawal Agreement that gives either party (the UK or the EU) the ability to unilaterally withdraw from it. That would win over the Brexit rebels, DUP and some Labour moderates. It would be a wafer-thin majority, but a majority nevertheless.

But without that, the three factions of Parliament will continue to tie themselves in knots with motions, amendments, defections and who knows what else.

The Government doesn’t have a majority, it can’t get its flagship policy through, and an awful lot of Parliamentarians are able to have their say and make an impact on proceedings, all the while with the whole world watching. It’s messy, it’s frustrating, it’s democracy.

We are scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March. Unless there can be a third vote in Parliament on an amended Withdrawal Agreement, this time with the Withdrawal Agreement actually amended, then we’ll probably have to ask the EU for an extension of Article 50.

But if the EU isn’t bluffing, and this Withdrawal Agreement really is as good as it gets, then there are only really two options: no deal or no Brexit. And either of those would need a Government that can command a Parliamentary majority, and that genuinely believes in one of those two things.

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