Two pieces in last week’s GEM caught my eye: a report on the council Cabinet’s decision to approve the closure of Llancarfan Primary School by moving it to Rhoose, and Rob Taylor’s letter about the council’s track record on engagement around important matters of public concern.
Supporters of Llancarfan Primary have long felt the council has acted in bad faith from the very start. There was a lack of meaningful engagement at the point that proposals were initially drawn up (Llancarfan’s headteacher and Chair of Governors were only told of the plan a handful of days before it was announced in the press).
The council takes the line that it has fully observed its responsibilities for consultation under the School Organisation Code, but this misses the point.
Genuine engagement should have occurred at a much earlier stage in the process, greatly improving the chances of building consensus and ensuring proposals were fit for purpose.
But as it is, the whole sorry process has been shambolic and hugely divisive. The cabinet even ignored the Scrutiny Committee’s recent recommendation for further engagement with the communities affected.
I sat in the public gallery at the cabinet meeting and watched the shameful spectacle unfold. I can tell you it was more tightly scripted than a television drama.
Blank-eyed cabinet members mouthed empty questions to officers who trotted out pre-prepared answers.
And come 2022, when voters next have the chance to exercise their only real power, I hope and expect the whole thing will come tumbling down.
Jim Barratt, Llancarfan.