NatWest to close Aberaeron and Tregaron branches

NatWest bank in Aberaeron

NatWest bank in Aberaeron

RBS banking group has today announced that it will close NatWest Aberaeron branch on 4 November this year, with Tregaron to follow on 24 November. The move follows its decision last year to close Llandysul and New Quay branches.

NatWest customers in Aberaeron and Tregaron will be dismayed at this news. Four branches in Ceredigion will have been closed in the space of a year. Their claim to be investing in giving customers ‘greater choice’ in how they bank will sound very hollow to their customers in Aberaeron and Tregaron.

I’ll be calling on the bank to reconsider this decision. If it does press ahead with the closure, we need greater clarity on the future of cashpoints, and outreach services via the Post Office and mobile banking.

Since the financial crash, the majority of this bank is owned by the taxpayer. They have an obligation not to ignore Ceredigion.

You can join the campaign against these closures here: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-natwest-in-aberaeron-and-tregaron-achub-natwest-yn-aberaeron-a-thregaron.html

NatWest yn Nhregaron ac Aberaeron i gau

Banc NatWest Aberaeron

Banc NatWest Aberaeron

Heddiw (13 Awst) cyhoeddodd banc RBS ei fod am gau canghennau NatWest Aberaeron ar 4 Tachwedd eleni, gyda Tregaron i ddilyn ar 24 Tachwedd. Y llynedd, penderfynodd y banc i gau canghennau Cei Newydd a Llandysul.

Bydd cwsmeriaid NatWest yn Aberaeron a Thregaron wedi eu siomi’n fawr gan y newyddion yma. Bydd pedair cangen yng Ngheredigion wedi eu cau mewn cwta flwyddyn. Maent yn honni eu bod yn buddsoddi mewn rhoi ‘mwy o ddewis’ i’w cwsmeriaid o ran mathau gwahanol o fancio, ond bydd hynny’n eiriau gwag i’w cwsmeriaid yn Aberaeron a Thregaron.

Dylai’r banc ailystyried ei phenderfyniad. Os yw’n mynnu bwrw mlaen gyda’r penderfyniad, mae angen gwybodaeth glir ar ddyfodol peiriannau arian, a gwasanaethau.

Ar ôl y cwymp ariannol, y trethdalwr sydd biau’r rhan fwya’ o’r banc yma. Mae gan RBS gyfrifoldeb i beidio ag anwybyddu Ceredigion.

Ymunwch yn yr ymgyrch yn erbyn y penderfyniad yma: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-natwest-in-aberaeron-and-tregaron-achub-natwest-yn-aberaeron-a-thregaron.html

Minister reconsiders Osprey Project cuts

cywion gweilch / osprey chicks

cywion gweilch / osprey chicks

Many people have been concerned about the funding cuts facing the Dyfi Osprey Project, located on the Ceredigion-Powys border. The Environment Wales grants were due to disappear.
I raised the matter with the Minister, and I’m pleased to say that he has reconsidered. In his letter to me he states that funding will continue to be provided by the Welsh Government for at least 18 months.
This is good news for a project that has been very popular, and attracts many visitors to the area.

Llywodraeth Cymru’n gwneud tro-pedol ar ariannu Canolfan y Gweilch

cywion gweilch / osprey chicks

cywion gweilch / osprey chicks

Roedd nifer o bobl wedi codi consyrn gyda fi fod Prosiect Gweilch Dyfi, ar ffin Ceredigion a Maldwyn, ar fin colli cyllid gan Lywodraeth Cymru oherwydd diwedd y grantiau Amgylchedd Cymru.
Codais y mater gyda’r Gweinidog, ac rwy’n falch o ddweud ei fod wedi ailystyried.
Yn ei lythyr i mi cadarnhaodd y bydd y Prosiect yn parhau i dderbyn cyllid gan y Llywodraeth am o leiaf 18 mis.
Dyma newyddion da i brosiect sydd mor boblogaidd, ac sy’n denu nifer o ymwelwyr i’r ardal.

Great news for railway campaign

The campaign to reopen the rail link between Aberystwyth and Carmarthen has received a boost, thanks to the decision of the Transport Minister to commission an initial study on the feasibility of reopening the line.

Llythyr gan y Gweinidog Trafnidiaeth / Letter from the Transport Minister

Llythyr gan y Gweinidog Trafnidiaeth / Letter from the Transport Minister

This follows on from a meeting we held earlier this year, when the Minister came to Lampeter to met the Traws Link Cymru campaigners, Simon Thomas AM and myself.

For the first time, the Welsh Government is committing its own resources and taking the lead on a study on reopening the rail link between Aberystwyth, Tregaron, Lampeter and Carmarthen.

Of course there is a long way to go in the campaign, but it’s very significant that the Minister has been persuaded that this is an idea which is worth developing further.

Traws Link’s campaign goes from strength to strength, and they’re holding the latest in their series of public meetings this Friday evening in Aberaeron Memorial Hall, at 7pm.

Hwb mawr i’r ymgyrch reilffordd

Daeth newyddion da i’r ymgyrch i ailagor y cyswllt rheilffordd rhwng Aberystwyth a Chaerfyrddin.

Llythyr gan y Gweinidog Trafnidiaeth / Letter from the Transport Minister

Llythyr gan y Gweinidog Trafnidiaeth / Letter from the Transport Minister

Cadarnhaodd y Gweinidog Trafnidiaeth mewn llythyr i mi fod y Llywodraeth am gomisiynu adroddiad cychwynol ar ddichonoldeb ailagor y rheilffordd, a gaewyd gan doriadau Beeching.
Mae hyn yn newyddion gwych i grwp TrawsLink, sydd wedi ymladd mor galed ar y mater yma, ac mae’n dilyn cyfarfod yn gynharach eleni, lle daeth y Gweinidog i gwrdd a’r ymgyrchwyr, Simon Thomas AC a minnau yn Llambed.

Am y tro cyntaf, felly, mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi penderfynu rhoi arweiniad ac adnoddau i astudiaeth ar ddichonoldeb ailagor y linell reilffordd rhwng Aberystwyth, Tregaron, Llambed a Chaerfyrddin.

Wrth gwrs, mae dipyn o ffordd i fynd yn yr ymgyrch, ond mae’n arwyddocaol iawn fod y Gweinidog wedi cael ei pherswadio fod hon yn syniad y dylid ei ddatblygu ymhellach.

Mae’r ymgyrch yn cynnal cyfarfod cyhoeddus yn Aberaeron nos Wener yma, am 7 yn y Neuadd Goffa.

Council merger plans could mean chaos

Today, the Welsh Government has announced plans which could see local authorities merged into eight councils. Under the plans, Ceredigion would be merged with Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, in an arrangement similar to the old Dyfed County Council.

The plans announced by the Public Services Minister are an amended version of the plans in the Williams Commission Report for 10-12 merged councils, and have already been severely criticised by many within his own party.

I fear that we’re in danger of a botched reorganisation of local government, which will distract councils at a time when they’re coping with serious cuts, and won’t deal with major challenges such as integrating health and social care.

By just merging the existing local authorities, these plans miss an opportunity to engage with real reform. There are an immense number of regional public bodies, operating on different boundaries, dealing with such issues as health, fire, education and much more besides. Many of these could be made more accountable, and reforming them would help to integrate key functions such as health and social services.

Plaid Cymru’s alternative plans would aim at better integration and accountability for regional services, abolishing educational consortia,  reforming health boards and pooling back office functions, without forcing councils through a reorganisation at a time of cuts, and without increasing the numbers of councillors or officers.

Merging the three counties of south-west Wales back into Dyfed, while leaving the broader problems unaddressed, is unlikely to be a good deal for Ceredigion.

The Labour Welsh Government needs to re-think these proposals. They’re a recipe for chaos, and voters will have the chance to pass judgement on them next May.