Muni decision "called in" for scrutiny
Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell has signed a "call in" request along with two Independent Councillors to ask that the decision to allow the Muni to be run by a community consortium be looked at more closely.
In a private, behind closed doors session on 30th October the Labour Cabinet decided to grant a lease for the running of the building to a group set up by the Pontypridd Labour MP and including representatives from the Town council and various community enterprises.
Councillor Powell, who represents the Trallwn ward in Pontypridd, said:
"I cannot go into any great detail as the initial report was confidential and the issue involves sensitive business data, but after the decision was made I was contacted by the private bidder who had also applied to take over the Muni. He asked me to look at the application he had submitted and give my view as to why it was turned down.
"I was astounded by the detail covered and the lack of financial information and information regarding proposed job creation that had not been passed to Councillors. I cannot believe they had been asked to make such an important decision based on so little information.
"Whilst I have no problem with voluntary organisations running services where appropriate it is obvious that there will be a great deal of reliance on grant funding and what happens when the grants dry up?
"The commercial applicant indicated that he would be prepared to put a substantial investment into the project and that whilst the arts side would be protected the plan was to generate enough income from the bar and restaurant to subsidise that and make the whole venture self sustaining.
"In view of the information I have seen I asked for it to be called in for further scrutiny and to look at what reasoning the officers had for not providing the in depth detail that this decision should have been based on.
"It may well be that the initial decision was the correct one, but it needs to be based on a full understanding of the facts to ensure that the future of the Muni is guaranteed for the people of Pontypridd for the foreseeable future."