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​Events relating to Bus and Coach operations at Gasworks Road Aberaman

A response Freedom of Information Request from Traffic Commissioner Office you will note only 10 PSVs registered to operate out of Gasworks Road not the 40 plus

Freedom of Information Act 2000

With reference to your email dated 8 October 2015 in which you seek the following information.

Ref: Coach Bus operators registered at Gasworks Road Aberaman Rhondda Cynon Taf CF44 6RS

Please can you forward how many vehicles were registered to operate out of Gasworks Road Aberaman CF44 6RS for the years 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015.

Please can you forward the company names of coach/bus operators working out of Gasworks Road Aberaman CF44 6RS for the years 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015.

Please can you forward any appeal allowed or dismissed by a traffic commissioner of coach/bus operators working out of Gasworks Road Aberaman CF44 6RS for the years 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015.

In our acknowledgement letter of 13 October 2015, we advised that your request would be handled in line with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires any public authority to whom a request is made, to offer advice and assistance to the applicant. Therefore, to satisfy this requirement the traffic commissioners offer the following advice and assistance.

 

There are currently seven independent traffic commissioners within Great Britain and they are appointed by geographic regions that are defined as North West of England, North East of England, East of England, London and South East of England, West of England, West Midlands, Wales and Scotland.

 

Traffic commissioners are responsible for the licensing and regulation of operators of heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches, and the registration of local bus services.  They also consider the conduct of drivers of heavy goods and public service vehicles.

 

I must advise you that the Traffic Commissioners are a named public authority within Schedule 1 Part VI of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In line with the provisions of Section 7 of the Act, this limits the information held by traffic commissioners that is in scope of the disclosure provisions contained at Section 1(1) (a) of the Act. The disclosure provisions of the Act apply to traffic commissioners only in respect of information held by them otherwise than as a tribunal.

 

It is apparent that you may not be aware of the anonymous operator search which provides information on all operator licences for both goods and passenger vehicles.  The search facility allows searches to be conducted by name, address or postcode. The returned details will provide details of each operator licence number, the name and business address of the licence holder, the licence status and the number of vehicles and trailers that are authorised under that licence.

 

The lorry-bus-operator-search can be accessed via the following link

 

https://www.gov.uk/lorry-bus-operator-search

 

This search facility allows you to search for the information that you require by use

of address and/or postcode.

 

Whilst continuing to offer advice and assistance in line with the requirements of Section 16 of the Act, use of the anonymous operator search facility would provide you with the following information in respect of licence holders authorised to use this site:

 

Brian Jenkins and Marie Jenkins, trading as V G Jarvis Coaches licence number PG0006306 are authorised to use the operating centre of interest to you, for 10 vehicles.

 

Stephen Brinley Lloyd trading as Steves Taxis licence number PG0006689 is authorised to use the operating centre of interest to you, for 2 vehicles.

 

I am also able to advise you that both of these licence were in issue prior to the 2011 date you provide as a commencement point for the search for information.

 

Additionally you may not be aware of the publication of information by the Traffic Commissioner within the statutory publications, Applications and Decisions (A&D) and Notices and Proceedings (N&P) which are available via the following link

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/traffic-commissioner-applications-and-decisions

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/traffic-commissioner-notices-and-proceedings

 

The A&D publication contains details of all new goods vehicle operator licence application, applications for major change or variation, public inquiry information where operators are to appear before the Traffic Commissioner in respect of disciplinary matters along with the outcomes of those inquiries and the details of licences which have been surrendered or where continuation has not been sought. The publication of these details is in line with the requirements for Traffic Commissioners contained at Section 10 of the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995.

 

The N&P publication contains similar information in respect of passenger vehicle operator licences. The publication of these details is in line with the requirements for Traffic Commissioners contained at Sections 5 & 54 of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 (as amended) and the Public Service Vehicles (Traffic Commissioners Publication and Inquiries) Regulations 1986 SI 1629.

 

The publication of operator details in either the A&D and/or N&P booklets has been undertaken since the 1930’s. These publications were originally available either by inspection at the office of the Traffic Commissioner or by postal subscription only. However since 2003 they have also been available via the website at no cost to view.

 

As the information that you are seeking has been available via these two search mediums since 2003, the Traffic Commissioners believe that the provisions of Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 apply and they have no requirement to provide the information requested under Section 1(1) of that Act.

 

To assist with your understanding of the exemption upon which the Traffic Commissioners wish to rely, it is reproduced below;

 

Section 21 (1) Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant otherwise than under Section 1 is exempt information.

 

(2) for the purposes of subsection (1) –

(a) information may be reasonably accessible to the applicant even though it is only on payment, and

(b) Information is to be taken as reasonably accessible to the applicant if it is information  which the public authority or any other person is obliged by or under any enactment to communicate (otherwise than making the information available for inspection) to members of the public on request, whether free of charge or on payment.

 

(3) For the purpose of subsection (1), information which is held by a public authority and does not fall within (2)(b) is not to be regarded as reasonably accessible to the applicant merely because the information is available from the public authority itself on request, unless the information is made available in accordance with the authority’s publication scheme and any payment required is specified in, or determined in accordance with, the scheme.

 

I must also advise you that Section 21 of the Act does not require a public authority to make information available in the format asked for in a request, if that information is already reasonably accessible, even though it may not be in your preferred format.

 

A search of the Application and Decisions publications would confirm that the site at Gasworks Road, Aberaman, Aberdare CF44 6RS has also previously been used by the following goods vehicle operators:

 

Rhonda Cynon Taff County Borough Council licence number OG0000472, authorised to use the address as an operating centre for 18 goods vehicles until July 2013.

 

D J Davies Haulage (South Wales) licence number OG1050102, authorised to use the address as an operating centre for 3 goods vehicles until January 2013.

 

In relation to your third question

Please can you forward any appeal allowed or dismissed by a traffic commissioner of coach/bus operators working out of Gasworks Road Aberaman CF44 6RS for the years 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015.

 

If the Traffic Commissioner had considered any regulatory action in respect of any operator licence holder notification of the intended action and the outcome is published within the statutory publications A&D or N&P, referred to above.  

 

I reiterate the earlier advice from page 1 of this letter, the Traffic Commissioners are a named public authority within Schedule 1 Part VI of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In line with the provisions of Section 7 of the Act, this limits the information held by traffic commissioners that is in scope of the disclosure provisions contained at Section 1(1) (a) of the Act. The disclosure provisions of the Act apply to traffic commissioners only in respect of information held by them otherwise than as a tribunal.

 

If you are not satisfied with the way in which we have handled your request, or with the reason given for refusing to provide the information, you have the right to request a review. Your request for a review must be made within two calendar months from the date of this letter.

 

To request a review, please contact the Office of the Statutory Senior Traffic Commissioner at the following address, giving the reasons for your dissatisfaction:

 

Office of the Statutory Senior Traffic Commissioner

Suites 4-6

Stone Cross Place

Stone Cross Lane

North Golborne

Warrington

WA3 2SH

or by e-mail at: tcfoi@otc.gsi.gov.uk

If you are not content with the outcome of the review, you may lodge an appeal with

the Information Commissioner (www.ico.gov.uk).

Information Access Officer

Residents living opposite the entrance to Gasworks Road back in June 2014 approached AberdareOnline over the diesel fumes and the volume of large Passenger Serves Vehicles (PSVs) operating out of Gasworks Road.

It was suggested they attend the local Pact meeting 2 July 2014 in Aberaman this they did and put their complaint to the local councilor Sheryl Evans who lives Clifton Crescent a few meters away from Gasworks Road and the PSCO officer Leann Lacey.

This was followed up with email to PSCO officer Leann Lacey below.

“Points made were the volume of large coaches exiting on to the B4275 Cardiff Road, I don’t know just how many vehicles are allowed on the Gasworks Road site and size of coach allowed on the site within the planning limits. Possibility the coach company has outgrown the existing site I think RCTC planning department should look into this problem and possibly the South Wales Traffic Commissioner.

When I was speaking to a resident a large coach was REVERSING OUT onto the Cardiff Road the B4275 there was a man watching traffic as the coach was reversing but I don’t think it is an expectable practice for large vehicles to reverse out on to the main carriageway.” 

On the 20 August 2014 we sent this to Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC (RCTCBC) 

What is the number of buses/coaches that have planning consent to be garaged in Gasworks Road Aberaman the commercial establishment where buses/coaches are repaired, serviced, or parked at any one time.

RCTC reply 29 August 2014

We have searched the site, there appears to be no planning applications on the site dating back as far as the 1970s.  It looks as though there has always been a depot there.

 If there were a planning application the number of buses/coaches allowed on site is not something that we can condition unfortunately.

 However, there may be restrictions on their license.  I have copied in the licensing team in this email, hopefully they will be able to answer your query.

 I hope this helps.

 Kind regards.

 Planning services.

From Licensing Department RCTC 29 August 2014

Further to the response made by Planning Services, if the vehicles concerned are buses / coaches then you may wish to contact the Traffic Commissioner who maybe able to assist with details of the numbers of vehicles permitted, indeed if there is such a limit.

 Regards

 Lee Morgan Assistant Licensing Manager RCTCBC

Traffic Commissioners information available to all on Internet 

On the 11 September 2014 we emailed Jane Cook Director of Planning

Jane Cook

Director of Regeneration and Planning

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

Just to make you aware below is a copy of e-mail to Customer Services at RCTC

What is the number of buses/coaches that have planning consent to be garaged in Gasworks Road Aberaman the commercial establishment where buses/coaches are repaired, serviced, or parked at any one time.

The response I received is below as you can see the reply has not answered the question.

We have searched the site, there appears to be no planning applications on the site dating back as far as the 1970s.  It looks as though there has always been a depot there.

If there were a planning application the number of buses/coaches allowed on site is not something that we can condition unfortunately.

However, there may be restrictions on their license.  I have copied in the licensing team in this email, hopefully they will be able to answer your query.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards.

Planning services.

From: Frederick, Thomas On Behalf Of Customer Services

Sent: 22 August 2014 11:28

To: Planning Services

Subject: FW: Development Control

My response to Frederick Thomas below.

Hi Frederick

Thanks for your response and you write:

“If there were a planning application the number of buses/coaches allowed on site is not something that we can condition unfortunately.”

You are saying Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council Development Control Department has no control over a bus/coach operator parking, storing or garaging between 1, 5 or 5000 vehicles and all using the same access road?

I believe one of the bus/coach operators moved to Gasworks Road around 1996 looking back on my records from Gwawr Street Aberaman that site was to small for the operator I believe it went to a public inquiry. Looking back on letters it was around the time of change over from Cynon Valley Council to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.

I am lead to believe that a number of coach/bus operator’s garage and store vehicles in this area and all use gasworks Road as an access and departure point onto the B4275.

The reason for the AberdareOnline enquiry we have been requested by local residents who live in close proximity to the junction gasworks Road and the B4275 to ask the questions and get answers.

You may or not be aware but your Lee Morgan Assistant Licensing Manager should know, why he sent this reply I just don’t know “Traffic Commissioner who maybe able to assist with details of the numbers of vehicles permitted, indeed if there is such a limit.”

The Traffic Commissioner has no control over the number of vehicles allowed at any one time I thought this was common knowledge it should be to Lee Morgan or is he just saying something for us to fritter away our time?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/44644131@N05/4191070760

The link shows buses operated on the site well before the 1970s Fred Jones owner and operator was around in the 1950s bought out by Prospect Coaches I believe.

As said when the coach operator moved from Gwawr Street Aberaman he had consent from Development Control for 5 minibuses to be stored on the site, but now operations at Gasworks Road has grown significantly more.

My question remains when was a certificate of lawfulness issued for coach/buses to be stored, garaged and repaired on sites at Gasworks Road Aberaman?

It is up to the Development Control to say how many vehicles that can be stored, garaged and repaired on sites at any one time not the Traffic Commissioner, hence the name Development Control to control development of the site.

If operators do not have consent for development or certificate of lawfulness they are operating on and from the site illegally, if all the documentations are in order there shouldn’t be any problems.

Listening to local residents the operating center has constituted a material change from as you say the 1970s more vehicles and larger bus/coaches using and operating from the site, it is possible that an environmental assessment may be in order.

The two attached images reflect how much the increase in development has taken place one taken years ago the other a few weeks ago.

End

As you are the Director of Regeneration and Planning, please can you give assurances we will get answers to questions with regard to the above within the timescale?

 

23 November 2014 email to Traffic Commissioner for Wales

Ref: Operating Centers for public service vehicles at Gasworks Road Aberaman Aberdare

Ms. Lindsay Sedge

Personal Secretary

The traffic commissioner for Wales is Nick Jones

 

Ref: Operating Centers for public service vehicles at Gasworks Road Aberaman Aberdare

 

Dear Ms. Sedge

I was given your email address from Beverley Bell

Senior Traffic Commissioner I did note she coped you in on her reply to me.

We have been asked by local residents to establish how many Bus/Coach operators have legal documentation to operate out of Gasworks Road Aberaman.

The reason for the request was that a number of bus/coach operators are now operational from a number of sites on Gasworks Road.

Having looked on your website I find just 10 under the name V G Jarvis Coaches but there are more than 10 Bus/coaches operating from Gasworks Road not only V G Jarvis Coaches.

I have asked the local authority Rhondda Cynon Taf Council as to who has Lawful Development Certificate or Existing Use or Development (CLEUD).

I have been emailing Chris Macey Principal Democratic Services Officer at RCTC, it would seem no Development Certificate or Existing Use Certificate exists.

I believe coaches are used for school runs my concern are the operators licensing valid? I am waiting for RCTC to get back to me about the planning issue.

I also note V G Jarvis Coaches have 10 vehicles registered at Gwawr Street Aberaman but there are no bus/coaches stored at Gwawr Street the operator moved out of Gwawr Street a number of years ago, I have informed Chris Macey and the local PCSO of this and provided them with a link to your website as below.

The local residents are concerned with the large volume of bus/Coaches now departing and entering Gasworks Road noise and pollution; I have witness a coach reversing out of Gasworks Road on to the B4275.

I am still waiting for a positive response from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council the council who are not positive when supplying information.

I await your reply

AberdareOnline

http://www.tan.gov.uk/tanen/vosa_anonymousoperatorsearchdetails_new.asp?txtRequestId=74240

https://www.tan.gov.uk/tanen/vosa_anonymousoperatorsearchdetails_new.asp?txtRequestId=74201

A response from Traffic Commissioners office 24 November 2014

The Traffic Commissioner has asked that I thank you for your email dated 23 November 2014, which he has seen today.

 

The Traffic Commissioner has asked that I reply to you as follows.  

 

He has today checked records which show 2 PSV operators and 2 goods operators at Gasworks Road.  If there is a breach of planning rules this is matter for a local authority.  Traffic commissioners have no jurisdiction over environmental issues for PSV operators.

 

Finally, if you are suggesting illegal use of premises, it would be appropriate for you to pass this information to DVSA (formerly VOSA).  The address for the Southern Intelligence Unit is 38 George Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 1PL.

 

Kind regards

Mrs Lindsay Sedge

Secretary to Nick Jones, Traffic Commissioner for Wales & West Midlands

Driver Conduct Clerk for Wales and West Midlands

Tel. 0121 609 6832

Fax 0121 456 4250

Email to Intelligence@vosa.gsi.gov.uk 27 November 2014

Ref: Operating Centers for public service vehicles at Gasworks Road Aberaman Aberdare

 

Dear Sir’s

 

I was informed by Ms. Lindsay Sedge Personal Secretary to the traffic commissioner for Wales Nick Jones to contact your department if I thought there was illegal use of premises, and advised it would be appropriate to pass this information to DVSA (formerly VOSA) the Southern Intelligence Unit.

We have been asked by local residents to establish how many Bus/Coach operators have legal documentation to operate out of Gasworks Road Aberaman.

The reason for the request was that a number of bus/coach operators are now operational from a number of sites on Gasworks Road.

Having looked on the government website I find just 10 vehicles under the name V G Jarvis Coaches but there are more than 10 Bus/coaches operating from Gasworks Road not only V G Jarvis Coaches.

I have asked the local authority Rhondda Cynon Taf Council as to who has a Lawful Development Certificate or Existing Use or Development (CLEUD).

I have been emailing Chris Macey Principal Democratic Services Officer at RCTC, it would seem no Development Certificate or Existing Use Certificate exists.

I believe coaches are used for school runs my concern are the operators licensing valid? I am waiting for RCTC to get back to me about the planning issue.

I also note V G Jarvis Coaches have 10 vehicles registered at Gwawr Street Aberaman but there are no bus/coaches stored at Gwawr Street the operator moved out of Gwawr Street a number of years ago, but the number on the certificate relates to Gwawr Street as well as Gasworks Road.

I have informed Chris Macey and the local PCSO of this and provided them with a link to the website as below.

The local residents are concerned with the large volume of bus/Coaches now departing and entering Gasworks Road noise and pollution; I have witness a coach reversing out of Gasworks Road on to the B4275.

I am still waiting for a positive response from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council the council who are not positive when supplying information.

I await your reply

AberdareOnline

 

Another email to VOSA with photographs

 

Dear Sir’s

 

Further to my email to you yesterday I have taken three photographs of bus/coach operators that have sites at the above address, all have to use Gasworks Road to enter and leave the sites.

 

Below is part of an email I received from the South wales The Traffic Commissioner

 

“The Traffic Commissioner has asked that I thank you for your email dated 23 November 2014, which he has seen today.

 

The Traffic Commissioner has asked that I reply to you as follows.

 

He has today checked records which show 2 PSV operators and 2 goods operators at Gasworks Road.  If there is a breach of planning rules this is matter for a local authority.  Traffic commissioners have no jurisdiction over environmental issues for PSV operators.

 

Finally, if you are suggesting illegal use of premises, it would be appropriate for you to pass this information to DVSA (formerly VOSA).  The address for the Southern Intelligence Unit is 38 George Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 1PL.”

 

Further email 19 December 2014 to VOSA followed but no response from them.

Having no response from anyone email to Ombudsman’s office. 6 January 2015 to Hayley.morgan@ombudsman-wales.org.uk

Please can you forward to Nick Bennett

Nick Bennett

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

REF: Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

Dear Sir,

Having written to the above council a number oftimes over residents concerns about the volume of bus/coach Companies using Gas Works Road Aberaman.

Having researched through the Internet to find no certificate of lawfulness or Existing Use or Development (CLEUD) exists for the companies that use sites off Gasworks Road for storing/repairing bus/coaches.

Also researching South Wales Traffic Commissioners Website I find the Operator Licence Certificate numbers do not correspond with the addresses given.

 

All this has been forwarded to Chris Macey Principal Democratic Services Officer at RCTC.

Also Ms. Lindsay Sedge Personal Secretary to the traffic commissioner for Wales is Nick Jones advised me to

“if you are suggesting illegal use of premises, it would be appropriate for you to pass this information to DVSA (formerly VOSA).  The address for the Southern Intelligence Unit is 38 George Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 1PL.”

I have informed VOSA with photographs.

My complaint is no response from Chris Macey atRCTC my last email from him was on 2 December 2014 copy below.

Dear Mr Thomas,

Thank you for your email. I will re-visit the matter and come back to you shortly.

Yours sincerely Chris Macey Principal Democratic Services Officer.

I see little point in emailing Paul Lucas the Monitoring Officer for an explanation, as he never replies to emails.

I await your response

A response from the ombudsman’s office 19 January 2015

Dear E Thomas

Thank you for your email, which has been forwarded to Hayley Morgan for her attention.

Yours sincerely

Complaints Advice Team

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae

Pencoed

CF35 5LJ

Telephone/Ffôn:     01656 641150

Fax/Ffacs:               01656 641199

Email/Ebost:          ask@ombudsman-wales.org.uk

 

Another response from Hayley Morgan 21 May 2015 ombudsman’s office

Dear Mr Thomas

Thank you for your email, the contents of which will receive attention shortly.

Yours sincerely

Hayley Morgan

Casework Officer Complaints Advice Team

An email to Steve Merritt copy to Paul Lucas 28 February 2015

For the attention of Steve Merritt Deputy Executive RCTCBC

Copy to Paul Lucas Monitoring Officer RCTCBC

Dear Sir

Reference:  Public Highway Gasworks Road Aberaman

I requested information with regard to working on a public highway on Monday the 26th January to date I have not had the simple question answered can you provide a reason why?

As you are aware I have contacted the Welsh Ombudsman with regard to other problems at Gasworks Road as many residents have apprehensions over operations of coach and bus operators who use Gasworks Road.

If the highways authority have not been working at Gasworks Road as I suspect as the road cones placed prevent vehicles parking at this point allowing more room for the larger Bus/coach vehicles allowing the operator to move large vehicles in and out of garage.

Below copy of my email and the lack of response I have received from your highways department to the simple question.

 AberdareOnline

No response from ombudsman’s office to continuing problems we sent a number of emails to Andrew R T Davies Assembly Member for South Wales Central.

Mr. Davies wrote to RCTC and the ombudsman’s office, ombudsman’s office claim they had no record of AberdareOnline writing to them about Gasworks Road given they sent a few acknowledgments of emails received from AberdareOnline. The ombudsman’s office also provided the same information to Elaine Parrott AM Member for South Wales Central.

Having completed forms to ombudsman’s office about the case informed them in emails they like everyone else the ombubsmam's office do nothing you have to start asking WHY.

It seems like everyone is passing the parcel and no one wants to take on responsibility we are talking about school transport or is no one interested?

 

For the attention of Claire Gummer

Ref: Coach/ Bus Operators working out of Gasworks Road Aberaman.

 

10 November 2015-11-10

Further to your email 9 November 2015 where you Ref:  With regard to the number of coach/bus company’s working out of Gasworks Road, Aberaman, registered by the Council for home to school transport - before awarding school contracts, the Council undertakes licence checks with the DVSA to determine that the operator has sufficient licences to operate the contracts to be awarded.

 

As you inform Council undertakes licence checks with the DVSA to determine that the operator has sufficient licences to operate the contracts to be awarded. As the council undertakes licence checks the council would be aware the there are no licences to operate in or from Gasworks Road other than 10 vehicles PSVs not the 40 plus PSV vehicles that operate out of Gasworks Road at this time.

 

I informed the council of this information last year having looked at the South Wales Traffic Commissioners website and made a freedom of information request to the Traffic Commissioner who provided a full account of what vehicles are registered at Gasworks Road Aberaman.

 

Therefor under the freedom of information Act please can you supply the following?

 

 Ø  Name and head of department within Rhondda Cynon Taf Council who is responsible for licence checks for School Transport?

 

Ø  Name and head of department within Rhondda Cynon Taf Council who is responsible for licence checks for public service vehicles that operates within Rhondda Cynon Taf?

 

Ø  How many licence checks have been carried out at Gasworks Road for the years 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 and full results of checks made?

 

Ø  A named list of licenced or non-licenced operators working out of Gasworks Road employed by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council?

 

Ø  Do the council inspect safety records of PSVs operators once-a-month six monthly or annually?

 

Ø  Do the council inspect Tachograph records of PSV operators employed by the council?

 

 E Thomas

AberdareOnline

8 December 2015  

 

On Mon, Nov 9, 2015 at 3:48 PM, Gummer, Claire <Claire.Gummer@rctcbc.gov.uk> wrote:

Dear Mr Thomas

 

 I refer to your Freedom of Information Request in respect of buses/coaches operating and parking from a site at Gasworks Road, Aberaman.  This request is very similar to a previous query, which the Council responded to on 6th October 2014 (copy attached).

 

There have been no planning applications, and therefore no approvals, for coach/bus operations at Gasworks Road, Aberaman for the years 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015. In addition, there have been no planning applications for coach/bus operations at Gasworks Road Aberaman for the years 2011, 2012, 2013,2014 and 2015 that control how many coach/buses can be stored.

 

With regard to the number of coach/bus company’s working out of Gasworks Road, Aberaman, registered by the Council for home to school transport -  before awarding school contracts, the Council undertakes licence checks with the DVSA to determine that the operator has sufficient licences to operate the contracts to be awarded.   It is the responsibility of the DVSA to ensure operators comply with their operator’s licence and this includes the details of their operating premises and the number of vehicles authorized to operate from such listed sites.  The Council does not record this data.

 

As you may be aware you have a right of appeal against this decision.  If you wish to exercise this right please set out in writing your grounds and send your appeal to the Council's Principal Democratic Services Officer.  Her name is Mrs Christine Macey and she may be reached at Chris.Macey@rhondda-cynon-taff.gov.uk or on 01443 424076.

 

Yours sincerely  

Claire

Corporate Governance Team

Legal & Democratic Services

Below from Mrs. Chris Macey RCTC

Dear Mr Thomas,

Thank you for your recent email to Customer Services regarding the operation and parking of buses/coaches from a site in Gasworks Road, Aberaman. Please accept my apologies for the slight delay in responding to you.

 

Our Planning Service has confirmed that the Council holds no records which indicate the granting of any planning consents in respect of this site and its use. However, it seems clear that the site has been used for the operation/storage/repair of buses/coaches for a significant period of time.

 

The knowledge of the historical use of the site, together with the evidence of aerial photography images would clearly demonstrate that the use of the site, for the purposes referred to above has been taking place for a period in excess of that required to secure a Certificate of Lawful Existing Use or Development (CLEUD).

 

The requirement of the applicant in cases of the use of land, is to demonstrate that the use has been taking place, uninterrupted, for a period in excess of 10 years from the date of the application. The relevant test for the Council, as Local Planning Authority, to consider in determining such applications is whether on the evidence provided ‘the balance of probability’ has been met.

 

Whilst the owner/operator of the site may not have a CLEUD, this does not mean that the use of the site is illegal.

 

The Council’s licensing requirements only relate to vehicles of up to 8 seats and it is understood that that Lee Morgan, Assistant Licensing Manager has previously forwarded you advice/guidance regarding the role of the Traffic Commissioner concerning PSV Operator Licences.

 

I trust that this has clarified the Council’s position to you.

Yours sincerely

Chris Macey

You will note that Mrs. Chris Macey is only referring to one operator conveniently forgetting the others working out of Gasworks Road and you will note that she hasn't read earlier emails regarding Traffic Commissioner and infomation AberdareOnline has sent to RCTCBC from Traffic Commissioners office and website.

Lee Morgan, Assistant Licensing Manager has previously forwarded you advice/guidance regarding the role of the  Traffic Commissioner concerning PSV Operator Licences.

Considering we at AberdareOnline have provided RCTC with information from South Wales Traffic Commissioners office and website reference to operating license what are RCTC trying to cover up?

We supplied them with FOI from South Wales Traffic Commissioners office only 10 PSVs allowed to operate from Gasworks Road there are more than 40 one operator has no planning consent to be there but RCTC allow this to happen WHY?

You cannot achieve an operator’s license without planning consent but it looks like it is happening in RCT. Page 4 on link below 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/194259/PSV_Operator_Licensing_Guide.pdf

 

AberdareOnline has requested RCTC to provide documentation they say they have to demonstrate operations at Gasworks Road are legal but they do not WHY?

 

We asked in PACT meeting that PCSO vehicle checks would be made on documentation of bus/coaches working out of Gasworks Road.

 

Part of the email reply I received from PSCO Amanda Male 31 October 2014

“The issue surrounding the Operators license and parking of Coaches under this license on Gasworks Road is a matter for the Traffic Department.  I have an operation planned to take place with the Traffic Department to which I shall be able to get the answers you require, this unfortunately has had to be postponed recently due to the volume of work generated for the area over the last month.”

“I will provide you with any further updates I have within the next Pact meeting, if you wish to discuss these matters outside the Pact meeting, please provide a contact number and I will be happy to contact you.”

Following a FOI to South Wales Police no inspections or operations were made so what is that telling you?

Further emails below 

Dear Mr Thomas,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 23rd December 2015, concerning the above.

I have again forwarded your e-mail on to the Welsh Traffic Commissioners Office, and asked them to respond to you directly.

Kind Regards,

Robert Evans

Customer Service Centre Agent - Operator Licensing

The Ellipse, Padley Road, Swansea, SA1 8AN

Phone: 0300 123 9000

Find out more about operator licensing at: https://www.gov.uk/traffic-commissioners 

Date:  23/12/2015 11:22 

Subject:        Re: No response from Ms. Lindsay Sedge Personal Secretary The traffic commissioner for Wales is Nick Jones

 

Robert Evans

Customer Service Centre Agent - Operator Licensing

The Ellipse, Padley Road,

Swansea,

SA1 8AN

23rd December 2015

 

Dear Mr. Evans,

Ref: Operating Centers for public service vehicles at Gasworks Road Aberaman Aberdare

I thank you for your response 23 November 2015 where you say, “Your e-mail has been forwarded to the appropriate department of the Welsh Traffic Commissioners Office who will respond to you directly.”

I have looked at details of DVSA's target response times.

“Provide a full response to enquiries quickly. We will respond to 90% of general enquiries within 10 working days and general emails within 5 working days;”

My original email to Lindsay Sedge Personal Secretary to the Traffic Commissioner for Wales is Nick Jones was on 11 November 2015.

The response I received under FOI from your Bristol office ref operating certificates, contrasts from the response I received from Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC.

I have not received a response from Lindsay Sedge or traffic commissioner for Wales is Nick Jones. I have contacted Nick Bennett is the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales informing his office of the irregularities in the contrasting responses and the controversial planning consents that have been highlighted under FOI provided by RCTC.

Andrew R T Davies Assembly member for South Wales Central he has written to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales and I keep him informed of proceedings.

When will I receive a reply from the Traffic Commissioner for Wales is Nick Jones?

AberdareOnline

On Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 5:04 PM, <Enquiries@otc.gsi.gov.uk> wrote:

Dear Mr Thomas,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 20th November 2015, concerning contacting the Traffic Commissioners Officers for Wales.

Your e-mail has been forwarded to the appropriate department of the Welsh Traffic Commissioners Office who will respond to you directly.

Details of DVSA's target response times can be found in our publication "The Service We Give You"

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-service-we-give-you

Kind Regards,

Robert Evans

Customer Service Centre Agent - Operator Licensing

The Ellipse, Padley Road, Swansea, SA1 8AN

Phone: 0300 123 9000

Find out more about operator licensing at: https://www.gov.uk/traffic-commissioners 

No response from South Wales Traffic Commissioner is it a cover up?

 

Below part of an email “THIS E-MAIL IS SENT ON BEHALF OF THE CHRISTOPHER BRADSHAW – CHIEF EXECUTIVE”

1.           Coach and Bus Operators/Operations at Gasworks Road, Aberaman

 

Your correspondence at the outset asked: “What is the number of buses/ coaches that have planning consent to be garaged in Gasworks Road, Aberaman, the commercial establishment where buses/coaches are repaired, serviced, or parked at any one time?

In essence you remain dissatisfied with the responses provided by Planning and Licensing officers, and subsequently from Highways and Transportation officers as well as Corporate Services officers, who endeavoured to co-ordinate relevant information in response to your enquiries and concerns.

      You first approached the Council in respect of Gasworks Road in August 2014. The Service Director confirmed that the matter was investigated accordingly, and you were advised that whilst there were no planning permissions in place for such a use, our historic aerial photos and anecdotal evidence showed that the site had been used for decades as a coach/bus base. Therefore there was an ‘established use’ and it was exempt from Planning control. The matter was also raised with colleagues in Licensing to respond to you in regard to any potential licensing issues.

      Lee Morgan, Assistant Licensing Manager, subsequently contacted you by email on 29th August 2014 in regard to potential Licensing implications, and confirmed the following:

“Further to the response made by Planning Services, if the vehicles concerned are buses / coaches then you may wish to contact the Traffic Commissioner who may be able to assist with details of the numbers of vehicles permitted, indeed if there is such a limit.”

      You subsequently sought further clarity over the original response from Planning, and received a comprehensive reply from Chris Macey in this respect on October 2014 which stated:

     “Thank you for your recent email to Customer Services regarding the operation and parking of buses/coaches from a site in Gasworks Road, Aberaman. Please accept my apologies for the slight delay in responding to you.

     Our Planning Service has confirmed that the Council holds no records which indicate the granting of any planning consents in respect of this site and its use. However, it seems clear that the site has been used for the operation/storage/repair of buses/coaches for a significant period of time.

     The knowledge of the historical use of the site, together with the evidence of aerial photography images would clearly demonstrate that the use of the site, for the purposes referred to above has been taking place for a period in excess of that required to secure a Certificate of Lawful Existing Use or Development (CLEUD).

            The requirement of the applicant in cases of the use of land, is to demonstrate that the use has been taking place, uninterrupted, for a period in excess of 10 years from the date of the application. The relevant test for the Council, as Local Planning Authority, to consider in determining such applications is whether on the evidence provided ‘the balance of probability’ has been met.

            Whilst the owner/operator of the site may not have a CLEUD, this does not mean that the use of the site is illegal.”    

You were subsequently given the same officer advice when you asked generally the same questions in November 2015, December 2015 and January 2016.

Since your original email in August 2014, it has come to light that a coach business is operating out of the former Council depot at the end of Gasworks Road. As was explained in Jane Cook’s email to you on 10 December 2015, Planning Enforcement have been investigating the use of the old Council depot at Gasworks Road as a coach business, and have established that the operation is a material change of use which requires planning permission. Unlike the other operator on Gasworks Road, it has not become established over time. The Planning service therefore expects to receive an application to regularize the situation in the near future.

The owner’s original intention was to attempt to regularise the use by applying for retrospective planning permission for retention of the land only. However, notification has recently been received by Planning that he now wishes to include the physical re-development of the former Council depot into the proposal. This requires a more detailed application with the inclusion of a full set of drawings. The owner has therefore been afforded additional time for submission of the application.

The Service Director Planning is however mindful of the potential impact of the use, and if an application is not forthcoming then consideration will be given to what further action is necessary.

You raise two points specific to planning and in relation to the ‘established use’ site on Gasworks Road, i.e:

-           “the Planning Department philosophy is any operator can maintain and garage/store over 1000 bus/coaches in Gasworks Road and the residents have to put up with excessive pollution noise/fumes etc because the planning department at RCTCBC has no control.”

            and

-           “poor record keeping, RCTCBC were unable to find a planning application under FOI, planning department were unaware no planning approval exists for all operators in Gasworks Road.”

In terms of the first point, whilst your concerns about the use of the site are understood, our Planning service has no such philosophy. The point is, that as a lawful/established use we have no control under Planning legislation. The site could not accommodate 1000 buses as claimed and the limited size of the site means that the number of buses that can be parked there at any one time is self regulating.

As has been explained in previous correspondence, because the use has become established during a lengthy period of time at the site, it has become exempt from planning control. If that was not the case then clearly the impact on neighbours would be taken into account in deciding whether the use was acceptable in planning terms, but in this particular instance such control cannot be exercised.

In regard to your claim of “poor record keeping......” it would appear that you have misinterpreted the point in the Planning service’s earlier response, which stated that “we cannot find any planning applications for coach businesses in Gasworks Lane.”  It is not that the service has lost or mislaid any applications, it is simply that there have never been any planning permissions which became apparent when the service originally searched records at your request.

There are definitely no issues with the planning records in relation to this site and whilst the original response you received via email from the Planning Service on 29 August 2014, could have been worded better, the position was certainly clear from subsequent emails issued to you from Chris Macey on 6th October 2014 and Claire Gummer on 9th November 2015. As stated earlier in this response, no referral has been received from the Ombudsman in respect of the lack of responses or in regard to any other issue.

You insist that your enquiries in regard to operating certificates and insurance documents for vehicles operating out of Gasworks Road have not been addressed. Whilst you have been signposted to the DVSA on a number of occasions regarding their responsibilities concerning operator licences, it is evident from the investigation that that your enquiries concerning insurance have not been answered previously and the following information addresses this below.

The Council’s Transportation Manager confirms that insurance checks in respect of our contractual relationship are undertaken but this is only to ensure that they comply with section 12 of the Council’s Terms and Conditions of Contract for the Provision of Passenger Transport Services, the relevant extract of which is provided below. 

12.     INSURANCE

12.1   The Contractor shall hold and shall ensure that all Sub-contractors involved in the provision of the Services shall maintain the following insurance cover with a reputable insurance company:

 

               i.          Professional Indemnity (if required);

 

            ii.         Public Liability including Products Liability; and

 

            iii.         Employer’s Liability

            In each case with the minimum level of indemnity set out in the Invitation to Tender or any part of this Agreement, and if no level is specified, then a minimum level of indemnity set at five million pounds (£5,000,000) or such higher level as is consistent with Good Industry Practice and any applicable Legislation.

12.2     Such insurance to be held by the Contractor may be limited in respect of any one claim (but shall not be limited in any other respect) PROVIDED THAT any such limit shall in any event be at least one million pounds (£1,000,000). This Clause shall not be construed as imposing any limit of liability on the Contractor.

12.3   Such insurance shall be maintained for a minimum of six (6) years following expiration or earlier termination of this Agreement.

In addition, the following clauses are relevant to the Council’s involvement in an operator’s insurance cover but none relate to the insurance of premises where vehicles are kept;

27.5     The Contractor must ensure that the Contractor’s public liability and motor insurance policy covers all Drivers employed on the Contract. It is the responsibility of the Contractor to affect appropriate insurance cover against injury to Drivers in the performance of their duties, and the Council will accept no liability for any injury sustained under any circumstances.

28.7    The Contractor must ensure that the company's public liability and motor insurance policy cover all Passenger Assistants employed on Contracts. It is the responsibility of the Contractor to affect appropriate insurance cover against injury to Passenger Assistants in the performance of their duties, and the Council will accept no liability for any injury sustained under any circumstances

Your complaint also indicates that local residents have contacted the Council about the site concerning high levels of air pollution from diesel fumes as a result of vehicles operating from there and that a request was made to monitor air pollution but a Council officer advised this could not be done.

The Council’s Service Director for Public Health & Protection confirms that a service request was received to visit the area in March 2014, relating to pollution from buses on the highway, rather than the depot site. As a result the attending officer could not invoke statutory nuisance powers, so the matter was referred to Planning Enforcement for further investigation, to establish whether the vehicles were operating with the appropriate consent. Furthermore, the site would not meet the Technical AQ Guidance criteria to warrant Air Quality Monitoring, as there would need to be over 2,500 coach movements per day. To help quantify put this into perspective, monitoring previously undertaken in respect of Pontypridd Bus Station comes closest to the figure above, which has a capacity of 2,000 movements per day.

A second visit to the area was undertaken on 31st March 2014 in regard to a resident’s concerns regarding the nuisance caused by the increased number of vehicles leaving and entering Gas Works Road, due to a Coach company using the land at Gas Works Road Industrial Estate to park coaches. Whilst our officer witnessed noise adjacent to the highway from a number of large 53 seater coaches attempting to enter and leave Gas Works Road, there was no evidence of statutory noise nuisance emanating from the depot, as the use of the Industrial Estate in itself was not the problem, owing to the distance between where the resident lived.

You have enquired previously as to whether there is a U16 in operation at the Gasworks Road, Aberaman and whether this is something about which you need to raise with Natural Resources Wales. A U16 Waste exemption, as you rightly state will allow parts from de-polluted ‘end of life’ vehicles to be re-used in other vehicles, and we confirm that this exemption is issued by Natural Resources Wales.

Initial enquiries made with NRW in regard to a U16 Waste exemption in operation at the site in relation to Jarvis Coaches reveal that no record was found. You may therefore wish to make further enquiries with NRW in this respect and to assist you, NRW contact details are as follows:

Tel. no: 03000 653000.

Email:https://naturalresources.wales/about-us/contact-us/general-enquiries/?lang=en

Outcome and Next Steps

In conclusion, I am satisfied that all of the information provided in this response clearly sets out the Council’s position and fully answers all relevant issues raised in your complaint. Given that certain aspects of your earlier correspondence had not been responded to, your complaint is found ‘Partially Upheld’ and I sincerely apologise that this was overlooked.  

As a result of the investigation into your complaint, however, my attention has been drawn to your ‘scattergun’ approach to obtain information/raise issues by contacting various Council officers, as well as the volume and frequency of repeat/similar issues you have raised, and the way in which additional questions have been tagged on, whereby this would increase the possibility that something could be inadvertently overlooked. In addition, I note that two separate emails have been used when you have communicated with officers.

Clearly, this in no way excuses the fact that some information was overlooked and I can assure you that this was not deliberate but it must be said that your approach has not assisted officers when dealing with your extensive correspondence, taking into account their other duties and priorities. In my opinion, the nature of your contact is such that it has clearly taken up an inordinate amount of officer time, resources and has disrupted service delivery in regard to legitimate issues raised by other individuals, which is unacceptable.

To put this into some context the Corporate Governance Team alone has received 24 Freedom of Information requests from you since January 2015, the highest level of contact by far over this period received centrally from a member of the public. This excludes other enquiries, service requests, queries, etc, which you raised directly with officers across other service areas and also excludes the extensive level contact received from you via social media (i.e. the Council’s Twitter account).

I therefore politely request that you reconsider your approach when contacting the Council in future. Should you, however, choose not to comply with this request, consideration may be given to apply the Council’s Unreasonably Persistent Customer Policy in your case. The following link provides further information.

http://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/EN/GetInvolved/CommentsComplimentsandComplaints/UnreasonablyPersistentCustomers.aspx

In terms of your recent Freedom of Information request, relating to Gasworks Road, Aberaman, I am aware that Claire Gummer, Corporate Governance Team initially received an information request from you on 19th January 2016 and clarification was sought from you which was subsequently received on 24th January 2016, together with additional queries raised. Further clarification was necessary and was requested on 26th January 2016, to which replied on 18th February 2016, via myself as Chief Executive. I can confirm that you will receive a response from Claire Gummer shortly in this respect. 

Should you consider that the Council has not responded any other information requests previously submitted, to ensure that these are dealt with in a co-ordinated manner, please submit these to the following email address: Freedomofinformation@rctcbc.gov.uk

Finally, should you remain dissatisfied with the response to your complaint, you may wish to refer the matter to the Public Services Ombudsman and request an independent review of the Council’s handling of the matter. The Council will of course fully co-operate with the Ombudsman should he decide to investigate your complaint.

To assist you contact details for the Ombudsman are as follows.

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

1 Ffordd Hen yr Gae

Pencoed

CF35 5LJ

E-mail: ask@ombudsman-wales.org.uk

Tel. No. 0300 790 0203

Yours sincerely,

Chief Executive

Copy to:-

Councillor A. Morgan, Leader of the Council

Public Service Ombudsman

Andrew R T Davies, AM, South Wales Central

Eluned Parrott, AM, South Wales Central

You will note the writer references only one PSV operator when he refers to old photographs there are a number of PCV operators working out of Gasworks Road at different areas. The size of operations in Gasworks Road has intensified and coaches have increased in length but RCTC Planning Department hasn’t taken this into account, is it because they are in favor of supporting illegal use of cheep school transport? RCTC haven’t produced any documentation to back up what they have said WHY?

As for record keeping Mr. C Bradshaw Chief Executive is mixing up planning applications the Applications referred to were one for PROW Cwmaman and another application for Llwydcoed as you can see record keeping not one of RCTCBC strong points when they don’t want to supply information to the public.

So you would think this is a legal matter? So you write a letter to Peter Vaughan

Chief Constable South Wales Police and hand deliver it to Aberdare Police Station.

Did I get a response no did I get an acknowledgment no again you have to ask WHY? 

 

So who is next for an email? enquiries@ipcc.gsi.gov.uk I expect.

Above just some of the email AberdareOnline has sent out and received relating to Gasworks Road.

 

A cover up or not? You decied

 

Below another email to Ombudsman Wales as hey dont put up caseworkers email addresses not open and acountable for the public 

From: Elwyn Thoams 
Sent: 18 January 2016 10:12
To: ask
Subject: Re: Complaint against Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council ref - 201504003

 

For the attention of Samantha Evans Casework Officer

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

Dear Mr. Bradshaw

 

Ref: Coach and Bus Operators/Operations at Gasworks Road Aberaman

 

I have been advised to write to you by your Service Director –Highways and Streetcare with reference to the above.

 

Your director evidently has not looked at all correspondences I have provided RCTCBC with reference to the above. I first approached RCTCBC on the 20 August 2014.

What is the number of buses/coaches that have planning consent to be garaged in Gasworks Road Aberaman the commercial establishment where buses/coaches are repaired, serviced, or parked at any one time.

 

The response I received is below as you can see the reply has not answered the question I asked.

 

We have searched the site, there appears to be no planning applications on the site dating back as far as the 1970s.  It looks as though there has always been a depot there.

 

If there were a planning application the number of buses/coaches allowed on site is not something that we can condition unfortunately.

 

However, there may be restrictions on their license.  I have copied in the licensing team in this email, hopefully they will be able to answer your query.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Kind regards.

 

Planning services.

 

I was informed by Lee Morgan Assistant Licensing Manager RCTCBC to contact the Traffic Commissioner.

I then wrote to Jane Cook Director of Regeneration and Planning on the 11 September 2014 and had a response from your legal department Chris Macey Principal Democratic Services Officer not from the your planning director.

 

By December no response from further emails to Chris Macey with reference to the above therefor I contacted the Ombudsman on the 6 January 2015

 

It now transpires that no bus/Coach operator has planning consent at Gasworks Road and to achieve an operators license/certificate to operate a bus/Coach company you must first achieve planning consent, unquestionably some of your officers are unaware of this.

 

In response to my FOI request your Service Director said:

 

The Service Director – Highways and Streetcare, has responsibility for school transport and has to be satisfied that an operator has sufficient licences to operate the number of vehicles required by any school transport contracts that are to be awarded by the Council.

 

As there is more than one operator working out of Gasworks Road the director failed to mention what operators have the operating certificates and who has not and he never gave a reference to the amount of certificates. I have in the past-informed RCTCBC that only 10 certificates exist for 1 operator working out of Gasworks Road but there are up to 40 bus/coaches working out of Gasworks Road with 3 operators many buses used as school transport.

 

Your planning department said the number of buses/coaches allowed on site is not something that we can condition unfortunately.

 

The Planning Department philosophy is any operator can maintain and garage/store over 1000 bus/coaches in Gasworks Road and the residents have to put up with excessive pollution noise/fumes etc because the planning department at RCTCBC has no control.

 

I was aware before I contacted RCTCBC that the Traffic Commissioner was responsible for operating certificates and if operating certificates were not in place or incorrect this would this mean some Bus/Coaches operating out of Gasworks Road have no lawful insurance would this be correct?

 

Perhaps this is something the Ombudsman’s office will look into. I have received a FOI from the Traffic Commissioners office for Gasworks Road, I informed your legal department and made them aware of its contents.

 

Your director has produced no information or documentation to back up with regard to operating certificates and relevant insurance documents for bus/coach operations at Gasworks Road?

 

Local residents inform me that some old buses are being striped on site would you be aware if there is a U16 in operation (Use of depolluted end-of-life vehicles for vehicle parts) or is this something I need to inform Natural Resources Wales about?

 

 

The local residents who themselves have contacted and complained to RCTCBC in the past about Gasworks Road received separate visits from council officers to the Gasworks Road sites, a large number of photographs were also taken by the one council officer on her visit.

Local residents complained to the officers of high levels of air pollution from diesel fumes and the very least, short term, high level exposures to diesel exhaust fumes can irritate the eyes and lungs. Continuous exposure to diesel exhaust fumes can cause long term, or chronic, respiratory ill health with symptoms including coughing and feeling breathless. At worst, if people are exposed to diesel engine exhaust fumes regularly and over a long period, there is an increased risk of getting lung cancer.

 

This is the same type of cancer that’s caused by asbestos and some other industrial chemicals, and doesn’t just affect people who smoke. There is limited evidence to suggest that chronic exposure is also linked to a higher chance of suffering bladder cancer.

 

As you are aware of diesel exhaust pollutants the local residents asked your officer if the air pollution around the Gasworks Road entrance could be monitored he said this could not be done. Air pollution is higher at this location when large vehicles buses/coaches leave the sites in succession with cold engines.

 

As it was the Director of Highways who wrote to me regarding the Ombudsman’s office, he is also responsible for my other complaint to the Ombudsman about the blocked Public Right of Way in Cwmaman, however he makes no mention of this complaint in his letter.

 

I have contacted your legal department several times asking when this PROW will be reopened on its original line as a planning application clearly demonstrates “No alteration to a public right of way is proposed”. I have asked several further questions concerning this PROW but your legal department prefers to ignore and not answer them, I have emailed Paul Lucas in his roll as Monitoring Officer for RCTCBC but he also prefers to ignore my correspondences.

Your Service Director –Highways and Streetcare said he hoped the responses given under FOI would have resolved the issue; the issues haven’t been resolved. I believe the ombudsman’s office should investigate, what the ombudsman can legally and should investigate at RCTCBC listed below.

 

Ø  Delay, in responding to questions asked, delay in producing documents under FOI within 20 working days

Ø  Poor record keeping, RCTCBC were unable to find a planning application under FOI, planning department were unaware no planning approval exists for all operators in Gasworks Road

Ø  Delay, and failure to take action when no consent for development exists after local residents first contacted RCTCBC and again after my first email, also no action on opening up a PROW on its original line as shown on the definitive map

Ø  Poor communications, no response to my emails sent to senior staff at RCTCBC legal department and Monitoring Officer

Ø  Giving out misleading information, officers implying basic information not available under FOI planning application documents also providing internet links under FOI that do not work and still not resolved

Ø  RCTCBC an organisation not doing what its Customer Care Charter said it would

 

I am still waiting for basic information requested under FOI well past the 20 working day deadline as defined under FOI for the above and a number of other environments, I have written to RCTCBC without response, withholding basic information from the public, have your council something to conceal? If not when can I expect all information requested? Or do I need to inform Anne Jones, the Assistant Commissioner for Wales again?

 

Your director has requested I ask for an internal review, I have no confidence in your reviewing system as you’re council were aware in a previous case you found the council had acted correctly, the Ombudsman’s office found RCTCBC guilty of maladministration.

 

The evidence for Gasworks Road and the PROW in Cwmaman is there for all to see, I believe RCTCBC is again guilty of maladministration.

 

Yours sincerely

 

E Thomas

AberdareOnline

 

2016-01-04 15:39 GMT+00:00 ask <ask@ombudsman-wales.org.uk>:

Dear Mr Thomas

 

Thank you for your email which has been passed to Miss Evans for attention.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Rhian Williams

Casework Officer/Swyddog Gwaith Achos

Complaint Advice Team

 

Tel: 01656 641150

 

 

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Pencoed
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This email is subject to the conditions on Confidentiality, Content and Viruses set out on the Ombudsman’s website.
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Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this email?
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Pencoed
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CF35 5LJ

www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk
www.ombwdsmon-cymru.org.uk


Twitter: @OmbudsmanWales

This email is subject to the conditions on Confidentiality, Content and Viruses set out on the Ombudsman’s website.
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Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this email?
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In reply from ombudsmanWales

RE: Complaint against Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council ref - 201504003 

Dear Mr Thomas

Thank you for your email, the content of which has been forwarded to Samantha Evans for attention.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Complaints Advice Team

 

Tel/Ffôn: 01656 641150

 

From Andrew R T Davies Assembly Member South Wales Central

 

Dear Mr Thomas

 

Thank you for that. As I said, it is not ideal but it will probably help to speed the process up.

 

I’m still awaiting a response from the Ombudsman but I will obviously be keeping a close eye on the matter from here on in, and I will contact them again if you do not receive a prompt response. Please keep me updated so that I can take action if necessary, so if you could inform me when you have submitted the enquiry, received an acknowledgement etc then that would be great.

 

All the best,

 

Andrew

 

From: Elwyn 
Sent: 10 July 2015 13:24
To: Davies, Andrew RT (Assembly Member - Conservative)
Subject: Re: 201502143

Andrew Davies Assembly Member South Wales Central

Dear Mr. Davies

I thank you for your prompt response when I next have access to my main computer I will provide the case worker with the information as requested.

I have sent this information twice to the ombudsman's office as I informed them through Twitter some time back of the lack of response, I believe they want to brush this enquiry under the carpet.

But we shall see what transpires from your correspondence to them, I thank you for taking the time to write on my behalf.

E Thomas

AberdareOnline


On 10 Jul 2015, at 12:48, Davies, Andrew RT (Assembly Member - Conservative) <AndrewRT.Davies@assembly.wales> wrote:

Dear Mr Thomas

 

This morning, I received the following response from the Ombudsman with regard to your complaint. As you will see, they claim to have no record of receiving your initial enquiry, which is puzzling since you received an acknowledgement from them at the time. I have responded to them to point this out, and will let you know what they say.

 

In the meantime, would you be able to resubmit your complaint? I know it is inconvenient for you to do so, but having experienced such matters in the past it will help to speed up the process.

 

As I said, I will be back in touch once I have received a response from the Ombudsman, but if I can be of further help in the meantime, please feel free to get in touch.

 

Kind regards,

 

Andrew

 

From: ask [mailto:ask@ombudsman-wales.org.uk]
Sent: 10 July 2015 09:34
To: Davies, Andrew RT (Assembly Member - Conservative)
Subject: REF: 201502143

Dear Mr Davies AM

Thank you for your letter dated 6 July 2015 in relation to your constituent, Mr Elwyn Thomas.  I note you say that Mr Thomas e-mailed the Public Service Ombudsman (Wales) on 6 January 2015 with a complaint regarding the volume of bus and coach companies using Gas Works Road at Aberaman.  However, we do not appear to have received Mr Thomas’ complaint.  You may therefore wish to ask Mr Thomas to resubmit his complaint for consideration.  He can do this by accessing our complaint form online at www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk  or alternatively sending a letter by post.

Yours sincerely

Rhian Williams

Casework Officer

Complaint Advice Team

Tel: 01656 641150

Public Services Ombudsman for Wales
1 Ffordd yr Hen Gae
Pencoed
Bridgend/Pen-y-Bont ar Ogwr
CF35 5LJ

www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk
www.ombwdsmon-cymru.org.uk

Twitter: @OmbudsmanWales
              @Ombwdsmon

 

CaseId : 201504003

Created and sent on : 23/11/2015 at 12:35 PM

Created by : psow\samanthae

Created using template Blank email

Emailed from address : ask@ombudsman-wales.org.uk

 

Dear Mr Thomas,

Thank you for your recent e-mail the contents of which we have now considered.

As explained in our e-mail of 20 October 2015, from the information you have provided it is not clear whether you have made a formal complaint to the Council or exhausted its complaints procedure and if you would like to proceed with a complaint with our office, it would be helpful if you could complete our complaint form or provide details of complaint with supporting documentation. We do not have enough information to currently assess your complaint. On receipt of supporting documentation we will carry out an assessment of your complaint. Yours sincerely

Complaints Advice Team

Tel/Ffôn:01656641150

 

Dear Mr Thomas,

 

Thank you for your e-mail dated 22 December 2015.

It appears that we have responded to your correspondence via e-mails dated 20 October and 23 November 2015, copies of which we have attached for your information.   It does not appear that we have received a complaint completed complaint form.

Yours sincerely

Samantha Evans

Casework Officer/Swyddog Gwaith Achos

Tel/Ffôn:01656641150

 

Below is a copy of what was written on the ombudsman’s form sent to their office 23 November 2015 again a form they say they did not receive.

 

Would you say there was a cover-up?

 

Ombudsman form 23 November 2015

 

Have been informed that no planning consent exists for Bus/Coach operators at Gasworks Road Aberaman but there are up to 40 vehicles by a variety of operators operating out of Gasworks Road. To obtain an operator’s license you must have planning consent. Majority of PSV used for schools services therefor all exit and return at the same time, Local residents have complained to RCTC about noise and exposure to excessive traffic pollutants with up to 40 vehicles departing almost simultaneously.

 

PROW Cwmaman RCTC have allowed the PROW to become unusable by allowing development blocking a PROW shown on the definitive map not informing Secretary of state, I requested information from RCTC but not received something the Freedom of Information Commissioners office is looking into.

 

I was asked by local residents living opposite Gasworks Road to contact the council on their behalf.  As I have said previously they have complained to RCTC over noise exposure to excessive traffic pollutants as one resident complained the pollution is affecting his breathing.  You would be aware Low level exposure to traffic fumes is enough to raise the risk of lung cancer and there is mounting evidence of the health dangers of pollution, which is already known to play a part in asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes Gasworks Road leads on to the B4275 a blind bend just meters from the Gasworks Road entrance with large coaches having to cross to oncoming lane to negotiate into Gasworks road. I use this section of road frequently and it is not uncommon to find a coach across the highway blocking the highway being unable to gain access into Gasworks Road be it residents parked cars or some other obstacle. Also when traffic is traveling from Aberdare as you round the bend again it is dangerous when large coaches are leaving Gasworks Road onto the B4257 residents and I have witnessed a coach reversing out onto the B4257 there was a banksman watching but only one side not on the blind bend side.

 

PROW Cwmaman the public and I are prevented from using the PROW. There was insufficient-space on form

 

Gasworks Road. RCTC should act within the law and should have allowed local residents a chance to object to the escalations of large coaches being stored repaired and operated out of Gasworks Road. One coach operator is using existing rights but as you are well aware it is a matter of degree and there is certainly a immense material change in the use of buildings and land and Gasworks Road.

PROW Cwmaman. RCTC who are responsible for PROW’s should reopen the original PROW as shown on the definitive map. Please can you inform me when the two above PROW were last inspected? Response from David Batten

Head of Leisure Parks and Countryside RCTCBC “I can confirm that Footpaths 19 and 21 Aberaman were both surveyed in 2011.” And the planning application dates back to 2007 so what did RCTC survey?

 

Gasworks Road. Emails from RCTC planning department, Legal Department, Freedom of Information Officer South and Wales Traffic Commissioner also Freedom of Information Officer at South and Wales Traffic Commissioners office.

PROW Cwmaman. Emails from

RCTC Countryside manager, Head of Leisure Parks and Countryside, Planning Department, Freedom of Information Officer Service Director Legal and Democratic Services

 

You have said you have appointed a case officer please can I have a email address as I can send any emails he/she requires?

What the Ombudsman Office is well paid to do for the above but dident do 

What the Ombudsman says he can do for you but don’t 

This Factsheet is about complaints about planning applications. It should be read together with our general information booklet about our service. The Council is the local planning authority for its area (in some areas this is a function of a National Park Authority). Planning authorities are responsible for making decisions and taking action about various planning matters. They have to work within the law, government guidance and the authority’s own policy. The Ombudsman may be able to help you with your complaint against a planning authority.

 

He can look at whether there is something wrong in the way in which the Council went about deciding an application for a neighbouring development. This can include the failure to:

• notify you of an application, which may affect you, so that you were unable to object;

• notify other bodies which should have been consulted;

• consult you on amended plans;

• give reasons for its decision to approve an application;

• take your objections into account (this is not the same as not agreeing with your objections);

• take into account relevant planning considerations. He can look at complaints about your own application, for example: • incorrect /misleading /incomplete planning advice before making an application which can be shown to have caused significant problems for you;

• the Council did not have a system in place for ensuring that advice it gave was properly recorded; • the Council failed to make clear that the advice was informal and did not commit the Council to make a particular decision in the future;

• the Council failed to follow the proper procedures or to take into account relevant planning considerations.

I noticed the new Labour AM for Cynon Valley is she not writing to ombudsman’s office on behalf of local the local residents who complained to her?

Perhaps she will have the same response as Andrew R T Davies and Eluned Parrott Assembly members saying AberdareOnline haven’t contacted them or no record or haven’t filled in form

Is it a cover up?

Ombudsman’s Office not very good at keeping records are they trying to cover-up something? Like Rhondda Cynon Taf Council when it suits them.

http://www.ombudsman-wales.org.uk/

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