St Athan Community Council Co-option

David Elston's picture

Hello fellow Pirates

Yesterday I was successful in my co-option on to the St Athan Community Council. It was proposed to the Council in February and I was voted in at the March meeting.

St Athan is a place that matters a great deal to me. My business is there, my partner is in the middle of purchasing her first house there, my grandfather and other family members have lived there and were rather popular in the community.

It is becoming an increasingly sought after place to live and certainly to return to. Many of the residents went to the same schools as I did and consider it a good area. I also find my own tenants are returning to St Athan as their real "home".

I wanted this co-option to be as transparent as possible. I disclosed my party, my union, had a meeting with the other councillors where my skills, knowledge and aims were all brought out into the open.

While personally co-option, second to a blind appointment, is my least favourite way to get into Government, an election in this case would have caused two problems:

1) A substantial fee for the very limited community council funds

2) The election would have been uncontested, with 1 candidate across 2 vacancies. This means the co-option method was actually more democratic than calling an election. With an election I would have stood, been uncontested and won the seat - no one could have done anything about it. By requesting co-option the incumbent councillors could have said "no" allowing the seat to remain empty, should they have felt I would have not served the interests of the community.

In our first meeting, my deductions over crime were confirmed - while over-all crime was relatively low, car crime specifically was rather high by comparison to other areas. I also gained good insight into how the Aston Martin developments were taken into account on matters such as infrastructure. Other traffic matters were also discussed, around road safety.

Rather importantly, it was mentioned that some residents are generously volunteering to take on the running of the St Athan Community Library. A vital part of St Athan.

I look forward to representing the residents of St Athan and helping with all these and other matters and I thank the party for supporting my candidacy.

Of course matters such as openness will be a big part of my focus in the party and something I can bring to the council - and I'm glad that the council already post their minutes and other information on their website to this end. However, practices like this will only continue if people are willing to step forward and fill vacancies.

David A Elston