Precepts will rise: Mike Bassett

A leading sports representative in Carmarthenshire has launched a scathing attack on the Plaid Cymru administration at Carmarthenshire County Council. Mike Bassett of Carmarthenshire Unified Sports Committee (CUSC) says that when in opposition Plaid Cymru were firmly against the asset transfer of outdoor sports pitches and greens, however once in power he claims they were happy to continue with this policy.

Speaking exclusively to Llanelli Online Mr Basset said: There’s been a lot of talk about Plaid Cymru listening to the community during this local election campaign. CUSC and the sports people we represent have been wholly ignored by the current Plaid Cymru led Carmarthenshire County Council. This has resulted in devastating losses to the football and bowling community.

Mr Bassett claims to have saved the County Council hundreds of thousands of pounds but says that the Plaid administration continued with their programme of asset transfers.

He said: Our organisation saved the council £264,000 a year by consulting and finding solutions for the then Labour led administration. They were happy with the outcome, Plaid weren’t. They still insisted on asset transfer. This policy required sports teams to pay the full maintenance costs of the areas that they hired from the council. This resulted in Carmarthenshire County Councils outdoor sporting facilities being the most expensive to hire in Wales. A bowling green season ticket in Parc Howard for an OAP has risen from £60 to £160 in 3 years. As a result of this huge and unnecessary increase we have lost approximately 200 bowlers.

Mr Bassett says that the effect on local sports clubs has been devastating and that it will continue to impact on grass roots sport across the county. He said: All our advice was ignored as we lost 7 football teams in Llanelli. It is very difficult and expensive to run a self funded football club. They do not receive a penny in grants from their governing body. They are not as fortunate as local rugby clubs who receive £1000’s in grant funding from the WRU. This fact was totally ignored by Plaid Cymru. They actually made the comparison between a semi professional Rugby Club with a massive turnover thanks to its state of the art clubhouse and the football teams who hire Penygaer and use a local boozer as their meeting place.

At present all football pitches have now been Asset Transferred as have all the bowling greens apart from one at Parc Howard. As a result Mr Bassett claims they are  suffering from huge season ticket fees.

Mr Bassett also claims that the local precept has risen in some wards and other wards face the same rise if the assets are to be maintained and survive. He said: The other price of asset transfer is the rise in the local precept. Emlyn Dole’s constituency of Llannon, he doesn’t live there by the way so this doesn’t affect him, has The largest precept in the County, £150+ a year from £60+ pre asset transfer of the parks. A similar hike in the precept has been forced upon residents of Cwmamman where deputy leader David Jenkins represents the people. A 140% rise in just 3 years sees those people paying the second largest precept in the county. All this to pursue what they once called an unworkable policy.

Mr Bassett says he is doubtful if Plaid Cymru can win votes from sports men and women at the local elections if people become fully aware of their actins. He said: Plaid haven’t listened to the community, in the case of asset transfer they haven’t even consulted. I will be amazed if any sportsperson in Carmarthenshire votes for their candidates in this election.

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