Grangetown Councillors shunned a meeting on play centre referendum yesterday following plans to appoint Plaid Cymru official as chair of community vote.
Councillors Ashley Govier and Lynda Thorne, who held a private meeting with a few Grangetown play centre employees ahead of the poll meeting, released a statement explaining their move.
In the statement they said: “We have taken the view not to attend tonight’s meeting as we do not wish to become embroiled in party political arguments and would rather focus our energies on working with residents and exploring ways of protecting these services into the future.
“It is our intention to release the plans we are working on to sustain these facilities over the next few months and we are more than happy to engage with concerned parents on these matters at a later date, but we will not be drawn into political battles that certainly do not service the best interests of the community we have been elected to represent.”
Their decision not to attend came after they were informed that Plaid Cymru chair Dafydd Trystan was elected to chair the meeting.
Mr Trystan, who is a Grangetown resident, responded to the Labour councillors. He said: “If they’d been here, they’d have heard me, from the chair, saying that we weren’t going to talk about personalities at all. We were going to talk about the proposal and I can’t remember if any single person made a party political point. I don’t think they did. So it is a big shame that our councillors weren’t here to hear the strength of local opinion.”
Rob Gee- Wing, a parents of one of the play centre children, said: “Marie Rosenthal (County Clerk and Monitoring Officer) was in attendance and I’m completely sure that regardless of Dafydd Trystan, a Grangetown resident and qualified chair, she would be happy to confirm that Plaid Cymru were not mentioned on any occasion.”
The meeting opened with the organisers’ announcement that they would reserve the right to call for a referendum in the future if the Council refuses to keep the centre open until the end of their term in 2017.
They urged everyone at the meeting to join the Friends of Grangetown Play Centre Group to show their support
But the organisers were left with a bitter-sweet taste. The number of registered locals who attended the meeting only reached 103 by the end of the evening but 125 of those present signed up to the newly formed Friends of Grangetown Play Centre Group.