Planning boss takes swipe at YesCymru petition against 100ft Union Jack on Cardiff tax office
A planning boss has taken a swipe at YesCymru for its 20,000-strong petition against plastering a 100ft Union Jack on a Cardiff tax office.
Councillor Keith Jones, the chair of Cardiff Council’s planning committee, criticised the pro-independence group after it demanded that he “withdraw” permission for the “advertisement” on the UK Government building.
The petition was delivered by keyboard player for the Super Furry Animals, Cian Ciaran, who called on the committee to “reconsider”.
But according to Jones, the council’s planning committee “has never had any involvement with the granting of permission”, and he as chair “had no legal involvement”.
He added that the committee does not have “have any legal authority to withdraw approval for the development that has been lawfully issued”.
The councillor said that if “YesCymru seek to be seen as a credible voice”, it “would do well to gain a fuller understanding of how Cardiff, Wales’ capital city, is governed”.
The ad is set to be wrapped around the outside of the landmark city-centre building, Tŷ William Morgan, but according to YesCymru it “does not represent the people of Wales”.
It has also branded the move a “blatant political act designed to act as a provocation”.
In a letter published on July 27 in the South Wales Echo, Cllr Keith Jones wrote: “The article (‘20k petition goes in against Union flag’, South Wales Echo, July 23, 2021) omitted a fundamental aspect, namely that Cardiff’s planning committee has never had any involvement with the granting of permission for an advertisement on a UK Government office in the centre of Cardiff.
“Just as I and the planning committee that I chair had no legal involvement in the issuing of planning permission, neither do we have any legal authority to withdraw approval for the development that has been lawfully issued.
“As chair of planning, I and my colleagues have a role in the regulatory aspect of Cardiff council as a local planning authority.
“We offer a democratic oversight into a legal process that is set and governed by laws made by the Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament.
“Our country is governed by laws. In this instance public consultation was undertaken, by Cardiff council, into the proposed advertisement. There was not a single representation either positive or negative from the public.
“The representations from the petition have only been made post the decision being made, under delegated powers, by a planning officer of the council.
“As law and process dictates. As it should. We do not want overt political decision making in planning decisions.
“When the planning committee and myself sit in decision-making we do so as county councillors leaving our political party affiliation aside, as the law demands.
“In this instance we had no involvement whatsoever. If YesCymru seek to be seen as a credible voice for how Wales should be run, they would do well to gain a fuller understanding of how Cardiff, Wales’ capital city, is governed and how decisions are made.”
The petition from YesCymru states: “We believe that as the capital city of Wales, visitors, commuters and residents should not be faced with a gigantic Union Jack flag on arrival at Cardiff Central railway station.
“This decision by Cardiff Council Planning Committee to grant permission to drape the HMRC building on Central Square is an act of political symbolism designed to promote ‘muscular unionism’ a reminder to the people of Wales of their subservient status in the United Kingdom.
“This flag does not represent the people of Wales and is a blatant political act designed to act as a provocation to the people of Wales.
“We the undersigned call on the Cardiff Council Planning Committee, and its chair Councillor Keith Jones, to withdraw their permission for this advertisement.”