January 2005

There were heated scenes when Caldicot town council discussed a proposed 37% increase to the council’s “precept” (that part of the council tax which goes to the town council). The Plaid Cymru-led majority have proposed a 37% increase, the first increase for five years. This will mean an additional £11.97 per year for Band D householders. According to reports in the Chepstow and Caldicot Free Press, Labour Councillors William Edwards and Jim Higginson had to be repeatedly called to order by the mayor, Councillor Ron Stewart, while ex-councillor Graham Powell, speaking as a member of the public, had to be asked to leave the meeting. It is reported that Councillor Edwards “refused to sit down” and then “shouted” at the mayor. Councillor Edwards later defended his behaviour by saying “I have a right to speak at meetings”.

It has been confirmed that Caldicot’s only supermarket will close for three weeks while the interior of the store is modernised and improvements are carried out to the car park. Somerfield will close from 26 February until 16 March. Complaints have been made that the move will cause considerable inconvenience to shoppers in the town and is likely to lead to other shops losing trade as customers go to other towns for their weekly shop. A spokesman for Somerfield said they are considering running a bus to another supermarket but was unable to give any details. The temporary closure has led to renewed calls form Caldicot Chamber of Trade for a second supermarket to be opened in the town.

Police have reported that eight girls in Caldicot are being considered for antisocial behaviour orders if they continue to cause trouble. All the girls are aged between 14 and 16. Letters were sent to their homes in November and since then seven of them have kept out of trouble. The eighth has continued to cause concern and is being considered for an Assessable Behaviour Contract, an intermediary step designed to give the child a chance to improve their behaviour before an ASBO is issued.

P&O Developments has decided to drop a proposal for a huge indoor aquarium in the Caldicot area after the scheme was rejected by a County Planning Inspector.

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