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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Council tries to flog off artwork it doesnt own and dummy cameras

The South Wales Evening Post has two stories today that cause one to pause with astonishment.

Firstly, there is the tale of Neath Port Talbot Council's attempt to plug its budget gap by selling off
four works of art in their possession, including the Ludwig Von Hofer statue, the Roman Emperor Statue, Benjamin West American picture and a pair of pictures attributable to the studio of Allan Ramsay.

The paper says that at a council cabinet meeting in September, members voted to sell the four works through Sotheby's, but these plans have now been put on hold after it was discovered they might not belong to the council:

The authority's head of property and regeneration, Gareth Nutt, said: "We have been contacted by the National Museum of Wales to tell us the pictures attributed to Allan Ramsay were part of a loan agreement with them some 40 years ago."

Mr Nutt said any sale of the pictures would be subject to "proof of prominence".

A National Museum Wales spokesman said: "The Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales artworks on loan at Margam Orangery are large portraits of King George III and Queen Charlotte by the Studio of Allan Ramsay.

"Neath Port Talbot Council are aware that these paintings are owned by National Museum Wales and are currently on loan to the Orangery.

"We are in contact with the council and further discussions regarding this loan will take place in due course."

Meanwhile, those of us who have been struggling through road works on Fabian Way, the road between Swansea and the M4, will be astonished at this story in the same paper.

For the last four months or so contractors have been building a new entrance to the university campus that is being built there. They have put in place a 30mph zone to protect themselves and drivers and placed average speed cameras in situ so as to enforce it.

Naturally, the Evening Post wanted to know how many drivers had been caught speeding through this section of road. The answer was none, because they had not switched the camera on, even though up to 200 speeding offences are being committed there every day:

A spokeswoman for GoSafe, Wales’ road casualty reduction partnership, confirmed that no speeding offences had so far been “processed”.

She added: “On average there are between 125 to 200 offences that have been recorded daily. This is dependent on day of the week and traffic management activity at this location.

“The average speed recorded is currently 39.4mph with the highest recorded speed of 70mph.

“The system will be going live imminently and we would ask all drivers to comply with the relevant speed limit which is there for a reason.”

The £2.6 million road access work began in the middle of June and is due to take 40 weeks to complete.

The first £250 million phase of the Bay Campus will welcome students and staff at the beginning of next academic year.

A Neath Port Talbot spokesman said the cameras would be in situ until the road access work was completed, and that the decision to switch the cameras to “live” was down to GoSafe.

In other words, they forgot to switch them on and only now that they have been reminded will they press the go live switch.

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