THE GOLD Command system of decision making in Ceredigion during the pandemic was a “dangerous precedent to set”, and out-going councillor has said as he reflects on an “eventful” 18 years representing Aberystwyth.

Ceredig Davies, who represented Central ward on Ceredigion County Council for almost two decades, is not standing for re-election on 5 May.

Speaking to the Cambrian News on the challenges of representing the town and serving the community and residents, Mr Davies that the last two years have been “difficult ones” with the pandemic, hitting out at the Gold Command which made thousands of executive decisions without full councillor input and was only finally scrapped last month after more than two years.

“Gratitude is due to those who worked on the front line in keeping services going during the pandemic,” he said.

“I am on record in questioning the time in which Gold Command existed and the fact that the views of councillors, particularly back bench councillors, was not deemed to be required.

“This was a dangerous precedent to set, to deny the input of councillors was to deny the views and democratic expectations of the residents they represent.”

Mr Davies said that while some times had been “frustrating” and “challenging”, helping residents with issues gave him “satisfaction”.

“For many the perception of being a councillor is that you attend meetings, discuss matters and take policy decisions, true, but being a councillor is far more,” he said.

“Nothing gave me more satisfaction than being able to help people with their issues and concerns.

“What might be a small matter for some could be a insurmountable problem and of immense worry for others, but with a little help, advice and encouragement matters were often resolved within a very short time.”

Mr Davies said that between 2004 and 2008, when he served as the cabinet member for education was a “challenging time”.

“During those four years there was a programme of developing education within the county and whilst at the time there was a backlash against the closure of small rural schools, by now I trust that there is the recognition that the construction of new area schools in the rural areas was the right thing to do,” he said.

Mr Davies also called for more “dissenting voices” on the council, calling the large coalition which runs Ceredigion council “frustrating”.

“The fact Ceredigion was being led by such a large coalition has in my mind been to the detriment of Ceredigion,” he said.

“As a consequence of a coalition of 34 councillors from three separate political groups, there were few dissenting voices or scrutiny of decisions being made by the cabinet and senior officers.”