Leader out­lines coun­cil’s 2018 plans

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS - TOM HOUGHTON tom.houghton@waleson­line.co.uk

THE leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf coun­cil has out­lined the lo­cal author­ity’s “am­bi­tious” plans for 2018 that in­clude new schools be­ing com­pleted, im­prov­ing trans­porta­tion and start­ing work on the Taff Vale site in Pon­typridd.

Coun­cil­lor Andrew Mor­gan said the coun­cil is op­ti­mistic “de­spite the fi­nan­cial chal­lenges we con­tinue to face”, and out­lines spe­cific projects that will re­ceive fund­ing.

He said: “Our di­rect in­ter­ven­tion to se­cure a pos­i­tive fu­ture for the for­mer Taff Vale Precinct is a key ex­am­ple of how our ap­proach and in­vest­ment can de­liver the re­gen­er­a­tion and change that we all want for our county.

“With work due to com­mence on site in the first full work­ing week of new year, the coun­cil con­tin­ues to demon­strate how con­crete progress for the county can be de­liv­ered in 2018 and be­yond.”

He said de­spite ini­tial scep­ti­cism from the pub­lic over the plans, the difference now was that the coun­cil’s “di­rect in­ter­ven­tion and in­vest­ment, with the sup­port of Welsh Gov­ern­ment” has placed the lo­cal author­ity “in the driv­ing seat”.

He also said as part of the coun­cil’s 21st Cen­tury Schools pro­gramme, “ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ments” are due to come to fruition in Rhondda and Tonyre­fail dur­ing the year.

Speak­ing about care, he said the Cynon Val­ley’s first “ex­tra care” fa­cil­ity would open its doors as part of a £50m in­vest­ment in the sec­tor.

Another big part of the coun­cil’s plans looks to be trans­port.

Coun Mor­gan ex­plained: “Progress will con­tinue to be made in the de­liv­ery of the Cross Val­ley Link; and I hope that the ad­di­tional fund­ing we have iden­ti­fied to de­liver the du­alling of the A4119 and the Llan­haran By­pass will en­sure con­tin­ued progress of these two key high­ways schemes dur­ing 2018.

“We have cer­tainly made the im­prove­ment of our high­ways a firm pri­or­ity over re­cent years, with over 250 miles of car­riage­way be­ing im­proved since 2011/12 by the end of this fi­nan­cial year – the equiv­a­lent of driv­ing from Cardiff to York.”

Im­prove­ments to trans­port links in the Rhondda Fawr, “long seen as a prob­lem for mo­torists”, would be made a “firm pri­or­ity” for the lo­cal author­ity, Coun Mor­gan added.

He also said fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies would be un­der­taken to look into cre­at­ing a Tre­orchy link road at the “tail end” of the coun­cil term.

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Kre­gen­er­a­tion, he said changes will be made to traf­fic ar­range­ments in Tony­pandy, which “will hope­fully im­prove ac­cess and foot­fall into the town to sup­port lo­cal busi­nesses and shops”.

As well as that, “sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments” will con­tinue to be made in play and leisure fa­cil­i­ties, as well as com­mu­nity hubs to fight the back­drop of fi­nan­cial pres­sures.

Much of the above, Coun Mor­gan added, would come from an ad­di­tional £300m in­vest­ment, which was an­nounced earlier this month.

He was speak­ing ahead of the bud­get dis­cus­sions, set to be­gin in Jan­uary, and added: “De­spite huge chal­lenges, I re­main in­cred­i­bly up­beat about the out­look for RCT. Our ap­proach to in­vest­ment in key ar­eas will con­tinue to make a difference, de­liv­er­ing tan­gi­ble and vis­i­ble im­prove­ments which will ben­e­fit the whole of the county bor­ough, both now and into the fu­ture.”

Work is set to start on the Taff Vale site early in the New Year

Coun­cil­lor Andrew Mor­gan

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