Posted on 18/12/2017

Earlier this month, I announced that detailed plans would soon be brought before the Cabinet that would outline investment opportunities for an additional £300m to be allocated to major projects, over and above our normal Capital Programme.  If agreed, these plans would see the Council deliver the largest investment programme in certainly a generation, and quite possibly the history of our County, as we continue to look for ways to transform RCT and improve our services to meet the demands of the 21st Century.

We have already invested more than any other County in Wales in improving our educational facilities through the 21st Century schools programme, and a portion of this proposed funding could also be used to increase the pace of this ambitious agenda by building on the almost £200m already allocated.  Brand new facilities such as Y Pant and the Aberdare Community School have paid immediate dividends for children learning there, and where possible, we will look to modernise and improve our schools to provide a better learning environment and build on the positive progress shown in our school attainment levels over recent years.

This funding will also ensure that we continue to future-proof key priority areas, such as infrastructure across the County, and it will further ensure that our highways and transportation network is not only able to cope with the increasing demand placed upon it, but also supports the future economic potential that Rhondda Cynon Taf has to offer the South Wales area through our part of the £1.2bn Cardiff Capital Region City Deal.

I firmly believe that investing in the right areas is fundamental to our efforts to regenerate the County Borough, and our approach to this is already demonstrating key benefits for our communities.  The £200m #RCTInvest programme has already seen unprecedented levels of capital expenditure on improving our highways, play and leisure facilities, and schools across RCT, and it is vital that we grasp any opportunities that allow us to continue this work and capitalise on the momentum that this has already generated.  The Taff Vale project in Pontypridd is a prime example of this, with many understandably convinced that this would never come to fruition.  In early January though, groundwork will commence on this hugely ambitious and vital project which is set to transform the fortunes of the area, and I think that is clear to see that regeneration and prosperity can only be brought about through targeted strategic investment.

I think it is fair to say that winter is well and truly here now, following the considerable drop in temperature witnessed over the past week, which has led to a considerable amount of snow and ice causing disruption to our transport links and road networks.  To minimise the level of disruption, Council staff have been working around the clock to clear the main arterial routes through the County and our mountain roads.  Over the space of just under a week, over 1,250 tonnes of salt has been spread by the crews, who have covered over 3,000 miles – amazingly the distance of a journey from Pontypridd to John O’Groats and back, twice! I certainly can’t stress just how much work these crews have put in to keeping our County moving, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of them on behalf of us all here in RCT.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish all residents of Rhondda Cynon Taf a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Posted on 18/12/2017