At the end of last week, I visited the Maerdy Mountain Road to view the progress being made on the substantial piece of essential engineering work needed to repair the landslip that took place in 2015 on the Aberdare side of the route. Working closely with the contractor, we have ensured that ongoing progress has continued throughout the duration of the complex project, in order to complete it during September – which was the target stated before work began, with the works set be completed by the 27th of September.
We have taken advantage of the necessary closure in order to undertake additional improvements to future-proof and upgrade the condition of the mountain route through a full 6km road re-surfacing, the repair and replacement of dry stone retaining walls and drainage improvements.
This week, Cabinet will consider opportunities to develop a range of strategic areas for economic growth and job creation across Rhondda Cynon Taf. The plans set out how identification of key housing, transport and infrastructure projects offer the potential to unlock the development opportunities of key locations across the County. This approach is about us ensuring that we are in a strong position to take advantage of the economic development opportunities afforded to RCT through initiatives such as the City Deal and the Valleys Task Force. The five areas identified include the Cynon Gateway, the Wider Pontypridd and Treforest region, Pontypridd Town, the A4119 Corridor Rhondda gateway, and Llanilid on the M4.
Discussions this week will bring total senior management savings to £2.7m since 2015. The confidential report proposed reducing senior management costs by a further £750,000 through a fourth restructuring and reduction of Chief Officer roles and functions, and will see the delivery of a commitment made during May’s Local Government elections.
Another public commitment which was discussed at Cabinet this week was introduction of the town centre maintenance grant pilot. The scheme will be piloted in Tonypandy and Mountain Ash to help inform future delivery when rolled out in other town centres across the County Borough, and will provide financial assistance to traders and landlords to undertake improvement works to the front of town centre properties, increasing the aesthetic appeal of shop fronts and creating more vibrant town centres. We have already introduced a number of measures to improve town centre footfall and boost our local economy, including our popular reduced or free town centre car parking initiative and visual improvements to our streets through the #RCTInvest programme.
Finally, thanks to all the residents who took the time out of their day to brave the rain and show their support for the Welsh Guards, who exercised their right to parade as recipients of the Freedom of the County Borough last Thursday. It is always a privilege to attend these events and it was clear that the support shown in Pontypridd by residents from all over RCT was hugely appreciated by the soldiers who paraded through town.