I was honoured to have been re-elected as the Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council at the recent Annual General Meeting.  Despite the challenges presented by austerity, we have carefully managed our finances and I firmly believe that we have some exciting times ahead, with record levels of investment delivered into projects across the County Borough over the coming years.

One area that we have sought to invest heavily in is our transportation network and £23.6m will be spent in this key priority area in 2018/19, building on the over £20m invested in this area over the previous financial year.  We recognise that our transportation network is about more than just our roads, however, and an area of this that is becoming increasingly prominent is the County Borough’s Active Travel network, which is not only promoting a more sustainable mode of travel, but is also encouraging residents to get fit and active.  The recently reopened Llantrisant Community Route is a prime example of our investment in Community (Cycle) Routes that forms part of a broader network of routes throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf.  The newly reopened section provides convenient access to Pontyclun, Talbot Green, Church Village and Pontypridd for cyclists, and work to complete the full reopening of the final section is already underway.

I recently attended a site visit with the Rhondda Tunnel Society to see the progress being made on the Rhondda Tunnel, and I was hugely impressed by the enthusiasm and effort of their members in driving this project forward.  I remain supportive of the attempts to open both the Rhondda and Abernant Tunnels, and believe that they could hold huge potential for boosting the Active Travel and leisure opportunities in the County Borough, as well as adding to a growing list of visitor attractions that provide vital tourism opportunities.

We are fortunate in RCT to have some world-class attractions on our doorstep, scattered across the length and breadth of the County Borough.  From the Penderyn Distillery in the northern reaches of the Cynon Valley to the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, there is something for everyone here in Rhondda Cynon Taf.  The beautiful Bank Holiday weekend saw thousands flocking to the National Lido of Wales, Ponty Lido and the annual Aberdare Festival as residents and visitors alike sought to make the most of the long weekend.  Another of our key attractions, the Welsh Mining Experience, Rhondda Heritage Park will also now be open on Sundays throughout the summer.  We have invested heavily in improving the offer of the Heritage Park over recent years, and the feedback on our new Dram: The Cinematic Experience simulator has been hugely positive.

Going forward, we will continue to look for opportunities to invest in our Active Travel, tourism and leisure facilities, in order to make Rhondda Cynon Taf an attractive and vibrant County Borough for all to enjoy.

Posted on 04/06/2018