The Budget announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer has given a clear indication that despite the proclamations, austerity still isn’t over. Despite the government announcing an extra £650m for social care, they failed to state that they were also cutting the Local Government budget in England by £1.3bn, which means a £65m reduction in the Welsh budget.
Last Monday’s Budget announcement certainly didn’t lift the gloom hanging over local government and, when taking into account the NHS funding that was previously announced, very little extra money was made available for the Welsh Government through the Barnett Consequential, which apportions money announced for services in England on a formulated basis to the devolved institutions, such as the National Assembly. Along with my fellow Local Authority Leaders on the Welsh Local Government Association, I have already pressed the case for Welsh Authorities to receive a proportionof this funding - as previously committed to by the Welsh Government. It is absolutely vital that councils across Wales are given a much-needed injection of funding to help support the delivery of our core services, which have taken the brunt of the cuts over the last eight years.
The Council’s Cabinet recently agreed a set of ambitious plans for the regeneration of Porth town centre which will now go to out to public consultation. The proposals have the ability to transform the town by taking advantage of its location and the delivery of the South Wales Metro, which will deliver vast improvements to public transport in the Valleys by 2022, when the second phase is due to be completed.
We have a clear vision for transforming Porth into a prosperous and vibrant town, centred around an improved transport offer through the development of a modern transport hub and station quarter that provides vital opportunities for integrated public transport. We also know that it is vital that this investment brings about improvements to the public realm to encourage more people into the town and, as part of this, we plan to extend the Town Centre Maintenance Grant into Porth to allow traders and landlords to apply for funding to carry out aesthetic improvements to their property fronts. It is, of course, crucial that the necessary infrastructure is in place to support such a development and a key part of this will be to ensure that additional long and short term parking facilities are created, along with an extension of the current Park and Ride provision to provide another 72 parking spaces.
Work will also shortly commencing to deliver increased capacity at Abercynon Park and Ride, whilst investigatory works are also ongoing to extend the current facility in Pontyclun.
Our ambitions aren’t limited to Porth however - our redevelopment of the Taff Vale site in Pontypridd is progressing well and the work to depedestrianise Tonypandy Town Centre has recently been completed ahead of schedule. We are continuing to work through other similar plans for town centres across the County Borough.
Posted on 05/11/2018