The Taff Vale site in Pontypridd, January 2018
Cabinet Members have discussed a major £300m strategic capital investment to deliver huge investment in Highways, Schools, Housing and Town Centres over the next five years.
At their meeting on January 25, Cabinet agreed in principle to the investment programme which will be over and above the Council’s annual capital programme, representing the largest capital investment in the history of Rhondda Cynon Taf. The ambitious plans were first announced by Council Leader Councillor Andrew Morgan in a statement to Councillors in December.
A report to Thursday’s meeting outlined targeted areas of investment, to be complemented by additional funding from the Council, Welsh Government and public and private sector partners over the life of the programme. Cabinet also requested that regular reports bring forward business plans and funding requirements for respective projects. The areas of investment include:
- Highways and Transportation Infrastructure - £65m. Projects include A4119 Corridor enhancements and dualling of ‘Stinkpot Hill’, Llanharan Bypass Road, A4058/A4061Corridor enhancements in the Treorchy area, direct access from A465 via a new A4059 route to Aberdare, and new Metro and park and ride facilities.
- 21st Century Schools - £160m. In December 2017, Welsh Government confirmed the Council had secured £160m funding to deliver a range of new schools and school refurbishments from 2019-2026, complementing the significant 21st Century Schools programmes delivered from 2014-2019.
- New Housing (£450m+) - £11m Council funding. Overall funding includes Independent Living (£45m), bringing empty properties back into use (£1.5m), new homes on Council land (£70m of Housing Association Funding) and new housing developments (£340m of public and private sector development funding).
- Community Assets - £4m. Parks, playgrounds, community hubs, leisure centres, recreational facilities and library facilities will all be improved.
- Town Centre and Economic Regeneration - £70m. Projects include Taff Vale, Ynysangharad War Memorial Park refurbishment and regeneration, improved car and pedestrian arrangements for Tonypandy Town Centre, and providing new high-quality industrial units in Coed Ely, Tonyrefail and Robertstown.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said: “These ambitious plans would see the delivery of the largest capital investment programme for a generation, ensuring we transform service provision across a range of areas and a number of key services. This funding will be on top of the investment already approved to take the County forward through the £200m #RCTInvest programme.
"The approval of our plans will ensure that we are able to transform the delivery of social services to meet the demands of an ever-increasing older population with different needs, requirements and expectations, by expanding our Extra Care facilities. We will also use this funding to increase the pace of school transformations, under the Welsh Government’s 21st Schools Programme, which has already seen almost £200m invested in RCT – representing the largest investment in education anywhere in Wales.
"This funding will also ensure that we continue to future-proof key infrastructure across the County, and will ensure that our highways and transportation network supports the future economic potential that Rhondda Cynon Taf has to offer through our part of the £1.2bn Cardiff Capital Region City Deal. We have already demonstrated what this approach to strategic investment can achieve through the £200m #RCTInvest programme, which has seen unprecedented levels of capital expenditure on improving our highways, play and leisure facilities, and schools across Rhondda Cynon Taf.
"This proposal will seek to build upon this momentum. We have already set the tone and demonstrated what can be achieved through this ambitious approach on projects such as the redevelopment of the Taff Vale site. This was once a project which many believed was destined never to be achieved, yet work on this major development – which is set to transform the future for Pontypridd – commenced in January. This flagship project demonstrates that regeneration and prosperity can only be brought about through strategic investment, and we want to create similar opportunities across RCT.
"The most recent Budget announcement made it clear that austerity and funding cuts are here to stay, at least for the next four years, so it is clear that the only way that we can take Rhondda Cynon Taf forward is by investing wisely to secure the best opportunities for residents and services moving forward into uncertain, and no doubt challenging, economic times.
“Thanks to our proactive approach to addressing the budget cuts placed upon us, we have created opportunities to deliver these kinds of one-off capital investments, which will strengthen and transform services for these future challenges. We have made a public commitment to be ambitious for our County and this plan will ensure that we honour this commitment by delivering the largest capital investment programme in the history of Rhondda Cynon Taf and most certainly for a generation."
Posted on Friday 26th January 2018