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Extra investment in Council priorities alongside capital programme

Investment priorities

Cabinet has agreed details of the Council’s capital programme for the next three years – plus a one-off, targeted investment of £19.29m for 2024/25 priority areas including highways, unadopted roads, structures, parks, green spaces, flood alleviation and play areas. 

The funding includes specific allocations for the Coed Ely Solar Farm, rock netting repairs at Rhigos Mountain Road, and upgrading the astroturf sports pitch at Hawthorn High School to an ‘all-weather’ surface for school and community use.

On Wednesday, February 21, Cabinet considered a report that detailed a proposed three-year capital programme, representing a £165.63m investment across Council services between 2024/25 and 2026/27. Members have now recommended that Full Council agrees the programme in early March 2024.

This includes a fully-funded core capital programme of £42.54m over the next three years, alongside external grant funding and the use of specific Council reserves that have already been allocated. Further detail about how Council service areas will be supported is included in Wednesday’s Cabinet report.

The report also noted a further one-off investment opportunity for 2024/25 – using funding set aside for Investment and Infrastructure maintenance and enhancement, Invest to Save projects, and the reallocation of capital resources. Cabinet has agreed that identified funding of £19.29m will be used in these priority areas next year:

  • Highways maintenance, £5.05m
  • Unadopted roads, £200,000 
  • Highways structures, £1m
  • Rhigos Mountain Road rock netting, £1.4m
  • Flood alleviation, £1m
  • Streetcare bins, £25,000
  • Parks structures, £250,000
  • Parks and green spaces, £1.395m
  • Country Parks investment, £305,000
  • Play areas, £350,000
  • Multi Use Games Areas (MUGAs), £225,000
  • Coed Ely Solar Farm, £7.388m
  • Hawthorn astroturf upgrade, £350,000
  • Leisure fitness equipment, £350,000

Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Investment, said: “Each year the Council sets a Capital Programme to plan investment and infrastructure projects. As part of this process, officers have identified an additional one-off investment of almost £20 million to support priority areas in 2024/25. It brings our total investment of this kind, over and above our annual capital programme, to more than £181 million since 2015.

“These extra resources will allocate £5 million funding to our road maintenance programme, which has a good track record of reducing the percentage of roads in need of repair. Our Unadopted Roads programme will receive £200,000 funding, to continue to improve and adopt private roads that have not been maintained to an appropriate standard. An extra £1 million will also be allocated to our programme of structures repairs, with the Council responsible for more than 1,500 walls, bridges and culverts that support our road network.

“Our maintenance and investment in parks and green spaces, which are much-valued by communities, will receive more than £1.3 million – along with £305,000 for our fantastic country parks which are popular with both residents and visitors. Our investment in outdoor play and leisure will also be complemented with an extra £350,000 for play areas and £225,000 for Multi Use Games Areas, while £350,000 is earmarked for leisure fitness equipment.

“As part of the funding package, several exciting named projects will also receive funding for their development. The existing astroturf sports pitch in the grounds of Hawthorn High School will be upgraded to an ‘all-weather’ surface with £350,000 funding. This is a well-used facility across several sports, and will continue to be available for school and community use. It will complement the significant investment in education facilities at Hawthorn High School that are being delivered alongside funding received from Welsh Government this year.

“Development of the Coed Ely Solar Farm on the former colliery site, owned by the Council, will receive £7.38 million. Once in operation, the solar farm will produce renewable energy to offset more than 1,100 tonnes of carbon per year over its expected 40-year life. Finally, £1.4 million is allocated for the major mountainside repairs to the Rhigos Mountain Road, following a large fire in summer 2022. Inspections were undertaken last year to inform the repair scheme, which is now being developed for delivery from summer 2024.

“These are very challenging financial times across Local Government, with every council in Wales likely to face difficult decisions to set their Revenue Budget for 2024/25. However, I’m pleased that the Council has once again been able to identify one-off capital investment to continue to provide our priority areas with additional resources. Having now been agreed by Cabinet, this extra investment will be considered by Full Council in early March.”

Posted on 26/02/2024