Llantrisant is the latest area to benefit from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s multi-million-pound investment scheme.
Keeping residents and visitors moving safely throughout the County Borough is vital and the Cabinet has committed over £23m over the next 3 years to improve the Highways and Infrastructures across Rhondda Cynon Taff.
The multi-million-pound scheme aims to tackle Highways Improvements, (including potholes, drainage, footways, fencing/barriers and town and village centre regeneration), Structures, Transportation (including metro), Making better use and Flooding and drainage schemes.
This investment forms part of the Council’s ongoing wider 3 year £200m investment programme – “RCT Invest” – which is set to benefit residents and businesses right across Rhondda Cynon Taff.
This latest scheme has seen £70,000 invested to install a signal controlled pedestrian crossing along Talbot Road, Llantrisant as part of a Safer Route in the Community project. The scheme will also include the installation of a new footway on Llantrisant Road leading towards Brynteg Lane to be constructed later this year.
As the RCT Invest works continue across the County Borough there are likely to be some minor disruptions to those in their immediate vicinity. The Council would like to urge residents to continue to support us whilst these essential works are carried out as it is for their longer term benefit.
The Labour Party has taken a hammering in the Llantrisant Town By-Election, even with the local MP’s wife being parachuted into the role to take on Independent candidate, Freeman Jonathan Bishop, who was expected to take the seat.
The election was won by Louisa Mills, who moved to Llantrisant from Sweden, after being educated in Carmarthen. Louisa Mills promises to build a community garden in the town.
Liz Smith critcised the campaign of Freeman Jonathan Bishop, saying that his facts were “11 years old.” Her husband and Pontypridd MP Owen Smith criticised Bishop for “bringing [his] family into it.” In fact, all Freeman Bishop did was refer to Owen Smith’s wife, who was his opponent.
Freeman Bishop said he fought the election on the facts. “I did not say anything about Owen Smith’s family – his wife was my opponent,” he said. “I used the same strategy against Liz Smith that New Labour used in 1997, 2001 and 2005, which was to make reference to my opponents’ record and past statements.
“If they did not want me to raise these then they shouldn’t have said or done them.
“My campaign was on the whole positive, with me supporting the war memorial plans, and furthering my desire for there to be a Llantrisant festival.
“If my opponents cannot take their record, or lack of, being challenged then they should ask themselves if they are being fair on the electorate who may be far less restrained in their choice of words than I have been.”
Gareth Phillips, of TechArts, who was part of Louisa Mills’s campaign team, also criticised Freeman Bishop’s approach. “[E]ven though Louisa is another candidate she is also a member of the community first and foremost,” he said. “Louisa lives in Llantrisant and went to school in the area.”
Louisa Mills won the election with over 50% of the vote, polling 320 votes. Labour’s Liz Smith gained 273 votes and Independent Jonathan Bishop received 32 votes.
An innovative environmental project is set to expand its reach to Llantrisant, it has been revealed.
The Emotivate Project is set to expand its reach from Llantwit Fardre into Llantrisant in Wales as part of ambitious plans to link young people the two areas with other youths in Cam and Dursley in England.
The Emotivate Project was highly commended by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council in 2014. It was the brainchild of Councillor Jonathan Bishop, who is also seeking election to Llantrisant Town in Wales and is already the parish councillor for Lower Cam in England, hoping to combine the two roles. “I hope that by being the local councillor for both communities I can make this project happen in a more ambitious fashion,” he said. “I have been a local councillor for 25 per cent of my life and as I have already run this project in Treforest and Llanwit Fardre, having served on the councils in both those areas.”
The Emotivate Project gives young people the chance to develop their understanding of the history area at the same time as improve their IT skills in order to design and paint a mural reflecting their ideas of the area’s past and present and what they want the future to be like.
Mark Beech is the Chief Personnel, Strategy & Quality Officer at the Crocels Community Media Group, which the project is being run under the auspices of. “I am really pleased that Councillor Jonathan Bishop will be running our highly commended project, not only in Llantwit Fardre as planned, but Llantrisant also,” he said. “Being a historian myself, I am confident that Jonathan has designed a programme that will energise young people to have the passion for the history of Llantrisant and Llanwit Fardre that he has.”
Councillor Jonathan Bishop said his project would help bring both communities in England and Wales together, promoting fellowship between the two nations. “Being a Freeman of Llantrisant I am proud to stand for election in the town,” he said. “My grandfather founded the Llantrisant Workingmen’s Club, former Council Chairman Ivor Jacob is a relative, my Great Aunt Lottie was a musician in the town, my great grandfather was a carpenter who worked on the Parish Church’s roof.
“This project will be going ahead whether I win or lose, and there is so much the communities have in common without having to share the same councillor.
“We have the Billy Wynt in Llantrisant, and Cam has Cam Peak.
“We have the Cwm Coke Works here, and Cam and Dursley have Cam Mills.
“Llantrisant has its castle ruins, and Dursley Castle has legendary status there too.“
A Freeman of Llantrisant has given his support to calls for a dedicated war memorial in the town.
Freeman Jonathan Bishop was instrumental in the campaign to install a war memorial in Pontypridd, when as the town councillor for Treforest he seconded fellow councillor Colin Gregory’s motion for the plans, including getting a commitment for it to be part funded by public subscription.
Jonathan Bishop is the brains behind the Emotivate Project, which is seeking to install a mural at the Woodland Walk underpass in Efail Isaf, based on young people’s ideas of war and peace.
Freeman Bishop says that in addition, he wants a war memorial to go beyond military personnel. “Many people in South Wales died during the Second World War from working underground in the mines, as well as in the munitions factories,” he said. “My grandfather was the Freeman of Llantrisant who founded the Llantrisant Workingmen’s Club and I would not be here today had he not met my grandmother who was working in the same munitions factory after he finished his duties as a Gunner in the Battle of the Atlantic.”
Freeman Bishop says it was not just his Llantrisant grandfather who was part of the World War II campaign. “My other grandfather was a miner, who along with other miners were essential the fueling the war effort,” he said. “I therefore fully support the call for a lasting war memorial on the castle green in Llantrisant, and would like a commitment for all those who died during conscription, whether on or under the land, to be recognised also.“
The Clerk of Llantrisant Community Council has blocked Dzôn’s request to submit to the council a petition of 51 signatures against the calls by newly elected community councillor, Ron Hunt, for fox hunting to be reintroduced.
Alison Jenkins, who is responsible for the council’s administrative arrangements, was adamant that the petition, which Dzôn promised to put before the council even if he lost the election, would not be heard by councillors. “I have spoken to my Vice Chair and the Monitoring Officer at RCT and all are agreed that the petition relates to the expressed views of a newly appointed Councillor,” she said. “Councillors are entitled to their own views, there would only be an issue if those views had been expressed as those of the Community Council.”
Dzôn believes Alison Jenkins’s views show the contempt for the democratic process that exists in the South Wales Valleys. “I made a promise to the 51 people who signed my petition and the 20 people who voted for me than win or lose I would put this petition before Llantrisant Community Council,” he said. “Alison Jenkins it totally out of order not allowing this petition to be put to the full council. “As a member of the public I have as much right to hold Cllr Ron Hunt to account for his views after the election as I did during the election.
“This is typical behaviour of the Labour-led establishment, censoring debate if it proves not to be to their liking.”
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council’s returning officer, Christopher Jones, has not yet responded to a request for information on the issue.
The Beddau community near Llantrisant is in uproar over plans to close Beddau library even though the council’s own research doesn’t provide any substantial evidence in support of the proposed closure.
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council has said firmly that it wants to close Beddau’s library, which services the communities of Beddau and Tynant, but can provide no reason to do so other than the need to cut the budget. The closure of Beddau Library is supported by the deputy chief executive of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council Steve Merritt and the Deputy Leader of the Council, Paul Cannon.
Jonathan Bishop is a member of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals and part of the Save Beddau Library campaign. “The data collected by council officials shows that there is a statistically sound case for keeping Beddau Library open,” he said. “Users of Beddau library were in the highest 25% percentile of respondents to the consultation with 100% of people in a sample size of 129 saying the library should stay open.
“As a scientist I cannot see any justification for closing the library when the data says so clearly that out of all libraries over 14% of those consulted by RCT Council want to keep Beddau Library open, and only Hirwaun and Porth were higher at 15.65% and 20.45% respectively.
“What knowledge do Steve Merritt and Paul Cannon have of libraries or statistics? I got top grades in my modules at Aberystwyth School of Library and Information Studies and can easily see the errors of judgement being made by RCT.
“Paul Cannon is a former police officer and Steve Merritt studied accounting over 30 years ago!
“These are not the best people to be setting budgets on libraries and should be ashamed to be playing a numbers game with the people of Beddau when they can’t even properly interpret the data they collected themselves! In the report they do not even know that a table should be formatted and referred to differently to a figure!”
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council has admitted that closing Beddau Library would impact negatively on the council’s performance against the Welsh Government’s Library Standards and does not sustain the Libraries Inspire Framework. Instead they acknowledge it would lead to a reduction in local ICT provision and would impact upon literacy skills support within the community. Paul Cannon has chosen to defend the council’s decision. “Changes to both the Library and Day Centre proposals emphasise that Cabinet has listened to the consultation and taken consideration of the views expressed,” he said. “As was made clear at the meeting, tough decisions cannot be avoid (sic) but where valid issues have been expressed we have responded as far as is practically possible and affordable.”
John Griffiths is the Welsh Government’s culture minister. “Any changes to services need to be evidence-based and they need to follow proper consultation with communities,” he said. Jonathan Bishop has said he has responded to the council’s consultation arguing why Beddau Library should be kept open for the economic and statistical reasons referred to by John Griffiths and says he hopes the council will listen to the data and not their prejudices.
Beddau Library user, John Llewellyn, agrees with Jonathan Bishop that the politicians have questions to answer. “I have been speaking to interested parties and the campaign, although focused on keeping Beddau library open, will try to involve local councillors and cabinet members,” he said. “It will not seek to apportion blame but will seek the widest possible support within the community and if needed, after the end of the consultation period, a solution seeking alternative funding together with a grant to enable Beddau library to stay open.“