With the New Year already upon us, our thoughts have quickly turned towards setting our Budget for 2018/19.  Like all Local Authorities, we have a statutory responsibility to set a legally balanced Budget, and we will continue to look for innovative ways to achieve this whilst protecting our frontline services and allowing room for continued strategic investment.

The Festive Period is certainly a busy time here in Rhondda Cynon Taf, with plenty of events going on across the length and breadth of the County Borough.  New Year’s Eve saw the Nos Galan Road Races, now in its 59th year, return to Mountain Ash, with over 10,000 spectators and 1,700 competitors descending on the town to celebrate the New Year.  The event has continued to go from strength to strength over recent years, and the fact that we were able to attract former Wales and British Lions star Colin Charvis and the Former Boxing World Champion Nathan Cleverly as our Mystery Runners is testament to this.

Once again, the Boxing Day swim at the National Lido of Wales, Ponty Lido, was a huge success, with over 700 people attending.  The Lido has been something of a catalyst for Pontypridd, and it is encouraging to see that so many residents and visitors are making use of this fantastic facility around the year.  We certainly have a bold and ambitious vision for transforming Pontypridd, and the redevelopment of the former Taff Vale Precinct remains integral to this.  Despite many thinking that this would be another unsuccessful venture, groundwork is scheduled to start in early January, and I am eager to see more progress being made in this massive project that will bring real economic benefits to Pontypridd and the wider area. 

I’d also like to take this opportunity to pay a huge tribute to the Council staff who have worked around the clock over the Festive Period.  Last week brought another round of inclement weather to RCT, and our crews have again worked tirelessly to ensure that our main arterial routes throughout the County are open and safe for commuters to use.  I would also like to thank all of our residents across RCT for continuing to recycle as much waste material as possible.  With your help and dedication, we have managed to become one of the top 10 recycling Counties in Wales, and the latest statistics show that we had recycled 64% of our overall waste in the 2016 calendar year – a figure that is both above the Welsh average (63%) and the Welsh Government’s current target (58%).  Christmas provides us with an excellent chance to build on this figure and push on towards the Welsh Government’s 2024/25 target of 70% and break yet another milestone ahead of schedule.

Once again, I was extremely pleased to see the huge amount of food and clothing donated by both Councillors and staff for this year’s Adref Appeal. This is the second year that the Council has supported the initiative, and I was delighted to see so many of our Elected Members and staff personnel once again rising to the challenge.  We remain wholly committed to tackling the issue of homelessness, and we will continue to work alongside our partners, like Adref and Llamau, to support those most in need of help.

I’d like to finish my latest blog by wishing all of our residents a belated Happy New Year.

Posted on 03/01/2018