With forecasters predicting that the UK will have its hottest summer for 12 years, we recognise that it is important for residents and families to have access to good quality outdoor activity facilities as close to home as possible.

Over recent years, we have sought to invest heavily in this area, and I think it is fair to say that our approach is really paying dividends. Under #RCTInvest, the end of this financial year will see over 100 play areas across the length and breadth of the County benefitting from our investment, which is set to total approximately £3m.  We have recently completed work on a number of sites, including Buarth-Y-Capel in Ynysybwl, Pant-Y-Dderwen in Pontyclun, Lewistown Park in Treforest and Treorchy Park in the Rhondda. We are also scheduled to commence work in Newtown in Mountain Ash, Brynna, and the Victoria Street play area in Trealaw over the next few weeks, demonstrating that we are delivering on our commitment to provide good quality play facilities to children and families right across the County. Crucially, over half of the total play area improvements in the whole of Wales have taken place in RCT over the course of the last three years.

Our investment in play areas has also been complemented by a substantial investment in outdoor leisure facilities, as we committed to delivering last year.  Since 2016, we have invested millions of pounds into providing 9 state-of-the-art, community use 3G pitches right across RCT.  We are also on-site at a further 2 sites - Porth County Comprehensive School and Ferndale Community School - as we continue to make good progress on delivering on our commitment to invest and improve our outdoor sports facilities, and it is our intention to provide residents with a 3G pitch within three miles of their home, wherever they live.  We will also be commencing work on 2 further outdoor facilities at YG Rhydywaun and Bryncelynnog Comprehensive, as well as an indoor 3G surface at the Rhondda Fach Sports Centre.

Promoting an active and healthy County Borough is a key priority for this Council, and to encourage this, we have invested £3m into developing the Ynys athletics track in Aberdare. This investment falls under the broader £67m package of education and leisure improvements in Aberdare and, once completed, will offer state of the art athletics facilities to residents in the Cynon Valley. I recently visited the site and was impressed with the rate in which this facility is starting to take shape, with the grandstand largely completed and the red topping shortly being laid on the athletics track itself.

Finally, you may have seen that the National Lido of Wales, Lido Ponty made an appearance on national television last week, as ITV broadcasted the weather from Wales’ only outdoor heated Lido facility. Since reopening in 2016 through a £6.3m investment, the Lido has gone from strength to strength, and we were fortunate enough to have welcomed our 200,000th visitor whilst ITV were filming.  I think it is fair to say that the figures show that our decision to reopen the facility has been an overwhelming success.

Posted on 19/06/2018