RCT's Labour Cabinet appear to have gone very quiet recently with regard to the redevelopment of Ynysangharad Park Lido. As readers will be aware, they decided to ignore the results of a community poll in November when residents voted overwhelmingly to keep the paddling pool and press on with their plans to remove it as part of their overall plans.
They have planning permission, they have £2.3 million in the form of a grant from the HLF (Heritage lottery Fund). They overcame CADW's original objections to them removing it without listed building consent and have been told they don't need any further permission. There is just one piece of the puzzle missing. The £3million they asked the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) for.
The report to Cabinet in July said that the application would be submitted as soon as the HLF bid was secure, which happened shortly afterwards. They expected a decision in Autumn 2012, when a consultation on the finer points of the project would take place.
Yet here we are a month into 2013 and no sign of any European funding. At the time of writing this I have asked the Director of Regeneration for an update but have not received a reply. The report to the WEFO monitoring committee in December said that four new projects had been authorised since June 2012. Obviously the Lido was not one of them.
So what is happening? Was the business plan put forward not up to scratch - difficult to judge as we weren't allowed to see it. Did the assumptions made about job creation and visitor numbers not add up? Were there concerns following the collapse of the Taff Vale precinct project that it would not be economically viable or enough of a spur to regenerate the town? Maybe Councillor Paul Cannon the Cabinet Member responsible could enlighten us?
Of course if there is a problem one thing you can all be assured of is that the Labour Cabinet finger of blame will be firmly pointed at us - the Welsh Lib Dems, for disrupting their plans. Well if that is the case, as we have said previously, we will quite happily accept responsibility in this case. The decision to remove the paddling pool is wrong, we think so and it seems the majority of Pontypridd residents do too. If lack of funding puts a stop to it then so be it.
Councillor Mike Powell
Welsh Liberal Democrat, Trallwn.