The Rhondda Leader this week carries an article
about a well-established jewellery store which is shutting up shop after almost 25 years trading in Tonypandy. The owner blames a range of factors including pedestrianisation of the town which took place some years ago, and car parking charges.
""I know these are trying times for our high streets but Rhondda Cynon Taf seems hell bent on destroying and eventually closing Tonypandy down and turning it into a boarded up ghetto.
"There does not seem to be anyone on our council who cares strongly enough about Tonypandy town centre to stop the sad decline which is painful to watch."
RCT Welsh Liberal Democrat campaign manager Karen Roberts lives a mile away from Tonypandy but admits she rarely shops there.
"Tonypandy is suffering like many towns throughout RCT because of the convenience of out of town shopping centres. Many people, like myself, find it easier to go to Talbot Green or Upper Boat on the way from work. I use a local hairdresser and optician, but rarely visit the town otherwise,
"Car parking is an issue in Tonypandy, as the one really central car park is up a steep hill, and the town hall one is often full. Traders throughout the county are saying that charges are putting shoppers off, but this argument is constantly dismissed by the Labour Council.
"It is a difficult balance to strike, as shoppers we want convenience, but we also want to see our town centres thriving. The pedestrianisation of Tonypandy has meant a loss of trade for many, as if shoppers only want to pop into one or two shops then it is too much trouble to find somewhere to park and walk through the town.
"RCT Council say they work with traders
but the evidence from business people says otherwise. If the plans for a 'new town' in Talbot Green go ahead then it could well be the final nail in the coffin for places like Tonypandy."