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£12M INVESTMENT PROPOSALS TO BE CONSIDERED

The Council’s Cabinet will next week consider investing £11.9M in key priority areas. The investment will be targeted at Leisure and play facilities, transport infrastructure,  regeneration and job creation. Money will also be earmarked to drive forward the regeneration of the Taff Vale site and to further improve waste recycling facilities in the County Borough.

County Borough Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of the Council said:

“I made it clear when I became Leader of the Council just over eighteen months ago now, that I wanted to ensure that the Council delivered upon the commitments it had made to our residents.

“Whilst we have needed to, and will continue  to reluctantly consider difficult decisions, as a result of the budget cuts we face from the UK Government, I believe it is hugely important for us to invest in our key priority areas.

“In these austere times I do not want us simply to be about managing the reductions in services which inevitably flow from the cuts to public sector funding which are taking place as a result of the approach being taken by a government in London. 

“Yes we have to live within our means, we have no option in that respect, but we can, through targeted investment, improve our services in our County Borough and mitigate the impact of the cuts we are likely to face in the foreseeable future.

“This £12M investment has the potential to support the economic regeneration of the County Borough and will improve key infrastructure in doing so. These proposals also support job creation and sustainability both directly and indirectly locally.

“As an example, the investment proposed for our Leisure Centres has the potential to attract more customers to our facilities which in turn reduces the subsidy needed to sustain the service and helps protect these valued community facilities from further budget cuts which we will face.

“We know that decisions taken the other end of the M4 are hurting our communities and our local economy and that is why much of this £12M investment is targeted at regeneration and job creation. The funding identified for the Taff Vale site for example has the potential to kick start the development of this strategic site for the Town. In addition, the support we are making available to deliver key developments in the north of the County Borough has the potential to lever in necessary investment from the private sector to develop these strategic sites.

“As a result of the strong financial management we have set in place over the last ten years we are able to identify one off funding opportunities to deliver upon these priorities. I must stress that as this funding is one off it could not prevent the need to continually make reductions to our base budget as a result of our reduced funding. Such an approach would simply not be sustainable and would only result in the funding problem we face accumulating unsustainably year on year.

“I hope the investment to be considered by Cabinet next week demonstrates how a different  vision and approach can achieve a better outcome in these difficult financial times.”

A review of the Council’s Reserves initiated by the Leader of the Council has indentified £11.900M to be invested in the Cabinet’s key priority areas. This investment will support:

-          Improvements to Leisure Centres - including the modernisation of fitness and gym facilities. (£1.200M)

-          Transport and Infrastructure – to include highways resurfacing and structural improvements to bridges (£3.800M). Projects to access funding to improve   accessibility, congestion, road safety and sustainable travel (£4.000M)

-          Play areas – to improve and deliver additional play facilities across the County Borough (0.200M)

-          Waste Recycling Centre – to deliver the Treherbert Recycling Centre (£0.350M)

-          Taff Vale Development – to support the redevelopment of the site.  (£1.500M)

-          Apprentices – to fund additional council apprentices (£0.350M)

-          Housing and Regeneration  - to stimulate regeneration and development (£0.200M)

Should the Cabinet agree these priority areas for investment, a report of the Cabinet will be considered by Full Council to include these areas within the Council’s overall Capital Programme as appropriate.