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Your Council - cuts consultations and court cases. Part 4 of our 2014 round up.

Photograph Demolition of Ponty Park Paddling Pool
Education, as we have already said, was a major source of discussion, anger and public protest during 2014. The Council's flippant attitude to consultation and a seeming lack of ability of Labour Cabinet Members and Officers to grasp their legal duties saw the Council dragged into court for a judicial review over the nursery cuts. They lost the battle, at a considerable cost to the taxpayer, although this has not stopped them going back out to consultation again on the same subject.
This was not their only legal challenge of the year. The Rhydyfelin library campaigners also decide to pursue that route, although in their case the council caved in before the case reached court.
Whilst RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats agreed that some cutbacks had to be made and not all libraries could be kept open if not being used the Rhydyfelin proposal was unfair. It was not earmarked for closure in the initial report to the Cabinet, and the report itself gave all the reasons why it should be retained. The decision to close it was made behind closed doors and residents were not given a proper opportunity to air their views. Residents' anger was fuelled by the lack of support from their local Labour Councillors.
The cuts didn't stop with libraries. Paddling pools were closed across RCT, youth clubs were shut and the Cabinet stopped transport for the after school E3 provision. This despite a firm manifesto promise from Labour to protect it.
Yet this wasn't the only manifesto promise they broke. They promised weekly rubbish collection would continue, then cut it to fortnightly. They promised to keep a seven day a week meals on wheels service then cut it. Now whilst RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats have not objected to all of the changes it does not alter the fact that they were adamant that they would protect these services at the May 2012 election and then backtracked just a few short months later.
One broken promise that many will find impossible to forgive is the destruction of the paddling pool in Ynysangharad (Ponty) Park to make room for the new lido. Councillor Mike Powell and his RCT Welsh Lib Dem colleagues warned of these plans in advance and fought against them every step of the way. Just prior to the 2012 election then Labour
Council leader Russell Roberts promised categorically that the paddling pool would stay. That promise was broken within days of the election.
We organised a referendum amongst people in the Pontypridd Town Council area, and the result was overwhelming. 2077 people voted to save the paddling pool and only 151 against, yet the Labour party ignored it completely and in 2014 the pool that had been built in honour of the fallen of World War 1 and funded by contributions from local residents was ripped up.
All this against a backdrop of behind closed doors decisions, secret meetings and taking care of their own, and all the time not a word of criticism from local Labour MPs and AMs. To make it worse RCT Council Tax continued to increase and is still higher than the Welsh average and many more affluent areas.

Education, was a major source of discussion, anger and public protest during 2014. http://pontylibdems.org.uk/en/article/2014/984149/2014-in-rhondda-cynon-...

Residents' anger was fuelled by the lack of support from their local Labour Councillors. http://pontylibdems.org.uk/en/article/2014/758584/let-down-by-their-labo...

Yet this wasn't the only manifesto promise they broke. http://pontylibdems.org.uk/en/article/2014/756635/a-further-timely-remin...

Councillor Mike Powell and his RCT Welsh Lib Dem colleagues warned of these plans in advance and fought against them every step of the way. http://pontylibdems.org.uk/en/search?query=paddling

The Pontypridd Paddling Pool that had been built in honour of the fallen of World War 1 and funded by contributions from local residents was ripped up. http://pontylibdems.org.uk/en/article/2014/822809/the-people-put-it-ther...

All this against a backdrop of behind closed doors decisions, secret meetings and taking care of their own, http://pontylibdems.org.uk/en/article/2014/874645/secret-cabinet-meeting... http://pontylibdems.org.uk/en/article/2014/909121/labour-s-behind-closed...

Not a word of criticism from local Labour MPs and AMs http://pontylibdems.org.uk/en/article/2014/855732/time-local-labour-poli...

RCT Council Tax continued to increase and is still higher than the Welsh average and many more affluent areas. http://pontylibdems.org.uk/en/article/2014/786428/labour-s-local-governm...