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BLAENAU GWENT: Llanhilleth Pithead Baths

BLAENAU GWENT: Llanhilleth Pithead Baths

Image: Google

COUNCILLORS have told staff to “knock on the head” unpopular proposals to turn a derelict building associated with the mining industry, into homes.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Regeneration scrutiny committee, councillors went through a performance report from the Regeneration and Development team.

This covered the work they had done from April 2020 to July 2021.

One of the projects the team has been working on is the redevelopment of the pithead baths at Llanhilleth.

The report said that a consultation process had taken place earlier this year to “obtain views on a residential based development.”

A survey was sent to  262 households. 58 responses came back with 73 per cent of these rejecting the proposal due to concerns around anti-social behaviour and parking.

According to the report, council staff will do more “consultation” to try and address the concerns raised.

Cllr John C Morgan said: “The public after consultation don’t actually want housing.

“Are we going to look for an alternative, if we keep on in this line it just looks like we’re a council that doesn’t listen.”

He believed the council should keep an “open mind” on what the site could be used for and suggested that an “environmental project” could be the answer

Blaenau Gwent’s director of regeneration, Richard  Crook said: “This is a progress report telling you where we are with the projects.

“We need to understand these rejections.”

He believed more discussion is needed to understand how the council can “overcome those concerns” and find out if the residents still reject the idea after that.

Mr Crook said: “There are public meetings scheduled to take place over the next month or so and see what it tells us.”

The council’s business and regeneration manager, Owen Ashton added that no designs had been proposed and it was the “start of the process.”

“This is a challenging site and has been for decades, we’re looking to find a solution that would improve the area,” said Mr Ashton.

Cllr Hedley McCarthy said: “The people there don’t want housing, they want car parking and to relocate the miners memorial.

“Listen to what they say and drop the matter, I don’t understand why you want to repeat the process.”

Cllr Lisa Winnett added; “Why is officer time being put in to further consultation, why don’t we knock it on the head, officers could be doing more productive things than going over old ground again.”

Mr Crook defended the second consultation as they had to “complete the process” and that other ideas could come out of it.

The pit-head baths served the former Llanhilleth Colliery, which closed in 1969, and the building has been intermittently used by other companies for light industry since then.

The regeneration update report will be discussed by the Executive team at their next meeting on Wednesday, September 22.

Words: Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

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