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Rhondda Cynon Taf: Levelling Up reaction

Rhondda Cynon Taf: Levelling Up reaction

Picture From Rct Council

Local politicians have given their reaction to the news that three projects in Rhondda Cynon Taf have received Levelling Up money.

The Muni Arts Centre, the Porth Transport Hub and the A4119 dualling schemes were all successful in getting funding from the UK Government scheme.

There will be £121m of funding going to 10 specific schemes in Wales which means the Muni will get £5.3m, the Porth Transport Hub will receive £3.5m and the A4119 dualling will receive £11.4m.

The funding was announced by UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak during the 2021 Budget announcement on Wednesday, October 27.

The aim of the Muni project is to bring the building back into use, secure the building’s heritage and celebrate its Gothic architecture while establishing it as a sustainable and unique regional arts and music venue.

The Porth Transport Hub is part of wider council plans to regenerate the town and would create a linked up bus and train system along with the creation of electric vehicle charging points and enhancing the local walking and cycling network.

The A4119 dualling project aims to turn a section of the road between Llantrisant Business Park in Ynysmaerdy and Coed Ely roundabout into two lanes in a bid to improve journey times in the area.

Muni Arts Centre

Councillor Heledd Fychan of Plaid Cymru who is a Member of the Senedd for South Wales Central and represents Pontypridd Town on Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said: “I welcome the news that the Muni will receive this much needed investment.
“The Muni is much loved and Pontypridd has been poorer since it closed its doors.
“I can’t wait to see the Muni open once again, with people of all ages able to enjoy and use the building.”
Councillor Jayne Brencher of Labour who represents the Graig ward said: “Pontypridd is undergoing a real renaissance with the new library, YMCA, etc but the Muni has always been the heart of our town with so many special memories.
“The extraordinary success of our application will be transformational and our arts quarter dream will become a reality to compete with similar areas across the region.
“Back to original features but with its fantastic mezzanine, our dreams have been answered.
“We are ambitious as a town and so proud of our heritage. Ponty is truly the place to be.”
Joel James who is a Member of the Senedd for South Wales Central and RCT councillor for Llantwit Fardre said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to see the Muni Arts Centre included within the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund.
“It’s a fantastic cultural asset for the town, and I’m excited to see what gets developed. This is more proof, if proof were needed, of the benefits of not only leaving the EU but of maintaining our union.”
Porth Transport Hub
Speaking about the money for the Porth Transport Hub, Labour councillor Gareth Caple who represents Cymmer on RCT Council said it was good news for the town.
He said: “It is fantastic news. This to me is the start of the regeneration and rejuvenation of Porth.”
He mentioned other developments such as the station quarter, Porth Plaza, the new extra care facility, potential housing on the former school site and the park and ride as part of wider improvements happening in the town under the town centre strategy.
Cllr Caple said: “It’s great to see that there is now a future for Porth.”
He said the Valleys are full of towns that are on the up like Pontypridd and he said he’d like to see that happen in Porth as well.
He said he hoped for a “ripple of investment for new businesses, attracting new businesses.”
Cllr Caple said there was money coming from the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal too and that the public had welcomed the money.
“People want to see Porth come back. We’re starting to bring businesses and jobs back into town.
“It’s got a lot going for it. It’s the gateway to the Rhondda. This type of money is very welcome in the Valleys.”
A4119 dualling
Alex Davies-Jones, Labour MP for Pontypridd and Tonyrefail West councillor welcomed the funding for the A4119 dualling project.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted that funding has been granted to a number of important projects across RCT.
“The successful bid for funding to transform the A4119 in Coedely is going to have a hugely positive impact on the area, both in terms of improving journey times and connectivity, but also to encourage investment to the wider area – from Tonyrefail to Llantrisant Business Park – too.
“We have a number of fantastic investment opportunities in the surrounding area, and I’m excited to see how this dualling project will both transform and regenerate, while also encouraging safe and active travel options by improving opportunities for waking and cycling.
“For too long the UK Government seem to have forgotten about our area, so it is testament to the hard work of everyone at RCT Council and beyond who worked and supported this funding bid. It’s a fantastic effort and I look forward to seeing the work getting started.”
Councillor Danny Grehan of Plaid Cymru who represents Tonyrefail East ward on the council said: “Whilst I obviously think that the security of the funding for this dual-carriageway project is a good thing, I deplore the fact that Westminster is deliberately by-passing the Senedd.
“It’s politicking. It’s horrendous. The Tories could get their photo-op even if they went through the Senedd. It is for the Senedd to determine the priorities for our nation. They should not be knocking on the council’s doors directly.”
The view from UK Government

Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart said: “This is a fantastic budget for Wales, delivering significant investment directly to people, businesses and communities across the country.

“The devolved administration in Wales will receive its largest-ever settlement so it can deliver its vital services like health, education and flood protection, while Wales will benefit fully from many of our UK-wide measures including freezes to fuel and alcohol duty, the increase in the minimum wage for thousands of workers and investment in parks and sports facilities.

“Levelling up communities across the UK is top of our agenda. Investing more than £120m in 10 projects including the regeneration of Aberystwyth seafront and improving transport links in Rhondda shows how we will achieve this ambition across Wales.

“Alongside the funding of a Welsh Veterans’ Commissioner, these measures and others in the Spending Review add up to an excellent package for Wales and its economy.”

Words: Anthony Lewis, Local Democracy Reporter

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