Owen’s February Pontypridd Observer column

It’s been a tough few years for our community. Tory cuts, stagnating wages and a big slowdown in business investment have all taken a toll.

However, your local Labour Party, in Ponty, RCT and Cardiff Bay has continued to be ambitious for our area and our people, and despite the cuts we have continued to find ways to invest. That investment is really starting to show dividends now, delivering local public sector projects and leveraging in new private sector money too.

The Taff Vale site is now well underway and set for completion late next summer. It will bring 850-1000 jobs to our town centre, making a massive difference for our shops and local amenities. Then there are the 1000+ jobs the Department of Work and Pensions will bring to Treforest when they relocate to the Trading Estate.

New, high quality housing is locating in town too, like the flats above Pep and Co and other shops along Taff Street. Similar plans are in train for the upper floors of the old M&S and the County Cinema site, with new retail space below.

And our council is planning for this new interest too. The announcement last week that we’re going to spend £160 Million on refurbishing and rebuilding new schools across RCT is the biggest investment in local education since the Victorian era and will transform our school stock – just as we’ve already seen at Y Pant and Tonyrefail comprehensives.

Road infrastructure is being updated too, with the A4119 set to be doubled and problematic junctions addressed in Beddau and elsewhere.

These are just some of the projects underway that will change our area to the better. But there’s still lots to do. Most important of all for me is dealing with the eyesore and health hazard that is the Cwm Coke works in Ty Nant. We all know it should have been knocked down and redeveloped years ago and largely hasn’t been because of the greedy refusal of the old Coal Board, now CPL Ltd to redevelop or sell the site. But there may be some light at the end of the tunnel for that project too and I hope to report some good news there in the weeks and months ahead!