Imminent Decision on Pontardawe School Closure Proposals
On Oct 20th, the final decision to close three primary schools and to create a “ super school “ in Pontardawe will be taken by the Cabinet members of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.
Readers might think that this decision only affects those associated with the schools themselves, and those communities have raised the following serious concerns about the proposal;
Plaid Cymru call for a freeze on NPT Council Tax
Plaid Cymru call for a freeze on NPT Council Tax in “exceptionally difficult year” for our communities.
Plaid Cymru’s proposed amendment would have seen the council tax frozen for one year and still have left the Council with reserves at the very higher end of the range recommended by auditors.
Councillor Alun Llewelyn, Leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Neath Port Talbot Council said:
“This has been a very difficult year for the authority and these are very challenging circumstances to set a budget. But they are very difficult times too for our communities and residents, after a year of pandemic restrictions, lockdowns and job uncertainty. This comes on top of years of austerity and cuts in council services which have affected the environment and quality of life of all our communities.
Council Group's response to Council Leader Comments
Leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Neath Port Talbot council, Councillor Alun Llewelyn, has welcomed the investigation of the tape recording of Council Leader Rob Jones’s alleged personal comments about political opponents, school closure policies, and potential discrimination against Plaid Cymru and Independent Councillors that have been democratically elected to work for their areas.
“I am very concerned about the contents of the tape as it undermines public confidence in the fairness of the council’s budget and spending in different parts of the county, and the way in which council decisions are made. We need to have explanations about the statements in the tape and I have asked the council’s chief executive and monitoring officer to look into this urgently."
Neath Port Talbot Budget and Council Tax 2021/22
Plaid Cymru Neath's Covid Response
The situation in Neath Port Talbot has continued to deteriorate and we now have the worst Covid-19 infection rates in Wales.
Councillor Alun Llewelyn, Leader of the Plaid Cymru group on NPT Council has written to the Council as well as Jeremy Miles MS, who is a member of the Welsh Government, asking that more be done by the Council, Welsh Government amd the Health Authorities to respond to this serious situation.
Now is the time for young people’s voices to be heard!
by Jamie Evans, Plaid Cymru County Councillor for Neath South
During these strange times I unfortunately found myself having to shield from the virus as someone in the high risk group. I was unable to get out and about to help community activists deliver goods and services to the most vulnerable and needy in my community, this was incredibly frustrating for me as an otherwise healthy twenty-something. However I was heartened to see young people in my family, my street, my town and across Wales step up to the plate and volunteer their time to ensure those in need did not go without.
Young people often get a bad press for being disengaged and un-interested in their community and the world around us. However activists such as Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg have shown when we get involved in a movement, the world stops and takes note.
I now unfortunately find myself out of the 18-24 age bracket, but was delighted to see that it is this generation that is the main driving force in the Welsh independence movement, with 41% of people in the age range in favour of an independent Wales.
For too long the political establishment have ignored young people and betrayed their trust on issues such as free milk, university tuition fees and low wages. But the shift in attitudes of the youth of Wales should be a serious wake up call to those in positions of power. Our voice will be heard, and our time will come! If you’d like to get involved with plaid Ifanc Neath, find us on Twitter or FB!
Busy in Bryncoch
Plaid Cymru County Borough Councillor for Bryncoch North Wyndham Griffiths and Plaid Cymru County Borough Councillors for Bryncoch South Joanna Hale and Chris Williams, along with Community Councillors Julie Griffiths and Emma Edwards arranged a fund raising event to pay for the lighting up of the Christmas trees in both Wards. This was the second event since June of this year and were both very successful.
From their community fund, the three Bryncoch Plaid Cymru Councillors have also donated £15,000 to help fund an improvement project at Bryncoch Rugby Club. The funds have helped the club to make major improvements to the changing room showers and to provide disabled access to the new disabled toilets.
Plaid Teamwork in Pontardawe
During the lockdown Plaid Cymru County Councillors Linet Purcell and Anthony Richards worked individually; Anthony dealt with casework and Linet took on the role of Community champion, coordinating Pontardawe’s wonderful team of volunteers that helped support residents during the lockdown.
On some tasks they worked together. They were asked for assistance in getting a path and a bench used by elderly residents restored. Linet and Anthony pursued this over many months, liaising with County Council Officers and were finally successful in getting the path reopened and a new bench, provided by Pontardawe Town Council installed. Team work brings results!
Keeping Our Identity
When the boundary commission announced the proposal to merge the village of Trebanos with Pontardawe Town, Plaid Cymru Councillor Rebeca Phillips let her constituents know immediately.
Naturally, this was met with much opposition due to the fact that residents felt that they would lose their village identity if merged with a town centre. The problems that face the areas around the county are all very different. Bigger doesn’t always mean better.
Cllr Phillips organised a petition signed by hundreds of residents and encouraged as many as possible to respond to the consultation. Plaid Cymru elected members on all levels in the area got involved with the campaign.
The boundary commission has listened to these objections and are now recommending to keep Trebanos as a separate council ward. This proves how important it is to have Plaid Cymru elected members on every level to listen to your concerns and act in your best interest!
Fighting for Blaengwrach
In March this year, at the start of lockdown, Blaengwrach ward had the devastating news that the bridge at Chain Road had been so severely damaged by Storm Dennis that it had to be closed with immediate effect.
The bridge is a vital pedestrian link between the two settlements of Blaengwrach and the Lamb. The Welsh Government, at the time of completing the A465, insisted that the ward had a pedestrian rather than a vehicular access.
A lot of discussion took place about this important issue between Plaid Cymru County Councillor for Blaengwrach, Carolyn Edwards, and Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council during lockdown and after a lot of wrangling Neath Port Talbot Council agreed to put a temporary bridge in place, to be replaced in the near future with a brand new bridge.
“Although the underpass itself is not the best solution for access it became obvious once closed how vital that link is to the both communities and I am very grateful that despite the difficulties caused by COVID 19 the issue has been satisfactorily resolved.” - Cllr Carolyn Edwards, Plaid Cymru County Borough Councillor for Bryngwrach.
Welfare Park Improvements
Carolyn Edwards says that her proudest achievement last year was the successful Park project at Blaengwrach Welfare Park.
“The project was achieved by the hard work of Blaengwrach Community Council, of which I am chair, the clerk and councillors. The project could not have been achieved without funding from the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm, the Selar Trust Fund and Neath Port Talbot. It is an amazing achievement we thank all concerned with the project and the Plaid Cymru led council is now looking at future developments at the park.”
Wild flower garden
As Chair of Blaengwrach Community Council, Cllr Carolyn Edwards helped children of Blaengwrach school, members of Glynneath training centre and volunteers have created a wild flower garden at the entrance to the village.
Cllr Edwards said : “It is hoped that this garden will enhance the entrance to the village and encourage our youngsters to take an interest in gardening and encouraging wild flowers and insects etc to flourish.’