Cabinet will consider proposals for a one-off investment of £23.54m to support a number of priority schemes – including significant funding for Highways, Extra Care, Parks, Town Centres and Community Hubs.
At their meeting on Tuesday, October 16, Cabinet will consider an Officer report outlining a number of investment proposals following a review of the Council’s earmarked reserves and prudential borrowing opportunities. Members could agree to propose this investment to Council on October 24.
The Council undertakes robust financial monitoring, and following completion of the external audit process and Statement of Accounts for 2017/18, agreed by Full Council in September 2018, a risk assessment was undertaken on the Council’s earmarked reserves. The opportunity has arisen to release one-off resources for priority areas, as reflected in the Council’s Corporate Plan.
These proposed areas for one-off investment include:
- Extra Care (£2m)
- Making Better Use (MBU)/Traffic Management (£300,000)
- Parks and Green Spaces (£200,000)
- Strategic Regeneration Investment (£1m)
- A4119 Dualling (£1.5m)
- Llanharan Bypass (£500,000)
- Community Hubs (£250,000)
- Treorchy Link Road (£200,000)
- Aberdare Bypass (£1m)
- Robertstown and Coed Ely (match funding - £4.2m)
- Highways Investment to 2021 (£12m)
- Bryn Pica Eco Park (£200,000)
- Community Enabling Fund (£100,000)
More information on these additional investment opportunities is listed below.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “Cabinet will consider a report outlining a one-off investment of £23.54m in its priority areas, following a review of the Council’s earmarked reserves and prudential borrowing opportunities. If agreed, this would be the seventh such investment of its kind, over and above the Council’s Capital Programme.
“Since October 2015, more than £53m has been invested in additional resources, and at more than £23m this proposal represents the largest potential one-off investment by the Council – showing we are continuing to target significant investment opportunities during challenging economic times.
“The proposals include £12m of additional funding for the Highways network which will support a total £23.5m funding package over the next three years, the largest-ever investment in highway maintenance, as the Council continues its strategy of accelerated investment to reduce ongoing maintenance costs. This is on top of further proposed investment for exciting future Highways projects such as the A4119 dualling at Coed Ely, the new Llanharan Bypass, the Aberdare Bypass extension, and the Treorchy Link Road.
“The proposals also include match funding to take advantage of European investment for modern business units at Coed Ely and Robertstown, which would be an economic boost for strategically-important areas, while also bringing derelict land back into use. Meanwhile, substantial funding is also proposed to support the Council’s Extra Care commitment, as well as support for the Community Hub strategy agreed by Cabinet earlier this year.
“Cabinet will consider these proposals at their meeting next week, and could choose to propose this investment to Full Council later this month.”
As outlined in the report, Cabinet could agree to propose investment in:
- Extra Care (£2m) – Cabinet has previously discussed a £50m plan to develop five new extra care facilities in Rhondda Cynon Taf, which will help older people live as active and independent lives as possible, enabling residents to live in their own homes and receive targeted support. Schemes are underway in Aberaman and Pontypridd, and further investment is required for new schemes in more communities.
- Making Better Use (MBU)/Traffic Management (£300,000) – The additional funding would allow the continuation of the MBU Programme to tackle congestion and increase road safety by utilising existing road space. Emphasis would be given to investigation work at the Tonyrefail and Trebanog roundabouts on the strategic A4119 corridor.
- Parks and Green Spaces (£200,000) – This additional funding would further enhance the ongoing investment programme to refurbish sports pavilions, upgrade sports pitches and repair parks infrastructure.
- Strategic Regeneration Investment (£1m) – This would support the Council’s investment to regenerate Town Centres, invest in the high street economy and deliver the visions outlined in the five Strategic Opportunity Areas agreed by Cabinet last year. This approach includes a targeted acquisition of key sites for upgrading and redevelopment.
- A4119 Dualling (£1.5m) – The Council has committed to delivering the major dualling scheme between Llantrisant Business Park and Coed Ely roundabouts, on the strategic A4119 corridor, in the future. The additional funding would contribute to ongoing preliminary design, ecological surveys, and advanced purchase of third party land.
- Llanharan Bypass (£500,000) – The Council has previously committed to delivering the bypass scheme at Llanharan, of which its western section has already been constructed as part of the nearby Llanilid development. The additional funding would support preliminary design, site investigation and ecological surveys for the eastern section.
- Community Hubs (£250,000) – Cabinet has agreed a programme to introduce Community Hubs in local areas, to provide a range of citizen-based services in one, or a number of nearby, buildings. Advantages include fit-for-purpose buildings, a better public service offer and a more cost-effective approach. The additional funding would support the programme, including ongoing schemes in Ferndale and Mountain Ash.
- Treorchy Link Road (£200,000) – This additional funding would help support investigatory works for a cross valley-type link in Treorchy, to help alleviate traffic at Stag Square.
- Aberdare Bypass (£1m) – The extension of the Aberdare Bypass has been recognised by Welsh Government as an aid to alleviating traffic issues in Llwydcoed, as part of its A465 dualling scheme. The additional funding would support the 1.7km bypass extension from the A4059 in Aberdare to the Croesbychan Roundabout in Hirwaun.
- Robertstown and Coed Ely (match funding - £4.2m) – The Council has secured European investment to develop modern business units at Robertstown and Coed Ely, to boost economic growth and employment. The additional funding would provide match-funding of £2.7m for the projects, as well as additional costs for the Robertstown scheme – allowing both to progress to the final design stages.
- Highways Investment to 2021 (£12m) – This additional funding would support a three-year project of investment in the Highways Network. The Highways Asset Management Plan, which will also be reported separately to Cabinet, identifies the benefits of accelerated funding which reduces the level of ongoing funding to maintain the network.
- Bryn Pica Eco Park (£200,000) – The Council previously announced ground-breaking plans for a multi-million pound Eco Park at its Bryn Pica Waste Management Facility in Llwydcoed. The Eco Park will help turn more rubbish into a resource by collecting and re-using waste materials produced on site, such as heat and electrical energy. The additional funding would help support the project’s development.
- Community Enabling Fund (£100,000) – The RCT Together approach sees the Council work closely with communities to explore alternative delivery models for services, maintaining them for the future. It provides financial assistance towards proposals from organisations, which offer creative solutions for how the service could be run differently. The additional funding would help the Council continue with this approach.