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The plans for the former Penygraig County Junior School were approved RCT's planning committee

Nearly 30 houses will be built on a former Rhondda primary school site after councillors gave plans their backing.

Plans for 27 social housing homes will be built on the former Penygraig Primary School on Hendrecafn Road after RCT’s planning committee approved the plans on Thursday, December 5.

Trivallis has submitted the plans which will see the old Penygraig County Junior School building, which is located between Penygraig and Tonypandy, demolished.

The plan is to create 14 one-bedroom flats, eight two-bedroom houses, three three-bedroom houses, one two-bedroom adapted bungalow; and one three-bedroom adapted bungalow.

But there was one objection from a neighbour who told the committee she didn’t object to the whole scheme but to certain aspects of it.

Her main concerns were over the height of the buildings near her house and privacy and overshadowing issues that could cause.

Councillor Dan Owen-Jones, speaking on behalf of the local councillors who couldn’t attend, raised their concerns over the size of the development and asked the developer to review it.

Councillor Doug Williams suggested they switch some of the buildings around to deal with the overlooking issue but the highways officer said this could have an impact on parking.

Councillor Richard Yeo said: “You can’t just move buildings around willy nilly.”

The planning officer said they could only consider the current application as it stands or they could defer it and speak to the developer about making changes.

But Councillor Gareth Caple said: “it’s a beneficial use of a former school site.”

Councillor Jill Bonetto said it’s more sympathetic than a particular development in her ward.


General Election 2019 result for Rhondda: The winning MP and the constituency vote totals

Chris Bryant has been re-elected as MP for Rhondda.

In the 2017 General Election his majority was 13,746, this election his vote share was down 9.69%.

The Conservative candidate in second place saw a rise of 5.65%, Plaid Cymru saw a significant drop in the vote.

Mr Bryant recently lost his bid to become Speaker of the House of Commons, where he hoped to take over from John Bercow.

The Labour MP for the Rhondda, who it looks like will be re-elected tonight, said one of the main issues that has come up on the doorstep in the area has been people’s dislike of Jeremy Corbyn.

"During the last General Election in 2017, people on the doorstep would call him a terrorist sympathiser, this time round, it was ‘he is a terrorist’.

"A lot of that may be unfair, but the Labour Party has a lot of soul searching to do, and so does Jeremy Corbyn."

"I think for a lot of Labour voters the Labour party has swayed a long way from the party they have known and loved.

"Whether that is over Brexit or our defence policy or our patriotism.

"We have lost four General Elections in a row, the last time that happened was in the 1980s to Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

"What we had to do to come back to power was a lot of soul searching, and that is what we have to do now."

The constituency voted leave by 60%, according to estimates from the Commons Library.

Who is Chris Bryant?

Born in Cardiff, the 57-year-old has been MP for the Rhondda since 2001. He lives in Porth with his civil partner.

He said the reason he entered politics was to "change the world".

"I have always wanted to change the world to end the unfairness, prejudice and inequality that leaves so many struggling to get by. That means giving pensioners real dignity in their retirement, ensuring every young person gets a decent start in life, tackling the climate emergency and ending the economic and political predominance of London over the rest of Britain."

Asked the biggest issue facing Wales, he said: "The future of our NHS. I know from my own stage 3 skin cancer this year that swift diagnosis and treatment saves lives, but that costs money.

"I would dramatically increase investment in the NHS, run a major national campaign to recruit more staff like pathologists, physiotherapists and radiologists, give NHS staff a pay rise, mount a special campaign to get more GPs for the Valleys and make sure Boris Johnson can never hand our NHS over to Donald Trump and big business in the US."


These are the items food banks in south Wales desperately need right now

It's nearly Christmas - a time when everyone is meant to be merry and bright.

Unfortunately, that's not the case for everyone.

Some people will struggle to feed their families this festive season, and a lot of people rely on their local food bank for support.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Trussell Trust food banks in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out for at least a year have seen a 30 per cent increase in demand.

The trust runs food banks throughout south Wales, and is always welcoming of donations.

In the run-up to Christmas they need help more than ever with many families in need wanting to have the best Christmas they possibly can.

But, little you may know, each food bank differs as to what they need most.

Rhondda Food Bank told us they asked for 10 items to be donated over the Christmas period.

It said over the three weeks leading up to the big day volunteers will put together more than 150 parcels for local families.

These are the ten things they recommend you donate: cereals, long life juice, small jars of coffee, toiletries, tinned carrots, tinned custard, jam, Christmas chocolate, tinned potatoes or smash and tinned fruit.

You can find the main food bank at 236-237 East Road, in Tylorstown.


Works to create new parking provision in Porth Town Centre

During early January 2020, the Council will undertake work to convert an area of unused land in Porth into a 29-space car park – in the next stage of the town’s Park and Ride investment.

The scheme was granted planning permission by the Council’s Planning and Development Committee in June 2019. The land is currently owned by the Council and unallocated, located to the south west of Rheola Road and opposite the Rheola Public House. It was most recently used as a compound for Welsh Water, but no buildings have occupied the site since the 1980s.

The upcoming works will include providing a new vehicular access to the site, along with surfacing and drainage works. The provision of boundary fencing, street lighting and CCTV will also be included in the scheme – along with ducting being laid so EV charging points can be provided in the future.

The #RCTinvest scheme will begin in the week commencing Monday, January 6, 2020 – subject to confirmation by the Council in the New Year. Works are expected to take approximately three months to complete.

The scheme will install 29 new parking spaces to extend the current Park and Ride and parking provision in Porth – providing a welcome expansion to the over-subscribed parking facilities serving the town and railway station.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways, said: “I’m pleased this scheme will start in the New Year, to bring into use unallocated land and provide 29 new parking spaces for Porth, as an extension of the Porth Park and Ride Scheme. Delivered in 2016, the Park and Ride provides 73 parking spaces, and has proven very popular over the past three years.

“Improving our infrastructure to help people access public transport is a priority for the Council – to reduce journey times and traffic congestion, and help the environment. With the South Wales Metro being delivered by 2023, Park and Ride schemes like the one in Porth are even more important in order to complement the imminent improvement to the valleys rail lines.

“These are very exciting times for the wider Porth area, with the Porth Regeneration Strategy agreed by Cabinet earlier this year. This will introduce a Transport Hub and Station Quarter at the heart of the town, to revitalise public transport at this major gateway to the Rhondda Fach and Fawr – helping to provide connectivity throughout the wider region.

"The upcoming Porth Park and Ride extension off Rheola Road will be completed during mid-2020, to provide additional parking to serve the Town Centre and Railway Station – which I’m sure will be welcomed locally.”


Thanks For Making Our Santa Appeal A Huge Success

Once again this festive season, our local businesses and residents have pulled out all the stops in order to make Christmas a special time for thousands of young people.

The incredible generosity of the people of Rhondda Cynon Taf and beyond means 4,500 donated presents will be opened by local children less fortunate than others this Christmas.

All of the gifts have been kindly donated by local residents and businesses, with everyone showing their community spirit at this special time of the year.

All of the donated presents have been collected by Council staff and are now being distributed by Santa’s helpers in time to be opened on Christmas Day by children identified by the Council as being at risk of not having a present to open.

As well as hundreds of individuals, local businesses also arranged gift collection points and encouraged their staff to each bring in a present.

Councillor Christina Leyshon, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "We have once again had an overwhelming response to our annual Santa Appeal and cannot thank the public enough for their generosity and support.

“The people of Rhondda Cynon Taf have once again shown they are among the most generous people in Wales.

“Our Santa Appeal has become a popular and successful Christmas tradition in Rhondda Cynon Taf for many years now, and thousands of gifts have been delivered to countless children less fortunate than others.

“We cannot thank everyone enough for thinking of others at this very special time of the year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas.”


Pontrhondda bridge to reopen during the New Year

The Council has announced the ongoing Pontrhondda bridge replacement in Llwynypia has regrettably been delayed by a few weeks over the Christmas period, due to the poor recent weather.

The bridge structure supports a section of Sherwood Street and spans the River Rhondda Fawr – and due to its very poor condition, a weight restriction was imposed as an essential safety measure. Funding was agreed by Cabinet Members for the replacement of the bridge structure during October 2017.

The bridge section of Sherwood Street was closed from the start of the scheme in May 2018, when a temporary pedestrian footbridge was installed.

The scheme was extended due to unforeseen circumstances in March 2019, when the Council’s original contractor entered administration. Following very complex discussions with previous tenderers for the scheme, the Council appointed Knights Brown in May 2019 to resume the works from early June.

Due to recent poor weather, the Council has announced the bridge will remain closed over Christmas. Contractors will resume work in the New Year, and the bridge will reopen to the public in January 2020, subject to weather. The completed scheme will include site demobilisation and removal of the temporary footbridge.

The Council would like to thank local residents for their continued cooperation and patience, while the Council works to complete this important scheme.

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