Today, RCT Council’s Cabinet are due to discuss the new Pontypridd Placemaking Plan.
Whilst investment and development is very much needed in the area under consideration, local Plaid Cymru representatives are today urging RCT Council to re-consult and more importantly listen to the views of residents, local businesses and users of the town.
Councillor Dawn Wood and Heledd Fychan MS, who are both also Town Councillors for Pontypridd Town ward, are both concerned that plans were developed and presented to the community rather than developed with the community. In fact, the Cabinet had already taken a decision at their meeting on 28 February 2022 that a hotel led development would go ahead on the Former Bingo Hall site before any consultation took place, making a farce of the whole process.
Further, the subsequent consultation, that ran from 1st March to 29th March 2022 was ran in-house rather than by an external organisation, and only garnered 164 responses. This represents 1.2% of the surrounding population
Despite alternative plans and ideas being put forward by residents and businesses, none of the plans have been adapted meaning that both residents and businesses are frustrated that this investment won’t be delivered in a way that maximises benefits to the town. This is at odds with the Placemaking Charter as well as the ways of working required by law under the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, both of which require proper engagement and collaboration with people and communities.
Heledd Fychan, Member of the Senedd for South Wales Central, stated: “We all want to see further investment in Pontypridd, but it has to be the right investment, developed with the community, and maximising benefits to the community.
“Pontypridd is a town that was devastated by extensive flooding in 2020 and if done properly, these plans have the potential to help form our response to the climate and nature emergency whilst also delivering sustainable economic opportunities for the town.
“RCT Council should go back to the drawing board and re draw these plans with residents, business owners and local users.”
Dawn Wood, Councillor for Pontypridd Town Ward added: “Consultation should be meaningful rather than tokenistic. It is a damming indictment that people felt disengaged from the process, given that only 1.2% of residents took part in the consultation.
“As a local representative, I know that the local community and local businesses are excited about the future of our town and have put forward a number of ideas – all of which were ignored by this consultation. Nobody is against development, but it has to be the right development, that will maximise benefits - both environmentally, culturally and economically.
“Residents and businesses are fed up of things being done to Pontypridd rather than with Pontypridd. I urge the Council to rethink these plans, and redraw them with the community so that the development works for residents, businesses and visitors to our much-loved town.”
During the consultation period, Heledd Fychan MS also consulted residents and local businesses on the plans. Only 12% of those that responded felt that RCT Council had taken their views into account about the plans and only 5.4% supported plans for a hotel at the proposed site. The results can be viewed here: Pontypridd Town Development - Heledd Fychan ENG