Could Aneurin Bevan boost tourism in Blaenau Gwent?

A PLAN to entice more visitors to Blaenau Gwent by using the life and work of its most famous son, Aneurin Bevan,  could become the blueprint for further strategies to boost tourism to the area.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Executive committee meeting on Wednesday, March 2, councillors looked at the Aneurin Bevan Destination Strategy.

The idea was first thought up in 2018, and consultants had developed a number of themes around NHS founder Aneurin Bevan’s life and work that could be used to raise the profile of Blaenau Gwent.

But due to Covid-19 the strategy had been delayed.

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Head of regeneration, Ellie Fry said:

“This strategy starts drilling down into some of the special areas that we have in Blaenau Gwent that we can expand.

“A range of projects have been identified, some of these are already going on and we’ve tried to encourage further post Covid-19 work to start giving tourism and economic development a boost.”

She added that approving the plan would allow council staff to start work on feasibility studies and to “establish the updated costs.”

This is so that future bids for grant funding can be made.

Portfolio holder for regeneration and economic development, Cllr Dai Davies said:

“The strategy has been worked on for quite a while now and is starting to fit into our placemaking plans that we’ve got for our towns.

“This particular one will have more of an impact on Tredegar than some other areas, but Bevan was a representative of the whole area.

“It’s important that the whole of Blaenau Gwent gains from it.

“I think this principle of strategies and destination plan’s is not just about Nye Bevan, he was a massive draw there’s no doubt.

“But we have to look at our industrial heritage which is a huge opportunity to draw people into our borough, especially our museums.

“The Chartists, they were a massive influence on the political world and are a part of our history and a strategy around that would be most welcome.

“We’ve had some sporting heroes from our borough.

“There’s an opportunity through this report, to look at how it’s put together and develop it wider so that the whole borough is involved.”

The destination strategy was unanimously approved.

Born in Tredegar in 1897, Aneurin Bevan became one of the UK’s greatest politicians of the 20th century.

In 1928 he was elected as the Labour MP for Ebbw Vale and became a prominent figure on the party’s left.

His greatest achievement in government as minister for health was the National Health Service Act 1946 which came into force on July 5, 1948.

Bevan based it on what he saw of the Tredegar Medical Aid Society, where residents would pay a subscription that would fund access for all of the town’s inhabitants to have free access to medical services such as nursing or dental care.

He was elected deputy leader of the Labour party in 1959, but soon afterwards was diagnosed with stomach cancer – he died at his home, Ashridge Farm, Buckinghamshire on July 6, 1960.

Elgan Hearn Local Democracy Reporter

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