AN EXTRA £2.7m for parks, a sports pitch, multi-use games areas (MUGAs), flooding alleviation and roadworks has been approved by Rhondda Cynon Taf councillors.
The investment went before full council on Wednesday, September 28, and got final approval.
It will see an extra £1m spent on highways and roads, £1m on flood alleviation works, £200,000 on parks and £200,000 on MUGAs.
It will also see £175,000 spent on Darran Park Sports Pitch, £100,000 on unadopted roads and £50,000 on environmental improvements including bins and benches.
The spend on highways and roads will “continue to support the enhanced investment in the council’s largest asset, building on sustained increases in annual funding for highways capital maintenance over recent years”, the council report said.
It added that the unadopted roads funding will build on money previously allocated “to enable more streets to be made up to adoptable standards
and formally adopted as a council maintained asset”.
On the flood alleviation works investment, the report said: “Funding will continue to support works on land drainage and flood alleviation schemes and will enable the council to progress with project business cases targeted at attracting external Welsh Government funding with this additional £1m being available for match funding.”
Turning to the environmental improvements spend, the report said it “will support improvements to include new bins and benches within parks and other open spaces”.
The parks investment will include refurbishment of sports pavilions, upgrading of sports pitches and repairs to parks infrastructure while the funding for MUGAs will go towards the provision of football and basketball and general community use.
The Darran Park Sports Pitch investment includes a funding application to turn it from a sand-filled astroturf into a 3G pitch.
The £2.7m will be funded from the investment/infrastructure reserve which is a specific reserve to fund the cost of maintaining and enhancing infrastructure across RCT.
The council report said there was £19.8m in this reserve as at March 31, 2022 so this spend can be fully funded from it.
Leader of the council Councillor Andrew Morgan said this is capital funding and, although people talk about the level of reserves the council has, a lot of this is earmarked for things like schools investment, three-year capital programme, insurance funding and general reserves for emergencies.
He said every so often they review the reserves to see where they can put additional funding into core priorities.
Cllr Morgan said: “This is a smaller amount than previous times but that goes to demonstrate the pressure we are under.”
Councillor Karen Morgan, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, said residents have raised the point about the amount of money held in reserves and she said she thinks further PR is needed on this.
She said: “Of course we welcome any extra investment although some may say it’s best described as essential maintenance.”
On the unadopted roads, she asked how these are prioritised and which roads will benefit from the extra money.
Cllr Morgan said officers have looked at different types of unadopted roads so they can get a feel for the costs.
He said because they’re unadopted roads, in some cases there is very little known about things likes utilities and services.
He said it’ll still be done on a geographical basis to try to get a fair spread across the county and they intend to bring forward an annual programme.
Councillor Dawn Wood of Plaid Cymru asked what lobbying has been done with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government on funding to better protect communities from river flooding.
Cllr Morgan said there is political lobbying that takes place with ministers and officials at the Welsh Government but the main way to get funding is through a business case.
He said the flood team have been “very very successful” in RCT with the further £1m largely being used to draw down extra funding with Welsh Government funding 85% of schemes and the council 15%.
He mentioned schemes in his own ward of Mountain Ash, Pentre, Treorchy and Abercwmboi and they’re now working on schemes that they’ll be bidding for next year but there needs to be a sound business case.
Cllr Morgan said by the end of this year there will be around 100 schemes fully completed or be in the design stage ready to receive funding adding up to nearly £20m.