Pontypool councillors' fears over cuts

PONTYPOOL community councillors said they are concerned the town could be left neglected in the wake of Torfaen council’s proposed budget cuts.

At the meeting last week community councillor Gaynor James read a presentation highlighting the good work undertaken locally by community groups, through funding from both the community council and Torfaen Council.

Councillors were joined by Torfaen’s chief officer for neighbourhood services Christina Harrhy, who came to respond to their concerns following radical plans to slash £11.2 million from its 2014/15 budget.

Proposals could see Pontypool Museum’s grant cut by up to 20 per cent, while the mobile library service could be stopped, school crossing patrols reduced and tourism money diverted away from promoting Torfaen as a whole to focus on the World Heritage Site in Blaenavon.

There is also a proposal for Torfaen Council to cease its £30,000 funding to the regeneration partnership.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr James, who is also chairman of the Pontypool regeneration steering group committee, said: “There being no money in the pot for regeneration does not bear thinking about. It’s important that the community council keep up the funding to prevent the town becoming neglected.

“I don’t want the town to be neglected as at the moment it’s looking wonderful but without upkeep it will be back to how it was.”

Chairman of Pontypool Community Council, Giles Davies, said: “Although saddened by the news I understand that substantial savings have to be made to protect front line services.

“I am therefore very happy that Pontypool Community Council are going to carry on holding the torch for our once vibrant town and will continue to support the partnership initiative in a bid to improve our area for shoppers and traders alike.”

The community council will hold a meeting in the New Year to decide what projects it can afford to shoulder should the funding be withdrawn.

Ms Harrhy said: “We are in difficult times and difficult decisions have to be made.”

She highlighted that the council can no longer subsidise football and bowls clubs so they will be looking at the organisations taking on maintenance and becoming self sufficient.

Cllr James added: “We understand that Torfaen Council had to make cuts, but the public can’t take up all initiatives because they are busy and it’s got to be funded, so it’s up to councillors to lead the way.”

Councillors aired their concerns after a failing by Ms Harrhy’s department to notify them of changes before they happen.

Earlier this year, 24 trees were cut down in Pontypool Park to make way for a new orchard, without the community council being consulted.

Comments (1)

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4:56pm Thu 19 Dec 13

varteg1 says...

The proposed cuts do not go deep enough, and should also hit on TCBC council as well.

Why are we overloaded, as well as overlorded, by so many to do wht is a rather simple job, which should be, keeping a watchful eye on the expenditures of the various departments operated on behalf of we the residents of the borough?

The way the council establishment has grown over the last five or so decades is, in the main, due to internal creative job creation,
Give a man a pencil and a pad, and pretty soon he needs a filing clerk, then a secretary, who then needs an extra filing clerk to take the weight of ever increasing paperwork, leading at first to a temp, then to a full timer, and so the empire develops and grows.

And we are the idiots who have allowed this quango situation across the whole gamut of public service.

Sod the 'piddling' community councils, they don't amount to much anyway, we should be tackling the much bigger fish, the profligate larger councils.

Not that I am a Tory supporter by any means, but in the matter of overgovernance by these ever burgeoning public bodies, bureaucratic hives of cash gobbling parasites as they are, the Tories are on to a definite problem for us all.

Never mind upping the funding, reducing it to the absolute minimum, is the way to go, then maybe we will have the funding to take care of the necessary, instead of the flippant., and grossly expensive staffing levels where 'work' comes from much paper shuffling and buck passing, as they all look for the main chance as they leap on each other's shoulders to get to the apex of their business.
The proposed cuts do not go deep enough, and should also hit on TCBC council as well. Why are we overloaded, as well as overlorded, by so many to do wht is a rather simple job, which should be, keeping a watchful eye on the expenditures of the various departments operated on behalf of we the residents of the borough? The way the council establishment has grown over the last five or so decades is, in the main, due to internal creative job creation, Give a man a pencil and a pad, and pretty soon he needs a filing clerk, then a secretary, who then needs an extra filing clerk to take the weight of ever increasing paperwork, leading at first to a temp, then to a full timer, and so the empire develops and grows. And we are the idiots who have allowed this quango situation across the whole gamut of public service. Sod the 'piddling' community councils, they don't amount to much anyway, we should be tackling the much bigger fish, the profligate larger councils. Not that I am a Tory supporter by any means, but in the matter of overgovernance by these ever burgeoning public bodies, bureaucratic hives of cash gobbling parasites as they are, the Tories are on to a definite problem for us all. Never mind upping the funding, reducing it to the absolute minimum, is the way to go, then maybe we will have the funding to take care of the necessary, instead of the flippant., and grossly expensive staffing levels where 'work' comes from much paper shuffling and buck passing, as they all look for the main chance as they leap on each other's shoulders to get to the apex of their business. varteg1

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