THE state of Caerphilly town centre "detracts" from Caerphilly Castle, an AM has said.

Speaking in the Assembly this week, the Labour AM said he was concerned visitors to the medieval castle - the second-largest in Britain -

Mr David was speaking as culture, tourism and sport minister Dafydd Elis-Thomas unveiled a new approach to making better use of Wales' historic attractions and environment to benefit the country as a whole.

Addressing Lord Elis-Thomas Mr David said: “One of the problems with Caerphilly is that, as you look away from the castle towards the street scene, the street scene could be vastly improved.

“I think that, to some extent - and I think the minister’s recognised this - as much as the largest concentric castle in Europe attracts visitors, if you look across the street, some of the shape of the high street just across the road detracts a little from that, and I think further work needs to be done in that area.”

Responding, Lord Elis-Thomas said: “We’ve had our issues with the silt trap and the sluice gates at Caerphilly castle over the years, and Cadw does seek to ensure that, in working with the engineers of Caerphilly County Borough Council, we ensure that we remove the silt deposits so that the moat is regularly cleared of litter and debris and so on and all that activity takes place.

“We have also commissioned a masterplan for Caerphilly Castle that will take into account the potential of new activities in and around the monument.

“It is very likely that the possibility of using the moat for recreational purposes will be part of the scoping exercise there.

“So, I haven’t finished with Caerphilly yet, but I think that it is important that we do recognise that it is a unique site at the southern end of a Valleys community close to the capital city, and I want to make that an essential visiting site for everyone who is serious about finding out about Wales, because it's the place to go.”

A Caerphilly council spokesman said: “Caerphilly is a key strategic town located in the heart of the (Cardiff Capital Region) City Deal region boasting a magnificent castle, a popular retail offering and a varied events programme attracting visitors from across the globe.

"We are keen to ensure that Caerphilly’s street scene is attractive and welcoming to residents and visitors alike so we are exploring options that will bring improvements in future.

"In addition to this, there are exciting plans in the pipeline to make the town one of the greenest transport hubs in the UK so the future is certainly looking bright for Caerphilly.”