We were really pleased to hear recently that three tourism destinations in Caerphilly county borough are to benefit from a £1.5 million investment, thanks to Welsh Government’s Valleys Regional Park Discovery Gateway grant.

Cwmcarn Forest will receive £450,000, Parc Penallta £900,000 and Caerphilly Castle £150,000.

We’ll be using the investment, alongside our partners to deliver significant improvements at each of the flagship destinations. The enhancements will help to further develop the Caerphilly county borough into a key tourism destination in Wales, which I’m sure will be welcomed by residents, local businesses and visitors to our area alike.

I was also very pleased to see a recent report, which outlined performance to date in delivering the council’s Welsh Housing Quality Standard programme. It confirmed that the £260 million investment programme remains on track for completion by its 2020 deadline.

As well as internal and external works to council properties, considerable work is also underway to deliver significant environmental improvements, with £8.8 million of works already identified in communities throughout the county borough. Energy efficiency works have also been delivered to homes as part of the programme, contributing towards addressing fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions.

This programme is the council’s largest ever single investment and is one that will leave a lasting legacy in Caerphilly county borough.

Finally, the council is currently working to support Transport for Wales in the roll out of the new-style Concessionary Travel Card, which will replace all current green coloured bus passes. The new style card offers the same free travel rights and benefits as the current cards – and residents have until 31st December to transfer over to the new pass.

Transport for Wales have received an exceptionally high number of requests since the programme’s launch last week, so I’m keen to emphasise to our residents that there is no need for concern or worry. Current passes are still valid until the end of December, and there is plenty of time and support available to arrange for the necessary replacement.

For those residents with no access to the internet, Transport for Wales have a telephone helpdesk – 0300 303 4240. Paper application forms can be requested by calling this number.