The gas works in Cardiff Road, Caerphilly, is causing untold misery to the traders and general public of the town.
It was because of our genuine concern about the situation in Cardiff Road that Jeff Cuthbert AM, Eddie Talbot, the Chair of the local traders’ association, and I called a meeting of the town’s traders a couple of weeks ago. That meeting decided that there should be a public meeting and Cllr Kent and I volunteered to invite all the town’s county borough councillors, the cabinet member responsible for regeneration, Cllr Ron Davies, Borough Council Officers and the utility company, Wales and West, who are carrying out the work.
For reasons known only to themselves, not one of the councillors responded directly (or even acknowledged receipt of my invitation). Cllr Ron Davies did indicate that he saw little point in the meeting. But Wales and West Utilities responded quickly and positively.
As I am sure readers know, a well attended public meeting was held and Wales and West Utilities answered a number of important points which were raised, and it was agreed that Jeff Cuthbert and I should contact the council with a number of suggestions about how the situation could be improved.
This we did and the council responded swiftly. However, apart from some measures to give free car parking to shoppers, the council have rejected all of the proposals regarding the gas works which were made at the meeting.
But I am pleased that a constructive dialogue has been maintained with the utility company and they have assured me that because of the strength of feeling at the meeting, they are doing all they can to complete the work ahead of the schedule which was set by the Council. More men have been working on the site and for longer hours and the work is six days ahead of schedule.
I’m sure people will learn a variety of lessons from this saga. But for me there has been and remains only one objective and that is to bring to an end the damaging disruption as quickly as possible. I will continue to do all I can to help minimise the disruption and financial loss which so many people in Caerphilly have suffered.
Labour MP for Caerphilly