I’ve had emails from residents expressing their views about the need to protect front line services in the council budget. This week I met with Cllr Philippa Marsden, leader of the council and she assured me that there will be no cuts to services. Trehir recycling centre will remain open, social services and school budgets will be protected and there will be no increase in charges for school meals. There will also be no cuts to CCTV services, with 26 remote cameras retained in the county. This is a good and responsible budget.
I’ve held discussions with public transport providers in the area in the last couple of weeks. With Transport for Wales, I raised the issue of peak time overcrowding and unreliable services on the Rhymney to Cardiff line. I use the line myself to get to work and it is clear that increased capacity is needed this year and this must be maintained. Bus services too need to improve and I am continuing to make the case with Stagecoach for the retention of the 86X to the Heath. Cardiff Council proposed a ‘congestion charge’ on cars entering the city but this cannot even be considered as an option until we see a sustained improvement in public transport. Fortunately, Welsh Government agree and will not allow Cardiff to unilaterally impose a charge.
You may have seen that GP surgeries in the constituency have faced the threat of closure. The GP in charge of Lansbury Park surgery, with a branch in Penyrheol, has resigned and will end his contract on April 30. I met with the Health Board two weeks ago and they agreed to advertise nationally for a new GP to run the practice. I will be meeting them again soon and will keep you updated on this through my Facebook page. The Health Board is also going to be making a decision at the end of the month about Gilfach Surgery and I, along with Wayne David MP, have put the case to keep Gilfach open as a branch of Gelligaer Practice. The Welsh Government’s GP training programme is training more GPs than for many years. We need to see these newly qualified GPs taking up practices in our community.
We are seeing a marked improvement in our local schools. Most recently, St Cenydd Comprehensive had a very good inspection result and Nant y Parc Primary received an ‘excellent’ categorisation in all areas. Well done all involved.