Caerphilly County Borough Council has unveiled plans to spend £231 million on a host of projects in the coming years.
The wide-ranging spending plans look set to be approved by senior councillors at a cabinet meeting on February 24.
What is Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet?
A council’s cabinet is made up of councillors in charge of different policy areas – such as education, environment, local economy, etc – and a leader.
It is separate to the council’s corporate management structure, which is headed up by its chief executive and various directors. Cabinet is made up of councillors, who are elected and have the ultimate say.
Typically, cabinet members are councillors from the party with the most elected council members.
Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet is made up of:
- Cllr Philippa Marsden (Ynysddu) – Leader
- Cllr Sean Morgan (Nelson) – Deputy leader / Economy and enterprise
- Cllr Colin Gordon (Pontllanfraith) – Corporate services
- Cllr Eluned Stenner (New Tredegar) – Finance, performance and customer services
- Cllr Ross Whiting (Risca West) – Learning and achievement
- Cllr Shayne Cook (Morgan Jones) – Social care
- Cllr John Ridgewell (Ynysddu) – Environment and infrastructure
- Cllr Lisa Phipps (Bedwas, Trethomas, Machen) – Housing and property
- Cllr Nigel George (Risca East) – Waste and public protection
Corporate management is made up of unelected employees of the council and has responsibility for day-to-day management of services, such as making sure the bins are collected. Corporate directors work with cabinet members to come up with policy which is then agreed upon by the cabinet.
Some of the projects listed have been announced previously, while others have already been started.
Education is the biggest winner with almost £74 million allocated for school expansions and new builds. The expansion of Trinity Fields School will get £12.7m while £20m will go to general improvements of secondary schools.
Plas y Felin Primary School in Caerphilly town is set to be replaced with a new school on the same site, while Gilfach Fargoed Primary and Park Primary in Bargoed will be merged and housed in a new building – as will Llancaeach Junior School and Llanfabon Infants School in Nelson.
Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen will get a new Welsh medium primary school and St James’ Primary in Caerphilly could be expanded. A new primary school is also planned for the Upper Rhymney Valley.
Around £71m has been set aside for mixed use developments with £35m to be spent in the Upper Rhymney Valley and £36m in the Caerphilly basin area – most likely to include the development of the former Ness Tar site (which was earmarked for development in the council’s 2018 Caerphilly Basin Masterplan).
Efforts to reduce the council’s carbon footprint will be boosted by £1.6m being spent on electric vehicles, while £17m has been set aside to develop a new solar farm to generate green electricity.
Transport improvements are also listed – including £2.5m being spent on roads and £4m on a park and ride scheme for Ystrad Mynach Rail station. Llanbradach is also listed for park and ride, but funding for that is being sought from Welsh Government.
A new health centre is being planned for Risca’s Ty Darran with £4.6m of council money being spent while £4.1m will be spent on a new respite centre for Pontllanfraith.
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Caerphilly County Borough Council leader, Councillor Philippa Marsden said: “We have set an ambitious programme of investment for our communities to support them out of the Covid pandemic, providing optimism and resilience for the future.
“We want to get the community on board and fully engaged in this process, so we will also be outlining ways for residents to get involved over the coming months to have their say and help shape the future of their community.”
Before heading to the council’s cabinet for approval, the spending plans – dubbed the Caerphilly Wellbeing and Place Shaping Framework – will be looked at by the local authority’s Joint Scrutiny Committee on Monday February 22.
Cllr Colin Mann, the council’s Plaid Cymru group leader, welcomed the plans but warned their delivery would be the “acid test”.
He said: “How quickly will these be implemented? Unfortunately the council has a track record of capital programmes being overspent and delayed.
“The principle of what’s being done is no problem – the test is implementation and it hanging all together.”
The committee’s chair, Cllr Jamie Pritchard, said: “This important report will outline the major projects across the County Borough over the coming years.
“All councillors will have a big interest in seeing the development of new schools, improvements to our infrastructure and proposals to improve health and social care, to name but a few. It’s important that this report is scrutinised with all member involvement.”
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