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Neath Port Talbot considers £140 million spending strategy

24 Feb 2022 3 minute read
Neath Port Talbot Council civic offices. Photo LDRS

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

A council has revealed how it hopes to revitalise struggling high streets and improve education with a proposed £140 million capital spending strategy.

Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council’s Cabinet will be asked next week to approve a capital spending strategy worth £140 million over the next three years.

A significant part of the cash boost – more than £24 million – will be going towards developments in education and child care.

Major investment initiatives in the spending programme include:

  • A new £10.495m single-site primary school in Longford replacing three separate sites of Abbey Primary – with an additional £0.555m Childcare Offer having been awarded, this takes the total investment to £11.05m
  • Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Dur Phase 3, which includes the addition of a £9m new build block comprising six extra classrooms and a 3G rugby pitch
  • £4.140m to support additional childcare facilities over 4 years

The Council said they will also continue investing in regeneration projects, like the multi-million pound Neath Town Centre development.

The development will include a new shopping, leisure and swimming pool complex plus a modern library on the site of the former multi storey car park on Water Street.

When asked what NPTCBC will be doing to revitalise pandemic-stricken high streets, Chief Executive, Karen Jones, said she hopes the Neath Town Centre development will play a significant part.

She added that the council are aiming to put on free and low cost opportunities for families to help revitalise town centres.

Ms Jones said: “We have also invested in two assistant town centre managers to work across all of our principal towns and they are all in the process [of] bringing together events programmes [and] working with traders to bring footfall into the centres.

“When we have gone out and done our public engagement, a big message has come back to us [that] families are struggling to go into [places like] leisure centres and cinemas at a time when their household bills are rising.

“Our plan this year is to look at putting more of those types of events on in the town centres to give families those leisure opportunities, and to have the added benefit of increasing footfall [there].”

The UK Government has approved Neath Port Talbot Council’s Business Case for Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth (£58.8m) and Homes as Power Stations (HAPS)(£505m) as part of the Swansea Bay City Deal.

The City Deal is based on four main projects, including The energy positive Bay Technology Centre at Baglan Energy Park, providing office and laboratory space for the innovation, ICT and R&D sectors;The National Steel Innovation Centre; Decarbonisation of the City Deal region; and Industrial Futures.

Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Carol Clemen-Williams, said: “This council places great emphasis on the importance of capital investment as a means of regenerating our communities and providing modern and safe buildings and infrastructure. It will also help our recovery after the effects of the Covid pandemic.”

Cabinet members will be asked to approve the Capital Strategy and Capital Programme at a meeting on February 28.

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