Take two stories which appeared in the Pontypridd Observer today. The front page carries an article on the closure of a Pontypridd business.
AN ENTREPRENEUR who was forced into shutting his Pontypridd business has slated the “dire” state of the town.
Adrian Dumphey, who set up Cafe Zone on Bridge Street two years ago, said the regeneration work in Pontypridd – coupled with the introduction of the new Sainsbury’s supermarket – led to his business’ untimely demise
He said: “The renovation of the high street has been the real death knell of Pontypridd.”
Coun Paul Cannon has argued in the recent past that the town still has much to champion.
He said: “During this period of austerity which is affecting all town centres, it is easy to focus on the negatives.
“Pontypridd’s incredible transformation is now reaching its final phase, creating a vibrant, attractive and welcoming town centre fit for the 21st century. The council’s £10.5m investment has widespread positive implications. New shops and businesses have opened their doors on Taff Street, High Street, Bridge Street and Gelliwastad Road and many jobs have been created."
Then there is a piece on the dis-satisfaction being felt by traders in the town over the lack of communication with RCT Council
MEMBERS of a town centre business forum have criticized the local authority for failing to liaise with them, despite months of repeated requests.
Salon owner Peter Lovegrove formed Pontypridd Business Forum with a number of fellow business owners in January, but says numerous attempts to “encourage true dialogue” with representatives of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council have failed to materialize.
The forum was established to allow the town’s business-owners to meet to discuss concerns and ideas, and its members were hopeful the council would play an important part in its functioning
This is a common complaint, but every time we raise it we are accused by the Labour lot of ‘making political capital’ or ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ or the old favourite that we are running down Pontypridd.
The Council of course refutes the claims by Mr Lovegrove and say that “Representatives of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council actually attend the Business Forum Meetings chaired by Mr Lovegrove, as part of the wider commitment to Pontypridd town centre and we strive to do our utmost to support the business community of Pontypridd.”
There is no mention of who these representatives are. After all as we saw at the paddling pool referendum meeting, the Labour Cllrs don’t like to engage with the general public too closely. Maybe the traders would actually like to see some of the elected representatives who supposedly make the decisions.
What there is yet again is the trotting out of the same well-worn lines
“The council has been proactively engaging with the business community of Pontypridd as it delivers the far-reaching £10.5m regeneration project in the town centre. Our scheme focuses very much on boosting the Pontypridd economy for local businesses, and we do all in our power to accommodate the needs and concerns of the town’s traders.
“We have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds to help new businesses open their doors and existing businesses to expand and employ more staff through the Townscape Enhancement Programme."
Still we needn’t worry. All the problems are about to be solved – with an App.
This week RCT Council announced they are embracing technology and introducing an App for Pontypridd town.
That ever popular utopia dweller Cllr Paul Cannon was yet again delivering the great news. ““The introduction of this specialist and innovative service for visitors to Pontypridd is incredible and will undoubtedly appeal to anyone who wants to discover more about the town and all it has to offer.”
Then of course the inevitable must include lines followed “With the investment of £10.5million in Pontypridd town centre (yawn, yawn, yawn) which is not only transforming the street scene but also enhancing the local buildings, residents and visitors are being drawn back to the town centre.”
If you say it often enough it must be true – isn’t it?