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Is this the most dangerous traffic feature in Wales?

by Richard Morgan

Zebra crossings are supposed to improve the safety of pedestrians and motorists - but people living in the Cynon Valley say one in their town centre is having the opposite effect.

The crossing in Mountain Ash is located immediately after a bend, with little warning for drivers - though the council says there have been no serious accidents there so far.

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Councillors vote to reduce Valleys' nursery services

Parents have campaigned against nursery cuts in Rhondda Cynon Taf Credit: ITV News

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council's cabinet has voted to give the go-ahead to controversial plans to reduce the amount of time younger children spend in nursery classes.The council made two amendments, after widespread opposition from parents.

Children will be able to attend full-time nursery from the term after their fourth birthday, rather than having to wait until the September following their fourth birthday for full-time education via primary school reception as previously proposed.

The changes will be implemented from September 2014, rather than April, as was originally planned.

Decision due on controversial nursery cutback plan

A decision is due later today on controversial plans to change nursery provision for children in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The council has warned that it needs to make savings of £70m over four years.

Hundreds of parents and children joined a march to protest against the plans. Credit: PA

Its proposals could see nursery classes for many three and four-year-olds cut back from full-time to part-time.

6,500 people responded to a consultation on plans aimed at reducing spending, which also include library closures, and cutbacks to day centres for older people.

The local authority says its proposals would still mean more hours at nursery than the statutory minimum, and that it needs to make savings due to the funding gap.

RCT Council details second phase of 'tough choices'

Leisure services, adult social care and street lighting could face cuts in Rhondda Cynon Taf, as the council considers a second phase of 'tough choices.'

Protests were held last month over the council's proposals to cut full-time nursery provision for three-year-old children.

The council is facing an estimated budget gap of 'at least' £70m over the next four years. A second phase of proposed service cuts include reducing heritage and cultural services, street lighting, supported bus routes and changes to adult social care charging arrangements.

I would stress that this second phase of proposals are just that - proposals, and if deemed appropriate by cabinet, they will be fully consulted on before any final decisions are made.

There is no escape from tough decisions in this difficult financial climate, but it must be remembered that even with these potential changes these services would still compare favourably across Wales.

This position demonstrates how councillors have, in very different times, prioritised frontline services and how now, when faced with making tough decisions to bridge a budget gap of £70m, are seeking to ensure the choices we may make still offer a good range and level of provision for our residents.

– Councillor Paul Cannon, Deputy Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

The council's cabinet will discuss the proposals on 8th January and if approved, the proposals will then go out to consultation.

Welsh Water 'extremely sorry' after flooding

Dwr Cymru has apologised after failure at a local pumping station combined with heavy rainfall caused flash floods in the Rhondda.

A Welsh Water spokesperson said:

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water attended a sewer flooding incident last night on High Street, Treorchy.

We were on site as soon as possible to investigate the situation which was caused by a failure at a local pumping station, combined with heavy rainfall.

We worked overnight to fix the problem and ensure the flooding subsided.

We are extremely sorry and are now liaising with the customers affected to offer support and ensure any damage to their properties is rectified."

– Dwr Cymru Welsh Water

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Rhondda youngsters fight negative stereotypes

by Tom Sheldrick

If you're a teenager living in one of the poorest parts of Wales - you'll be less likely to own a car compared to other 16 to 18 years old in the UK and you'll also be less likely to try hard drugs.

The figures are part of a survey carried out by local MP Chris Bryant on young people's aspirations in the Rhondda.

They suggest that 62% of young people plan to move away after finishing their education.

They also indicate that fewer of them will go to college or university than the UK average. The figure is 65% for the Rhondda, that compares with the all Wales average of 79%.

MP for Rhondda: ideas of young people are wrong

MP Chris Bryant says ideas of young people in the Rhondda are not realistic. He has helped to conduct a survey which has looked at pupils' future ambitions and opinions on education, relationships and drugs.

In many ways the young people from the Rhondda don’t fit the stereotype of Valleys kids. They work hard, they study hard, they want to be engineers not pop stars and they think people should wait until they can afford to bring up a child before starting a family.

The comparisons with elsewhere are fascinating too. As the survey shows, young people in the Rhondda are far more likely to be in work whilst at school than their peers elsewhere, and are more likely to stay in Wales for university than young people from other parts of Wales.

The majority of those surveyed are optimistic about their futures, with many expecting to earn considerably more than the median income in sectors such as engineering and IT.

I look forward to discussing these results further with the young people in the constituency and working hard to help them achieve their ambitions.

– MP Chris Bryant

Report shows Rhondda youth optimistic about their future

Chris Bryant with pupils
Pupils from across Rhondda helped with questions for the report Credit: Chris Bryant MP

Young people in the Rhondda feel confident about their future despite being less likely to go to University or take up full time employment after their studies.

Just over half of pupils expect to go on to further education after A level compared 79% of other students in Wales.

MP Chris Bryant has helped conduct the report on the aspirations of people between the ages of 15-19 in his constituency.

Pupils were asked to compile questions on their feelings towards employment, future earnings alcohol, drugs, relationships and higher education.

Only 38% of the young people questioned said they would stay in the Rhondda, with the rest admitting to moving to Cardiff or abroad in the future.

Valleys shop slapped with alcohol ban for Christmas

The Rhondda shop will not be able to sell alcohol until 2014. Credit: Rhondda Cynon Taf Council

A Rhondda convenience store has lost its licence to sell alcohol over the Christmas period after allegedly exacerbating underage drinking and anti-social behaviour in the local community.

Turtle Beach Food and Wine Company in Bute Street, Treherbert, appeared before Merthyr Magistrates’ Court to appeal against a decision by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council in May to revoke its licence entirely.

The court decided that management of the store had demonstrated better compliance and they would only lose their licence to sell alcohol for a period of three months.

Magistrates’ made the decision after it was agreed the retailer would continue to profit from socially irresponsible behaviour which was having an adverse impact on the surrounding community. The store owner was ordered to pay £1,000 costs.

South Wales Police Inspector for Rhondda, Nick Picton said, “A well run shop is a real asset to any community, but a badly run shop can be the source of many problems. Turtle Beach Food and Wine Company fuelled anti-social behaviour through their irresponsible sale of alcohol.“

Click here: to read Rhondda Cynon Taf Council's full report.

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