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Rhydyfelin Library officially re-opens

Rhydyfelin Library was closed at the end of May as part of council cutbacks. Credit: ITV News

Rhydyfelin Library officially re-opens today after Rhondda Cynon Taf Council went back on its decision to close it.

It comes after campaigners won their battle to keep the library open.

Local residents launched a legal challenge saying they weren't consulted on the closure, which went ahead at the end of May.

Read more: Controversial library closure plan overturned by council

Library campaigners celebrate council U-turn

Campaigners in the South Wales Valleys who have won their battle to keep their local library open say they hope it can inspire others to fight for their local services.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has gone back on its decision to close Rhydyfelin library - after local people launched a legal challenge, saying they hadn't been consulted. Tom Sheldrick has the story.

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Rhydyfelin Library to re-open 'as soon as possible'

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has confirmed Rhydyfelin Library will re-open "as soon as practicably possible", after local residents opposed its closure at the end of May.

It says the decision to re-open the library is subject to the consent of the court, and the judicial review proceedings being withdrawn.

I have taken the decision as Leader of the Council to re-open Rhydyfelin Library. I will now ensure that thorough and frank dialogue is undertaken with local residents and users around the future of this facility and how the revised Library Service may support this community.

I must stress that nothing is ruled in and nothing is ruled out but this decision will allow the opportunity for consultation specifically around the future of this facility to take place.

The Council is dealing with the unprecedented challenge of tackling a budget gap of over £60m over the next three years. We have to make tough and inevitably unpopular decisions because of the massive cuts being imposed on the public sector by the UK Government. There is no way of avoiding these choices.

I would love as the new Leader to be able to categorically rule out future difficult decisions of this nature, but that approach is simply not possible or responsible.

I am keen to meet with the local community to discuss this decision and listen to their concerns.

– Cllr Andrew Morgan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council leader

Campaigners: Rhydyfelin Library closure overturned

Campaigners in Rhondda Cynon Taf say the local council has performed a u-turn on its decision to close Rhydyfelin Library.

They say the council has asked them to withdraw their judicial review case, and will re-open the library.

Rhydyfelin Library was closed at the end of May as part of council cutbacks.

Local residents launched their legal challenge after saying they were not consulted on the closure, which went ahead at the end of May, even after a group chained themselves to the shelves.

The closure was one of 14 made by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council as it tries to make savings of £70m over the next four years.

Campaigner Sian Perkins said today: "We are truly elated. This victory is down to the power of the people. The whole community was committed to fighting to save this very necessary establishment and we weren’t prepared to back down."

“Rhydyfelin library is a vital component of our community used by everyone from pre-school children to pensioners."

Driver arrested after two passengers die in crash

A 20-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, after two passengers died in a crash in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The incident happened at around 10.30am today, on the A4093 at Gilfach Goch.

A car left was travelling from Hendreforgan in the direction of Tonyrefail when it left the road.

A man and a woman, who were both passengers, suffered fatal injuries. Their families have been told.

South Wales Police is asking anyone with information to call 101.

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RCT Council leader dies after long illness

Tributes have been paid to the leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Anthony Christopher, who has died at the age of 67.

He died yesterday after an 11-year battle with leukaemia.

Anthony Christopher was councillor for Aberaman North for more than 25 years. Credit: Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

The mayor of Rhonnda Cynon Taf, Ann Crimmings, said: "I extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Anthony’s family at this incredibly difficult time.

“His determination, commitment and dedication to his role set an example to all of us. His immense contribution to public service in Rhondda Cynon Taff and local Government as a whole should be noted with pride by his family and friends."

Cynon Valley MP Ann Clwyd said: "I am deeply saddened by this news and the loss of someone who dedicated so much energy and commitment to local politics and public service."

"Anthony was a fighter as he dealt with his illness, but he also displayed the same fighting spirit in his political career, through his involvement in the trade union movement, standing up against the government during the miners’ strike or as a councillor standing up for his constituents."

Pontypridd's Muni Arts Centre will close in cuts package

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has approved a number of major cuts to its local services.

It's been decided both the Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd and the Cynon Valley Museum will close along with all 12 outdoor pools in the area.

There will also be changes to street lighting.

Leader of the Council Paul Cannon said despite today's cuts the level of provision still compares favourably with other areas.

RCT Council: 'Unpopular decisions will be required in the future'

Rhondda Cynon Taf's Council will meet later to discuss the next phase of their budget cut proposals.

The council is facing an estimated budget gap of 'at least' £70 million over the next four years.

We demonstrated through our responses to the initial Phase 1 proposals that the consultation process is a meaningful one and, where appropriate, Cabinet will respond to the issues raised.

There is no easy solution in these circumstances. Our funding has been dramatically reduced by the government in London and this will mean that further difficult, and unfortunately, unpopular decisions will be required in the future.

– County Borough Councillor Paul Cannon QPM, Deputy leader RCT Council
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