Home » No Caerphilly Cabinet members attend public meeting on regeneration plans
Caerphilly Politics South Wales

No Caerphilly Cabinet members attend public meeting on regeneration plans

Ffos Caerphilly Market (Pic: Stride Architectural Design)

A PLAID Cymru Senedd member has claimed no council cabinet members were there to answer questions at a heated public meeting on Caerphilly County Borough Council’s flagship Caerphilly 2035 regeneration scheme.

Peredur Owen Griffiths said around 100 people attended the meeting despite the event being advertised at “short notice”, and there was “a lot of anger in the room”.

The Caerphilly 2035 masterplan includes proposals for a new transport interchange, improved visitor facilities for the castle, and retail and residential developments as part of a multi-million pound investment scheme for the town.

But at the public meeting, held at Caerphilly Workmen’s Hall on Tuesday evening, attendees raised concerns about the plan’s effects on parking, as well as the cohesion of the various proposals and the degree to which the community had been consulted.

Mr Owen Griffiths said “nobody from the cabinet” was in attendance, and council officials “took the brunt of people’s anger”.

Peredur Owen Griffiths (Pic: Plaid Cymru)

Deputy leader of the council Jamie Pritchard said he was unable to attend because of pre-booked holiday.

In a statement he said: “There is a desire for regeneration of Caerphilly town centre, and many people want to see things happen. But how we get there will be subject to more engagement with the public, so there will be more events going forward.

“Thank you to those who were able to attend last night.”

Caerphilly County Borough Council declined to comment specifically on the MS’ claim about cabinet member involvement, but said the feedback recorded at the meeting would “inform future plans” around issues like town-centre parking.

Mr Owen Griffiths said the Caerphilly 2035 plan “certainly needs more communication, and more consultation” with the public.

“Most” of the discontent at the meeting was “about not knowing and not being consulted” on the proposals, he added.

But Shayne Cook, the council’s cabinet member for housing, said “it saddens me that positive regeneration plans for Caerphilly Town [are] met with negativity and political point scoring”.

He added: “I understand not everybody will be happy with these plans but there are a lot of residents who will benefit from major Welsh Government and council investment at a time of economic uncertainty.

“Regarding not being at the 2035 meeting, unfortunately I was attending as the cabinet member for housing a Ukraine Night celebrating and encouraging residents to become hosts for Ukrainians fleeing the war.”

The local authority has indicated this week’s meeting will be the first in a series of events aimed at informing residents of the plans and gathering feedback.

“We are grateful to the 100 residents who attended our public information meeting,” a spokesperson for Caerphilly County Borough Council said. 

“We have taken on the feedback received and will use it to inform future plans, this includes reviewing the parking strategy for the town centre. We are fully committed to ensuring all plans reflect the heritage of the town and are delivered to the highest quality.”

On future events, the spokesperson added: “This event formed part of our wider engagement which to date has included drop-in sessions, surveys, focus groups and one-to-one conversations with more than 700 residents and businesses. 

“Residents will continue to have the opportunity to have their say as part of the ongoing public engagement on the wider plan, as well as individual projects. 

“The next quarterly meeting will be held in October and details for this event will be shared widely.”