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RCT Libraries Update

Important Customer Notice in response to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. The following restrictions return to all RCT Libraries:

Social distancing of 2m between all library users
One-way systems whilst in library building.
Quarantining of returned library materials (Items to be placed in green recycling bins at entrance of library for 72 hours).

We remind library users that you must wear a face covering when in the library unless medically exempt and that you must sanitise your hands on entry.

Limited numbers will be allowed in the premises at any one time and please be aware you may be asked to wait to enter the building by a member of library staff.

Please note that the ‘Order & Collect’ system is still operational.

Any changes to these new rules will be advertised in our libraries and on the Council’s social media accounts and website www.rctcbc.gov.uk/libraries


New arrangements for Llanharan Railway Footbridge removal

The Council has worked closely with Network Rail to rearrange the removal of the Llanharan Railway Footbridge – and advanced notice is now being given for the work, taking place across two night shifts later this month.

The footbridge adjacent to A473 Bridgend Road is in very poor condition, and as part of the replacement process the existing structure was scheduled to be removed on Boxing Day – taking advantage of Network Rail’s line closure over the festive period. However, a mechanical failure of a contractor’s crane on the day of the work prevented the removal from going ahead as planned.

The work has now been rearranged to take place over two nights, to minimise disruption to rail services and the community. Site activity will take place on:

Thursday, January 20 (evening) – the crane will be constructed in its previous position, with no road closure required for this activity.

Saturday, January 22 (evening) to Sunday, January 23 (7am) – the footbridge will be removed. This requires the closure of the A473 at this location (midnight to 7am), mirroring the planned closure on Boxing Day but for a shorter duration of time (details below).

An alternative route for motorists is via A473 Bridgend Road, A473 New Road, Pen-y-Bont Roundabout, Brynna Road and Hillside Avenue – or this route taken in reverse order

Pedestrians should use the adjacent footbridge during the closure period – with the alternative route via Llanharan Railway Station Access Road, Llanharan Station Footbridge and Chapel Road, in both directions.

Local residents will shortly receive a letter outlining the new arrangements.

We would like to thank residents and commuters for their cooperation during the upcoming work, which is part of the Council’s commitment to replacing the damaged structure at the earliest opportunity. Once the demolition work is completed, focus can then turn to the construction of the new footbridge which is due to commence on site early February 2022. Further details about this will be communicated by the Council in due course.


RCT Virtual Careers Fair 2022

In partnership with Vfairs, the Council will be hosting its third FREE Virtual Careers Fair on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 (10am to 5pm) following its success in its two previous Virtual Careers Fairs in 2021.

The event will coincide with National Apprenticeship Week and attending organisations will have a range of apprenticeship and graduate posts available alongside live employment vacancies.

Anyone wishing to take part in the online RCT Virtual Careers Fair on Wednesday, February 9, 2022, will need to register their details prior to the event at www.rctcareers.vfairs.com

Over the last few years, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Virtual Careers Fairs have grown in popularity. During the previous Virtual Careers Fair, held in September 2021, over 2000 people registered to attend the event which hosted over 1000 job vacancies.

Once again this year, the Council is inviting the public to join and take part online and view the exciting new apprenticeship, graduate and employment opportunities on offer across Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and further afield. Online visitors will be able to engage with employers and find out more information from the comfort of their own home.

For the first time, the Careers Fair can also be accessed for free via the new Vfairs mobile event app, available for Apple and Android users. The app will act as an extension to the existing immersive virtual platform and seamless navigation. Attendees will have access to exhibitor booths within the app, plus the option to contact booth reps, browse documents, and more.

The Virtual Careers Fair will also feature a number of pre-recorded webinars which will provide insight and information on some of the organisations and the opportunities available, along with Webinars that support application form writing and interview techniques.

RCT Council's Virtual Careers Fair will offer attendees the opportunity to:

Explore employer information and opportunities to find your best career fit.
Learn and interact with organisations about their available roles.
Gain a competitive advantage by learning more about the participating organisations from recruiters.
View and apply for jobs from companies.
Engage with recruiters through one-on-one text and audio/video-based conversations during the recruiter session.

There are a huge range of local and national employers already signed up for the event, such as EE, Welsh Pantry, South Wales Fire & Rescue Service, South Wales Police, Office for National Statistics, Willmott Dixon, many more, all of which are actively recruiting.

Councillor Maureen Webber, Deputy Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that the Council will once again be hosting its Virtual Careers Fair, providing opportunities for job-seekers to speak to so many company representatives about their latest vacancies.

“During these uncertain times, an online event is the safest option, and I am pleased the Council is able to deliver its Careers Fair via an online platform following its success in 2021.

“RCT Council remains committed to attracting high-quality jobs to the local area and helping our residents into sustainable, reliable and well-paid employment, and our Virtual Careers Fair is one way in which we are all working to accomplish this.

“Residents will once again have the chance to interact with businesses, discover vocations they may not have considered, and potentially get themselves an interview.

“I would encourage anyone who is actively seeking employment in 2022, considering a career change or returning to work to register to take part in our latest Virtual Careers Fair.”

The event will be live for one day only on Wednesday February 9 (10am-5pm). However, the event will be available to view on demand for 30 days following the event until March 10, 2022.
To take part in the RCT Virtual Careers Fair 2022, please register online in advance at: www.rctcareersfair.vfair.com


Preparing for Rhondda Cynon Taf to host the National Eisteddfod

Cabinet has received an update on the work currently being undertaken in preparation for Rhondda Cynon Taf to host the National Eisteddfod in 2024, with focus being placed on community engagement.

A report to the Cabinet meeting on Monday, December 13, has outlined the approach being adopted and the activities being planned within local communities to ensure the Eisteddfod is successful – not only before and during the festival, but also to ensure a significant positive legacy.

The Council appointed a project officer in 2019, to work closely with National Eisteddfod Officers in promoting the festival and engaging with communities. National Eisteddfod Officers have been successful in applying for funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a project that will pilot a community engagement strategy in RCT. The strategy will focus upon the themes of culture, language and heritage to bring people together via the Eisteddfod – while showcasing the unique history of Rhondda Cynon Taf. The project, which includes the appointment of a Community Development Officer, will develop a series of community events and activities to engage local people.

Phase 1 of the project will target young people aged 16-25, making the Welsh language and the Eisteddfod relevant outside of the classroom, while older people will also be engaged. Five events celebrating our heritage, language and culture will be held during the first half of 2022.

Phase 2 will see the delivery of five more events later in the year, feeding into the Eisteddfod’s new national Community Strategy.

Further activity to date has included the establishment of a community forum, with its inaugural meeting held on November 3, 2021.

Presentations by the National Eisteddfod’s Chief Executive Officer and staff to the Council’s Welsh Language Steering Group and the Strategic Arts and Culture Committee have also been well-received. There was a clear commitment by those involved to work with a wide range of officers, Elected Members, and organisations to ensure engagement with different communities and groups.

Partnership working between the Council’s Eisteddfod Officer and National Eisteddfod Officers to date has included researching and sharing information on community groups, and working with the Youth Engagement and Participation Service (YEPS) on how best to engage young people.

The Officers have also organised meetings with Council services over a wide range of considerations (including an Infrastructure Group, which has its first meeting in December 2021), linking with community members who are keen to promote the Eisteddfod, and contacting Officers in other Local Authorities (such as Monmouthshire) to learn from their experience of hosting the festival.

Councillor Rhys Lewis, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Well-being and Cultural Services, said: “Cabinet received an important progress update on Monday in relation to the current work going on behind the scenes, as we make the best preparations for hosting the 2024 National Eisteddfod here in Rhondda Cynon Taf – as we aim to reach as many people as possible before, during and after the festival.

“One of the key elements of our approach is community engagement, and while progress has been disrupted in engaging directly with communities due to social distancing restrictions, key preparatory work and discussions have continued. If restrictions continue to allow, five community events celebrating Rhondda Cynon Taf’s heritage will be held by April 2022, forming the first phase of the National Eisteddfod’s National Lottery Heritage Fund project.

“The Cabinet report also discussed the aim to create a lasting legacy in Rhondda Cynon Taf, focusing on several key themes. It aims to create a community legacy by encouraging more Welsh and bilingual events locally, a cultural legacy by promoting the Rhondda Cynon Taf’s story on a national platform, and a linguistic legacy with more people choosing to learn Welsh. There is also an inclusivity legacy to strive for, with people of all backgrounds – and whether they speak Welsh or not – feeling more confident about the Welsh language and culture, which belongs to everyone.

“I’m immensely proud that we are hosting the National Eisteddfod in 2024, bringing the celebration of culture and the Welsh language to the County Borough for everyone to enjoy. Cabinet will receive several progress updates in the coming months over a range of subjects in relation to hosting the Eisteddfod, and I’m looking forward to seeing further progress made.”

National Eisteddfod Chief Executive, Betsan Moses, added, “We’re delighted to be working in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area, and are very much enjoying getting to know local people and finding out the type of events they want to see happening in the community in the run-up to the National Eisteddfod.

“The pandemic has forced us to postpone the festival twice, but the great news is that we’re back, and looking forward to working with everyone to create a memorable and amazing Eisteddfod in Rhondda Cynon Taf in 2024.”


Wall repairs to begin at A4054 Cardiff Road at Taff's Well

The Council will shortly undertake repair work to a 200m section of retaining wall and parapet wall adjacent to the A4054 Cardiff Road at Taff’s Well.

The scheme will initially remove vegetation from all wall faces, which will enable the repointing and reconstruction of the majority of the parapet wall, reconstruction of one area of the retaining wall, and resetting of copings.

The Council has appointed Centregreat Ltd as the contractor to deliver the scheme, starting from Wednesday, January 19, lasting around 12 weeks. The scheme is funded by the Council’s Supplementary Highways Capital Programme for 2021/22, using dedicated funding for Highways Structures.

In order to safely carry out the work, the contractor requires a single lane closure at Cardiff Road – of the northbound lane which is nearest to the wall.

Temporary traffic lights will be put in place from Wednesday. Please be aware, there are no road closures required to deliver the scheme, and pedestrian access along Cardiff Road will be maintained at all times.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Transportation, said: “The upcoming work adjacent to Cardiff Road in Taff’s Well is the latest targeted repair scheme to future proof a structure which supports the road network. It will deliver repairs across a 200m section of parapet wall and one damaged section of retaining wall, located adjacent to the A4054.

“The scheme is funded by our Highway Capital Programme, which has again allocated a significant sum to maintain Highway Structures in 2021/22 – with the Council responsible for more than 1,500 walls, culverts and bridges across the County Borough. The Council also remains committed to securing funding and delivering repairs for infrastructure damaged by Storm Dennis.

“The Cardiff Road wall scheme starts on Wednesday, with a lane closure and temporary traffic lights to ensure safety. Thanks to residents and commuters for their cooperation while the scheme is delivered – the Council will work closely with its contractor to complete the repairs as quickly as possible.”


New skatepark to be built in Tonyrefail park after approval from councillors

Plans to build a new concrete skate park in Tonyrefail have been approved by councillors.

The application for Tyn-y-Bryn Park has been submitted by the Friends of Tyn-y-Bryn Park and was given the green light at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s planning committee on Thursday, January 13.

It will be built in an unused area of the Park, to the south of the existing 3G sports pitch.

The skatepark itself will measure 35m by 21m and be made up of a concrete slab at existing ground level with various concrete ramp and metal rails throughout to a maximum height of approximately 1.2m.

A grassed bank will surround the skatepark extending out approximately 1.5m from the concrete structure, falling from the top of the ramps down to ground level to act as a landscape buffer.

Access will be from the existing footpath that runs through the centre of the park.

The application did not include details of, or seek consent for, any forms of enclosure or lighting.

The planning report said that the applicant has detailed that the skatepark will be a free facility for use by the general public and that the scheme has been drawn up following consultation with the community on what sports facilities the residents of Tonyrefail would like to see in the town.

The park currently has football, rugby and cricket pitches, as well as a multi-use games area and children’s play area.

Tonyrefail Leisure Centre and a ten-pin bowling centre are located to the north east of the park.

The planning report said there are a number of residential properties located around the park but that all are a considerable distance from the development plot itself.

Planning officers recommended the application for approval and no public comments were received by the council relating to this application.

Officers said in the planning report: “The proposed development would provide the local community with a welcome leisure/sports facility on an area that has been long established as being used for leisure/sports purposes.

“The siting of the skatepark is considered acceptable in terms of its visual impact and potential impact upon the amenities of neighbouring residents.”

Three Welsh hospitals under "extreme pressure"

People asked to avoid Royal Glamorgan Hospital for minor injuries as pressure on staff grows

"Due to the current pressures and crowding in the Emergency Department, if you have a minor injury, we do ask you call 111 first to make an appointment in the MIU."

A hospital in Rhondda Cynon Taf is urging people not to visit for minor emergencies due to pressures on staff.

On Monday, January 10 Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board issued a notice to patients asking them not to attend Royal Glamorgan Hospital, in Talbot Green, for minor emergencies.

Instead it's advised people book an appointment at another facility.

A statement issued by the health board said: "From Monday January 10, between 7am and 5pm on a weekday, patients who attend the Royal Glamorgan Hospital Emergency Department with a minor injury will be offered an appointment in the Minor Injury Unit (MIU) in Yswbty Cwm Rhondda. This is only for certain conditions.

"Due to the current pressures and crowding in the Emergency Department, if you have a minor injury, we do ask you call 111 first to make an appointment in the MIU instead of coming to the Emergency Department. Thank you for your cooperation."

You can use the MIU for:

Children over one year old
Limb injuries
Removal of foreign bodies from ears, nose and soft tissue
Animal and human bites
Minor burns and scalds
Insect bites
Minor head and and face injuries
Minor neck injuries
Minor back injuries
Minor chest injuries

Back last month a joint letter was issued to inform residents of the "bleak picture" hospitals and care facilities are facing this winter.

The letter on behalf of Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB, Welsh Ambulance Service and local councils detailed how stretched hospitals and social care facilities would be over the Christmas period, and what residents could do to help.

Staff in the health and social sector were said to be under "immense pressure" due to the ongoing pandemic, and locals were asked to do their part in stopping the spread.

Due to these pressures, A&E waiting times were said to be increased while they added ambulances "cannot respond as quickly as they should".


Firefighters tackle blaze at chip shop in Pontypridd

Firefighters were called at around 2.43pm on Saturday, January 15 to Central Square, Trallwn, in Ponypridd following reports of a fire which started inside a chip shop.

The shop, which is located on the ground floor, has a flat above it. But luckily no injuries were reported and everyone linked to the property was accounted for.

According to the fire service, the fire has been extinguished. A spokesman said six breathing apparatus, two hose reel jets, a safety jet, and a positive pressure ventilation fan were used.

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