Council steps in to improve traffic issues related to Welsh Water works

Bridgend County Borough Council has stepped in to ask Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to suspend works in Tondu due to traffic issues caused by the installation of a new water main.

The works are taking place at the Maesteg Road (A4063) traffic lights junction in Tondu and are being delivered by Welsh Water.

Despite significant efforts from Welsh Water and the council, the temporary traffic management system led to congestion this morning (27 February).

The council has since asked Welsh Water to suspend the works, whilst a more suitable solution is found.

Due to the nature of the works, it is impossible to avoid clashing with peak times but all options are being explored to keep any unavoidable disruption to a minimum.

The council would like to thank residents and motorists for their patience and understanding at this time.

 

Council budget 2023-24: What it means for Education and Family Support

Budget proposals for 2023-24 have been endorsed by the Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council to ensure the local authority can continue to provide essential services and meet some of the most difficult challenges that it has ever faced.

If agreed when it goes before Council for a final decision on 1 March, the budget would mean that the authority will spend £137m on services delivered by the Education and Family Support Directorate over the coming year, £110m of which would go to schools to support running costs, teacher and staff salaries and more.

In terms of capital investment, a total of £26.9m will be invested in 2023-24. This includes £1.6m for a new teaching block at Bryntirion Comprehensive, £1.1m to establish Welsh medium childcare provision in Bridgend and Porthcawl, and £950,000 for extensions at Coety and Pencoed primary schools.

With more than £1.9m to support the ongoing refurbishment of school kitchens and the rollout of free school meals, £386,000 will be invested in an all-weather sports pitch at Brynteg School, and £220,000 to provide high-quality mobile classrooms at Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr.

The council has already spent £21.6m in building and refurbishing schools as part of Band A of its 21st Century School Modernisation programme, and has committed to a further £19m as part of Band B. More than £10.5m has been assigned for Band B schools in 2023-24, along with £3,300 for associated highways schemes.

Abercerdin Primary School will receive £267,000 to establish a new learning hub, and £71,000 will be invested in traffic safety work around local schools. Schools will also receive more than £3.9m through the capital maintenance grant, while £548,000 will support work to help them develop more facilities that can be shared with the local community.

While around £40,000 is being saved by delegating some transport responsibilities to providers, schools are also being asked to accommodate savings of £2.1m for 2023-24 – the first time they have been asked to do so since 2010-11.

Cllr Jon-Paul Blundell, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Traditionally, we have always done everything in our power to protect and defend school budgets, and I am proud of the fact that we have been able to achieve this over the last decade, all while covering an overall £72m shortfall in council funding.

“Unfortunately, as we are now at a point where it is no longer possible to do this, we are asking head teachers to work with us on establishing where efficiency savings can be made.

“We believe this is achievable because the council is also covering the pay settlement for teachers, which means an increase in the amount of net funding for schools. Similarly, while home-to-school transport was originally considered as another area where savings could be made, careful financial planning has meant that we are no longer proposing to make cuts to this service.

“After more than a decade of having to find year-on-year savings and develop new ways of delivering services, the 2023-24 budget has definitely been one of the toughest that we have had to set as an authority, but I am pleased that it also includes more than £26.9m capital investment which will be used to provide new facilities and services within local schools.

“With this budget, we have prioritised the wellbeing of our pupils, and are ensuring that they have the learning environments and support that they need in order to benefit from the best possible start in life that we can give them.”

The council’s budget for 2023-24 will be discussed by all members at full Council on Wednesday 1 March before a final decision is taken.

 

Council budget 2023-24: What it means for Social Services and Wellbeing

Budget proposals for 2023-24 have been endorsed by the Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council to ensure the local authority can continue to provide essential services and meet some of the most difficult challenges that it has ever faced.

If agreed when it goes before Council for a final decision on 1 March, the budget would mean that the authority will spend more than £92.79m on essential services provided by the Social Services and Wellbeing directorate next year – an increase in funding of more than £12m.

This will include £26m for services aimed at older people, £24.1m for children’s social care, £21m for adults with learning disabilities and £5.6m for services which look after people’s wellbeing, preserve their independence and prevent them from needing further support for as long as possible.

More than £5.5m will support adults with physical disabilities and sensory impairments, and £5.2m will be used for the management and provision of services aimed at adults. A further £4.8m will be directed towards helping adults who have mental health needs.

More than £692,000 will be invested into updating and improving telecare services for local people – a project that helps people to live independently at home by using latest technology to monitor their wellbeing and help keep them safe.

The council is also continuing to invest in the social care workforce, with ongoing recruitment campaigns encouraging staff to enjoy a strong work-life balance while receiving full support and flexibility in their roles, training and development opportunities, prospects for career progression and more.

Cllr Jane Gebbie, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “Collectively, this has been one of the toughest budgets that Bridgend County Borough Council has ever set, but I am delighted that Social Services has been recognised as a priority area for increased funding.

“Whether it has involved issues such as the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic upon our mental health and learning disability budgets or the additional staffing that has been required within our residential settings, we are continuing to experience a wide range of increased demand and pressure upon our services.

“At the same time, we have been actively working to deliver improvements, and as our staff and workforce have repeatedly demonstrated, their dedication and commitment is second to none.

“When you consider the kind of work that they do and how they are endeavouring to keep local people and communities safe and well, we need to collectively place greater value upon them and the important services that they provide – services that we often do not notice or realise how essential they are until we hit a point where we have need of them ourselves.

“As part of the extensive public consultation that we carried out while developing these proposals, residents themselves told us that social care services need to be valued, and this budget certainly reflects that.

“As the Cabinet member responsible for this area, I want the council to be able to provide high standards and a high-quality service, the kind that I would be happy for one of my own family members to receive.

“Achieving this comes at an inevitable cost, of course, so it is great to see an extra £12m marked for Social Services and Wellbeing to help ensure that we can provide the best services possible.

“This is a budget which prioritises the wellbeing of vulnerable adults and children, and recognises the reality of the challenges that we continue to face as a council, as a community, and as individuals.”

The council’s budget for 2023-24 will be discussed by all members at full Council on Wednesday 1 March before a final decision is taken.