Plaid delivers for Bargoed

28/10/2011

Below is the text of the speech by Councillor Allan Pritchard, Plaid Cymru leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, at the opening of the new library and customer services centre in Bargoed following a multi-million pound refurbishment of the Hanbury Chapel.

Bore Da, and yes it is a very good morning here in Bargoed today.

As leader of Caerphilly county borough council, I am delighted that this Plaid led council is bucking the national trend by making major investments in town centres and in particular customer service points and town centre libraries.

Many libraries in other parts of the country are closing down and councils are not providing alternative facilities, yet we are investing in these important larger community facilities and Hanbury Chapel in Bargoed town centre is a significant demonstration of this policy.

This historic chapel has been transformed into an exciting new library, customer services centre and a place where the congregation from Bargoed and the surrounding communities can continue to meet and worship.

It is clear that Bargoed is undergoing a major transformation with regeneration work taking place throughout the town centre. Today we can witness that the wonderful architecture of our forefathers has been retained and the old and the new have been sympathetically combined to retain local history and to look to the future.

We are also delighted that local retailers are making similar efforts to ‘spruce up’ their properties to reflect the ongoing facelift of the town. 

The ongoing regeneration of Bargoed has already seen extra footfall through the town in the last year and so, with Morrison’s development starting in 2012 the future is looking much brighter for Bargoed.

Overall, when we include fit-out and furniture in addition to the build and related fees we are looking at £3.4 million cost for the building's regeneration.   The scheme costs - build only, including building acquisition, fees, etc was just under £3.2 million.

By working in partnership, the scheme has benefitted from a number of grants that have greatly assisted this project - These include:

  • £1.74 million from the Heads of the Valleys Programme
  • £95K from CADW
  • £279K from CyMAL in the Welsh Government (libraries division) that paid for the furniture and shelving
  • And £250,000 that we will be contributing directly as Caerphilly CBC towards the capital costs

Caerphilly County Borough Council has made a significant commitment to help regenerate this old town of Bargoed and I am delighted to be here today at this wonderfully restored building to witness that commitment coming to fruition.

Working in true partnership with United Welsh, Heads of the Valleys Programme, CADW, the Welsh Government and the local community, we are delivering for the people of this area.

When a scheme, such as we see today come to fruition, we know that we can make a difference to many of our town centres and the regeneration we are witnessing here in Bargoed is a prime example of what is possible.

I would like to thank everyone who has been associated with this wonderful project and for coming here today in celebration of the official opening.

To conclude, I would like to refer to the inscription on a mining memorial in my own village which reads;

  • (Welsh -) O'r Dyfnderoedd Bydded Goleuni
  • (English) - Out of Darkness let there be Light 

It is now time for Bargoed to awaken from the darkness it has witnessed over the past years and to once again come out into the sunlight.