Hello there. Hope you're feeling well today.
Apologies for not posting for the past couple of days. A combination of not being 100%, work and an early morning appointment to the dentist waylaid me. Which is why what I'm going to chat about today happened on Wednesday. I was at a petrol station when a copy of the local paper caught my eye.
|No guesses where the "Ghost Town" Is|
As I was reading the article it struck me that Welsh Labour were making excuses for their rule of arrogant incompetence. What I felt I needed to do in one post was to go through the reasons I've explained before as to what they have done. So people can understand that they are guilty of the attempted manslaughter of the town. I say "attempted" because whilst Bridgend Town is still alive Welsh Labour has hurt it.
Austerity,Online shopping and out of town stores are trotted out as an excuse. But as I've said before you compare Bridgend Town with somewhere similar like Pontypridd or Caerphilly it fails, and it fails miserably.
So let's go through how Welsh Labour at national and local level have done this:
Business Rates / Macarthur Glen: Shopowners in the town say that the business rates are too high. It's not an unreasonable claim when there is the Designer Outlet facility Macarthur Glen almost literally down the road, offering big name brands with low prices. You would have thought that it should have allowed a lowering of the rates. But no.
The rates are set by the Welsh Labour Government (who remember until last month was led by Carwyn Jones - the local Bridgend Assembly member - I mean why is he still an Assembly member? What has he done for Bridgend?) but did the Labour council ask for a lowering specifically there because of the Macarthur Glen effect? If not why not?
Pedestrianism: The Labour council insisted that the high streets of the town centre were pedestrianised. Now it intends to depedestrianise them. When? Well who knows? There was a quote in the paper saying that the council does not have the funds to do it.
If correct that is stunning. You cause damage to the town's trade and whether it's too late or not you cannot undo that mistake because you don't have the money? I'm not a lawyer but personally I'd seek legal advice to see whether or not the council could be sued.
Look Of Town: If the many empty shops were not bad enough the general look of the town would not appeal for visitors to return. Things like the bunting which has been around since may, the Christmas lights that have been in the indoor market for all of 2018, the move of the town centre library away from the town centre and now the closure of the public toilets.
Trust me I could go on, but the point is that whilst by itself these examples seem unimportant added to together they just paint a picture of a town on it's knees.
Future Cuts: There is the possibility of future cuts as well. The most notable being to the bus station (no decision has been made). The council do not seem to realise it creates a vicious circle. If the place continues to be unattractive to visit then less people will come which will mean more shops will close which will mean less income for the council which will mean more cuts.
Lack Of Strategy: As I've explained before there seems to be no clear strategy for the future of the town. It appears to be run on a crisis management basis. You know that is the most worrying thing of all. There's no clear escape.
Which all goes to explain why there is only one word for Welsh Labour regarding Bridgend Town.....
Until the next time.