Agenda item

To receive announcements by the Leader


I am delighted to be able to inform members that Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help, Councillor Jane Gebbie, has been presented with a prestigious national award from the Ron Todd Foundation.


Set up following the work of trade union leader Ron Todd, the foundation supports people who are living in poverty and works to prevent its root causes, promote equality and diversity, and to recognise individuals who undertake outstanding work in these areas.


Every year, it announces winners at its annual memorial lecture event, and this year has declared Councillor Gebbie to be the winner of the Ron Todd Award for Equality.


Councillor Gebbie won the award after she was nominated by no less than eleven different organisations and individuals.


The Deputy Leader has a deep-rooted commitment towards social equality, this award recognises that, and I am sure that members will join me now in offering her our warmest congratulations.


I was also delighted to attend Maesteg Sports Centre where its 40th anniversary has been marked by a £400,000 investment and the newest facilities were officially opened by the Mayor in the presence of the Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations, Cabinet and local members.


The upgrade includes a larger gym area with new cardio machines, a dedicated strength and conditioning space, a wellness zone, a new exercise studio, additional room for training and workshops, and a new accessible changing space.


The sports centre has been a popular and well-used facility in the Llynfi Valley since March 1983, and since the council partnered with Halo Leisure in 2012, it has recorded well over one point five million users and more than a million gym workouts.


Further improvements are planned, including the soon-to-be-finished strength and conditioning zone, and I know all local members are looking forward to the additional benefits future phases of investment will deliver.


Demolition of Bridgend town centre’s former police station will begin on Monday 20 March as preparations get underway for clearing the site read for the development of the planned new Bridgend College campus.


With work expected to take up to twelve weeks, access to Cheapside and local businesses will be maintained throughout the demolition process.


Some temporary narrowing of the carriageway and minor alterations to pedestrian crossing points will be required, and the contractor has been liaising with local businesses directly to ensure that they are aware.


As you know, the site forms a significant part of our regeneration plans for Bridgend town centre. We intend to lease it to Bridgend College and enable the Cowbridge Road campus to relocate there.


The college plans to create a net-zero carbon building, with 21st century learning and teaching facilities for post-16 further and higher education in Bridgend, with community benefits including a 200-seat theatre space, design workshops and flexible meeting spaces.


It represents a £50 million investment into skills and training for the people of Bridgend County Borough which will cater for at least 1,000 staff and students.


We also want it to act as a catalyst for wider regeneration by increasing footfall and supporting local businesses.


We will bring you further news on this as the development starts to take shape.


Finally, I was saddened to hear from her son that the former Mayor of the County Borough Mari Jones recently passed away at the age of 92.


The member for Llangynwyd, Mari devoted herself to many years of public service. Mari served on many committees within the authority and was vice chair of Planning and Development Committee.


Outside of the council, she served as a governor for both Cwmfelin and Llangynwyd primary schools, and as a director at Valleys To Coast Housing and Maesteg Town Hall.


Mari was also very active within several community groups, such as the Llangynwyd Village Hall Working Group, as vice chair of the Glamorgan Women’s Institute arts and leisure committee, and as a past president for Tir Larll WI.


A fluent Welsh speaker, Mari was passionate about the Welsh language, and I am sure that I am not the only member present here today who remembers her as a very committed colleague, one who was wholly dedicated towards her role as an elected member, and towards helping to improve her local community.


Mari’s funeral service will be held at St Ceitho’s Church, Llangeitho, Tregaron, the village where she grew up, on Wednesday 29 March. 


Members and Officers then stood in a minutes silence as a mark of respect to Mari Jones, a past Mayor of BCBC.