The Cardiff Capital Region City Deal resolution and council tax freeze are some of the Tories’ main areas of interest ahead of the local elections.
With May 5 on the horizon, the Welsh Conservatives released their manifesto today at a campaign launch in Llandudno. The party has published a far-reaching plan for local authorities across the country, pledging to deliver “stronger and safer” communities across Wales.
Conservative DM and former Bridgend County Borough Councilor (BCBC), Tom Giffard opened up on some of the key areas of interest for the county borough.
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“The main commitment [from us] it’s that we want to freeze the council tax,” Mr. Giffard said.
“Bridgend has the fourth highest council tax in Wales and it’s too high.”
According to Welsh Government data, the county borough of Bridgend has the fourth highest average Band D council tax rate in Wales (2021-22) at £1,937.
The county borough has the sixth highest average tax rate per dwelling (2021-2022) in Wales at £1,649 – £105 above the national Welsh average of £1,544.
Mr Giffard, who will not be running for BCBC again in order to focus on his role as Senedd’s regional member for South West Wales, added: “We believe [a freeze] will help people deal with the cost of living crisis.”
“A die [other] what we are looking for is the City Deal. [It is] really important that it also works for Bridgend as a county. We support the city’s agreement, [but] at the moment we don’t really see any tangible results for us as a county.”
Mr Giffard added that he would also like to see a town center regeneration program independent of the City Deal and the pedestrianization of Bridgend town center if the Tories win in May.
Free parking is a topic that has been taken up by Bridgend Town Independent candidates in their list of commitments ahead of the election – one includes a proposal to turn unused taxi spaces and loading bays into parking areas free of 30 minutes and parking spaces for the disabled.
Asked if free parking is something the Tories will add to their priority list for Bridgend, Mr Giffard said: ‘One of the problems with free parking is that it only happens for short periods at a time People don’t know when parking is going to be free. [It is] really important that the board have a consistent policy.
“It’s nice to have these [parking] plans, but if no one knows about them or if they’re not consistent, people aren’t going to get in their cars and go downtown.”
Other key local government commitments in the party manifesto include:
- Protect local services through a community property fund that would help buy facilities like pubs, shops or libraries
- Investments in roads and sidewalks to minimize potholes
- Support businesses and communities to make local territories attractive for investment
- Work with the police to tackle anti-social behavior, fly dumping, graffiti and dog damage
- Enable local communities to create local neighborhood plans so residents can determine where new housing and services should be built
- Increase recycling and provide services to enable communities to maximize what they can recycle
You can find all of the candidates listed for each ward in Bridgend County Borough on the Bridgend County Council website. Want the latest Bridgend County news straight to your inbox? Register for free here.