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Let down by their Labour Councillors – library protestors’ anger.

January 15, 2014 9:30 AM

Residents in Rhydyfelin, Hawthorn and Taff's Well are furious following a surprise decision by the Labour Cabinet in RCT to close Rhydyfelin library. This despite the original proposals which went out to consultation suggesting it would remain open.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell attended a hastily called public meeting on Saturday where the attitude of local Labour Councillors did nothing to calm the residents.

"I don't think there could have been any real argument against closing some of the libraries in RCT - indeed, as our submission to the consultation said, it would have been extremely difficult to argue in favour of retaining them all.

"However, the consultation which went out was based on very definite proposals. Nantgarw library was earmarked for closure, but not Rhydyfelin. Based on that the people of Rhydyfelin and Hawthorn saw no reason to put forward a case for their library, whilst some residents of Taff's Well whilst not liking the proposal no doubt thought that they would at least not have too far to travel to get to Rhydyfelin.

"Then without warning when the Cabinet met to make their decision following the consultation the announcement was made that Rhydyfelin would close and Pontyclun would stay open. To say people were surprised would most definitely be an understatement."

The original report stated that recommendations for libraries which were to be retained were based on a combination of usage, geographical location and onsite facilities. Nantgarw was, according to the report, underused, and residents could use the Rhydyfelin one just 2.9miles away.

The report which went to Cabinet on 8th January gave no indication that the Cabinet were going to make any changes to the original proposals and so objectors had no time at all to make their objections known.

Councillor Powell says it is yet another example of Labour in RCT putting party before the people they supposedly represent.

"The three wards involved here are all represented by Labour Councillors. Rhydyfelin's Councillor, Maureen Webber is a member of the Cabinet - the same Cabinet who made the decision.

"All three must have known the changes that were going to be made to the original plan, yet none of them saw fit to inform residents. It is disgraceful. As Councillors our first responsibility should be to those who elect us.

"It seems that they are so confident that their voters will stay loyal no matter what they feel they don't need to make any effort. The residents of Rhydyfelin, Hawthorn and Taff's Well may feel differently."