Our Plan for the Valleys
The Valleys – from the Amman Valley in the west, to Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen in the east – present many of our country’s greatest economic and social challenges.
A Plaid Cymru Government would establish Cymoedd, a Valleys Development Authority, with a remit to drive the economic opportunities associated with the Valleys Metro, in particular the Valleys CrossRail. Cymoedd would work closely with Transport for Wales to ensure the delivery of CrossRail, with Transport for Wales responsible for constructing the Valleys Metro and delivering the rolling stock, while the Development Authority would be responsible for the provision of transit-oriented development along its length.
To encourage active travel in the graded terrain of the Valleys we would establish an electric bike manufacturer in the heart of the Valleys. Bikes would be mounted at every train station to guarantee seamless travel.
Cymoedd would complement the Cardiff and Swansea Bay City Deals, not replace them. It would work closely with Prosperity Wales, the local authorities, housing associations, and the private sector to ensure that public procurement is as localised as possible, and to co-ordinate local business and investment.
Cymoedd would assemble a team to promote business development adjacent to Metro stations and interchanges and the main commuting corridors. It would also promote community-driven renewable energy and other projects, as set out in the Greenprint for the Valleys.
The Authority would identify three centres across the central Valleys to become anchor towns, linked by the Metro CrossRail and Merthyr would be made the key development focus for the Heads of the Valleys corridor. To pump-prime this role the Development Authority will actively support the proposed National Centre for Industrial Heritage at Cyfarthfa Castle, with its 190-acre park along both sides of the River Taff in Merthyr. Additionally we would commission a feasibility study on the creation of a new town along the Heads of the Valleys corridor.
In addition, Cymoedd would identify and promote a number of other flagship attractions relating to the arts and heritage, capable of achieving an international profile in other locations across the Valleys. As part of our commitment to ‘more than a million’ Welsh speakers, the Authority will also prioritise the creation of new Welsh language spaces in order to increase the use of Welsh in the Valleys.
The Authority will also be charged with developing the Valleys Regional Park. This will be important in projecting the environmental and heritage assets of the Valleys, not just to provide greater recreation opportunities, but for creating a more attractive environment for business investment, and for tourism.
Cardiff City Council have published plans for a £1bn plus transport strategy that includes a Cardiff CrossRail from St Mellons to Llantrisant, plus a Circle Line with a rail bridge over the Taff. This will undoubtedly improve public transport connectivity in Cardiff, but we need an equally exciting vision for the Valleys.
We need a more focused investment in the Metro north of Cardiff that will deliver the step-change in regeneration that the Valleys need. Using existing, new and reinstated lines, a Valleys CrossRail would connect Treherbert in the Rhondda to Pontypool, via Pontypridd, Nelson, Ystrad Mynach, Hengoed, Blackwood, Newbridge, and Crumlin.
The Valleys CrossRail would be as much about business development, urban regeneration and housing as transport. Overall, the scheme would directly benefit a population of more than 250,000 people, resulting in a greater and more equitable spread of economic activity.