Our campaign to secure the Mid Rhondda Athletic Field as a community resource, while retaining it primarily as a green space, has received tacit support from RCTCBC and its leader Cllr. Andrew Morgan. Writing a foreword to the councils’ RCT Corporate Plan 2020-24 ‘Making A Difference’, Cllr. Morgan emphasises the importance of green spaces. He states that, “Having a clean, pleasant and well maintained environment remains at the top of the list. We know that efficient recycling and waste collections, welcoming green spaces, clean streets and well maintained roads are some of the ways we can best support the quality of residents’ daily lives.” (Andrew Morgan - Council Leader).
The plan provides reassurance that even if Friends of the Mid fail in securing the Mid Rhondda Athletic as a community resource the council still view retaining welcoming green spaces as top of their list of community priorities. This is in stark contrast to the UK in general. The Guardian reports that groups, like Friends of the Mid, fighting against threat of development on green spaces across the country, “ are usually made up of inexperienced, previously apolitical, locals. Out of necessity they fight separate local campaigns. But the current level of destructive development is a nationwide problem requiring a nationwide response. Taken together, these developments are changing the character of the countryside towards urban sprawl. They are inflicting irreversible damage . . .”
Why do developers want to build on green spaces like the Mid Rhondda Athletic Field rather than on available brownfield sites like the old Cwmclydach secondary school that has remained derelict since being ravaged by fire in 2004?
The Guardian provides the answer that many of us have long suspected:
“Developers don’t want to build cheap starter homes. They prefer five-bedroom, low-density housing – hence the hunger for greenfield sites, especially those near beauty spots, which are massively more profitable.”
The issue for the vast majority of people is not one of availability but of AFFORDABILITY. One of the options being considered for low density housing is the Mid Rhondda Athletic Field. RCT’s new corporate plan offers hope that even if, as a group, we fail in a securing the Mid for the community RCT regards the retention and preservation of green spaces as a priority, one of the best ways it can support the quality of resident’s daily lives.