Plaid Cymru campaigners gathered in Caerphilly over the weekend to highlight what they see as a lack of council action to revitalise the town centre.
Councillor Lindsay Whittle, leader of the Plaid group on Caerphilly Council, said: “Caerphilly is a wonderful town, my hometown, but it needs to be revitalised as a matter of urgency. Plaid in Action believes there has been inaction from the county borough council.
“Manchester House in Van Road, once a popular drapers and later furniture store, has been empty for decades. The building looks dreadful and creates a terrible impression of the town. While there has been a lot of talk recently about new owners taking action, which is welcome, we need to see things moving quickly.
“Another building, Wilding’s in Cardiff Road in the centre of town was demolished and is now an eyesore. The site was meant to become the entrance to a boutique hotel in Park Lane but by demolishing it too early the council created an eyesore. Also is such a plan realistic in Caerphilly, given the close proximity to a host of top hotels in Cardiff? If it is to happen, then we need action now.
“While at the bottom end of the town around the Piccadilly, where an old chapel and post office were knocked down, the site lies empty. Again, we’ve heard talk of proposals but nothing is happening. We cannot allow the neglect of the town to continue.
“Labour has promised to spend some of the enormous reserves to add to the Levelling Up Fund that the Tory Westminster government is pushing. The new transport hub with a new bus and train station planned although welcome will not bring in long term jobs. What about a massive new theatre arts complex? I don’t believe that Cadw’s Caerphilly Castle revamp with a new centre will bring hoards of new visitors to the town.”
Senedd Member Delyth Jewell said: “The centre of Caerphilly town is historic, and in this sunny weather you can really see the potential of how glorious it could look, given the right care and investment. If empty buildings were shown a bit of love and attention, the centre around the castle could attract swathes of tourists and could give the people who live here something to be proud of. Let's see this as an opportunity to inject some TLC into the centre, because Caerphilly is such a wonderful town, and it deserves to look its brilliant best.”
Caerphilly Town Councillor Jeff Grenfell added: "I along, with the town council, have asked for something to be done about Manchester House for years. We understand money is tight for development but it seems someone has bought it and we hope they start work soon. It is about time. Caerphilly county has dragged their heels on this for too long."