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simon222

Abertillery Not All Bad!

Just recently there seems to have been lots of moaning and whining with regards to the state of Abertillery and the direction it's heading. Nobody ever seems to have anything good to say. Well I can honestly say that when I go to the town centre now (which is almost daily) I find the town far busier than say 10 years ago. I see people walking in Church Street and generally things going on. Rewind back 10 years or more and the whole town used to be like a ghost town. I think that the revamp of Church Street has modernised the town and refreshed it as it was looking old. Ok so there are complaints about the layout and parking bays etc but you will never please everyone. I honestly do not think many people would want the old town back before all the regeneration works. And yes it is a lot of disruption etc etc but you can't make an omlette without breaking eggs. The new Gateway feature will brighten the place up yet further and so will the new car park and the new Abertillery Primary School. Whatever happens though Abertillery is still and always will be a valley town. We now live in the age of jumping in cars and going to Cwmbran or Cardiff to shop. Ironically many of those exact people are the first to moan about the town. I don't think that many people can honestly say that Abertillery was busier 10 years ago than it is today. It isn't perfect and it never will be but it is better than it was. So let's support the town and local businesses. Yes we are overlooked yet again as we should of course get our rail link before Ebbw Vale gets their extension to the town as at least they have a station at present but hey ho we know Ebbw Vale comes first in the eyes of our council. Also we need more things going on to bring people in. Both Aberfest and Winterfest are always successful and sees the town packed, however these events needs to be promoted more and also more events introduced throughout the year.

In summary you'll never please everyone buy I for one always get what I can in town and will always support Abertillery. I get sick of people moaning and groaning all the time. People are trying to make things better here and it is having a good effect on the whole.
Rocke

Re: Abertillery Not All Bad!

simon222 wrote:
Just recently there seems to have been lots of moaning and whining with regards to the state of Abertillery and the direction it's heading. Nobody ever seems to have anything good to say. Well I can honestly say that when I go to the town centre now (which is almost daily) I find the town far busier than say 10 years ago. I see people walking in Church Street and generally things going on. Rewind back 10 years or more and the whole town used to be like a ghost town. I think that the revamp of Church Street has modernised the town and refreshed it as it was looking old. Ok so there are complaints about the layout and parking bays etc but you will never please everyone. I honestly do not think many people would want the old town back before all the regeneration works. And yes it is a lot of disruption etc etc but you can't make an omlette without breaking eggs. The new Gateway feature will brighten the place up yet further and so will the new car park and the new Abertillery Primary School. Whatever happens though Abertillery is still and always will be a valley town. We now live in the age of jumping in cars and going to Cwmbran or Cardiff to shop. Ironically many of those exact people are the first to moan about the town. I don't think that many people can honestly say that Abertillery was busier 10 years ago than it is today. It isn't perfect and it never will be but it is better than it was. So let's support the town and local businesses. Yes we are overlooked yet again as we should of course get our rail link before Ebbw Vale gets their extension to the town as at least they have a station at present but hey ho we know Ebbw Vale comes first in the eyes of our council. Also we need more things going on to bring people in. Both Aberfest and Winterfest are always successful and sees the town packed, however these events needs to be promoted more and also more events introduced throughout the year.

In summary you'll never please everyone buy I for one always get what I can in town and will always support Abertillery. I get sick of people moaning and groaning all the time. People are trying to make things better here and it is having a good effect on the whole.


Sorry Simon but I think you appear to be of the opinion that things can't be better than they are currently.
Well, our 'town council' could take on responsibility for street lighting, highways and toilets if they wanted and hence make the town FAR better and nearer to what the public want.
But they don't. Whether it's "don't know", "don't care" or some other, town councillors simply er..."don't".
Borough councillors "don't", as in "don't go out on the streets or you'll be harangued by the public who believed you when you said you'd improve things" or as in "don't ask serious questions of highly paid council staff because you'll either get put down in committee/council or bollocked by your political opponents and/or accused by said officers of bullying".
Saeson

Re: Abertillery Not All Bad!

simon222 wrote:
I think that the revamp of Church Street has modernised the town and refreshed it as it was looking old. Ok so there are complaints about the layout and parking bays etc but you will never please everyone. I honestly do not think many people would want the old town back before all the regeneration works. And yes it is a lot of disruption etc etc but you can't make an omlette without breaking eggs. The new Gateway feature will brighten the place up yet further and so will the new car park and the new Abertillery Primary School.


The problem for me is that the Council is very good at spending money on shiny new things which it then forgets and moves on to its next shiny new thing. Take a walk around the Met and count the weeds poking up through the paving and along the steps. It just looks scruffy and forgotten. What about Somerset Street, the Arcade, the bus stops? They were are shiny and new once upon a time.

Oh, and what will you see straight after Aber`s super duper new `gateway`? A delapidated old church surrounded by scaffolding and `temporary` fencing. Nice. Rolling Eyes
Rocke

"Oh, and what will you see straight after Aber`s super duper new `gateway`? A delapidated old church surrounded by scaffolding and `temporary` fencing. Nice. "

Or more to the point, what will VISITORS TO ABERFEST see ??

And where will they 'spend a penny' ?

Answer - they can't.
And as a result of this mess they won't be spending money in the town's shops.

Does anyone actually know of anybody from beyond Llan (and possibly Blaina) that comes to Aber to shop?

I know of plenty of people from Aber who shop in Nantyglo (that's where Asda is located), EV and Blackwood. All valleys towns that have had the benefit of regeneration money.

The problem regarding Aber is that in every other place it was used in tandem with economic regeneration. In Aber it hasn't been.

The Beeb's documentary will make very interesting viewing.

PS I'm off now to watch not just the footer but the daily scene of chaos by Wetherspoon's when today's idiot(s) park so close to the junction that the buses can't get through.
(That's after passing the public area of Jubilee Square. Wonder if that's open to the public today?)
simon222

On the contrary Mr Rocke. As I said in my post things are far from perfect and things can clearly get better than they are. I am just of the opinion that at least money is being put into the town and unlike previously it does actually appear that this time it is having a positive effect by the fact town seems so much busier since the improvements. The old multi story was awful let's be honest. A right dark poky place that was hardly inviting. A brand new car park will be nice and will hopefully encourage more people into town even further. Yes BGCBC are Ebbw Vale focussed we all know that and they are also masters as wasting money, I am no certainly no fan of the way they run things but Abertillery has been neglected for years ever since the demise of our industries here. It was never going to be an easy fix and was never going to happen overnight however I at least can see positive things happening. For instance surely the mere fact that most of the empty shops have been or are being done up nicely. In years gone by such places would just be left as they are to rot. On the subject of rotting anyone knows what's happening to the Trinity Chapel? Not seen any workmen in there for ages. Has the project stalled? Also what about the old snooker club which I understood was being converted to a shop premises months back but nothing seems to be happening as the place is an eyesore!
simon222

PS totally agree that the WCs need to be reopened. It is a disgrace that they have been closed. Surely letting go a few of our overpaid councillors would pay for that!  Wink
Ian

A brand new car park will be nice and will hopefully encourage more people into town even further.[quote]

They already did this and built a shiny new one the other end of town,how many people park in that now? Whilst I'm with you on spending money on Abertillery the problem is that it's no good just making the town look nice.That won't attract people back in the town centre,there needs to be something there to give them a reason for going.We need money spent on getting more businesses opened up,this is as much a part of regeneration as the cosmetic bits they've already spent out on.
Ian Jones

simon222 wrote:
On the subject of rotting anyone knows what's happening to the Trinity Chapel? Not seen any workmen in there for ages. Has the project stalled? Also what about the old snooker club which I understood was being converted to a shop premises months back but nothing seems to be happening as the place is an eyesore!


Hi Simon:
Some people would see the comments above as moaning and whining, i don't it's just your opinion.



Some would say they are angry at the ridiculous way the "Regeneration" has been handled. Church St after being dug up several times was finally finished, how much money was wasted on redoing things there because the ones overseeing it couldn't make their mind up what to do? Just because some people are concerned about the way Abertillery is Dying people such as yourself assume they are whining and moaning. We are all entitled to our opinion Simon and the people who in your opinion are whining and moaning are very concerned about their Town that is why they speak out at the way it is being mishandled.It is fair to say we ALL want a better Town let's hope in the near future we see it. PS Myself and my wife shop out of town, but we also do a lot of shopping in the Town too as any trader reading this could verify. Then again even traders have to shop out of Town for some things.

Oh and just a guess on my part, the reason there are more people walking through Town than 10 yrs ago is probably because we now have a Wetherspoon's here.
stoob

Abertillery not all bad

Regards Church Street being finished Ian, word on the streets suggest otherwise, allegedly not wide enough for a fire engine in an emergency.
Just a rumour but doubtless the Blaenau Gwent Politburo will be showing their faces this coming Saturday for the French visit, best ask the amiable one.
Rocke

simon222 wrote:
On the contrary Mr Rocke. As I said in my post things are far from perfect and things can clearly get better than they are. I am just of the opinion that at least money is being put into the town and unlike previously it does actually appear that this time it is having a positive effect by the fact town seems so much busier since the improvements. The old multi story was awful let's be honest. A right dark poky place that was hardly inviting. A brand new car park will be nice and will hopefully encourage more people into town even further. Yes BGCBC are Ebbw Vale focussed we all know that and they are also masters as wasting money, I am no certainly no fan of the way they run things but Abertillery has been neglected for years ever since the demise of our industries here. It was never going to be an easy fix and was never going to happen overnight however I at least can see positive things happening. For instance surely the mere fact that most of the empty shops have been or are being done up nicely. In years gone by such places would just be left as they are to rot. On the subject of rotting anyone knows what's happening to the Trinity Chapel? Not seen any workmen in there for ages. Has the project stalled? Also what about the old snooker club which I understood was being converted to a shop premises months back but nothing seems to be happening as the place is an eyesore!


Sorry Simon but in my opinion the reason town seems so much busier is because there are more cars - and hence people - in the side streets etc. They have to go routes they never used to.
Eg. Park the car in the multi-storey, walk down High St into town - now you park in, say, Market St so walk down Commercial St instead. Result - a lot more people walking back and forth around the Somerset corner.
Still the same number of people around Iceland - after all that's why people go there.

I ask the question - is the town busier - or simply cluttered to stagnation point ?

And why would town be busier since the improvements?

a) those improvements haven't finished (have any of them been completed???);
b) no new businesses have opened - in fact there's actually been closures.

The core issue is that the public is not having what the public says it wants. Councillors - who are (supposedly) the public's representatives remember - are more or less committed to rubber-stamping Officers' projects and ideas. After all, they are the professionals.
In fact in my experience councillors don't seem to have the mindset to ask the simple questions, as in 'Do we need another Car Park' or 'do we need more shops, can we actually fill them?'
Or more pointedly 'does this planned project conform to legal requirements such as the DDA?'

You mention Trinity Chapel.
When first proposed I asked the question - if it's going to be an indoor market along the lines of EV, Pontypool etc. is there a danger that it would compete with the Arcade, because it's much the same idea, small independent traders etc.
If I remember I got a flat 'oh no Cllr Rocke, we can stipulate what type of stalls can be in there'.    

Town Planning should be like a jigsaw. Paint a 5, 10 or even 15 year picture, chop it into manageable bits and then put the lot together, piece by piece.

Instead something gets done, then undone just a few years later to er.... make way for another bright idea.
Foundry Bridge is a classic example of that.  

Oh - not forgetting the best example of all - Anvil Court.
All the fuss about the place, (then) Labour candidates pictured on the council elections manifesto with it in the background, lots of jobs coming to Aber etc. etc.
Well, the 'jobs' were just transfers from one Council location to another, the Post Office is coming out of there and is apparently going to use one of the refurbished shops in Somerset St.

So, gain one, lose another.
It's simply shifting things around, with all the chaos that brings every time.

Has anyone - councillors especially - asked a simple question of officers?
It's this - what is the planned car parking capacity for Abertillery town centre, how many businesses are there and therefore what is the ratio of cars:business?
The supplementary is 'how does this compare to comparable thriving towns such as Blackwood.'

PS car parks don't entice people into towns, businesses do.
Absolutely no reflection on you but that's the typical mentality of some councillors.
Would anyone get in their car and drive to EV or Blackwood if we had an Argos, or Brynmawr if we had a Halfords?
If we had a Wilkinsons, a bowling alley etc. that would do the trick.
Economic development is the appropriate way forward, not building works.
simon222

I can certainly see your point Mr Rocke. If we look at it from another angle though (and after all that's what these forums are intended for healthy debates etc) what if things had been done as you had suggested? And they had loaded the town with shops opening etc but  left the car parking and the building works until afterwards? Surely then that wouldn't work. We would have a town full of shops and businesses and everyone going on about how ridiculous it is that there are poor car parking and access roads etc. Shop owners would not be happy with all the future building work and disruption (much like now except with the town thriving more it would be on a far bigger scale). People would decide to shop out of town to more car friendly places and shops would shut maybe? It is certainly food for thought. At least with all the infrastructure and the majority of the revamp out of the way then we can maybe work on the getting businesses in and do so with the town in a far better state to accomodate them and the extra shoppers it will bring. It's just food for thought and brings me back to my original point really that either way the town needed major work and either way it would cause disruption and people not being happy. No win situation. Anyway just thought I'd put a different slant on it. In the end we all want the same thing. A rail link in Abertillery, a thriving town and jobs!! Hopefully we will get it one day
Rocke

I think the key word is 'balance'.

Balance the wishes of people to come and shop here with the need to have places to park. No businesses, no need for car parking. Hence business brings car parking, and if people do their sums and surveys right we get the correct balance. The way Aber's going (gone?) the square yardage allocated to car parking areas is greater than the area occupied by shops.

Balance the disruption against the benefit.
30 weeks of disruption for the sake of a 'gateway feature' that will not be of any practical benefit to citizens. Completely unbalanced.

And again I'd point out the jigsaw analogy.
Decide what businesses Aber is to have, where they will be and then determine the infrastructure needed.

We could have had a retail park (the one Nantyglo/Brynmawr has) where Tesco is, a rail link with the end of the line right there, easy (separate) access off and onto the main road and simplified access up into the town so independent and/or small traders could have the benefit of the knock-on effect of people coming to use the big stores.

That's it, in a nutshell.

Instead it's been do this.....then a few years later do that (which will result in the original being partly or wholly dismantled)... then do something else.

Let's hope that Aberfest is very well attended on Saturday er..... not.
Do we really want people from far and wide going back home and saying 'what a dump that Abertillery is. Building works, traffic jams, and pavements blocked with cars all over the place' ?

It's not cynicism, it's reality.
Do the parents of children who will be dancing on Saturday, people who do not know Abertillery, realise that they should either expect another 10-15 minutes to be added to their journey, or that there are alternative routes which will avoid the inevitable jams?
Did any councillor - let alone the council - actually mention Aberfest when these works were first proposed?????????????

Believe it or not when I was a councillor (for Cwmtillery Ward mind you, not Abertillery) I was at a meeting regarding proposed works in Church St and I had to remind EVERYONE present that the schedule meant that the works would be ongoing during Aberfest.

Councillors (who shall remain nameless) responded with words similar to 'I'm sure the officers will ensure that there's no impact'.
Those were the very officers of course who didn't even realise.
(And of course the same applied to the councillors).

What hope is there when this sort of thing is allowed to happen.

Oh - and of course the same thing has happened again.
Some people never learn.

We share the same aspirations for Aber.
Unfortunately I can never have the confidence that the council ie. staff and councillors are up to the job.

The key word is 'balance'.
Officers are there to do the job, and don't (need to, nor be expected to) have the day-to-day interests of the public uppermost in their thoughts.
Councillors are there to counterbalance that with the needs and wishes of the public.

Somewhere along the line that principle isn't working.

As I've heard - and indeed repeated - many times, Aber has some of the nicest empty shops in Wales.
That I think says it all.
IEH

As a stranger to Abertillery we visited a couple of weeks ago to drop something at the Museum. We had a look around and had lunch in the town. We found it a charming, friendly and bustling town center, much busier then Chepstow on the same day. But better parking would help lots, as a stranger we had no idea where to go and ended up parking in Tesco and walking up the hill, with a bad hip that was quite a challenge and was saw for days.

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