Thursday, May 25, 2006


Labour slams court closure plan

Proposals being put forward to close the Magistrates’ Court in Port Talbot have been slammed by Aberavon MP, Dr Hywel Francis, who believes that the changes will hit the victims of crime hardest.

Plans thought to be under consideration by Her Majesty’s Court Service, as part of its South Wales Estates Review, include the closure of Port Talbot Magistrates’ Court and the possible relocation of the Central Finance Unit involving the loss of up to eighty jobs in the town.

Dr Francis MP said,

“The Criminal Justice System has a special responsibility towards local communities and the victims and witnesses of crime. If justice is to work well then it needs the public to understand it and feel comfortable with it.”

“It is essential that it is based with the community that it seeks to serve. Local justice needs to take place in a local setting.”

“The proposal to close the Port Talbot Court does not make any sense. It is ideally located, with excellent transport links and is a short walk away from the central police station. The victims of crime in the town need faster and more accountable justice. These plans will mean that they will have to travel further to see that justice is done.”

“The mooted relocation of the Finance Unit would also be a huge blow to Port Talbot. It provides many local people with high quality jobs which would be sorely missed if the plans were given the go-ahead.”

“The Labour Party in Aberavon is completely opposed to these proposals. It will be the victims of crime who will be most affected by these changes, and we will continue to campaign to stand up for their rights. The review completely fails to take into account the impact that closing the Magistrates’ Court would have on victims, witnesses and the police.”

“I will personally be making representations to the Minister for Constitutional Affairs and those within the Courts Service to do as much as I can to get the proposals reversed.”

Friday, May 19, 2006


Labour campaigners praise Aberavon crime crackdown

News that crime is on the decrease in the old Aberavon area of Port Talbot has been warmly welcomed by local labour Party members. However, following news of a brutal attack on a local shopkeeper which left him with a fractured arm, they have urged that more needs to be done to maintain the progress that has been made.

Operation Wizard, which in April 2006, reduced the number of house burglaries in the ward to zero, other burglaries by 67% and violent crime by 80% has been hailed as a great success by Aberavon Ward Labour spokesman, and local resident, Arthur Howells.

Arthur said,

“Crime and anti-social behaviour is, by far, the number one issue for the people of Aberavon. The statistic that our particular area suffers from 10% of all the crime in Neath Port Talbot was in one sense shocking – but for those of us who live here, it seemed to be quite a reasonable estimate.”

“Labour members in Aberavon have long been campaigning for more police officers on the beat out and about in the community. The results of Operation Wizard show the massive difference that a highly visible police presence can make.”

“There are a number of schemes being put in place by the local authority, the police and others, not least the Housing Renewal Area, which are beginning to make a long term improvement in the fortunes of Aberavon a reality. There is a real sense of community spirit re-establishing itself in the area.”

“The horrific attack on the owner of Bargain Booze shows, though, that we cannot rest on our laurels. No-one ever pretended that tackling the issue of crime and disorder head on was going to be easy but we are pleased to see everyone working together to create a proper and sustainable solution to the problems that the people of Aberavon are suffering on a daily basis."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Railway petition campaign nets 1,000 signatures

Over one thousand people have signed up to support a campaign by the Aberavon Labour Party to improve disabled access to Port Talbot Parkay Railway Station. The campaign has been gathering pace over the last few months and has attracted the backing of residents in every part of the Aberavon Constituency.

Taibach Labour Councillor, John Rogers, said,

“We would like to thank everyone who took their time to sign our petition and give their clear support to improve the state of the railway station to allow disabled people the easy access they need to use public transport.”

“Access to the station is a huge problem not just for disabled people but also for young families and those passengers with heavy luggage. It is important for the future of the town that we have an up to date and fully accessible railway station. The people of the town deserve better and by signing our petition in such numbers, they have spoken with a clear voice to Network Rail.”

“The Aberavon Labour Party has also been working alongside a number of local and national charities and voluntary organisations to make Network Rail aware of the strength of feeling on the issue in the area.”

Councillor Rogers added that the Labour Party would be writing to everyone who signed the petition to thank them for their support,

“In adding their name to our campaign, ordinary people who are trying to do their best for the local community have shown that by banding together, they can make a real difference. We will be writing to everyone who took a few minutes of their time to sign up, to thank them for their efforts and to keep them up to date on the progress we are making.”

“We are having ongoing discussions with Network Rail and the other organisations responsible for the running of station. This show of public support by local people can only help us as we try and win improvements to Port Talbot Parkway.”

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


100 years of local Labour Party history - your chance to play a part

February 2006 will mark the centenary of the formation of the Labour Party. The Aberavon Constituency Labour Party are planning to celebrate the anniversary by holding a week long public exhibition and compiling an in-depth written history of the local party.

They are asking residents to help them by digging out any old newspaper cuttings, photographs, or election leaflets that they may have that tell the story of the Labour Party in the constituency over the past 100 years.

Dr Hywel Francis MP said,

“Following the 1906 General Election, the Labour Representation Committee, as it was then known, was transformed into a real parliamentary force with 29 MPs. To mark the occasion, the group was renamed the Labour Party, as it has remained to this day.”

“We are looking for the stories of the men and women who set up local Labour Party organisations, put up candidates, fought and won local council seats, sat on Boards and governing bodies, campaigned, recruited and knocked on doors.”

“The 1906 Centenary gives us a chance to celebrate and reflect upon the people and events from the past. For a hundred years, Labour Party members in the Aberavon Constituency have dedicated their lives to making things better for their fellow citizens.”

“Their stories are not just an important part of the Labour Party’s history but also the histories of local communities stretching from Briton Ferry to Margam, from Aberavon to Cymmer.”

Anyone with material that they think would be of assistance are asked to contact Anthony Taylor, Aberavon Constituency Labour Party Campaigns Co-ordinator, by phone on 01639 885840 / 07920 111869, via e-mail: or in writing at 13 Brook Street, Taibach, Port Talbot, SA13 1TG.

Monday, January 02, 2006


Business Club Charity Lunch to feature Roy Noble OBE

Radio Wales presenter Roy Noble OBE is teaming up with the Aberavon Constituency Labour Party to raise funds for charity on Friday, 20 January 2006.

Roy will be the guest speaker at a Business Club Lunch taking place at the Towers Hotel, Jersey Marine at 1pm. Tickets cost £15 each or £150 for a table of ten with the proceeds from the ticket sales going to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. All local businesses and individuals are welcome to attend.

Bryn & Cwmafan Labour Councillor Marian Lewis, who is organising the event, said,

“We are very lucky to have attracted a speaker of the calibre of Roy Noble, who is very much sought after for this sort of event. He has presented a daily show on Radio Wales for a number of years as well as hosting a number of television programmes and has virtually become a household name in Wales.”

“He will be telling us his secrets from his upbringing in the Amman Valley, through his early career in education as a teacher, all the way up to his present day status as one of the most recognisable personalities in Welsh broadcasting.”

“This lunch is a chance for local businesspeople to be thoroughly entertained and at the same time raise some much needed funds for as worthwhile a cause as the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. The money will go towards research into treating and curing a condition that affects many families across the constituency.”

Tickets are available from Councillor Lewis who can be contacted on 01639 632324 or via e-mail on

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Planning Application

Planning Application: P/2005/1820

Land off Green Street, rear of 15-23 Bevan Street and Sandfields Road

Construction of four 2-bedroom flats and parking spaces

A full planning application has been submitted to build four 2-bedroom flats at land off Green Street.

The plans can be viewed during normal working hours by contacting the Council’s Planning Department on 01639 764284.

If you have any views on the application that you would like to be taken into account by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council’s planning committee when it meets to decide whether or not to grant permission for this application then please send them to Cliff Patten, Development Control, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, Civic Centre, Neath, SA11 3QZ. You can also e-mail your comments to Please ensure that you quote the planning application number P/2005/1820 when you write.

Your local Labour Campaign Team are also interested in hearing your views on the application.

You can contact us by telephone on 07968 968 195 or e-mail us at

Monday, November 28, 2005


Labour launches train station access petition

Members of the Aberavon Constituency Labour Party will this weekend be launching a petition campaign calling for significant improvements to be made to Port Talbot Parkway Railway Station to allow disabled people to access the platforms more easily.

The campaign has been backed by Aberavon’s MP Dr Hywel Francis and Welsh Assembly Member Dr Brian Gibbons.

Dr Francis MP said,

“The current situation where disabled people face great difficulty in accessing the train platforms is completely unacceptable. Passengers unable to use the connecting bridge, have to book 24 hours in advance, for staff to let them in through the station gate instead.”

“There is no service at all for disabled passengers when the station is unstaffed. This is clearly discriminatory.”

“Both Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales need to commit to improving the level of station accessibility. The companies are under a clear obligation to take steps to remove obstacles that act as a barrier to disabled people who want to access their services. Our petition calls on them to do exactly that.”

“Access is a huge problem not just for disabled people but also for young families with pushchairs and passengers with heavy luggage.”

Dr Brian Gibbons AM added,

“Things will be getting even worse once the new timetables come into operation in early December. With a train, on average, passing through the station every twelve minutes, it is difficult to see when they will be able to find the time to provide help to those who need it to access the platforms. ”

“Work also needs to be done to improve the appearance and general repair of the connecting bridge as well. Passengers, like myself and Hywel, who use the station on a regular basis know how dark and unpleasant it can be.”

“It not only puts people off from taking advantage of public transport, it also gives an incorrect impression of the town to visitors coming here for the first time.”

“Local people feel strongly that they are getting a raw deal from Network Rail and Arriva Trains Wales on this issue.”

“We hope that they will take a few seconds of their time to sign the petition and give their clear support to our campaign to improve the state of the railway station to allow disabled people to have easy access to the transport that they need.”

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