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.”

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