An online poll at SouthWalesMedia.com has shown a negative viewpoint towards the council.
The brief poll asked people to rate how much they agreed with these statements. With 10 being strongly agree and 1 strongly disagree.
Asked whether ‘Briton Ferry is improving as a place to live’
95% of people voted 1-3. With the vast majority, (over 80%) voting 1 out of 10.
People were then asked whether ‘Over the last 5 years Neath Port Talbot council have helped improve Briton Ferry?’
Once again over 80% voted ‘1’ out of ten. With ‘2’ and ‘3’ being second and third on the list in that order.
Looking at the overall council. Respondents were then asked whether ‘Neath Port Talbot council are doing a good job across the whole borough?’
Respondents were slightly more favourable to the council as a whole. However, 90% still rated the council either 1, 2 or 3 out of ten.
There were some common concerns raised. Which we assume are the reasons why the opinion was so low.
The price of council tax, which Labour increased this year was a common response. The lack of police was high on the agenda too.
The regeneration of the High Street, more CCTV, better investment in businesses and improving the Brunel Docks were all suggested. As well as widening the main road and making a no right turn in and out of Tescos.
HMO’s was a very common response too. HMO’s (House in multiple occupation) seems a specific local issue. It was also linked with other issues raised such as drugs and anti-social behaviour. There was a common theme that Briton Ferry is becoming a worst place to live and not better.
Despite the gloom. There was some positive news.
In a small poll, 9 people stated that they would ‘consider standing at the next council election’.
Only 3 candidates stood over the two Briton Ferry East & Britton Ferry West seats in 2017. Two of which were from the same party (Labour). One being elected without a single vote.
In nine months’ time, there will be a council election and things can only improve with interest. The future of Briton Ferry and the whole of the borough will be on the line and it has to be good to have more people involved. There can only be a change if people stand to make it happen.
Is Briton Ferry a part of a political change of direction for NPT?
‘You can pin a donkey with a red rosette, and it would still get in’. That’s a statement aimed at many Labour heartlands over the years.
There are though increasing signs that Briton Ferry could be a part of a seismic shift. A shift which sees Neath Port Talbot council reject Labour for the first time in its history.
Labours failure to listen to residents, especially with concerns about school closures has been a hot topic. From Tonmawr to Alltwen, Bryn to Cwmgors, there is real anger at the way that pupils, teachers and parents have been ignored.
And voting has followed this. In 2017 Labour lost 9 seats from the previous election in 2012. It has got even worst for the party since then. Having lost 4 more bi-elections since. Some in very strong Labour seats.
The party currently hold 39 out of 64. If they were to lose 8 seats, then they would lose the council.
The Labour party have had a dogged time in NPT over the past 5 years. As well as the council leader being caught on tape, residents have had to watch huge investment in projects in neighbouring boroughs. In Swansea, the sea front and Kingsway has been transformed. The new arena and bridge which links the centre to the renovations have been a part of a billion-pound investment.
In the other direction, into Rhondda Cynon Taff, the Rhigos Zip line sits just a few miles from the NPT border. The world’s fastest seated zip line has been a huge success attracting thousands of tourists. Although NPT has upgraded Aberavon splash park.
A former Labour Vice Chair told us “It isn’t Labour that is the issue. Labour is working far better in other boroughs. The issue is simply Labour in Neath Port Talbot. There are awful officers in the council in the top positions. Awful officers that have been placed there by the NPT Labour hierarchy to.”
‘Labour needs to lose’
Alun Krem-Sciesniak goes on to say “as a Socialist. As someone who until recently had always been a part of the Labour party. I think Labour need to lose in Neath Port Talbot for their own sake as much as the councils. They have taken seats like Briton Ferry, Port Talbot, Taibach and Neath for granted. The council officers know that they only need to please the leader of the Labour party. It is unhealthy. Labour need to lose and then regroup, rediscover their values and be a party deserving of peoples vote once more.”
This poll was filled in by 59 people.