Your council

From Risca Urban District Council to Risca Town Council
For 80 years, Risca had its own local Council, known as The Risca Urban District Council.
Founded by an act of Parliament in 1894, this Council had 18 members, a Chairman and other Officers. It was responsible for sewage and sanitary services, refuse collection, housing and street cleaning, amongst many other duties. At that time, Risca was still a village, but an industrial centre was developing. There were collieries, tinplate and steel works, an iron foundry, a brewery, firebrick works and limekilns.

The RUDC covered the Parish of Risca (the villages of Risca, Pontymister, Crosskeys and Pontywaun) together with parts of Upper and Lower Machen, from the river to the top of Mynydd Machen, including Ochrwyth, Dan y graig, and Sugar Loaf, Risca Blackvein Colliery and houses and the Full Moon area. Later, parts of Mynyddislwyn Parish were included, when the New Pit and the colliery houses called Newtown were opened.

Risca UDC eventually became part of Islwyn Borough Council until 1974, when the latest Local Government reorganisation took place. At that time, Islwyn and Rhymney Valley Borough Councils were combined to form Caerphilly County Borough Council.

Caerphilly CBC currently has 72 elected Councillors and is responsible for spending more than £300 million each year. Decisions are made in the overall interests of many thousands of people. You can see how some issues, important to a local area, might look less important in the grand scheme of things, to Councillors many miles away. Like a local nursing home.

The story of Ty Darren is well known locally; the marches, petitions of 14,000 names and the combined efforts of many local heroes and heroines supported by their Councillors were unable save the home and to prevent frail and vulnerable people being dispersed throughout the borough. It was at this point that ‘Friends of Ty Darren’ became The Risca West and East Community Action Group and the struggle for a local voice through a Community Council was on.
Two years of solid campaigning, footslogging mail shots, setbacks and public meetings followed. Four wonderful community events were organised to raise awareness and foster Community spirit. Several ballots were held, the electors of Risca, Ty Sign and Pontymister voting conclusively for the formation of a Community Council in each of the two electoral communities in Risca. In November 2012 these two Councils were formed.

The Risca East and West Community Action Group, now renamed, continues to organise events for the Community. Those of us who were active campaigners with them always will be grateful to our friends and colleagues from that time, although now our roles are different.

We are proud to serve the ward of Risca West, which includes Danygraig, (Cllr.Mike Parker) Risca Town and Fernlea (Cllr. Sally Davies, Cllr. Tony Davies and Cllr.Hazel Dupre), Pontymister Lower (Cllr. Brian Hancock) and Ty Isaf Fields (Cllr. Louise Stephens, Cllr Stephen Tom and Cllr. Joy Parsons).

We soon discovered that many people were confused as to whether they lived in Rica East or Risca West. After some discussion, it was decided to request a change of our name to Risca Town Council, reflecting the position of our ward mainly in the town centre.

Many people continue to express surprise that a town the size of Risca should be split into East and West and to have two councils. We agree. It is our intention to campaign for the amalgamation and eventual reunification of our community, and to re establish the single Town Council for Risca. Whether or not this happens, we continue to enjoy cordial and friendly relations with Councillors from Risca East Community Council, and are actively planning joint events for the whole of the Risca Community.

Councillor Tony Davies (Mayor)