Bridgend County Borough Council’s cabinet is set to discuss the extension of its role as host of the Valleys Regional Park until June 2023.
The Valleys Regional Park promotes the natural and cultural heritage of the South Wales Valleys with the aim of developing a regional commitment to co-ordinated promotion and management of the landscape.
It also seeks to help people to re-connect to the Valleys landscape for their wellbeing, so it becomes a place for exercise, work, relaxation and nature, as well as for arts and heritage, and for education; and ensure the landscape underpins a resilient local economy, supporting businesses, community enterprise and the development of skills and learning.
Made up of the council leaders of the 13 local authorities within the region, the regional partnership’s board covers an area from Carmarthenshire in the west to Pontypool in the east and Bridgend in the south to Merthyr Tydfil in the north.
The Valleys Regional Park board has requested Bridgend County Borough Council remains as host until June 2023. A report to the council’s cabinet, to be discussed at its meeting on November 17, recommends that the proposal is approved.
In its role, the council hosts a dedicated small team that works with public, private and third sector organisations across the region to develop the partnership. If the extension is approved, the council will look at new ways of working to develop options for the long-term governance, operating model and funding mechanism for the Valleys Regional Park.
Funding currently comes from the Welsh Government Ministerial Taskforce for the South Wales Valleys who announced the creation of the Valleys Regional Park in 2018. Additional funding has now been secured through the European Social Fund via the Welsh European Funding Office and the Welsh Government.
In addition to promoting the Valleys as a destination, the Valleys Regional Park encourages partners to work towards best practice in landscape management to help improve biodiversity.
The Valleys Regional Park works with 11 Discovery Gateway sites including Bryngarw Country Park and Parc Slip in Bridgend, as well as Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, Caerphilly Castle and Cyfarthfa Park in Merthyr, amongst others.
A new Valleys Regional Park website was launched in the summer and includes a map of the region with information about the Discovery Gateway sites.