Cable car back on track as council finds new money

time:2023-06-03 03:05:00source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:news

Plans to mothball a problem-hit £2.3m cable car have been reversed by a council trying to balance its books.

The Ebbw Vale cableway links the town centre to its former steelworks at a cost to Blaenau Gwent council of £41,000 a year.

Council leader Steve Thomas had previously said the closure, as part of £6.6m in cuts, was "less painful" than cutting front-line services.

But he said "external funding" had now been found.

It has not been revealed where this money has come from.

The council had also been paying for repairs to to the cableway which had to be stopped 252 times - in some cases due to vandalism - in the two years after its opening in 2015.

Mr Thomas said "alternative funding has now been identified", which is not from the Welsh government, which would "keep the link available for the public," according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The cableway will now be protected from "frontline budget pressures while we endure the current funding crisis," he added.

"Councillors from both political groups in Blaenau Gwent have been eager to see the link saved, as it was always a difficult decision to mothball the facility."

During a public consultation in January and February on the 2023/2024 budget, the majority of people did not see paying for the cable car as a priority.

But Mr Thomas said the council had since heard from "many people who use the cableway to access education, work, leisure, and local amenities, especially those with mobility problems and vulnerabilities.

"Their feedback has been uppermost as we worked towards this positive solution."

The council was also concerned the closure of the cable car would see it become a flashpoint for vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

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