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Work to start on storm damaged Cimla culvert despite funding shortfall due to escalating prices

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A project to restore the vital culvert at Castle Drive in Cimla, Neath, which collapsed last year due to torrential rainfall, is finally due to start with immediate effect the council have said.

It follows a decision by Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet on Thursday (28 July) that the council will guarantee to meet a potential funding shortfall for the replacement work which is now due to completed in this financial year.

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Neath Port Talbot Council was successful in obtaining Welsh Government funding to design a replacement culvert for Castle Drive and earlier this year the council also obtained funding to carry out the work itself.

But in recent months, costs have escalated due to inflation with construction items, transport and plant all going up in price. The cost of diversion work for facilities has also substantially increased.

As a result, a further bid has been submitted to the Welsh Government to make up the shortfall but at the moment, there is no funding available.

However, council cabinet members guaranteed at their meeting that if no Welsh Government grant is available, the money could come from the council’s capital spending programme 2022/23 – meaning the project can start now.

Cllr Jeremy Hurley, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Wellbeing, said: “I am pleased that with our decision to underwrite the funding gap we can now start preparing to repair the damage caused on a night of torrential downpours across South West Wales.

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“We are going to see more of these extreme weather events which is why we must all – including this council – do everything we can to fight climate change.

“The culvert being washed away caused a lot of transport problems in this area and I’m glad work can now start to put things right.”

Scott Jones, the council’s cabinet member for Streetscene, added: “We would like to thank local residents for their patience following the disruption caused by this collapse. We are delighted restoration work can now begin.”

(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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