Grotty Merthyr

This is what Merthyr Tydfil looked like in its prime.

Now, the trams have gone, the shops have gone and worst of all the life has drained away from the place.

A Channel 4 programme says that Merthyr is the third worst place to live in the UK. Only Hackney and Tower Hamlets are more unpleasant.

I've never been to those alleged London hell holes, but in my experience Merthyr is no paradise.

There was a time, of course, when Merthyr was plagued with disease, people threw raw sewage out of the window and drunken mass brawls were commonplace.

But we've moved on from the 1990s. And these days Merthyr is little better.

The Gurnos council estate is one of the most deprived in Europe. Wales has simply left it behind.

Ironically, leisure and cultural facilities were probably better during the industrial revolution. There's no excuse for the people of Merthyr to help each other out of this rut.

If we believe the council and the Welsh Assembly then our biggest hope is a massive and potentially damaging opencast mining project.

Some hope.

There'll be lots of angry denials from councillors and politicians in the press today. But that won't help Merthyr wake up to the reality of its situation and drive itself into a brighter future.

What's certain is that we can't go on as it is.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 11:31 am,

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