Wales politics

Lansbury Park in Caerphilly ranked as 'most deprived'

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Media captionWork continues to transform deprived areas like Rhyl

An area of Caerphilly has been ranked the most deprived community in Wales, official figures have shown.

St James 3, including the Lansbury Park Estate, has overtaken Rhyl West 2 in the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation.

Seven of the 10 most deprived areas were also among the worst in the last list three years ago.

Ministers said it showed that action was still needed to improve life for people in those communities.

More than 1,900 communities are ranked by looking at factors like income, employment, education and health.

Rhyl West 2 had been named as the most deprived community in the previous two reports, in 2011 and 2008.

'Stubborn poverty'

The most deprived areas were still being found mainly in the south Wales valleys, inner city Cardiff and Swansea, and north Wales coastal towns, the Welsh government said.

Image copyright Welsh government
Image caption A table from the Welsh government report reveals the most deprived communities

Queensway 1 in Wrexham - which includes the Caia Park Estate - has been ranked third most deprived with Tylorstown 1, Rhondda Cynon Taf, in fourth.

Townhill 1 in Swansea has improved, falling from 6th most deprived in 2011 to 31st in 2014, with improvements noted in the areas of income, employment and education.

But Splott 6 in Cardiff did relatively worse, rising from 36th place to ninth, with employment and education highlighted as key factors.

Image caption Lesley Griffiths says the most deprived communities need continued support

Blaenau Gwent was the local authority with the highest proportion of areas in the most deprived 10%, while Monmouthshire had no areas in the most deprived 10%.

Seven of the 10 most deprived communities in 2014 were also in the top 10 for 2011, and all received funding under the Welsh government's Communities First scheme.

Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister Lesley Griffiths denied this meant such policies had failed.

"We know there are pockets of very stubborn poverty and deprivation and it's really important that our programmes are out there working in these areas," she said.

"We need to make sure that we're supporting people and I will look obviously at the programmes we're putting in, the funding we're putting in and at the performance of these areas."

Analysis by Sarah Dickins, BBC Wales economics correspondent

After years of being labelled the most deprived community in Wales, Rhyl has passed that role onto the area of Caerphilly which includes Lansbury Park.

In reality being first, second, third or 10th is not very significant, in that all those positions go to communities in Wales struggling with a host of problems that are linked to poverty.

There is poor health, low standards of housing, and large numbers of people with only basic skills and high dependency on welfare payments.

Looking across Wales there has been little change in the most deprived areas and the worst affected ten are all in Communities First - part of the Welsh government's strategy to tackle poverty.

It would be easy to suggest that the pure fact that the most deprived communities have largely stayed the same is evidence that the Welsh government's anti-poverty strategies are not working.

What that ignores is the fact that we don't know what these communities would be like if many millions of pounds had not been spent there.

Boosting 'bedsit land' - Nick Bourne, BBC News

Image caption Areas of Rhyl remain among the most deprived communities in Wales

Millions are being spent on regeneration in Rhyl.

An £8m project is under way which has seen run-down homes bought by the council and then demolished to make way for a new-look housing area with a "village green" at the centre.

Originally built as guest houses, the properties went into decline as tourists deserted Rhyl for foreign shores, and were turned into small apartments which gave the town an image of "bedsit land".

Denbighshire council has tried to tackle this by converting properties into family homes and bigger apartments with Clwyd Alyn housing association and the Welsh government.

In 2013, Rhyl Cut was transformed into a community fishery and green space after years as a fly-tipping site.

And work is continuing to create a green swathe of land through the resort's housing areas.

Elsewhere, the promenade has also undergone lots of changes over the years, more recently with a £4.3m pedestrian and cycle bridge across Rhyl harbour.

In August, the council revealed nine developers had expressed an interest in transforming Rhyl's coastline leisure facilities.

And just weeks ago the Daily Post reported there was renewed hope that Rhyl's former fairground site - demolished in 2007 - could be transformed into a £55m housing, retail and leisure development.

Deprivation defined

The index defines deprivation as the lack of access to opportunities and resources which might be expected in society.

Each community is made up of around 1,600 people, whose deprivation is assessed in eight different ways:

  • Income
  • Employment
  • Health
  • Education
  • Geographical access to services
  • Community safety
  • Physical environment
  • Housing

Government officials have stressed that the index ranks communities in terms of relative deprivation, but does not measure actual levels of poverty.

Image copyright Welsh government

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