West Rhyl ranks as Wales' most deprived council ward
A decision to axe a community regeneration programme in one of the poorest districts in Wales has been described as "disappointing".
The west Rhyl ward of the seaside resort will see funding for its Communities First scheme end next year.
The Welsh Assembly Government project is being scrapped after it claimed there was a lack of local support.
In response, Denbighshire council said it was determined to secure and develop new community partnerships in Rhyl.
According to the latest Welsh Assembly Government statistics - for overall multiple deprivation - both sub-divisions of west Rhyl are ranked in the 10% most deprived in Wales.
One part is ranked most deprived and the other fourth out of 1,896 areas.
In a statement, the deputy minister for regeneration, Leighton Andrews, said that despite "best efforts", the programme had made little progress in west Rhyl.
The project is one of two Communities First schemes in the town, and both have been subjected to a review.
While progress is reported to have been made in south west Rhyl, the west Rhyl ward was still failing, noted the deputy minister.
"The local community is no more engaged with the Communities First process than it was before the review and key local service provider organisations remain disengaged," stated Mr Andrews.
"The long-running situation in west Rhyl bears little resemblance to practice anywhere else in the programme and does not accord with the principles set out in the Communities First guidance."
In light of the comments, Mr Andrews said the programmed would be scrapped in west Rhyl at the end of next March.
However, it has been stressed that the town as a whole will still benefit from regeneration funding.
Mr Andrews added: "Discussions have started across the Welsh Assembly Government to consider how community regeneration in this area can be incorporated in a wider programme of economic and social regeneration in Rhyl."
The local assembly member, Vale of Clwyd AM Ann Jones, claimed part of the blame for the schemes failure should lie with Denbighshire county council.
"The job of making Communities First sustainable in Rhyl was made all the more difficult by Denbighshire County Council's lack of commitment to its goals," said the AM.
"The authority has drastically cut the Community Development Agency after actively instructing it to avoid Communities First.
"This typifies the lack of engagement experienced in Rhyl thus stalling efforts to rejuvenate the scheme."
However, the council has hit back at the comments, insisting it is fully committed to working with partnerships to regenerate the resort.
Cllr Sharon Frobisher, who is responsible for the communities portfolio said: "Denbighshire expresses disappointment that the Communities First programme for west Rhyl has been unsuccessful, but we are pleased to hear that this money will not be lost to Rhyl.
"Regarding comments made about the reduction of posts at the Denbighshire Community Agency, this decision was taken following the poor settlement from the Welsh Assembly Government.
"The council is proud of its achievements in the disadvantaged communities and will continue to use its resources to the best of its abilities for the benefit of the people of Denbighshire."