Campaigners for the long-sought By-Pass around Dinas Powys planned to ease traffic problems throughout the Vale have expressed scepticism at the joint announcement made by the Welsh Government and the Vale Council a few days ago.
For the first time Vale Officers have requested the Welsh Government pay for ‘an investigation to establish the transport issues and opportunities at Dinas Powys.’
Although they recognise on the surface this could indicate a slight move forward
members of the recently formed Steering Group set up to continue as a cross-community campaign for the Dinas Powys By-pass are concerned it could be more of a case of ‘smoke and mirrors.’ They question if it is a serious attempt to solve major transport problems in the area.
“Why wasn’t this study covering the affected area of the Vale carried out before the Council started on their grandiose scheme to build another 10,000 houses?” asked Andy Robertson. He is one of the three registered founders of the fast-growing petition urging the Welsh Government to provide the necessary funding and support for the by-pass.
The petition can be signed in English or Welsh on the website of the National Assembly of Wales. This can be accessed via the group’s website at www.dinaspowysbypass.co.uk.
Alternatively there are over 20 locations around the village – from shops to take-aways, pubs, the library, Health centre, chemists and other places where the petition is available.
It’s expected the petition will grow outside the immediate area since all parts of the Vale are going to be effected.
“It’s not rocket-science to realise that with 10,000 new homes will come around 20,000 more cars with the potential of up to 40,000 extra daily trips on the already near-grid-locked roads of the Vale,” added Andy Robertson.
“Most cars will try to use the already clogged A4055 Cardiff to Barry Road and country lanes through Dinas Powys. In addition there’ll be the extra heavy goods vehicles of all shapes and sizes following their SatNavs when the A4232 Peripheral Road is completed into Cardiff Bay from the East early next year. If they have further business in Barry, or points West, once its completed they will come through the tunnel and be directed onto the A4055, thundering past Dinas Powys,” he added.Infants
“It’s a pity some people seem more intent in trying to turn the campaign into a political slanging match. We admit local Conservatives started building the campaign at a time when no other political party was acting for the community in what is probably the most important initiative in the area for generations,” said Rod Harrod who is chairing the group.
“In fact one of the Vale councillors elected to represent Dinas Powys tried to belittle our efforts, suggested in print there were other parts of Wales that also needed a by-pass, particularly in the North. One place mentioned has a population of 1,760 – half of whom live in England! The border runs down the main street.”
“We made it clear from when we organised the Public Meeting this was a community matter. When the Steering Group was in its embryonic form it became clear others had political point-scoring in mind. Instead, for the benefit of the community we’ve roped in some highly qualified people. We’d welcome others who can attribute appropriate skills,” he added.
“We’re wondering what options this new study can come up with? The Vale Council recently turned down a request for a 7.5 tonne weight restriction on this road on the grounds it would be difficult to police and the cost of signs would be better spent elsewhere.”
Members of the Steering Group also draw attention to a caveat in the Joint Statement saying the study ‘will build upon the policies and proposals set out in the Council’s emerging Local Development Plan.’
“But as the Vale Council has precluded any thought of a Dinas Powys By-Pass from their proposed LDP, surely this means that from the start they are ruling out discussion on a by-pass? Will the Council deny this?” asked Andy Robertson.
No timescale or precise funding has been set for the proposed ‘Survey.’ The Welsh
Government representatives were to make a funding request to Cabinet Minister
Ken Skates AM, Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure.
Yet within hours the Minister himself was proclaiming a ‘multi-billion pound Welsh Government infrastructure investment over the next five years,’ without a mention of anything in the Vale of Glamorgan or, in particular the transport problems along the corridor through Dinas Powys.
His words came after the officers from his department and from the Vale had met on Monday 12th December.
Hopes of the by-pass had taken a turn for the better after the Minister answered a question put to him in the Chamber by Opposition Leader Andrew R.T.Davies AM. He referred to the Dinas Powys situation as ‘unique.’ He instructed his officers to meet with their counterparts in the Vale.
The Vale Council’s Peter King, their cabinet member for Highways and Transportation, also wrote to the Minister requesting a similar meeting between their officials as a reaction to the intensity of the building campaign.
“We’re concerned both on the brief and scope of a study done at this stage. How can it be truly objective if it relates to the Council’s defined priorities in the as-yet unsigned Local Development Plan?” asked Roger Pattenden, a Chartered Civil Engineer who is also part of the Steering Group.
“Surely, for a study to be of greatest benefit to residents of the Vale it should be both independent and unhindered by any preconceived proposals made prior to a proper study?” he added.
“Shouldn’t this also mean a freeze is put on any current proposal, like the building of 300 houses on the old St Cyres Lower School site. We’re informed these would encroach, in parts, on the long-established line of the by-pass?”
Members of the group are concerned that diggers have been on site in the last couple of weeks, breaking up the foundations of the old school.
Residents living close to the site were told in a letter from the Vale Council’s Project Manager a few weeks ago
On Monday (19th) the Vale’s Major Project Manager for this site, Mark White affirmed the content of a letter sent residents living near the site that any work on the site would only be ‘on-site surveys and ground investigations’ carried out by the preferred bidder, Barratt David Wilson. The Steering Group’s qualified members question how the digging up and removal of old foundations falls under ‘ground investigation.’
“The sewerage system is just one of many problems that relate to both the current road situation and any additional housing,” commented John Antrobus, a former international traffic management consultant.
“The main sewer from the West of Cardiff and Llandough flows along the A4055 Cardiff Road. It’s known to be running seriously over-capacity and at times backs up into branches such as at the Castle Drive junction at the Murch. I’ve personally seen raw sewage push up through manholes at that junction.”
“Any new developments will only make things significantly worse.
“To replace the main sewer from the Merrie Harrier to the sewage treatment works on the Barry moors could take up to two years. Where will the current traffic go then, without any extra road capacity?” he added.
Members of the Steering Group have numerous constructive comments and questions to input into any study. But they’re concerned this will be a waste of everyone’s time and energy if it is set up with limitations on options for a solution.