There has never been a time when plans for the creation of a by-pass around Dinas Powys have moved forward in such a positive manner.
“It’s now the priority infrastructure project on the Vale Council Cabinet’s agenda and they’ve already proved these aren’t just empty words,” said Rod Harrod, Chair of Dinas Powys By—Pass Steering Group.
Cardiff Road from the Infant School Bus Stop looking towards Eastbrook
“Within a couple of days of the Cabinet being formed we had a very successful conference call with the new member for transport, Cllr Geoff Cox and his Head of Department Emma Reed.
“Then, last week, fellow Steering Group member Roger Pattenden and I gave a one hour presentation to the Leader of the Council, Cllr John Thomas, the Vale’s Managing Director Rob Thomas and Emma Reed together with Cllr Cox, Sully Cllr and Cabinet member Bob Penrose with councillors Andy Robertson, Vince Driscoll and Rob Crowley from Dinas Powys Community Council.
“It was extremely well received and the Leader confirmed the Council’s full support for a by-pass.
“This, of course, changes the ball game completely. First Minister Carwen Jones is on record as saying the Welsh Government will look seriously if a formal application for funding is received from the Vale Council. I’m confident, with the stated support, this application will be forthcoming within months, not years.
Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, has agreed that whatever the outcome of the study currently being carried out by consultants Arcadis must be fully funded. The Steering Group also responded this week to his comments to the National Assembly’s Petitions Committee, much of which referred to the reaction of the previous Vale Council administration. The Group will be reporting to the Committee again for their meeting on 27th June.
The Arcadis study is Stage 1 of the recently published new five-part Welsh Transport Planning and Appraisal Guidance (WelTAG) process. The study was funded with £15,000 paid jointly by the Council and the Welsh Government. All major development projects must go through the WelTAG process.
Arcadis’ Stage 1 report has been completed and the Vale Cabinet will shortly review it. The Cabinet will then decide which proposed solutions to transport in the Dinas Powys corridor should be short-listed for further investigation in Stage 2 for which £60,000 has already been allocated.
“The general consensus from councillors and officers at last week’s presentation was that a by-pass would be on the short-list, if not the only project,” added Rod Harrod.
“If, as seems likely, a by-pass is selected as the preferred option from Stage 2, it would proceed on to Stage 3 for detailed and thorough appraisal. Stage 4 would be implementation of the project.”
The exclusion of a by-pass from the Local Development Plan would not prevent its implementation.
“On behalf of the Group, Roger Pattenden described with diagrams the potential routes for a by-pass with three options for part of the route. We also provided a list of the benefits of a by-pass and a comparison of the features of each route option. All three options start at an upgraded Merrie Harrier junction. One is very similar to the previously safeguarded route coming down onto the Barry Road near the entrance to the Water Treatment Works and then on the existing road to McDonald’s roundabout.
“The other two route options go to the Sully roundabout and then the suggestion is that the ‘by-pass’ is continued along Hayes Road and across the docks via an upgraded Wimborne Road to join up with Ffordd y Mileniwm in order to benefit traffic to or from south Barry.
“Different route options offer benefits to adjacent communities to which the by-pass could be connected including not only Dinas Powys but areas like Sully and the new estates at Cog and Cosmeston as well as Lower Penarth – plus the 4,000 new houses at Barry Waterfront.
“We suggested adoption of the Vale Officers’ name for the by-pass as the Barry Waterfront to Cardiff Link Road – to emphasise how it will help transport throughout the eastern Vale.”
Mr Harrod admits there are still many hurdles to overcome but that there was, at last, some positive action.
Dinas Powys Steering Group is sponsored by the local Conservative Branch. Members also strongly emphasised the amount of local opposition there was to planning being granted to the proposed 230 houses at the former St Cyres lower school site without alternative access from the by-pass.
“To even consider this development without proper access must be out of the question,” commented Vale Cllr Andy Robertson, who is also the new chair of Dinas Powys Community Council. “The thought of even construction vehicles using Murch Road to access the site doesn’t bare thinking about.”