REASONS TO OBJECT TO ST CYRES HOUSING DEVELOPMENT

This objection was placed on the Vale of Glamorgan Website on Thursday 4th January 2018 on behalf of the Dinas Powys By-pass Steering Group by Chair Rod Harrod. Due to a recent change of policy in the Planning Department objections are no longer available to view on line – only by personal visit to the Vale Offices.

STOP PRESS…STOP PRESS Application not likely to come before the Planning Committee before 8TH March… STOP PRESS…STOP PRESS

 

Response to Planning Application 2017/01136/HYB

Proposed development on former St Cyres Junior School site

  • SUMMARY

We support the provision of new housing in Dinas Powys provided the applicable policies are complied with and the applicable standards and regulations are followed. (This would mean the development could not take place until a By-Pass and possibly also other access is in place).

Unfortunately this development does not currently comply with a number of national, regional and Vale Council policies and standards.

The application acknowledges that the A4055 strategic highway junction on which this development is located, is:

  1. already at or over capacity;
  2. that the additional traffic from this development would make existing congestion worse and
  3. That this impact must be mitigated.

But, despite policies which require the capacity of local infrastructure to keep pace with new development, no attempt is made to consider feasible highway improvement options and to recognise that a by-pass could totally mitigate this impact.

The Applicant’s current site plan encroaches on the previously reserved corridor for a by-pass which was still applicable at the time the site was advertised for sale.  Unless the site plan is revised to avoid development over the affected area, it would not be possible to achieve a smooth alignment for a by-pass.

a

Other identified problems are:-

  • The gradient of Murch Crescent does not comply with standards for accessibility of the site by walkers and cyclists.
  • The nearest existing bus stop is only just within the maximum 800m stipulated distance for pedestrians but buses from this stop do not go directly to Cardiff.  For Cardiff commuters there is a walk of well over 1km to a stop on the Cardiff Road.  The Applicant does not appear to have discussed with the bus operator the possibility of introducing a route to bring buses closer to the site.  The application proposes greater bus use without recognising that increasing bus frequency and attractiveness isn’t possible while buses are stuck in congested traffic.
  • Similarly, increasing train use requires improvements to railway infrastructure and train capacity but, with a new rail franchise due in 2018, there is no certainty that these improvements will materialise and any improvements resulting from the proposed METRO City Deal are unlikely to reach this line for at least a decade.

 

On drainage, there are several issues.

  • The storm water holding cells are located in the area previously safeguarded for a by-pass.
  • Construction of the new foul rising main in the narrow road between the Health Centre and the top of Murch Crescent would probably prevent access to the Health Centre which is unacceptable.
  • The capacity of the existing sewerage system into which it is proposed to discharge foul flows from the site is questionable.  The Applicant relies on a February 2014 Welsh Water letter which carries the disclaimer that the information in it cannot be relied on after 12 months.  Extra flow into the existing sewer could exacerbate the surcharging which occurs around the junction with Castle Drive following heavy rainfall.

A Construction traffic Management Plan has not been submitted by the Applicant to show that time limits will be placed on when such vehicles can travel to and from the site. (e.g. not at peak times or within a window of when schoolchildren are entering and leaving schools along the route).

In conclusion, we object to the application for the reasons stated.  Our objections would be withdrawn if:

  1. the development is postponed until a by-pass connected to Murch Crescent is in place.
  2. the site plan is revised to free up the ‘reserved corridor’ areas.
  3. more details are provided and more commitment stated to improve the site’s sustainable accessibility and the capacity of public transport to serve it.
  4. more convincing evidence is provided that the existing sewerage system has adequate capacity to receive foul sewage flow from this site and
  5. a satisfactory Construction Traffic Management Plan is provided.

 

 

  • IMPACT ON STRATEGIC HIGHWAY NETWORK

2.1    Regulatory Setting

New developments generate more traffic.  Yes, the amount of the increase can to some extent be mitigated by improvements to sustainable travel modes and Travel Plans but there will still be an increase in the amount of traffic.  To avoid increasing traffic congestion, the capacity of the highway infrastructure therefore needs to be increased.

This is recognised in a number of planning documents.

One of the priorities of the Regional Transport Plan (2010) is to: ‘Develop an efficient and reliable transport system with reduced levels of congestion and improved transport links within the SEWTA region …‘. SEWTA is the South East Wales Transport Authority.

The Vale of Glamorgan Local Transport Plan 2015-2030 (LTP) states: ‘The LTP also seeks to tackle traffic congestion by securing improvements to the strategic highway corridors for commuters who may need to travel by car as well as providing better infrastructure for freight.

This requirement is also recognised in the adopted Local Development Plan (LDP), specifically Policy SP1 point 5, Policy SP7 last paragraph and Policy MG16 under Highway Improvement Works.  This last one states:

To mitigate the impact of development on the highway network, highway improvement works in the form of corridor or junction improvement schemes will be required.

All these documents adopt the same approach to the impact of new developments; that is that increasing traffic congestion is not acceptable and should be prevented.

In fact LDP clause 5.69 under Policy SP7 states: ‘The delivery of planned housing and strategically important employment sites will be dependent on the implementation of key sustainable transport and highway improvement schemes.’

LDP clause 5.81 under Policy SP7 states: ‘The provision of a strategic highway network is vital to the efficient movement of people and goods throughout the Vale of Glamorgan.  The Council will continue to press for improvements to the strategic highway network …….  Likewise, all new developments that have an impact on the strategic highway network will be carefully assessed in terms of the need to improve strategic access.’

In clause 5.82 under Policy SP7, the SEWTA Highway Strategy Study (2008): ‘Identifies the A4055 through Dinas Powys as a key problem area of the regional road network as a consequence of the scale of traffic and associated congestion.  Barry Waterfront to Cardiff Link Road (Dinas Powys By-Pass) was viewed as having dual benefits, helping to alleviate traffic congestion and improve road safety on the A4055 through Dinas Powys, while having the potential to improve access to the wider road network.

IMG_8429 Millbrook Road with Dinas Powys Infant School at traffic lights

2.2    Impact on the local Strategic Highway

This site’s road connection to the main highway network is at the junction of Murch Road with the A4055 Cardiff Road which is the strategic highway linking Barry with Cardiff.  It is notable that Dinas Powys is the only Primary Settlement on a Strategic Highway Corridor in the Vale which has not been provided with a by-pass.

The LDP’s section on page 180 for the planned housing allocation MG2(28) for this site states: ‘a Scoping Study will need to be agreed with the Local Planning/Highway Authority, in order to inform a comprehensive and robust Transport Assessment that evaluates and determines mitigation measures which alleviate any detrimental impact future development proposals will have on the local highway network and associated road junctions.’

So it is necessary to identify if this development would have an adverse impact on the Cardiff Road strategic highway and, if so, whether improvements to the highway infrastructure are proposed to avoid increased traffic congestion.

The impact of this development on the highway network is covered in the Applicant’s Transport Assessment (TA) dated 18 October 2017 which in turn has been reviewed by Mott MacDonald’s report (MMR) dated 8 December 2017.

The TA provides figures from work by RPS but two other consultants have done studies of the traffic situation at this junction.

First a Highway Impact Assessment (HIA) by Capita Symonds for the Vale Council in 2013 and second by Asbri for the Caerleon site Applicant in 2015.

All three studies show that the Cardiff Rd / Murch Rd / Millbrook Rd junction was close to or over capacity at the start of the study period as illustrated by the figures in the following table.

Figures are shown for PRC (Practical Reserve Capacity ) and for the number of cars queuing on Murch Road back from the traffic lights.  PRC is a measure of the spare capacity at a road junction.  A positive PRC figure in black means the junction has spare capacity.  A negative PRC in red indicates the junction over capacity.  The higher the red figures the more over capacity.

Queue lengths at the lights are available for all branches of the junction but we are showing them just for the queue on Murch Road.

The HIA and Asbri figures are based on the pedestrian lights working on each cycle while the RPS figures assume the pedestrian lights working on every other cycle.  Either assumption may be correct when children are being taken to or from the Infant’s School on the corner of this junction.  However, for comparison, the PRC figures with no pedestrian light delays are shown in brackets.

Study HIA for Vale Council (2012) Asbri for Caerleon (2015) RPS for St Cyres  (2015)
PRC during morning peak -18.7% (7.8%) 16.2% (42.7%) 11.0% (36.6%)
PRC during afternoon peak -46.7% (-5.7%) -6.6% (15.6%) -1.5% (16.4%)
Murch Rd morning queue 27 cars 13 cars 10 cars
Murch Rd afternoon queue 70 cars 12 cars 11 cars

The Vale-commissioned HIA study shows the junction is over capacity to a greater amount and with longer queues on Murch Road in 2012 than the studies for developers show in 2015.

All studies assess the future traffic situation taking into account general growth, committed development and planned developments such as at Caerleon Rd and St Cyres.  The HIA and Asbri give projected traffic figures for 2026 and 2028 respectively while the RPS gives projections for 2022 and 2028. The TA does not give RPS figures for future years without the pedestrian lights operating.

The following table shows the predicted figures from these reports for future years.

Study HIA for Vale Council (2026) Asbri for Caerleon (2028) RPS for St Cyres  (2028)
PRC during morning peak -91.8% (-40.4%) -19.6% (2.2%) -31.8%
PRC during afternoon peak -84.6% (-33.5%) -43.6% (-16.3%) -36.6
Murch Rd morning queue 94 cars 43 cars 69 cars
Murch Rd afternoon queue 181 cars 54 cars 55 cars

What all studies show is that the predicted traffic congestion at the Cardiff Rd / Murch Rd / Millbrook Rd junction taking into account general growth and planned developments will be significantly worse in the future if these developments are completed without improvements to the highway network.

This can only mean the provision of a by-pass and its connection to the top of Murch Crescent because the Council’s own Highway Authority states, as recently as November 2017, that the capacity of the Cardiff Road junction cannot be increased.

The results of the traffic analysis carried out shows that the Murch Road / Cardiff Road junction is now ‘close to design capacity’ (TA clause 5.42).  The projected traffic figures for 2022 and 2028 clearly show that this junction would be well over capacity even after making the allowance for MOVA (Microprocessor Optimised Vehicle Actuation) operation of the traffic lights (TA clause 5.43).

The TA states that the future extra traffic ‘results in the junction exceeding its design capacity’ (clause 5.42) and ‘the junction’s predicted performance deteriorates further in the 2028 scenarios’ (clause 6.8).  This means that, without effective mitigating measures, this development would not be compliant with the referenced LDP and other Policies.

The MMR states:  ‘In both future year scenarios (2022 and 2028) without the proposed development the junction is shown to be operating over capacity, due to background traffic growth alone.  With the inclusion of development traffic, the junction is forecast to be a further 10%-20% over capacity, with significant queuing and delay.  It is not agreed that the development traffic is of no material impact.  What can be ascertained is that in the future years assessed the junction is forecast to be over capacity and will suffer significant congestion and delay.

In relation to the Murch Road / Cardiff Road junction becoming even more congested, the MMR also states: ‘Although not recognised in the TA, it is likely that a percentage of westbound traffic will start to use Longmeadow Drive and Cross Common Road to gain access on to Cardiff Road.’  Local residents report that traffic on these roads has already increased as have accidents.

IMG_8456

 

2.3    Mitigation Proposals

Having stated that this development ‘will see an increase in the number of vehicles on the local highway network’ (clause 6.26) and acknowledged that the capacity of the existing Murch Road / Cardiff Road junction cannot be increased (clause 7.7), the TA accepts that mitigation of this adverse impact is required.  The TA notes that the LTP objective cannot be met at the Murch Road / Cardiff Road junction.

It might be expected that, at this point, the TA would consider how the highway capacity could be increased, for example when the by-pass is in place with a connection to the top of Murch Crescent.  This would not only mitigate the adverse impact of the extra traffic but would comply with the LDP Policies referenced in section 2.1.

Section 7 in the TA does talk about mitigation measures to improve footways and public transport but says nothing about such measures for local highways.  Although it is known that the Arcadis study, which includes options with a by-pass, is in progress, the TA does not mention let alone propose any road improvement by way of mitigation.  This appears to be a deliberate refusal to acknowledge the possibility that a by-pass may be chosen by the Arcadis Stage 2 study and that it could benefit this development.

Although the TA refers to the LDP’s and to the other planning requirements referenced in section 2.1 regarding implementing highway improvements to cater for new developments, it chooses not to comply with them.

The TA insults the reader’s intelligence by saying that these results ‘show that the impact with the development will not materially affect the operation of this junction’ (clause 5.42) and that the results indicate that the traffic from the development ‘can be accommodated on the local junctions’(clause 6.4) including the Murch Road / Cardiff Road signalled junction.

Instead the only mitigation measure proposed to address the impact of extra traffic and congestion is a Travel Plan which relies totally on persuading residents to stop using their vehicles and walk and cycle more, including the elderly, infirm and parents with young children.  A Travel Plan cannot be relied on to achieve the mitigation objective and thereby comply with LDP Policy SP7.

 

2.4    Conclusion

Four reputable consultants have shown that this development will have an adverse impact on the Murch Road / Cardiff Road strategic highway junction.  MMR refer to the LDP’s requirement that delivering key infrastructure improvement is necessary to mitigate the impact of development.

But no feasible improvements to the highway network have been mentioned let alone proposed to properly mitigate this impact.  In fact, the Vale’s own Highway Authority, in January 2016, when commenting on the Caerleon 70 house development, pronounced there was nothing that the applicant could do to improve the capacity of the Murch Road / Cardiff Road A4055 junction. Yet this Highway Authority then proceeded to say they would offer no objection to the application.

Similarly no mention has been made of the fact that a by-pass could fully mitigate the impact.  This means that the development as proposed is non-compliant with a number of national and LDP policies and we suggest should therefore be rejected.

What’s the point of having LDP policies stating that highway infrastructure capacity, particularly for strategic highways like the A4055, must keep pace with new developments if these policies are flagrantly ignored?

 

3.0    SITE BOUNDARY

The corridor for a by-pass, which had been safeguarded in the 1996-2011 Unitary Development Plan (UDP), cuts completely through the eastern corner of this site.

But, when the previous Council administration commissioned site investigation work in 2013 and offered the site for sale in late 2014, the part of the site encroaching on the safeguarded corridor was not excluded from the investigation scope or the sale advert and the Applicant’s current Planning Application shows their proposed housing development covering that part.

The adopted UDP had time expired in 2011 but was still being referred to as the point of legal reference in other applications by Council Planners and, in 2013/14, had not been replaced by an adopted LDP which, at that time, was only in draft form.  The reason for the Council’s decision to proceed as it did is unclear.

The Council should have taken the adopted UDP, which included the safeguarding, into account when deciding the boundary of the land offered for sale.  The Applicant’s plan for this development should not encroach over the by-pass corridor and the current site plan should therefore be rejected.

 

4.0    SUSTAINABLE ACCESSIBILITY OF THE SITE

4.1    Regulatory Setting

Clause 5.69 under LDP Policy SP7 states: ‘The delivery of planned housing ….. sites will be dependent upon the implementation of key sustainable transport ….. schemes.

In clause 2.40, the TA mentions the LDP’s requirement for new developments to ‘promote the use of sustainable travel’ and to ‘provide a safe and accessible environment.’

As pointed out in the MMR, though not in the TA, the Department for Transport’s Manual for Streets defines the maximum walking distance to a bus stop as 800m and the desirable distance as no more than 400m.

The Manual for Streets also gives guidance on gradients for pedestrians and cyclists.

For pedestrians it states: ‘steep gradients can have particular impact on older people, those with physical disabilities and parents with pushchairs.
▪ 1% (1 in 100)        – is never an obstacle.
▪ 2% (1 in 50)        – can be managed by most people.
▪ 2.5% (1 in 40)         – can be managed by many people.
▪ Steeper than 2.5%     – impossible for many manual wheelchair users’.

For able bodied pedestrians the maximum comfortable gradient is given as 5%.

For cyclists, the Manual for Streets gives the maximum gradient for distances over 100m as 3%.

d

 

4.2    Site’s Hilltop Location

The fact that the site is at the top of a hill is not mentioned once in either the TA or the MMR which is a serious omission since it is very relevant to the site’s accessibility by walking and cycling.

The ground rises from a level of 13m amsl at the junction with Castle Drive to around 40m amsl at the entrance to the site.  Murch Crescent is the steepest part of this route with a gradient of approximately 10%.

e

4.3    Sustainable Travel Proposals – Walking and Cycling

To access local facilities, bus stops and stations from the site, pedestrians have the option of Murch Crescent / Murch Road, the Ash Path and a bridleway to Sunnycroft Lane.

For cyclists, Ash Path is not suitable due to its narrow width and, if they wished to cycle towards Barry, it would probably be quicker to use Murch Crescent / Murch Road to reach the Cardiff Road rather than the bridleway to Sunnycroft Lane.

The TA says that the bridleway would be improved and that there are footpaths each side of Sunnycroft Lane. This is not correct.  Yet no commitment is made that the Developer will make the improvements or how the upper part of Sunnycroft Lane north of Longmeadow Drive, which is unsurfaced and has no footpaths at all, would be improved.

While it may be feasible for pedestrians and cyclists to travel down Murch Crescent, the gradient for journeys back to the site is far steeper at around 10% than the maximum gradients given for both pedestrians and cyclists in the Manual for Streets.

Strangely the TA talks about cycling to local bus stops though what cyclists are meant to do with their bicycles once they get there is not stated.  Neither train station has under cover cycle parking facilities. The TA also proposes ‘improvements to existing cycle facilities’ and says that ‘provision for cyclists will be proposed as part of this application’ but, though the MMR states that improvements are critical, no details are contained in the application and no details are given and no commitment made that the Applicant will do the work and pay for it.

f

4.4    Sustainable Travel Proposals – Buses

The bus stop on Plas Essyllt is stated to be the nearest one at 750m from the site entrance which will be well over 1km from the western end of the site.  But the bus route along Plas Essylt does not go direct to Cardiff and its frequency is less that ten times a day, none after 17.30 or at all on Sundays.  So, if commuters want to travel by bus directly to Cardiff, they must walk to a stop on the Cardiff Road which is over 1km from the site entrance and nearer 1.5km from the far end of the site.

g

The distance from the site entrance to the nearest bus stop is only just under the maximum 800m given in the Manual for Streets and far longer than the 400m desirable limit.  The stops on Cardiff Road are well over the 800m maximum distance.

The MMR says that the developer should have had discussions with the local bus company about taking a new bus route to the top of Murch Crescent but this is not mentioned in the TA.

The TA proposes that part of the Sustainable Transport Contributions are to be used to improve the existing bus shelters on Plas Essyllt but makes no commitment that the Developer would do the work.

The TA says that the Travel Plan will promote greater bus use but notes that ‘the existing infrastructure may need to be improved to accommodate the additional passengers’.  It doesn’t mention that more buses won’t improve the service if they are stuck in worsening traffic congestion.

 

4.5    Sustainable Travel Proposals – Trains

h

Both the TA and the MMR note that, at peak times, the trains are currently at capacity and that improvements to the existing rail infrastructure, which presumably includes facilities at stations, and the capacity of trains would be needed to help realise a shift from cars to trains.  But, with a new rail franchise happening in 2018, no proposals are available so there is no certainty that this will happen. Park-and-ride facilities are minimal at one station only.  Any improvements provided by the proposed METRO City Deal are unlikely to reach this line for at least a decade.

 

4.6    Conclusions

The gradient of Murch Crescent means that it does not comply with the Manual for Streets as the main route for walkers and cyclists to access the site and facilities.

The only way to mitigate this would be the indefinite funding by the Applicant of a bus service up and down Murch Crescent.  Otherwise the application should be rejected on grounds that it fails to comply with the guidance for sustainable accessibility.

Improvements to bus and train services and capacity are essential to enable a shift to sustainable travel.  While these are somewhat outside the Developer’s control, it would have helped if the TA had reported that the Applicant had held discussions with those service providers about possible improvements.  But no such discussions are reported.

 

5.0    WASTE WATER DRAINAGE AND DISPOSAL

5.1    Storm Water Drainage

The developer proposes that storm water is drained from the site’s roads and hard surfaced areas into buried storm cells and that the discharge from these is limited then taken via a gravity drain into an existing water course.  There is no objection to this in principle other than that the location of the storm cells is within the corridor which was safeguarded for a by-pass.

In order to leave the part of the site which encroaches on the by-pass corridor clear of development, these storm cells would need to be relocated within the site.

 

5.2    Foul Sewage Drainage

It is proposed to drain the site’s foul sewage by gravity to an upgraded Stonylands Pumping Station and from there to pump it in a rising main to an existing sewer manhole at the top of Murch Crescent.

Our objection to these proposals relates to the route of the rising main and to the capacity of the existing sewerage system to accept the flow.

The rising main route is shown running in the existing Murch Road past the entrance to the Health Centre up to the existing manhole.  But the narrow width of the existing road means that it would probably be necessary to close the road while the new rising main is laid and the trench backfilled and reinstated.  But it would be unacceptable to close the road to the Health Centre not least for emergency vehicles.  This could be mitigated by routing the rising main in the wide verge on the west side of the road.

The capacity of the existing sewerage system to take the foul sewage flows from the site has been the subject of correspondence between the Council and Welsh Water for several years but apparently without a definitive answer as shown below:-.

  • In November 2013, the draft LDP stated under MG2(26) that the local sewer network is ‘too small to accommodate the foul flows.
  • In February 2014, a Welsh Water letter stated that foul flows ‘can be accommodated within the public sewerage system’.
  • In May 2015, the DCWW / Vale Council Statement of Common Ground stated under MG2(26) that the network is ‘too small to accommodate the foul flows from this development’.
  • In June 2017, the adopted LDP stated under MG2(28) that: ‘A hydraulic modelling assessment will be required to establish the point of connection to the public sewer system.’
  • In September 2017, in a letter to the Applicant’s consultant RPS, Welsh Water stated that foul flows ‘can be accommodated’.
  • The Applicant’s Drainage Strategy document dated October 2017 and submitted in support of their application includes no clear statement that the existing sewer can accommodate the site’s foul flows.
  • RPS’ Pre-Application Consultation report Rev 2 posted on 30 October 2017 stated that: ‘Discussions are however ongoing with the developer’ regarding discharge of the site’s foul sewage into the existing sewerage system.
  • In November 2017, Welsh Water’s letter to the Council stated that ‘foul flows can be accommodated into the existing sewer but also that the discharge point shall be made ‘at a point identified by a hydraulic modelling assessment OR the 150 dia foul sewer at top of Murch Crescent.’

The Applicant’s updated Drainage Strategy Report posted on 19 December 2017, relies on Welsh Water’s 18 February 2014 letter saying that their existing sewer can accommodate the site’s foul flow.  But a disclaimer at the bottom of this letter states that the information above cannot be relied on after 12 months from the date of the letter!

Although reference is made to the foul flow from this development being similar to the foul water discharge from the previous school on this site, no actual comparable figures have been provided.  Young children using the toilets between 9.00 a.m and 3.30 p.m. can hardly be compared to 24/7 use by 215 housesholds. The foul flow from the Health Centre has also not been taken into account.

Repeated reports over the years of sewer surcharging around the junction of Murch Road with Castle Drive following heavy rainfall does raise a question over the capacity of the existing sewers down and in the vicinity of Murch Road.  When this history is considered together with the expected increase in foul flow from the Caerleon development and the less than reassuring record above of exchanges with Welsh Water regarding the St Cyres site, there must be a doubt over the wisdom of connecting the foul flow from over 200 more houses to the system unless its capacity is increased.

i

6.0    IMPACT OF CONSTRUCTION TRAFFIC

This subject should be covered by a Construction traffic Management Plan but to date such a Plan has not been posted on the Council’s website for this development.  This application should not be considered until this Plan is provided and time given for its review.

Speeches made to Vale Planning Committee on December 7th

Planning Application 2017/00724/RES for Caerleon – Rod Harrod’s presentation 2 min Speech to Vale of Glamorgan Council Planning Committee December 7th 2017

I’ve got a rhetorical question. Why doesn’t this application Walk the Talk – or even Cycle it? Condition Five of the Reserved Matters requires compliance with the Transport Assessment.

In June 2015 the updated Assessment says the impact of the extra traffic that’s generated must be mitigated by a Travel Plan which would be:

‘…complemented by measures to enhance both pedestrian movement and the site’s connectivity to Eastbrook Railway Station.’

This was repeated in the Officers’ report to the January 2016 Planning Committee at which Outline Planning was granted providing all of 14 conditions were met.

In the same report the Highways Department said there was no feasible layout improvement the developer could do at the Murch / Cardiff Road Junction. Improvements the LDP has since deemed essential for all new developments.

Surely the development shouldn’t happen till mitigating measures are in place – namely a by-pass?

Officers considered the submission of a Travel Plan, and implementation of alternative public and other sustainable modes of transport, appropriate.

But the only suggestion made in the application is to upgrade a pedestrian link from the end of Caerleon Road to the footbridge at Eastbrook Railway Station.

But there’s no footpath from the new estate to Caerleon Road. Without a new link on the other side the walk to Eastbrook Rail Station is up to ½ mile.

Would you leave your car in the garage come rain, wind or snow to walk ½ mile to the Station with only 20 park and ride spaces? Then wait while three trains pass through packed from stations further down the line.

The Transport Assessment proposed traffic calming measures at:

  • The site entrance,
  • The Caerleon Road / Criccieth Court junction
  • Along Caerleon Road.

Yet they’re not included in the Applicant’s submission, and so its not complaint with Condition Five.

 

Questions from Cllr Driscoll to Rod Harrod after his presentation.

Compliance with LDP

Cllr Driscoll:    Can I get this right? Are you saying that despite not being able to comply with the Draft LDP regarding any development which adds to traffic congestion on the main highway – in this case the A4055 – the Highway Authority said they had no objection to the development proceeding?

RH:    That’s correct.

VD:    I find that incredible.  It implies that, if a developer can’t comply with the LDP, it is given the green light regardless.  In this case it was putting housing above the safety of small children at the Infants School.

alun-cairns-1

 

Planning Application 2017/00724/RES for Caerleon Development – Roger Pattenden Speech

Condition 6 requires a detailed Travel Plan.

At the Outline Planning stage it was accepted that this development would adversely impact on the local highways and in particular the Murch Road / Cardiff Road junction.

The capacity of local roads cannot be increased to mitigate the impact of the extra traffic.  This particularly applies to the same junction because, despite proposals to improve it, including in the LDP, the Highway Authority now considers that its geometry prevents any improvement.

A robust Travel Plan which would reduce the extra vehicles from the development was therefore called for.  So, the submitted Travel Plan must demonstrate that it would significantly reduce the extra traffic.

But it does not do this.  It target’s a reduction in the proportion of residents driving to and from work from 70% to 60% in 5 years.  Even if it worked it would mean a feeble reduction of only around 10 fewer drivers on the roads.  It would rely on soft persuasion through leaflets and the like.  But without any incentive to change, or penalty for not changing, it cannot be relied on to achieve even this objective.

The unreliability of such a Plan is evidenced by the Travel Plan for the Health Centre at the top of Murch Crescent which was a condition of its approval.  This has not resulted in a reduction in the traffic on Murch Crescent.

Like many of the documents produced by applicants to ‘persuade’ the Council that the predicted adverse impacts of their development will somehow not materialise, this Travel Plan is no exception. It is unlikely to mitigate the predicted adverse impact on traffic congestion at the Cardiff Road junction – only a by-pass will do that.

The submitted Traffic Plan is considered extremely weak and not fit for purpose.  It is therefore not compliant with Condition 6.

Questions from Cllr Driscoll to Roger Pattenden after his presentation.

The Murch Road / Cardiff Road junction

Cllr Driscoll: Can you explain a little more why you understand the junction at the Murch Road traffic lights can’t be improved.  I understood various reports to say improvements must be made to this junction.

Roger Pattenden:    Yes, the LDP says it requires improvement but this conclusion comes from the Officers’ report to the January 2016 Planning Committee meeting considering the Outline Planning Application for this site.  Under the Highways section it states that ‘there is little by way of geometric improvement that could be implemented at the signal junction that would improve its operational performance.’

dinas-powys

The only Strategic Highway in the Vale without a by-pass.

 

Planning Application 2017/00724/RES for Caerleon – Cllr Andy Robertson presentation December 7 2017

I’d like to ask about what is being put in place for my constituents, the Council-tax-paying residents on the rest of the route and the off-shoots leading to Murch Road from this site?

The new Caerleon estate is designed to limit speeds to 20mph. A similar 20mph limit is imposed at the Castle Drive / Murch Road junction, with speed bumps and a Lolly-Pop man at school times. That’s because this junction is dangerous, particularly for small children, with the current amount of traffic, without any more.

But between Murch Road and this proposed estate there are no measures taken to protect the safety of residents that includes the senior citizens complex at Harlech Court. They’re expected to endure several hundred extra vehicles and construction traffic thundering through at 30mph. Yes, 30mph if they don’t rat-run.

Are houses more important than road safety and the care of the elderly and children?

Then there’s Condition 9 – the Construction Traffic Management Plan.

This condition comes out of the Council Highway Authority’s requirement which was included in the Officer’s report to the January 2016 planning committee meeting.

It states clearly that construction vehicles should not be allowed to travel to or from the site:

Firstly for half an hour either side of school starting and finishing times. Presumably this would have to be correlated with the Infant and Junior Schools, which have different times. In addition there are students gathering at the shopping area to walk to St Cyres School each morning, although that would probably be covered by the second condition.

That states that construction vehicles must not enter or leave the site at peak rush hour times. These times would need to be derived from actual traffic surveys.

But NOWHERE in the submitted Plan do the developers mention these requirements, far less detail the times involved which are necessary for it to be workable. They’ve omitted these commitments entirely. Ignored them completely.

Having been questionably allowed to add nearly 300 extra road trips a day to the already over-capacity junction and route the Developer now seems to want to run rough-shod over the commitments put in place by the Committee to help mitigate this concession.

Not only should the commitments be put in writing in a new submission but some form of penalty clause added if the developer ignores any of these commitments.

As this Plan fails to specify the no-go times it is therefore not compliant with Condition 9 and must fail.

Questions from Cllr Driscoll to Cllr Andy Robertson after his presentation.

Speed Limit

Cllr Driscoll:    Am I right that you are saying there’s a 20mph speed limit at each end of the route from the Site to the Castle Drive /Murch Road junction but 30mph limit in between?

Cllr Robertson: The development’s internal roads are designed for a 20mph speed but yes in between there is a 30mph limit.

Cllr Driscoll:    Are you saying the Application doesn’t propose to comply with the undertakings in the Transport Assessment regarding traffic calming on Caerleon Road?

Cllr Robertson: As far as I can see, that’s correct.

17-10-23 DP Coffee Morning 2

Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns M.P. discusses details and proposals for  the Dinas Powys By-pass with Rod Harrod and Roger Pattenden.

How to Respond to the Planning Applications for Major Housing Developments in Dinas Powys

This guide is to help you to comment on, or object, to the current Planning Applications for the 70 house development off Caerleon Road or the 215 house development at the site of the former St Cyres Junior School.

Note: You have to submit separate responses for each application.

The reference numbers for each are:-

Caerleon: 2017/00724/RES

St Cyres: 2017/01136/HYB

Follow these steps:-

  1. Search for ‘Vale of Glamorgan Planning’.
  2. Click on ‘Planning Applications’.
  3. In the box headed ‘View a Planning Application’, click on ‘Planning Register’.
  4. In the left hand menu box, click on ‘Planning Search’.
  5. In the Application Number box, enter one of the above reference numbers (you don’t have to fill in anything else) and below the form, click on ‘search’.
  6. Click on the reference number under ’Application’.
  7. At the top of the next page, click on ‘Comment on this planning application’.
  8. Enter you name, address and email.
  9. For type of comment, click on ‘Objection’ if you wish any part of your response to be treated as an objection.
  10. For ‘Type,’ click on ‘Other’ unless you have received a letter as a nearby neighbour to the application.
  11. Under ‘Type details’, if you clicked ‘Other,’ suggest you enter ‘Dinas Powys resident affected by this application’.
  12. Then either write your comment/objection in the Comments box if short or attach the file containing your comment that you have previously saved.
  13. Finally, click ‘submit’.

Note:

At step 6, before clicking on ‘Comment on this planning application’, you can see details and information about the application.  The ‘Documents’ tab will list all the drawings and documents submitted with the application.  The list will be over several pages with the clickable page numbers at the bottom.

Public Meeting 13 November 2017 Presentation Script

Script
Introductions.

Welcome everybody, I’m Andy Robertson.  . Many of you will know I’m one of your four new Vale Councillors and also Chair of the Dinas Powys Community Council.  But I’m here tonight as a member of the By-Pass Steering Group.

May I introduce my colleagues who will give what we hope will be an informative, important and perhaps eye-opening presentation.

Rod Harrod is chair of the Steering Group and the initiator of the current campaign to, at last, get a By-Pass for our village – which will, in turn, help to free up traffic throughout the Eastern Vale.  Born in Dinas Powys he’s been a journalist and author and has held many positions on the business side of the entertainment industry.

Roger Pattenden is a civil engineer who is a member of and technical advisor to the Steering Group.

Between them they’ve spent months researching documents relevant to the By-Pass and the proposed housing developments that will have even greater impact on our transport infrastructure in the already over-burdened corridor through Dinas Powys.

Over to you Roger.

Agenda

Thank you Andy.  Good evening everyone.  We are going to update you on the By-Pass campaign and the current situation regarding the two main housing developments that are currently in the spotlight.

First the 70 house Caerleon Road site and then the site of the former St Cyres Junior School beside the new Health Centre at the top of Murch Crescent now planned for 215 houses.

We will answer questions after each main section.  In order to give all those who have questions an opportunity to speak, we ask that you limit your questions to one per person on each section.  And we request that you try to avoid repeating questions already asked and answered.

Rod will now give you a brief summary of the By-Pass history.

 

IMG_8453

By-Pass Campaign

Brief History

Good evening.  I’m not going to go back to 1928 – I’m not even that old! –but I can say that a By-Pass was first muted by residents when there were only green fields between Murch Road and Cross Common and without a house between Murch Road and Chamberlain Road.  When the population was a quarter of its current 9,000.

In the mid 1960s, the line of a by-pass was drawn by the then Glamorgan County Council.  This Map can be seen on the wall of Barry Docks Building – home of the Vale Council Planning Department.  The corridor was safeguarded from development in the Local Plan.  The By-Pass would be flagged as intended to happen to anyone making a search when applying to buy or develop in the vicinity of the proposed corridor.

In 1996 – the Glamorgan County Council split with Cardiff and we became the Vale Borough Council.

Over the next few years a recently discovered scheme shown on this drawing was prepared for improving the capacity of the Merrie Harrier junction.  SEE SLIDE.

Ironically its design is similar to one sketched earlier this year by my colleague Roger though we were unaware of the earlier detailed work at the time.  Both have a double roundabout layout with the earlier design providing a spur for a new access into Llandough Hospital.  This project was to be largely funded by a developer rather than public funds.  It was only abandoned after the financial crash in 2008.  A similar idea for a developer to fund a by-pass also fell by the wayside at that time.

In 2005 the Council’s Unitary Development Plan (UDP) was adopted for 1996 – 2011.  This included a proposal for Dinas Powys By-Pass.

In 2008 and for several successive years the Conservative led Vale Council had repeated applications for funding for a by-pass rejected by the Welsh Assembly.

In 2011, when the Labour Party, with the help of Llantwit First Independents took control in the Vale, they started preparing their Local Development Plan (LDP) to replace the former UDP.  After two years working on the document it was found to be seriously flawed, so it was scrapped and they started all over again.

In 2012 the Council commissioned Capita Symonds to prepare a Highway Impact Assessment (HIA) to assess the current traffic situation and to predict what impact the proposed new housing would have on the road network.  Their report was delivered in 2013.

While the Council was preparing its LDP, which was scheduled to run from 2011 to 2026, the Welsh Assembly Government apportioned 10,000 new houses to be built across the Vale.

This slide lists those in and around Dinas Powys.  Also in its draft LDP, the Council recognised the need to improve the Strategic Highway corridor from Barry to Cardiff through Dinas Powys and its potential benefits.

The Council said it considered ‘securing the infrastructure necessary to deliver the developments proposed in their draft LDP as imperative.’ But this draft LDP contained no firm commitments for significant infrastructure improvements.

But, because it viewed improving the capacity of the Merrie Harrier junction as difficult to overcome, it considered that the current economic climate and the Welsh Government’s preference to make better use of the existing transport system made a by-pass scheme unlikely to happen before the end of their Plan in 2026 so omitted it from their draft LDP as well as any firm commitments on improving highway infrastructure.

The LDP was only reluctantly signed off in June of this year.  However, before it was signed off, the current administration asked the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM for an extension specifically to re-examine the number of houses the Welsh Assembly Government had instructed the Vale to build.  She flatly refused and said if they didn’t sign off the LDP by the end of June 2017 she would send in her Officers to carry out the work.  Apparently this would have resulted in the Vale – therefore ratepayers – being charged around £150,000 for this work.

In Sept 2016, Conservative leader in the Assembly Andrew R.T. Davies A.M. lobbied the Secretary of State for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates A.M. both in the Chamber and in correspondence on the traffic problems in Dinas Powys and the need for a By-Pass.
In Oct 2016, As a direct result of this lobbying, Ken Skates instructed his Officers to meet with Vale Council representatives to study options, stating that the outcome must be fully funded.In Nov 2016, Dinas Powys Conservatives hosted a first Public Meeting on the By-Pass and agreed to sponsor the Dinas Powys By-Pass Steering Group.In Jan 2017,     Arcadis Consulting was appointed by the Welsh Assembly Government and Vale Council to carry out a £15,000 Stage 1 study into the transport problems along this corridor through Dinas Powys.  We’ll tell you about the stages shortly.In March 2017, the Vale Council held Public Consultation Events in Dinas Powys to invite public comments for the study.

Also in March 2017, the By-Pass petition signed by over 3,000 people was handed to National Assembly Petitions Committee.

In May 2017, the Conservatives gained control of the Vale Council, including four new councillors for Dinas Powys.  The leading Conservative group pledged to make getting a by-pass its top priority in its manifesto.

In June 2017, days after the new council was formed, the Steering Group met with Vale Council Cabinet Members.  We’ll tell you about that shortly.

But now I’ll hand you over to Roger to tell you about the Arcadis Stage 1 Study.

Arcadis Stage 1 Study and Report

At this point we should explain the reference to different Stages.  These come from the Welsh Government’s Transport Appraisal Guidance termed WelTAG for dealing with major Transport projects.  Everything from the M4 Relief Road, bridges over the Menai Straits and other by-passes like those in Caernarfon or being built around Newtown all have to go through this process.

It’s important to recognise that to enter this process is a certain commitment that at last our transport problems are being taken seriously.

Stage 1 is to identify the problem and develop a list of possible solutions or part solutions.  This ends with a recommended short list of options for further study.
Stage 2 is to investigate the shortlisted options in more detail and to end by recommending a single preferred option.  This should consider benefits and ball park costs of each option and the possible source or sources of funding.

Stage 3 is a detailed appraisal of the preferred option.  This would include outline design, full impact assessment and feasibility of delivery, cost estimate and proposed source of funding.  The stage ends with a decision whether to implement the preferred option or to revisit another option.

Stage 4 is implementation of the chosen option.  I.E. Construction.

Stage 5 is the post implementation phase comprising monitoring, data recording and evaluation of outcome.

One feature of this WelTAG process is the establishment of a ‘Review Group’ initially proposed to review the study work and decide which options should be chosen.

For the Stage 1 study, this Group had been picked (by whom we don’t know) to comprise members from the Welsh Government, the Vale Council, Network Rail, Arriva Trains, the local bus company and Sustrans – the charity promoting walking and cycling.

You will note that there was no representative of road users or the local community.  This despite the fact that almost 80% of residents in Dinas Powys travel to work by vehicle as revealed by these figures from the 2011 Census.  We took this up with the Council as we will tell you later.

In addition, we thought this Group’s decision making powers were undemocratic and drew this to the Vale Council’s attention.  The Leader of the Vale Council agreed confirming to us that the Council cabinet would make the decisions not the Review Group.

Now to tell you about the Stage 1 Study and Report that was submitted to the Council in July this year.

The report identified and scored 7 options which they called their long list.

The Do-Minimum option is basically do nothing and we are already seeing what this looks like!

Improved rail services would be good but achieving them is outside the Council’s control and the report comments that some platforms are too short for longer trains.

Better bus services are difficult to achieve when the buses are stuck in congested traffic.

Better footpaths and cycle paths would be welcome but are only going to take a relatively small number of cars off the roads.

Improvements to existing roads are possible in some places but not in others.  For example, the Council’s Highways Department has confirmed that the geometry of the traffic light junction on Cardiff Road with Murch Road and Millbrook Road prevents improvement.  So this would remain a bottleneck.

A by-pass was only added to Arcadis’ list after so many people attending the public consultation event last March called for it even though the Council had not suggested it on their form.  But it was listed on its own without improving any other infrastructure.  The originally safeguarded route was assumed.

The multi-modal option is a combination of all the above except the do-minimum and the by-pass.  For the reasons mentioned this would do little to reduce current traffic congestion.  In fact it can’t work.

After what seemed to us to have been a rather subjective and biased scoring of these options in favour of so called sustainable solutions, the report recommended this short list of options for further study in Stage 2.

At the end of July, the Vale Cabinet referred Arcadis’ recommendation to their Scrutiny Committee for Environment and Regeneration.

We weren’t happy with this short list or with the composition of the Review Group so Rod and myself, along with fellow Steering Group members Vale and Community Cllr Rob Crowley and Community Councillor Edward Jenkins, made representations to and spoke at the Scrutiny Committee meeting on 14 September.

The cross-party Scrutiny Committee agreed with our concerns and recommended to the Cabinet to add a 4th option of By-Pass plus Multi-modal for study in Stage 2 and to invite Dinas Powys Community Council to nominate a representative of the community to join the Review Group.

On 9 October, the Vale Cabinet meeting accepted the Scrutiny Committee’s recommendations.  So the short list now includes By-Pass + Multi-modal.

This may appear insignificant but, without this fourth option, the scoring system devised for the process and which appeared to favour the Multi-Modal option could have resulted in the By-Pass alone option being rejected.  If the decision-making power had been with the Review Group, the Assembly Government could have distanced itself from the process, claiming it was nothing to do with them.

At their 12 October meeting, the Community Council nominated me to join the Review Group.  I am currently waiting to engage with other members of the Review Group to try to ensure that the Stage 2 study (which has been funded with a further £60,000) assesses all the aspects and alternatives which we think are relevant.

Rod will now tell you about the meetings which we have had with Vale Council Cabinet members and officers.

 

IMG_8456

Steering Group’s Contact with Council

Early in June this year, soon after the May local election and the change of Administration, the Steering Group met with Vale Council Cabinet members and senior officials to present the Group’s views and ideas.  These included:

The increasing traffic was due to general growth and more housing particularly at Barry Waterfront.  The housing sites planned in the Local Development Plan (the LDP) in the Dinas Powys area are shown on this slide.  SEE SLIDE.

Increasing congestion was due to inadequate infrastructure.  This drawing shows the Strategic Transport Corridors in the Vale designated by the Council in its Local Transport Plan.  It was pointed out that all significant settlements in these corridors have by-passes with the exception of Dinas Powys.

The Council’s 2013 Highway Impact Assessment document predicted severe congestion along the A4055 corridor through Dinas Powys.  We highlighted the effect of this congestion on the Vale economy and the benefits which a by-pass could provide.

Our idea of improving the capacity of the Merrie Harrier junction with the double roundabout arrangement which you see here was presented.  You may notice how similar this is to the proposal in the late 1990s which we showed earlier but which we had not seen until recently.

We described in outline several possible route options for a by-pass as follows:-

Our Route A is based roughly on the previously safeguarded route.  The blue areas are the housing sites proposed in the LDP, some of which are already built.

The green blob indicates a suggested ‘Park and Ride’ facility near Merrie Harrier.  Buses would need to go from here into Cardiff and this would take some traffic off the road via the Baron’s Court junction.

The red blobs indicate possible connections from existing roads to the by-pass –SEE SLIDE – from the top of Murch Crescent, from the end of Dinas Rd in west Penarth and at Cross Common Rd.  We are choosing not to speculate on the route of a connection from Dinas Rd to the by-pass though we believe this is feasible.

In answer to any criticism that two routes converging at Merrie Harrier still mean a bottleneck, our suggested revamp of the Merrie Harrier junction would increase its capacity and, together with a park and ride facility close to the Merrie Harrier, would reduce traffic through both the Merrie Harrier and Barons Court junctions.

This slide shows our B and C alternative by-pass route suggestions to connect to Sully roundabout. SEE SLIDE.  Connecting to Sully roundabout would offer the following advantages:-

  • It would give direct access to the by-pass from developments along Hayes Rd.
  • When combined with an upgraded road connection from Millenium Way via Wimborne & Hayes Roads, it would provide better access to the by-pass for south Barry traffic particularly from the Waterfront housing.  It would also relieve congestion on the section of A4055 from the Gladstone Road roundabout to the McDonalds roundabout.
  • It would provide two routes along the corridor from Barry to Merrie Harrier (via the existing A4055 and via the by-pass) which would help spread the traffic.

As before blue are LDP proposed housing sites and red blobs indicate possible connections to existing roads along the route – SEE SLIDE – to top of Murch Crescent, to the end of Dinas Rd, Penarth and either with Cross Common Rd or with Sully Rd in two places.

Both these routes have the facility to connect with Cog Road thus giving traffic from the new 500 house Cog development (and from Sully) access to the by-pass.  This would relieve existing Sully roads from too much extra traffic particularly as there will be extra traffic from nearly 600 extra houses at the planned Cosmeston development.  SEE SLIDE.

For Route B, there would need to be a new connecting link road from the by-pass to Cog Road  SEE SLIDE while our Route C would connect directly to Sully road SEE SLIDE and the section of Sully Road from this junction to Cog Road would need to be upgraded.

I emphasize that the routes on these slides are just our suggestions although we did show them to Vale Cabinet members.  We expect Stage 2 of the study just starting to consider the pros and cons of different route options.

Last week we had a further meeting with the Leader of the Council and the Managing Director.  The purpose of this meeting was to suggest different sources of finance for part or the whole of the by-pass scheme.  In particular, we drew their attention to the regeneration opportunities of the East Barry area between Cardiff Road and Hayes Road which includes Dow Corning’s site.

The Secretary of State for Wales and Vale MP Alun Cairns had expressed interest in this idea when we met with him recently.  However it is a little early and could be commercially insensitive, to discuss this idea at this moment but it could be very exciting. So the work on Stage 2 will continue regardless.

Arcadis Stage 2 Study

Yes, so let’s now consider the scope of Stage 2.

The aspects which we think should be investigated and evaluated in this stage and which, through my position on the Review Group, I will try to ensure are covered, include those listed on this slide.

The last traffic survey on main roads was done in 2012 and this should be updated and should include the Lavernock Road / Redlands Road route through Penarth which was omitted in 2012.

With morning rush hour trains often full by the time they arrive at Dinas Powys station and with the news that Arriva Trains will no longer be the train operator, we need to know about any plans to increase train capacity and/or frequency from Dinas Powys and Eastbrook stations.

There’s all this talk about the Metro system, but if it materialises it is unlikely to reach our line for at least ten years.

The need for better facilities at stations including for dropping off passengers and secure cycle parking.  These must be addressed including who should pay for them.

As mentioned earlier, we think it would make sense to create a Park and Ride facility near the Merrie Harrier.  This would need to include new bus services into Cardiff.

With a by-pass taking traffic off Cardiff Road, improvements to existing bus services could be achieved.

Improvements to some existing road junctions may be possible but those junctions that remain bottlenecks make any option without a by-pass ineffective at reducing traffic congestion.

Existing plans for footpath and cycleway improvement are unclear.  Individual schemes need prioritising on the basis of benefit to the maximum number of people.

We’ve mentioned one possible scheme for increasing the capacity of the Merrie Harrier junction but the effectiveness and impact of different options needs evaluation.

Apart from connections at either end of the by-pass, links to existing roads along the way need study to identify optimum locations and routes.

Also as mentioned, we want to see the benefits of alternative routes for the southern part of the by-pass fully considered.

The existing road route from Millenium Way to Sully roundabout POINT OUT uses Wimborne Road which belongs to Associated British Ports.  We discussed the feasibility of developing this route at our recent meeting at the Council.

Through my position on the Review Group, I hope to be able to ensure that all options and aspects are fairly and fully evaluated.

Stage 2 is scheduled to be completed during Spring 2018.  We will keep you updated on its progress through our website and press stories.

Stage 3 Work

This stage is likely to include consideration of funding for the chosen option and we are seeking to understand the possible sources of finance.  This might include money from the Welsh Government’s City Deal and/or from agreements with developers.
We will of course keep you informed on the progress of this Stage next year.

Rod.

Questions on By-Pass

That’s the end of our Part 1.  We will now take questions on the by-pass and will then have a brief break before talking to you about the Caerleon and St Cyres housing developments.

Please put up your hand to speak and, when called, please state your name when standing to ask your question and speak clearly.

Who would like to ask a question?

Brief Break
Major Housing Developments

Now to update you on the two main housing developments that are planned in the Murch area.  Just to remind you of their locations on our map.  SEE SLIDE – LAND OFF CAERLEON ROAD SITE AND FORMER ST CYRES JUNIOR SACHOOL SITE.

We’ll tell you about both of these applications without a break and then you can ask questions on them.  So, when you do stand up to ask a question, please say which application you are referring to.

First Rod will fill you in on the background to the planned development off Caerleon Road.

Land off Caerleon Road – Background

70 houses are planned for this development.  The application for Outline Planning Permission for them was submitted in 2014.

This slide shows the site layout proposed then.  At that time the field was designated as Green Wedge (that’s the same as Green Belt).  Many objectors highlighted that the development would make the traffic situation even worse particularly at the Cardiff Road junction.  This application took a long time to come before the Planning Committee.

When it did, on 14 January 2016, the Officers’ report to the Planning Committee stated that their Highways department had reported that the capacity of the Cardiff Road junction could not be increased despite it being listed in the draft Local Development Plan as needing improvement.

Therefore the impact of extra traffic from the development could not be mitigated by highway improvement.  That statement by the Council’s Highways department has been repeated recently in an email to us from the senior planner handling the current application.

Despite the site being Green Wedge and this clear acknowledgement about the capacity limitations of the local highway network, the Officers’ January 2016 report made the case that the need for more housing was the more important factor (presumably more important than the traffic situation and road safety, particularly for young children?)  So they recommended approval of the outline application.

In its draft Local Development Plan (LDP), the previous Council then re-designated the site as being within the development envelope for Dinas Powys and no longer part of the Green Wedge.

The Application was approved by the Planning Committee in January 2016 with 14 conditions which are called the reserved matters.  The applicant for that Application was United Welsh Housing Association.

That approval covered the principle of the development and all access related matters including the impact of the development on local traffic and congestion.  So, unfortunately, those aspects can no longer be challenged in response to the current application which Roger will now tell you about.

 

IMG_8451

Land off Caerleon Road –The Current Application

In July this year a different Applicant, Kier Living Ltd, submitted the current application with various drawings and information to satisfy the 14 conditions.  This slide shows the revised site layout.  So the only comments and objections which we’re told can now be made must relate to the adequacy of the Applicant’s responses to the 14 conditions.

The response period for the current application has been extended due to submission of further information by the Applicant since July.  We are told it will run until the day before the Planning Committee considers it.  The earliest this will be is on 7 December 2017.  Approval of this application would give the Applicant full permission to start the development.

We have studied the 14 conditions and the Applicant’s submissions.  We will now summarise our comments and objections on those conditions which we consider are the more important ones and have not been satisfactorily addressed by the Applicant.  By tonight, we will have put a copy of this presentation on our website www.dinaspowysbypass.co.uk plus a guide on how to submit your comments and/or objections.

  • First we object to the proposed Site Layout because it does not appear to allow space for a cycleway and footpath along the western boundary of the development SEE SLIDE which would form part of the Council’s proposed link from the railway footbridge at Eastbrook station to the Merrie Harrier on the east side of the railway line.  This was called for by the Council’s own Footpath’s Officer within the last month. Post Meeting Note: REVISED SITE PLAN SUBMITTED 14 NOV LEAVES SPACE FOR THIS.
  • Secondly, neither the Site Layout drawing or any other submission show any proposal to provide a footpath from the south western corner of the development to the end of Caerleon Road. SEE SLIDE  This would considerably shorten the walking distance to the station and thereby enhance pedestrian facilities as promised in the Transport Assessment.
  • Thirdly, this application fails to detail traffic calming measures along Caerleon Road and Castle Drive or to enhance pedestrian movement to Eastbrook station as required in the Transport Assessment.
  • Fourthly, the submitted Travel Plan offers no certainty whatsoever that it could achieve its stated objectives of reducing the impact of traffic from the site on the local highways by persuading residents to use sustainable transport (i.e. not their vehicles) and is therefore not fit for purpose.
  • Finally, the Construction Traffic Management Plan fails to detail measures to restrict the impact of construction vehicles on peak hour congestion at the signal junction on Cardiff Road or to acknowledge the safety risk to young children going to the Infants School or leaving it when many parent’s or carer’s cars are parked along Murch Road considerably reducing the roadway width.
    These were all requirements of the Council’s Traffic Department at the time the Outline Planning was granted.

If you want to comment on and/or object to this application, we suggest you do so before the end of this month.  Remember you can no longer comment on the impact of this development on local traffic.  See our website www.dinaspowysbypass.co.uk  for a Guide to tell you how to respond to the Council on planning applications.

Now to deal with the St Cyres application and Rod will now give you cover the background to this.

Former St Cyres Junior School site – Background

In 2014, following a public consultation between November 2012 and January 2013, the Vale Council offered the site of the former St Cyres Junior School for sale.  After the tender period closed in December 2014, David Wilson Homes (which is part of Barratt Homes so we’ll call them Battatts) was declared the preferred bidder for a proposal to build 300 homes.

So an agreement to buy the site was made subject to the granting of planning permission.

In May 2015    , Welsh Water informed the Council that the existing sewer at the top of Murch Crescent had insufficient capacity to take the site’s foul sewage from 300 houses.
Early in 2017, Barratts applied to the Council to waive the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment for the site and in March, despite protests from residents, the previous Council agreed to this request.

In August this year, Barratts’ submitted their Consultant’s Transport Assessment which covered the impact of the development on local roads.  We’ll comment on that shortly.

On 10 August, Barratts held a public consultation event in the Lee Hall in Dinas Powys.  This was the site plan displayed at that event.  The LDP had proposed 300 houses for this site but ecological surveys had revealed the presence of protected species in parts of the site so the area which could be built on had to be reduced to the 230 houses shown on this plan.
We informed Barratts about Welsh Water’s statement regarding sewer capacity but they appeared not to know this.  We also told them we considered the development should wait until it could connect directly to the by-pass but we were not able to tell them when that would happen.

At the end of October, Barratts submitted a Planning Application together with drawings and various documents which were put on the Council’s website just last week.  We are still digesting all these but tell you what this application covers and can give you our initial comments and suggested objections.

St Cyres site – Planning Application and Objections

This application is now for 215 houses as shown on this site plan.  The consultation period runs for 21 days up to 28 November.  So unless that period is extended, any responses to the Council must be submitted by that date.  I repeat, your objections must be in by 28th November.

Responses can be submitted via the Council’s website or in writing and we tell you how to do this on our website.  www.dinaspowysbypass.co.uk

Many documents and drawings have been submitted with this application and we haven’t yet had time to study all those we consider are important from our viewpoint.

However, we can give you our initial comments on the following aspects:-

  1. The impact that the traffic from this development will have on the local roads and on the wider highway network.
  2. The proposals for storm water and sewage disposal.
  3. The accessibility of the site by foot or bicycle.
  4. Sewer Rising Main route in Murch Road.
  5. The impact of the site boundary on the possible Dinas Powys by-pass road corridor.
  6. The lack of a Council run public consultation event.

Roger will deal with each of these aspects in turn.  First the traffic.

  1. Traffic Implications

This estate will generate additional traffic both during construction and after occupation.  The only road access to both this site and the site off Caerleon Road which we’ve already talked about is off the traffic light controlled junction on the strategic highway Cardiff Road (A4055) and up Murch Road.

The implications of extra traffic on Murch Crescent and Murch Road include:

  1. The safety aspect resulting from the combination of parked vehicles and many more vehicles using this road which could prevent open access for all types of Emergency Vehicles.  This includes ambulance access to and from the Health Centre and residents homes in the area.
  2. The safety impact for children entering and leaving Dinas Powys Infant School on the corner of Cardiff Road when there is considerably more traffic including possibly construction vehicles using the narrow section of Murch Road approaching the Cardiff Road traffic lights.
  3. The safety of residents of all ages crossing roads, particularly at the Murch Road / Castle Drive junction, and accessing the shops on Castle Drive.
  4. Added pollution along the routes.
  5. Increased noise along the routes.
  6. The impact of significantly more traffic from both this development and the site off Caerleon Road on the already over-capacity traffic light junction on Cardiff Road and A4055 strategic highway through Dinas Powys.

This last point may represent the strongest case for objecting to the planning application.  The situation would of course be different if the development is delayed until the by-pass is constructed.

There are two aspects to our objection regarding traffic.  First the impact of the projected extra traffic on the operational capacity of the local roads, the main road junctions and the wider strategic highway network.  And secondly the non compliance of the application with policies in the adopted LDP.  The strategic road junction nearest the St Cyres and Caerleon Road developments is the Cardiff Rd / Murch Rd traffic light junction.

To identify the severity of the impact which these developments could have on this junction, we have looked at the traffic studies listed on this slide.

  1. Highway Impact Assessment (HIA) by Capita Symonds for the Vale Council, August 2013.
  2. Transport Statement by Asbri Transport for United Welsh Housing Association (Caerleon), February 2015
  3. Transport Assessment by RPS Group for Barratt Homes South Wales (St Cyres), August 2017

Traffic count surveys were carried out in December 2012 for the HIA and in September 2015 for Barratt’s St Cyres development.  Asbri’s report appears to have used the HIA’s 2012 traffic figures for this junction though they did counts in 2013 and 2015 for the Castle Drive / Conway Close and Murch Rd / Castle Drive junctions.

All three studies show that the Cardiff Rd / Murch Rd / Millbrook Rd junction was close to or over capacity at the start of the study period.  We’ll now show you some of the figures from these reports to illustrate this.

Let me explain this first table.  It shows figures from each report for the situation at the Cardiff Road junction at the start of their studies.  SEE SLIDE The top table assumes the pedestrian green man lights operate on every cycle of the traffic lights which is usual when children are being taken to or from the Infant’s School on the corner of this junction.  The bottom table shows the figures with no pedestrian light delays.

PRC stands for Practical Reserve Capacity which is a measure of the spare capacity at a road junction.

A positive PRC figure in black means the junction has spare capacity.  A negative PRC in red indicates the junction over capacity.  The higher the red figure the more over capacity.

Queue lengths at the lights are available for all branches of the junction but we are showing them just for the queue on Murch Road.

The Council-commissioned HIA study showed the junction was over capacity to a greater amount and with longer queues on Murch Road in 2012 than the other studies showed in 2015.

This table shows the future traffic situation predicted by each study taking into account general growth and planned developments such as at Caerleon Rd and St Cyres.  The HIA and Asbri give projected traffic figures for 2026 and 2028 respectively while the RPS study for St Cyres only looked as far ahead as 2020.

What all studies show is that traffic congestion at the Cardiff Rd / Murch Rd / Millbrook Rd junction will be significantly worse in the future if these developments are completed without improvements to the highway network.

Because the Council’s own Highways Department states that the capacity of the Cardiff Road junction cannot be increased, this can only mean the provision of a by-pass and its connection to the top of Murch Crescent.

The reports for both the St Cyres and Caerleon developers attempt to play down the predicted future increase in traffic congestion at the Murch Road / Cardiff Road junction.

The Asbri report for Caerleon therefore concludes ‘that the existing junction is likely to have sufficient capacity to accommodate both developments ….’

The RPS report for St Cyres notes that this junction ‘is currently operating close to its design capacity’ and that ‘the proposed development will have an impact on this junction although it is not considered to be severe.  It concludes that the proposed development of 220 dwellings …… can be adequately accommodated on the local junctions to the site.

But these statements by the Developers’ consultants do not change the fact that these developments would adversely affect this strategic highway junction by making it more congested in future and therefore do not comply with several LDP Policies as Rod will explain.

The Local Development Plan (the LDP) compiled by the previous administration contain several policies which relate to the impact of new developments on the strategic transport infrastructure and specifically on the highway network.  The relevant extracts are as follows:-

Policy SP7 is headed Transportation

The last paragraph states: ‘All new developments that have a direct impact on the strategic transportation infrastructure will be required to deliver appropriate improvements to the network.

Policy MG 16 is headed Transport Proposals

The last section under the sub-heading ‘Highway Improvement Works’ states:     ‘In addition, to mitigate the impact of development on the highway network, highway improvement works in the form of corridor or junction improvement schemes will be required.’

Policy MD 5 is headed Developments within Settlement Boundaries

Dinas Powys and Sully are among the Settlements listed in the LDP.  This Policy states: New development within these settlements will be permitted where the proposed development has no unacceptable impact on the amenity and character of the locality by way of noise, traffic congestion and parking.

These Policies, which were presumably written to avoid traffic from new developments congesting the road network, mean that no new development should be permitted if it would result in an adverse or unacceptable impact on the highway network.  So, in order for a new development which would have such an impact to gain planning permission, appropriate highway improvement works should be implemented first.

So, unless adequate highway improvement (i.e. the by-pass) is carried out, the planning application for the St Cyres development should be rejected on the basis of non-compliance with the stated LDP policies.

Roger will now talk about drainage.

  1. Drainage

Drainage from the site covers both rain water, also called storm water, and foul sewage.  Barratt’s plans show how they intend to deal with the disposal of both storm water and sewage.  This slide shows just the east side of the site.  SEE SLIDE MURCH CRESCENT, HEALTH CENTRE AND PATH TOWARDS SULLY ROAD.

Rain water is to be drained from the site into a large on-site holding tank – like a collection of large plastic milk crates – with outlet at a controlled rate piped to a local watercourse near Sully Road.  This appears satisfactory to us.

Barratts plan for sewage is to drain it from the site in a gravity sewer to the existing Stonylands pumping station near Sully Rd which will be upgraded.  From there sewage will be pumped back to discharge into the head of the existing gravity sewer at the top of Murch Crescent.

However, in documents dated 2015 and 2016, Welsh Water stated that the existing Murch Crescent sewer does not have adequate capacity to take the flow from the development.  At the 10 August 2017 Exhibition, Barratts were unaware of this.

Both the 2015 Statement of Common Ground produced by the Council and Welsh Water and Welsh Water’s evidence to LDP Hearing Session 9 in March 2016 state: Our local sewer network is too small to accommodate the foul flows from this development.

The Drainage Strategy document submitted with the planning contains no explicit statement that the existing sewer has adequate capacity to take the site’s foul sewage.
But in an Appendix to this document, we find a letter from Welsh Water to the Council dated February 2014 stating:  ‘The foul only flows from the proposed development can be accommodated within the public sewerage system    .

This statement predates and is at odds with the later statements by Welsh Water and we will be asking for an explanation.  When we have an answer, we will put a statement on our website.

  1. Accessibility by Pedestrians and Cyclists

Planners quite rightly want to encourage walking and cycling as sustainable modes of travel.  The Transport Assessment submitted with this application refers to several policy and guidance documents which state that a new housing site must have easy access by foot and bicycle to public transport and other local amenities.

Chapter 8 of Planning Policy Wales includes the following statement:

“The Welsh Government supports a transport hierarchy in relation to new development that establishes priorities in such a way that, wherever possible, they are accessible in the first instance by walking and cycling, then by public transport and then finally by private motor vehicles.  

Careful consideration needs to be given in Local Development Plans to the allocation of new sites which are likely to generate significant levels of movement to ensure that access provisions which promote walking and cycling, as well as by public transport are included from the outset.”

The transport Assessment also references LDP Policy SP7 which has the statement: ‘Priority will also be given to schemes that improve highway safety and accessibility, public transport, walking and cycling.”

The Transport Assessment shows that the site is within a reasonable walking or cycling distance of these facilities but it fails to point out that the route involved is not on flat ground.  It does not mention the steepness of the upper part of Murch Road and of Murch Crescent.  Yes, healthy fit people could probably carry several bags of shopping up the steep road to the new site or could cycle up the hill without getting off.  But there are many people not so healthy or fit or who have small children in tow for whom the hill would not be manageable either on foot or by bicycle.

Therefore the location of this site does not comply with these policies and should be rejected on that basis alone.

  1. Sewer Rising Main route in Murch Road.

Barratt’s drawing shows the proposed sewer rising main from the upgraded Stonylands Pumping Station to the head of the existing sewer in Murch Crescent is shown routed in Murch Road between the Health Centre entrance to the existing sewer manhole.  SEE SLIDE.

But the narrow width of this section of road would make it difficult to lay this section of sewer without closing the road.  This would prevent access to and from the Health Centre.

If it is demonstrated that the existing sewer can take the sewage flow from the site, then this section of the rising main may need to be rerouted to avoid closing the road to the Health Centre.

  1. The site boundary impact on the Dinas Powys by-pass

The corridor for a by-pass which had been safeguarded in the earlier UDP and which we already mentioned cut through the eastern corner of the site of the former St Cyres Junior School as indicated on this slide which is a screenshot from part of the Agent’s sale advert for the site.  SEE SLIDE SITE BOUNDARY AND APPROX SAFEGUARDED CORRIDOR.

But, when the previous Council administration offered the site for sale in 2014, the part of the site impacted by the corridor was not excluded from the sale.
Even though the LDP, which omitted the safeguarding, was still only in draft form and the Council should still have taken the UDP, which included the safeguarding, into account.  We had drawn this to the Council in the chamber long before the contract of intent with Barratts had been entered into.

It is possible for the by-pass to get around the site but with an adverse effect on the smooth line of the road.  We have recently drawn this again to the Council’s attention.

If this application is rejected for one or more of the reasons we have given, then the originally safeguarded corridor should be reinstated across the corner of this site.

  1. The Lack of a Public Consultation Event

When the Council has received a planning application for a major development, it normally arranges a public consultation event when people can come and discuss their views with Council officials.  This did happen last March for the Arcadis Stage 1 study.

Last week we asked the Senior Planner dealing with the Barratts application when and where the Council’s public consultation event would be held and were told: The Public Consultation event you refer to has already taken place and was undertaken by the applicants (that’s Barratts) as part of the Pre-Application Consultation required for major developments.’

The consultation to which the Planner is referring is the 10 August event organised by Barratts.  This slide shows an extract from Barratt’s advert for this event.  We draw your attention to the words in bold which clearly show that it would be a Barratt’s event, not the Council’s.  The Planner seems to think that even though there were no Council officials in attendance at this event, it somehow gave people to opportunity to express their views on it to the Council.  Surely the Council can’t outsource their public consultations in this way?

We are challenging the Planner on this keep you informed on our website.

  1. Any Other Matters

As mentioned, we are still digesting all the documentation submitted with this planning application.  For example we haven’t yet had a chance to study the Travel Plan.  So there could be some more comments on it which we will add to our website by the end of this week.

Questions on Housing Developments

We will now take questions on the Caerleon and St Cyres housing developments.  Who would like to ask a question?

Conclusion and Appeal for Help

The Dinas Powys By-Pass Steering Group will object to both the Caerleon and the St Cyres planning applications for the reasons given in this presentation.

On our website, you will find a copy of this presentation and a guide on to how to submit your comments and/or objections on the Council’s website.

Finally, if there is anyone here with professional knowledge which you think could help our campaign, please come and see us before you leave.

Even if you’re prepared to deliver some leaflets in your street please let us know…my legs are killing me!

Thank you all for coming.  I hope that you have found this meeting informative and useful.  Have a safe journey home.

Public Meeting – Monday 13th November

Dinas Powys By-Pass Steering Group will present an update about:-
1) DINAS POWYS BY-PASS CAMPAIGN
2) MAJOR HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS at
– Land off Caerleon Road
– Site of former St Cyres Lower School
At the MURCHFIELD COMMUNITY CENTRE
Sunnycroft Lane on Monday 13 November at 7.00pm
Discover the latest information on the By-Pass and other transport proposals along the Dinas Powys traffic corridor. Find out the latest news about the proposed Housing Developments in the Murch area of Dinas Powys. We will also tell you how you can support the By-Pass campaign and object to Housing Developments – at least until the By-Pass is built to relieve traffic congestion.

 

image1

Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns M.P. meets with Dinas Powys By-Pass Steering Group members, Vale and Community Councillors Vince Driscoll, Rob Crowley, Andy Robertson and Chair Rod Harro.

Hundreds More Vehicles Daily Through Dinas By 2019 – Public Meeting called

House-building and other projects planned to start by the end of 2018 will collectively add hundreds more vehicles daily, including dozens of HGVs of all sizes, onto the A4055 through Dinas Powys.

“This doesn’t only effect people in Dinas Powys but those who need to commute along this vital route. Unless some order is put to the way projects are carried out we’re heading for a total break-down in transport in the Eastern Vale within the next couple of years. This is much sooner than was previously predicted, mainly because projects are being planned to run in parallel,” said Vale Councillor and Dinas Powys Community Council Chair Andy Robertson.

“Four major projects are each planned by developers to pour first construction vehicles and eventually new home-owners cars onto the main thoroughfare. And that’s just from plans projected to be generated from within the village boundaries.

“After years of promises in various reports a few days ago the Vale Traffic Department informed that a developer had not be called to contribute towards improving the Murch Road traffic light junction because ‘there was no feasible layout improvement that the applicants could undertake to mitigate for the impact of their development.’ This junction has been marked down for improvement in numerous council documents, including the Highways Impact Assessment in 2013 which informed the Local Development Plan (LDP).

“There is one thing that certainly can’t be done. That’s putting thousands more vehicles through Dinas Powys without the only infrastructure improvement that makes sense – a by-pass,” added Cllr Robertson.

 

traffic-stock-picture-01

The Dinas Powys By-Pass Steering Group is calling an urgent Public Meeting about the planned developments and the progress of the By-Pass proposals on Monday 13th November at 7.00p.m. at the Murchfield Community Centre in Sunnycroft Lane.

He explained that these matters are no longer just about the vital need for work to start on the By-Pass but a case of the economic, social and employment future of the Eastern Vale.

“Developers are pushing to build 50 houses at Cross Common, for which a complete new junction onto the Barry Road had to be constructed, costing £500,000.

“But when it comes to 230 houses at the former St Cyres Lower School and 70 at Caerleon Road everyone thinks they can converge on the existing Murch traffic lights next to the infant school. Despite admitting the Caerleon development would add to the already over-capacity traffic light junction of Murch Road and Cardiff Road the last Labour Council passed Outline Planning for the Caerleon development.

He explained that this also highlights how the Multi-Modal proposal to improve the capacity of junctions on the A4055 through Dinas Powys in the current WelTAG study is just plain unworkable.

“If developers get their way these four projects are all expected to begin construction during 2018.  Each seems to be planned in isolation of the other, but are scheduled by developers to start simultaneously if planning is granted,” added Cllr Robertson.

He pointed out that there will be even more vehicles as the Barry Waterfront expands into Stages Two to Five with an eventual 4,000 homes plus commercial buildings, restaurants, bars and a hotel.

“Then add some of the vehicles generated by the 500 house Cog Estate and the smaller Hayes Wood development at the Bendricks.

“Now I’ve been told Welsh Water’s power generation project at the Cog Moors Treatment Works on the Barry Road will involve between 100 and 150 vehicles entering and leaving the site daily for two years.

“All of this is in addition to the current almost daily grid-lock on both the A4055 and Penny-Turnpike at peak times.”

Cllr Robertson explained that the Cross Common Road development would add 200 vehicle trips daily when complete.

“I’m not even counting the extra heavy goods vehicles pounding through our streets from the completion of the A4232 Cardiff Peripheral Road and more if the BioMix Incinerator plant goes ahead despite objections.

“Of course houses are needed but none of them should happen until the right infrastructure is put in place – including the by-pass.  If developers can’t provide the necessary infrastructure improvements stipulated in the LDP then the development must be rejected until they can be provided.”

Dinas Powys To Be Represented On By-Pass Review Group

Dinas Powys is, at last, to get a local representative to sit on the Welsh Assembly Government’s WelTAG Review Group that oversees the Study into the transport corridor through the village.

Civil Engineer Roger Pattenden B.Sc MICE was appointed by Dinas Powys Community Council to represent the community on this Review Group that will review the further study work to solve the present transport problems through Dinas Powys. Earlier in the week the Vale Council Cabinet asked the Community Council to appoint someone to the Review Group.

roger-pattenden-1

Roger Pattenden BSc.MICE

The Dinas Powys study is the first occasion a Review Group has been used for any transport initiative in Wales.

The Dinas Powys By-Pass Steering Group had impressed upon the Vale Council that the initially appointed Review Group represented just 22% of local commuters. But the 78% travelling by car, van or motor-cycle were not represented.  The members of the initial Group represented only transport modes that collectively formed the unworkable ‘Multi-Modal’ option.  The other two choices initially short-listed were a stand-alone by-pass or a ‘do minimum’ decision.

On the recommendation of the Council’s Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee the Cabinet has added a fourth option, a combination of the by-pass and multi-modal options. This will avoid the possibility of the ‘multi-modal’ option unfairly amassing extra selection points merely because of the number of different components within it.

Roger Pattenden is also a member of the Dinas Powys By-Pass Steering Group and has worked assiduously to achieve the result most villagers have expressed as their desired outcome.

“Obviously I’m pleased to be asked to represent the community,” Roger, whose wife was born in Dinas Powys, said this week. “I’ll try to ensure that the study considers the benefit of all aspects for the long-term benefit of the village and Vale.

Comments on Proposed Large Housing Developments in Dinas Powys

Barratts at site of St Cyres Lower School, top of Murch Crescent

United Welsh Housing Association at site off Caerleon Road, Murch

by DINAS POWYS BY-PASS STEERING GROUP  August 2017

dinas-powys-by-pass-steering-commitee

(sponsored by Dinas Powys Conservatives).

Full Planning Applications for these developments are expected to be submitted to the Vale Council shortly.  These comments cover points which could be made when this happens.

The current plans are for 220 houses at the St Cyres site and 70 houses at the Caerleon Rd site.

These estates will generate additional traffic both during construction and after occupation.  The only road access to both these sites is off the traffic light controlled junction on the strategic highway Cardiff Road (A4055) and up Murch Road.

The implications of extra traffic on Murch Road include:

  1. Safety – including the need for open access for Emergency Vehicles to and from the Health Centre and for residents living along the roads leading to the developments.
  2. Safety for school children entering and leaving Dinas Powys Infant School.
  3. Safety for residents of all ages crossing roads, particularly at the Murch Road / Castle Drive junction, and accessing the shops on Castle Drive.
  4. Added pollution along the routes.
  5. Increased noise along the routes.
  6. The impact on the already over-capacity strategic highway through Dinas Powys.

This last point probably represents the strongest case for objecting to each of the planning applications as explained below.  A further point relating to the disposal of sewage from the St Cyres site is covered later in these comments.

 

1 – Impact on Strategic Highway network

The new administration in the Vale were given no option but to sign into law at the end of June 2017 the Local Development Plan (LDP) compiled by the previous administration.  Policies SP7, MG16 and MD5 form part of the document.  Each contains requirements that relate to the impact of new developments on the strategic transport infrastructure and specifically on the highway network.

The relevant extracts are as follows:-

Policy SP7 – Transportation

The last paragraph states: ‘All new developments that have a direct impact on the strategic transportation infrastructure will be required to deliver appropriate improvements to the network.

Policy MG 16 – Transport Proposals

The last section under the sub-heading ‘Highway Improvement Works’ states:     ‘In addition, to mitigate the impact of development on the highway network, highway improvement works in the form of corridor or junction improvement schemes will be required.’

Policy MD 5 – Developments within Settlement Boundaries

Dinas Powys and Sully are among the LDP’s listed Settlements.  The second sentence of this Policy states: New development within these settlements will be permitted where the proposed development:  ’  There follows a list of various ‘do’s’ and ‘don’t’ points, including at number 6:  ‘Has no unacceptable impact on the amenity and character of the locality by way of noise, traffic congestion and parking.

These Policies mean that no new development will be permitted if it would result in an adverse or unacceptable impact on the highway network.  So, in order for a new development which would have such an impact to gain planning permission, appropriate highway improvement works would need to be implemented first.

The strategic road junction nearest the St Cyres and Caerleon Road developments is the Cardiff Rd / Murch Rd traffic light junction.

To identify the severity of the impact these developments could have on this junction, we have looked at the following traffic studies

  1. Capita Symonds – Highway Impact Assessment (HIA) for Vale Council, August 2013.
  2. Asbri Transport – Transport Statement for United Welsh Housing Association, February 2015
  3. RPS Group – Transport Assessment for Barratt Homes South Wales, August 2017

Traffic count surveys were carried out in December 2012 for the HIA and in September 2015 for Barratt’s St Cyres development.  Asbri’s report appears to have used the HIA’s 2012 traffic figures for this junction though they did counts in 2013 and 2015 for the Castle Drive / Conway Close and Murch Rd / Castle Drive junctions.

All three studies show that the Cardiff Rd / Murch Rd / Millbrook Rd junction was close to or over capacity at the start of the study period.  This is illustrated by the following figures for PRC (Practical Reserve Capacity ) and for the number of cars queueing on Murch Road back from the traffic lights.  PRC is a measure of the spare capacity at a road junction.  A negative PRC in red indicates that a junction is over capacity.

All figures are based on the pedestrian lights working on each cycle which is usual when children are being taken to or from the Infant’s School on the corner of this junction.  However, for comparison, the PRC figures with no pedestrian light delays are shown in brackets.

Study HIA for Vale Council (2012) Asbri for Caerleon (2015) RPS for St Cyres  (2015)
PRC during morning peak -18.7% (7.8%) 16.2% (42.7%) 11.0% (36.6%)
PRC during afternoon peak -46.7% (-5.7%) -6.6% (15.6%) -1.5% (16.4%)
Murch Rd morning queue 27 cars 13 cars 10 cars
Murch Rd afternoon queue 70 cars 12 cars 11 cars

The Vale-commissioned HIA study shows the junction is over capacity to a greater amount and with longer queues on Murch Road in 2012 than the studies for developers show in 2015.

All studies assess the future traffic situation taking into account general growth, committed development and planned developments such as at Caerleon Rd and St Cyres.  The HIA and Asbri give projected traffic figures for 2026 and 2028 respectively while the RPS study only looks as far ahead as 2020.

What all studies show is that traffic congestion at the Cardiff Rd / Murch Rd / Millbrook Rd junction will be significantly worse in the future if these developments are completed without improvements to the highway network.  The extent of this deterioration is illustrated by the following figures from these reports.

Study HIA for Vale Council (2026) Asbri for Caerleon (2028) RPS for St Cyres  (2020)
PRC during morning peak -91.8% (-40.4%) -19.6% (18.4%) -22.7% (-0.1%)
PRC during afternoon peak –84.6% (-33.5%) -43.6% (-3.9%) -27.8% (-8.5%)
Murch Rd morning queue 94 cars 43 cars 49 cars
Murch Rd afternoon queue 181 cars 54 cars 39 cars

It can be seen that all studies predict the junction will be significantly more over capacity in the future than in 2012 or 2015.  PRESS HERE for more details and figures from these reports.

The reports for both St Cyres and Caerleon developers attempt to play down the predicted future increase in traffic congestion at the Murch Road / Cardiff Road junction.

Both the Asbri and RPS reports consider that the actual situation is likely to be between the results with and without pedestrian light delays.  They also mention that the lights at this junction are operated by a system (termed MOVA) that changes the timings based on the traffic situations as they are forming.

The Asbri report therefore concludes ‘that the existing junction is likely to have sufficient capacity to accommodate both developments ….’

The RPS report notes that this junction ‘is currently operating close to its design capacity’ and that ‘the proposed development will have an impact on this junction although it is not considered to be severe.  It concludes that the proposed development of 220 dwellings …… can be adequately accommodated on the local junctions to the site.

But these statements by the Developers’ consultants do not change the fact that these developments do adversely affect this strategic highway junction by making it more congested in future and therefore do not comply with the LDP Policies referenced earlier.

So, unless adequate highway improvements are carried out, the planning applications for both the Caerleon and St Cyres developments should be rejected on the basis of non-compliance with the LDP.

 

2- Disposal of Sewage from the Developments

Welsh Water advise that disposal of sewage from the Caerleon site is not a problem.

Barratt’s plans for their St Cyres development show how they intend to deal with rain water drainage and with foul water drainage.  Rain water is to be drained into a large on-site holding tank and soak-away with overflow piped to a local watercourse.  This appears satisfactory.

However, Barratts plan for the site’s sewage to be drained to an upgraded pumping station near Sully Rd then pumped back to discharge into the head of the existing gravity sewer in Murch Crescent.

But in the documents listed below Welsh Water say that the existing Murch Crescent sewer does not have adequate capacity to take the flow from the development.  At the 10 August 2017 Exhibition, Barratts were unaware of this but have now been sent these documents:-

  • SD18 – VOGC and DCWW Statement of Common Ground (May 2015)
  • ID-2312-Welsh Water  – LDP Hearing Session 9  3 March 2016

Both these state: Our local sewer network is too small to accommodate the foul flows from this development.

 

3- Conclusion

The Dinas Powys By-Pass Steering Group will object to both planning applications on the grounds of non-compliance with the LDP and, in the case of the St Cyres site, have made this clear to Barratts.

We suggested to Barratts a week prior to the Exhibition that they should consider delaying their planning application until access could be provided to their site from the intended by-pass, but they were reluctant as no date has yet been given for the project.

 

Comments sent to the Vale Council from Dinas Powys By-Pass Steering Group during August 2017

Considerations for Stage 2 of WelTAG* study into
Improving Strategic Transport for Dinas Powys

*Welsh Transport planning and Appraisal Guidance. A five stage process. The first stage was carried out by ARCADIS Consulting, reported to the Vale Council Cabinet on 31st July 2017.

The ARCADIS Stage 1 Report identifies five objectives to improve strategic transport along the corridor through Dinas Powys.  These are:-

Objective 1:         Support Sustainable Connectivity in Cardiff City Region.

Objective 2:         Facilitate and support economic growth.

Objective 3:         Improving Health and Wellbeing.

Objective 4:         Improved Safety and Security.

Objective 5:         Benefits and Minimised impacts on the environment.

At the end of the study, three options were short-listed for further work in Stage 2:

A: Do Minimum B: Multi-Modal C: By-Pass

Option A would not achieve the objectives and was included in order to compare the Do Minimum future situation with the benefits which the other options could provide.

Option B provides minimal achievement of the objectives as explained in the table below.

Option C would achieve the objectives to varying degrees.

N.B. Options B and C are unequal in the extent to which they can achieve the stated Objectives.  However, we consider that a far greater achievement of the Objectives could be obtained by a combination of feasible multi-modal improvements with a by-pass.

Objective Ref Extent to which Option B would achieve Objectives
1 The inability of this Option to significantly reduce traffic congestion along the corridor would prevent improvement of bus services and the provision of a continuous direct cycle way along the corridor.  Any increase in train usage would be limited due to lack of parking facilities at stations.  So there would be low achievement of this Objective.
2 There would be an adverse effect on economic growth due to greater congestion resulting from no increase in road or bus capacity and minimal increase in train usage.  Any improvement in facilities for cyclists and pedestrians would give insignificant benefit to economic growth.
3 Any improvement in facilities for cyclists and pedestrians would provide some health benefit but this would be mitigated by an increase in pollution along the A4055 from greater traffic congestion.
4 Increased traffic congestion along the corridor would not achieve this Objective.
5 Increased traffic congestion along the corridor would not achieve this Objective.

Options B and C both require work in Stage 2 to evaluate sub-options.  The following table lists the sub-options that we envisage need evaluation together with the outcome information which would result.

Ref Sub-Options to be Evaluated Outcome
1 Alternatives for increasing capacity of the Merrie Harrier junction Identification of option with best cost benefit.
2 Routes for road connections from by-pass to Dinas Powys and to Penarth. Identification of feasible routes and connection points plus their cost benefit
3 Alternative routes for southern part of by-pass and their connection points to existing road network. Identification of the feasible route and connection point with greatest cost benefit.
4 Feasibility of any additional parking facilities at train stations and assessment of possible increase in train passengers Identification of cost benefit of providing feasible extra car parking at train stations in corridor.
5 Feasibility of car passenger drop off /pick up zones at train stations. Identification of feasible and cost-effective drop off / pick up zones.
6 Locations and types of secure all weather cycle parking facilities at train stations Identification of feasible and most cost effective cycle parking facilities.
7 Location and size of park and ride facility adjacent to by-pass. Identification of most cost effective size and location of P & R facility
8 Measures to improve safety along Station Road to Pen-y-Turnpike route by limiting speed and improving junctions. Identification of cost effective measures to achieve objective.
9 Switching A4055 designation onto by-pass and making existing road through Dinas Powys a B road with weight restriction. Removal of HGV through traffic from road through Dinas Powys.
10 Improved bus stop facilities and/or increased bus capacity (e.g. more buses and drivers?) to take advantage of reduced traffic congestion on A4055. Identification of feasible cost-effective improvements for new facilities and/or additional buses and staff.
11 Routes for new or improved cycle ways and feasibility of schemes. Identification of feasible and cost-effective new or improved cycle ways.
12 Routes / locations for new or improved pedestrian facilities and scheme feasibility. Identification of cost effective new or improved pedestrian facilities.

Because the cost and benefit of each option will have been estimated individually, it will be possible to identify the overall cost benefit of combinations of options.  Any combination that excluded a by-pass simply could not provide overall, lasting benefit.

The results from this work will show the potential benefits to transport in the Barry to Cardiff corridor and thereby in the Eastern Vale that would be achievable for different levels of total expenditure.

This may help achieve the most beneficial combination of options possible.

BY-PASS MOVING FORWARD

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.”