Victory for Island road campaigners

Barry And District News: THE LINK: Vale AM Jane Hutt, Cllr Neil Moore, Cllr Lis Burnett and Richard Keogh, of the Barry Waterfront Consortium THE LINK: Vale AM Jane Hutt, Cllr Neil Moore, Cllr Lis Burnett and Richard Keogh, of the Barry Waterfront Consortium

BARRY residents have had an early Christmas present with the news that £2million is to be spent on a new link road.

Barry Island residents and traders have campaigned for years for a second road on and off the popular seaside resort – highlighting safety and resident access issues – with the Harbour Road causeway currently the sole available route.

Motorists faced gridlock and delays of up to four hours on New Year's Day this year when thousands of visitors flocked to the location – made famous worldwide by award-winning sitcom Gavin and Stacey.

Making the announcement on Tuesday, Vale AM and Welsh Government finance minister Jane Hutt said: "Work can now start on the new road to Barry Island thanks to a £2million Welsh Government loan to the Vale Council approved in the budget last week.

"It was great to join the Vale Council leader and cabinet member for Regeneration on the Clive Road Steps with the developers to view the site where the road will be built linking the Waterfront to Barry Island."

Ian Bailey, of the Island Residents Association (IRA), said: “It’s not only a great victory for Barry Island residents but for people that want to visit the Island resort for the day, but don't because of fear of being stuck in gridlocked traffic when leaving the island.

“The members of IRA (Island Residents Association) are very pleased with a decision to complete the second access road sooner rather than later.

“This will be greatly received."

Vale MP Alun Cairns said the announcement was great news and recognition to the people and the businesses on the Island and elsewhere that had been campaigning for the link.

He said: “It is only right and fair that all those people who campaigned for many years claim full credit. The Welsh Government was cornered into supporting us.

“We now have the opportunity to develop the Island into a year-round resort. I am sorry that the Welsh Government rejected the Vale’s bid for regeneration money and hope that we can develop some other form of plan to fully exploit the new road.”

Barry Regeneration Area Board member and Pride In Barry chairman Paul Haley said it was welcome news that the new road was going ahead but added: “For people to try and take credit for having put this in place is full of irony.”

He said the former regeneration board had asked for it and it was down to the residents that the road was happening.

He said: “It’s down to pressure that this loan has happened.”

He said the Welsh Government should have given a grant as, using his figures, £17.7million was still owed to the town through land sales in Barry.

“They try and make us feel as though we should be grateful for what we are getting,” he said.

Vale Council cabinet members approved a recommendation to enter into a loan agreement on Monday, December 16.

Barry Waterfront Consortium – alongside its multi-million pound residential, retail, office and community – proposed the direct road linking the Hood Road roundabout to Barry Island in 2011.

The phasing programme currently submitted indicates the link road will be constructed in phases and would not be constructed in its entirety in one single operation meaning the proposed link would not connect to the Island until around 2018.

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