Bypass reaction

IN last week’s edition the four, paid, Vale councillors representing Dinas Powys made various accusations against the entirely voluntary Barry to Cardiff Link Road Group.

They claimed the group, which, along with its predecessor, the Dinas Powys By-pass Steering Group, have spent over five years intensively lobbying for a by-pass, had made various proposals, including one that was intended to lead to the building of up to 45,000 houses in the area - their source for this wild projection is unknown.

“Yes, we indicated the possibility of the council looking at developing some areas like the Tank Farm beside Hayes Road and the Bristol Channel. But this is only one of a raft of suggestions and would have been the total responsibility of the Vale Council.

In this instance we referred to a well-practised norm in other parts of the UK, like the slightly larger Bognor Regis By-pass built entirely from private funds from the Barratt Construction Company.

The housing development section of that project was, we believe, around 800 houses – nothing like the 45,000 scurrilously suggested by the councillors.

The group have made it clear that at no time have they made any such proposals, merely a variety of alternative suggestions for the relief of traffic on the A4055 through Dinas Powys to the benefit of the community.

“For responsible councillors to make such scurrilous suggestions about members of their electorate really does beggar belief,” said Link Road chair, Rod Harrod. “We have done nothing other than put forward ideas.”

Mr Harrod said they had refuted any suggestion they were seeking development of any size by the group at a meeting with Vale Cabinet members and Senior Officers two years ago, when councillors Driscoll and Robertson were present, as members of Dinas Powys By-pass Steering Group.

Where we and our globally recognised professional consultants working for us ad hoc differ from the councillors is that we believe the WelTAG government document clearly outlines that ALL alternative options and routes should have been explored and presented for review group and cabinet consideration.

The WelTAG document also places great importance on an open-door policy of communication with the public, in groups or on an individual basis. Yet, unlike the By-pass proposal passing through Pendoylan, Dinas Powys has only received a single Public Consultation. The second was postponed three times and never happened.

What made matters worse was that the community council’s representative on the ‘confidential’ technical Review Group, Roger Pattenden, was not invited to their latest meeting last January. Yet representatives of Barry and Penarth Councils were present, plus two Dinas Powys Vale councillors as ‘observers’ – yet one was allowed to pose a question.

We were concerned that the A4055 past McDonalds to the Gladstone Roundabout would become totally clogged using the by-pass route the councillors favoured and WAG could well have rejected the scheme on these grounds.

Instead, the Link Road Group put forward an alternative route from the Merrie Harrier passing to the West of Sully, along Hayes Road and across Barry Docks to come out onto Fordd y Mileniwm.

“Additionally, our preferred route would offer the chance to relieve traffic on the B4267 through Sully, Cosmeston and Lower Penarth. Developments planned or in the process of construction along this road total 1,750 new homes adding daily additional traffic trips of circa 6,000 vehicles,” said Mr Harrod.

Mr Harrod said: “Consultants acting pro bono for the Barry to Cardiff Link Road Group have assessed the potential development opportunities facilitated by our proposed bypass route, at Barry Dock as potentially being able to provide 5,000 new jobs on nearly 200 acres of brown field land.”

Westminster could also possibly fund the bypass, Mr Harrod claimed, through the UK Government’s new Levelling-Up Fund.

This £3.4 billion Fund was announced in the budget in March to rebalance infrastructure across the UK but application needs to be made by the Vale Council.

There is also the potential to apply for Free Port status for Barry. This would certainly attract more commercial development and jobs to the docks.

Of course residents would prefer a traffic free road through the village without further housing development. But neither WAG nor the Vale Council appear willing or able to fund a whole by-pass. So residents could have the choice of no by-pass or one on a route at least partially funded by developers in return for new housing in acceptable locations – housing which the Vale Council has, in any case, targets to provide. But residents elected representatives have adamantly refused to even discuss such options in the forlorn belief that their preferred route will somehow magically happen.

It is important to stress that the Link Road Group have absolutely no vested interest in the provision of new housing, other than as a means of generating funding to cover any shortfall in public money for the provision of a by-pass, as has happened elsewhere.

Mr Harrod said that all figures quoted are checked thoroughly and any estimates used are based on nationally accepted norms.

Cllr Edward Jenkins BEM