Penarth school-path is "inadequate"
A DINAS Powys councillor has raised concerns about the recently fenced-off Ash Path - used by many youngsters heading to and from St Cyres and other Penarth schools.
The path, which leads from Dinas Powys to Sully Road, was fenced off by the council in April, to keep walkers separate from horses in adjacent fields.
But Chris Franks, speaking on behalf of Plaid Cymru, says he believes the path is too narrow and under-lit.
"It is simply inadequate as it is," said Cllr Franks, who raised the issue in a full council meeting recently.
"As the days become shorter, pupils -some as young as 11 - will be expected to walk unaccompanied across the fields in the dark.
"It is essential that all is done to provide a safe path for the youngsters, and we believe that it should be well within the budget of the £48 million Penarth Learning Community project to widen the path and provide some low-level lighting."
Dinas Powys resident Lisa Hassan-Scott, who uses the path several times a day to walk her three children to school, agreed.
"When the fencing was introduced I was surprised at how narrow the path was," she said. "In several places you have to go in single file and if I have the pushchair with me, people coming the other way have to push right to the side to give me room.
"I also think some lighting would be good. I wouldn't use the path in the night as it is too dark and isolated."
Head of strategic planning and performance at the Vale Council, Paula Ham said that depending on the results of a feasibility study, the council may attempt to acquire additional land from the owner for a cycleway/footpath.
"The Ash Path has been used by pupils living in Dinas Powys as a walking route to St Cyres School in Penarth for many years," she said.
"Following concerns raised by local residents over the risk posed by horses in the fields adjacent to the path, officers of the council entered into protracted negotiations with the land owner over the erection of a fence to prevent livestock access to the path.
"The path was fenced by the council for safety reasons in April 2012.
"In response to further specific concerns raised by parents in relation to the risk associated with crossing Sully Road at the entrance to the Ash Path, a toucan crossing was installed by the council prior to the start of this term.
"The council is presently reviewing the feasibility of delivering a combined cycleway and footpath along this route, which would require additional land from the land owner."