Penarth campaigners take fight to the assembly
CAMPAIGNERS protesting to save the green space alongside Sully Terrace have taken their fight to the Welsh Assembly with a visit from AM Andrew RT Davies.
The South Wales Central AM, who is also a Vale resident, met with more than 50 concerned residents from across Penarth, on Friday afternoon (May 3), regarding a controversial tarmac cycle path proposal from the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
Speaking during the hour-long meeting the leader of the Welsh Conservatives said it was important to keep the pressure on the local authority and ensure they were not allowed to ride roughshod over the views of local residents.
He said: "It is troubling that the council do not seem more engaged with this issue and a situation of us and them appears to have been created with the residents.
"We all want better and more environmentally friendly modes of transport but they cannot drive a bulldozer through the views of local people.
"Their priorities seem completely wrong."
Asked by residents about the best way to prevent the proposal - which would see a 2.5 metre tarmac cycle path laid through the centre of the green, used by families, dog-walkers and school children - Mr Davies spoke of the power of protests and demonstrations outside the council offices in Barry.
He also said he would be raising the issue in the National Assembly this week.
The meeting was also attended by Plymouth Ward councillors Cllr Maureen Kelly-Owen and Cllr Clive Williams.
Cllr Kelly-Owen, who intended to raised the issue in full council yesterday (Wednesday 8), said the most worrying aspect was the lack of public consultation ahead of preparatory work carried out in March, which destroyed vegetation around the green thought to contain protected species. "The strength of public feeling about this is obvious from this meeting today," she said on Friday.
Cllr Williams called the scheme a waste of public money.
"It's not improving the area," he said. "Why not spend it filling in potholes instead."
An application to turn the space into a designated village green is due to be submitted by the campaigners, and they have also posted more than 600 flyers around Penarth to draw further attention to the issue, with fresh concerns raised over speeding cyclists this week.
The proposed changes to the green are part of a larger plan for a walkway/cycle route along route the town's disused railway path, running from the town centre to Lavernock Road, for which £15,500 was released to carry out initial work by the South East Wales Transport Alliance (SEWTA). It is thought that up to £250,000 is available from the Welsh Government in total.
Before the end of the meeting Mr Davies AM said it would be interesting to hear the perspective of Sustrans, the national charity promoting sustainable transport, who work in partnership with SEWTA.
But Sustrans Cymru policy advisor Matt Hemsley said that if the scheme delivered a safe, continuous and high quality route then they would support it.
"We support high quality sealed surfaces which don't wear and tear, minimise ongoing costs, and are safe for all to use, from cyclists to wheelchair users," he said. "We also support continuous routes because those that aren't, or have breakages in them - diverting onto roads for example - tend to discourage people.
"But we do agree with the residents in this case that there has not been enough consulation. That is regrettable and full consultation is something we always encourage."
A full consultation is due to be carried out by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
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