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Life in a village on one of Wales’ busiest roads

06 Apr 2024 8 minute read
Residents living in St NIcholas and Bonvilston, situated on one of Wales’ busiest roads, complain cars travel too fast through their villages. Photo Ted Peskett.

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

Residents living in villages situated right in the middle of one of Wales’ busiest roads are fed up of speeding vehicles and rubbish being thrown out of cars.

When the 20mph speed limit was rolled out across Wales in September last year, councils were tasked with listing roads they thought should be excluded from the new restriction.

The A48 at St Nicholas was one section added to Vale of Glamorgan Council’s list of 20mph exceptions and residents in nearby Bonvilston have been campaigning for years to change the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph.

Vale of Glamorgan Council said it had a list of 20mph roads that residents had requested for review and the A48 through St Nicholas would be added to this.

However, it added that as Bonvilston currently had a speed limit of 40mph, it could not be reviewed until 2025.

20mph rule

Many roads that were selected for exemption from the 20mph rule by local authorities are main arterial routes, but residents living in St Nicholas and Bonvilston said the speed and volume of traffic in their villages should be enough for a speed limit reduction there.

The speed limit at St Nicholas is 30mph, but Chris McCormack, who has lived in the village for 10 years, said a lot of cars didn’t stick to it.

Chris, 77, said: “There are such a lot of lorries and they come trundling through. I am sure they are not even sticking to 30mph.

“I don’t hear traffic so much at the back of the house, but if I am out in the garden it is very noisy.

“It is the volume of traffic and the volume of lorries as well.

“I think a speed camera might help.

“I am not saying none of them [stick to the limit], but a lot of them don’t because there is no deterrent.”


Chris said some drivers threw rubbish, mainly cigarette ends, crisp packets and food wrappings, out of their cars near her home.

“I am always picking up rubbish,” she said.

“People are just inconsiderate. Not everyone, but a lot of people.”

Chris said the level of traffic currently on the A48 through St Nicholas and Bonvilston wasn’t always as it was now, adding that it got worse after the construction of a new road along Five Mile Lane.

The road, which runs between the Sycamore Cross junction and Waycock Cross roundabout in Barry, was opened in 2019 and built to improve journey times and access to places like Cardiff Airport and St Athan.

Nicky and Andrew Whiting, also residents of St Nicholas, agreed that traffic seemed to have worsened since the opening of the new link road.

St NIcholas and Bonvilston are situated on one of Wales’ busiest roads. Photo Ted Peskett.

Andrew, 76, said: “If we didn’t have the lorries, it would be lovely.

“I have lived here 56 years and since the link road opened, it has never been as bad because everything comes through this way.

“What we could do with is a speed camera… or 20mph.

“It is starting to get silly.”

Andrew said there had been multiple accidents in the village and once woke up to find that a lorry had crashed into a wall next to his house.

He added: “You are taking your life into your own hands… when you are trying to get out of the village in a car.”

There are nine recorded crashes between St Nicholas and Bonvilston on Crash Map UK between 2019 and 2022.

Two people were killed in a crash on the A48 just west of Bonvislton in July, 2023.

“I hate it here”, said Nicky.

“When I see cars on the road… they are doing 50mph and 60mph through this village and when you are on the pavement, you definitely don’t want to think of a car coming off [the road].”

Pavement width

Nicky also complained about the width of the pavement, saying “they couldn’t make it narrower could they? The cars come right up to the kerb.”

She later added: “It was quieter than what it is now, but there was always that traffic.”

“If you go in the front room, the windows rattle. It is unbelievable.”

“This busy traffic, it does give you a headache.

“This is the village really that people have forgot when it comes to speed limits.”

Andrew Morgan, 63, said residents in Bonvilston have been calling for a 30mph limit in their village on the A48 for years. Photo Ted Peskett

About a mile down the road in Bonvilston, the speed limit is 40mph.

Bonvilston resident and business owner, Andrew Morgan, said residents there had been calling for a 30mph speed limit for many years.

Andrew, who owns the Old Village Shop Cafe, said there were drivers who went over the 40mph speed limit through the village “all the time”.

“Especially in the early hours of the morning,” he added.

“The other problem is the police are under staffed and we haven’t got a police force to man it.”

Commenting on the roll out of 20mph, Andrew said: “[it is] not a bad thing in certain areas… but we can’t get 30mph going through here and… you go down Hadfield Road and out there, there is not a house on it… why is that 20mph?

“It doesn’t make sense.”


Nigel Morgan moved into his house in Bonvilston five years ago.

He said: “We knew it was a busy road, but we loved the house.

“We thought the speed level was going to be reduced… and that the road was going to be resurfaced.

“It really should be 30mph maximum and the road should be re-done.

“Having said that, we like living here very much and we are used to it. It is worse at certain hours of the day.”

Nigel also said he felt the pavement was too narrow and that some people drove through the village at “ridiculous speeds”.

He added: “The worst is motor bikes – they make the most awful noise.

“St Nicholas is 30mph, so why isn’t here 30mph? It is ridiculous.”

Another resident who wished to remain anonymous said one advantage of living on the A48 was that you were well connected, but added that it could be “very noisy”.

He said: “I would like to see 30mph [here]. I walk and cycle… in this area and people travel way too fast.

“I have seen people overtake here.

“I would like for people to slow down… but it is a main thoroughfare and that isn’t going to change.”

In an objections report which was published ahead of Vale of Glamorgan Council approving its list of 20mph exceptions last year, one cyclist said they “daily have close passes going eastbound through St Nicholas”.

Loud noise

Ward councillor for the area, Cllr Ian Perry, said at the time that exempting the road meant residents would be exposed to loud noise and “high volumes of traffic travelling at threatening speeds close to narrow, unprotected footways”.

He added: “The decision to exempt St Nicholas undermines the Vale’s Active Travel proposals that are justified by the numbers of people cycling the A48 and the potential for more people to cycle this route.”

Vale of Glamorgan Council said that high volumes of motor traffic did not pass the Government test for exceptions from the default 20mph and that the A48 route was an emergency diversion route for the M4.

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesperson said: “The Council maintains a list of 20mph roads that residents have requested for review and the A48 through St Nicholas will be added to this.

“However, Welsh Government guidance on altering these speed limits is not expected to be published before the summer.

“The A48 through Bonvilston currently has a speed limit of 40mph so cannot be reviewed until 2025 when updated Welsh Government guidance on setting other speed limits will be published.

“These facts mean Local Authorities are currently in a challenging position regarding the assessment and review of previously implemented 20mph default and 30mph exception speed limits.

“The Council has submitted a bid for funding to undertake a review of various default 20mph and 30mph exception speed limit roads included on the list previously mentioned.

“That bid also identifies risks to the process. The fact guidance has not yet been published is among them, along with the potential for challenges and objections to future Traffic Regulation Order processes.”

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Nigel Bradshaw
Nigel Bradshaw
1 month ago

Hypocrites, the lot of them.. all of a sudden everyone wants a 20 mph limit outside their house but doesn’t want to drive at 20 mph elsewhere. The guy in the photo is a biker, I’m sure he doesn’t drive his large capacity bike at a snails pace.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
1 month ago

Why don’t they ask one of their Regional MSs to look into a lower speed limit for them?

Oh, hang on…..

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