Campaigners claim Dinas bypass could be funded by developers or Westminster
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
Campaigners have claimed the Dinas Powys bypass could be funded by housing developers or Westminster rather than the Welsh Government.
For several years, Vale of Glamorgan council was looking at building a road bypassing the village of Dinas Powys, between Barry and Cardiff.
Currently drivers must go through the village to get from the largest town in Wales to the capital city. In March however the Welsh Government dropped plans to fund the new road.
Now campaigners from the Barry to Cardiff Link Road Group, which has pushed for a bypass for several years, are calling on the Vale council to explore alternative sources of funding.
Rod Harrod, chair of the group, said: “News that the Welsh Government has unceremoniously rejected any further funding application for a Dinas Powys bypass came as utter amazement to residents of Dinas Powys.”
The campaign has written to Councillor Peter King, cabinet member for transport, with details of where else the money for the bypass—about £31 million—could potentially be found.
Housing developers could provide some of the funding, Mr Harrod claimed, as much of the undeveloped area around Dinas Powys could be earmarked for hundreds of new homes. He pointed to a similar sized road near Bognor Regis, paid for by housing developers.
Already hundreds of homes are being built on Cog Road near Sully, with more planned at Cosmeston. But the area has a lack of transport infrastructure, and a new bypass could unlock other plots of land for even more houses.
Mr Harrod said: “Consultants acting pro bono for the Barry to Cardiff Link Road Group have assessed the potential development opportunities along [a potential bypass route] as being able to provide 5,000 new jobs and nearly 200 acres of brown field employment land.”
Westminster could also potentially fund the bypass, Mr Harrod claimed, through the UK government’s new Levelling Up Fund. This £3.4 billion was announced in the budget in March to rebalance infrastructure across the UK.
However, critics have complained the method of giving out money from the Levelling Up Fund is opaque and appears to be going to Tory-held constituencies—although Cardiff is listed as in the first priority category and the Vale of Glamorgan in the second category.
Mr Harrod said: “The decision to pull funding from this scheme at this point will result in the primary artery between Wales’ largest town to the largest city in Wales becoming log-jammed almost daily with no chance of solution for the next decade.”
As well as the bypass, the project would have seen wider improvements to transport infrastructure around Dinas Powys, including better bus shelters, safer cycling routes, and easier access to train stations. Currency cyclists have to use the busy A4055 to get to Barry.
The reason the Welsh Government dropped funding for the DInas Powys bypass—as well as the other road planned in the Vale of Glamorgan from the A48 to the M4—was due to its major new transport strategy called Llwybr Newydd announced in March.
This transport strategy aims to get people out of cars and travelling in more sustainable ways, like cycling or using public transport, which emit far less carbon dioxide than private car use. Cutting carbon emissions is crucial in preventing catastrophic climate change.
Llwybr Newydd also includes about £47 million for walking and cycling routes. The Vale council revealed recently it is planning to work with Cardiff council and Newport council in the coming months on a new cycling route which would be inter-city and across the region.
Vale of Glamorgan council was asked to comment on the funding claims. Recently the council revealed £192,066 has been spent on the Dinas project, mostly from the Welsh Government. This includes hiring consultants to draw up plans for where the road could go.
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Sounds like a deal has been struck to allow housebuilders to build on greenfield sites as a quid pro quo, with the Planning Inspectorate already on board in case the local authority refuses planning permission for new housebuilding. The villages there obviously need a bypass, but the way it has been done sounds very dodgy.