Disruption ‘inevitable’ during scheduled demolition of homes on Wales’ most polluted street
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
The leader of Caerphilly council has said the authority will try to ensure that disruption is “kept to a minimum” when 23 homes on one of the UK’s most polluted streets are knocked down in the summer.
Caerphilly County Borough Council has submitted an application for prior approval to demolish the homes along a stretch of the A472 in Hafodyrynys, where nitrogen dioxide levels have been recorded as the highest in the UK outside central London.
Planning documents stated that work was expected to start later this month, but the council now says that demolition of the properties is not expected to start until mid to late July.
The council will shortly be going out to tender for the demolition works, and it will be working with Natural Resources Wales to agree ecological mitigation for the area to ensure the local environment and existing habitats are protected.
Plans are being developed to begin demolition from the rear and side of the properties to reduce lane closures on the A472 as much as possible, thereby minimising disruption.
Cllr Philippa Marsden, leader of the council, said: “This next stage in the process will enable us to begin implementing our plans to help improve air quality along this key strategic route.
“We are keen to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum for residents and those travelling along this route and we hope our approach to demolishing from the rear /side of the properties will mitigate any impacts.
“However, some disruption will be inevitable at some points during the process and we thank residents in advance for their patience and understanding.”
In July 2020, Welsh Government endorsed plans submitted by the council to improve air quality at Hafodyrynys, which included the demolition of dwellings at Woodside Terrace.
The compulsory purchase of these properties at 50 per cent above the market rate was agreed by the council’s cabinet in 2019.
The scheme aims to reduce the high levels of pollution and have a positive impact on the health and well-being of the remaining residents on the northern side of the A472, the wider community and those travelling through the area.