‘Excellent news’ after Welsh Government says Llandeilo bypass not included in new road freeze
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
Leaders in Carmarthenshire have pledged to work with the Welsh Government to deliver the long-awaited Llandeilo bypass.
Uncertainty surrounded the scheme late last month when Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters announced that all new road-building projects in Wales were being frozen while a review was carried out.
Supporters of the Llandeilo project feared more delays at the very least. But a few days later the Welsh Government said the bypass was not part of the review and would go ahead.
Speaking at a Carmarthenshire Council meeting, Llandeilo councillor Edward Thomas said it had been a “roller-coaster” week, and that he was grateful the bypass would proceed.
It would, he said, ease the significant traffic congestion and air pollution problems in the town, through which runs the A483 trunk road between Swansea and Manchester.
The majority of residents, said Cllr Thomas, were glad to hear of the bypass reprieve.
Cllr Thomas asked executive board member for environment, Cllr Hazel Evans, if she would commit the council to continue working with the Welsh Government to deliver the bypass and also supplementary measures in the town centre – once it was completed – such as improving the public realm and addressing the narrow pavements.
Cllr Evans described the Welsh Government’s bypass decision as “excellent news”, adding that the scheme had been agreed by Welsh Labour ministers in 2016 – with £50 million earmarked for it – as part of a pact with then colation partners Plaid Cymru.
She said the case for the project was “very clear” and that the council had responded to a consultation on the bypass proposal to say it was the only long-term solution.
The Plaid Cymru councillor said the council would also work to deliver the supplementary measures.
The bypass is not universally popular with Llandeilo residents. Objectors worry about it being built on fields below the picturesque town and all the associated disruption.
Supporters are in the majority and include town mayor Owen James, who said last December: “As it stands it’s simply dangerous for people to come into Llandeilo.
“I know of people who don’t want to come into Llandeilo for that reason. Stand on the main road – you know exactly why we need a bypass.”
Work to build the road was initially supposed to begin in 2019, but this was delayed until 2022 in February last year and then until 2025 six months later.
The Welsh Government has looked at 11 different options to improve traffic flow and improve air quality in Llandeilo, and has since narrowed the options down to four. Three of the four include a bypass.
The public has been asked for its views on the four options.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We are currently considering the findings of the public consultation and an economic, environmental and transport assessment.”