Residents demand council tax reduction over ‘eyesore’ TfW station
A group of residents have demanded a council tax reduction after their once peaceful rural neighbourhood was turned on its head by major construction works carried out by Transport for Wales.
Last year, TfW lodged an application with Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council to add a bridge, ramp and new platforms to Quakers Yard Station.
It previously consisted of a simple metal shelter and one platform in a wooded area a stone throw from Merthyr Tydfil’s beautiful Trevithick Trail.
The site is now unrecognisable following major works to alter it ready for the roll out of the South Wales Metro which will see the line electrified.
Residents say the ongoing works have not only spoiled the once beautiful views, but it also had an impact on their mental health with some suffering sleep deprivation and anxiety.
Video footage taken by people living near the station reveal engineers unloading loudly outside homes and using heavy machinery throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning.
Residents say they have been unable to sleep for weeks at a time whilst work is carried out during the night using loud tools such as chain saws to cut down trees and vegetation.
Last year Nation.Cymru reported on how the station had remained closed to passengers for months due to a series of planning blunders.
Plaid Cymru MSs Delyth Jewell and Peredur Owen Griffiths made calls for locals to be compensated for the “lack of consultation, notice and consideration”.
The station reopened at the end of 2023 but residents are still battling with TfW over the bright lights shining into their homes and their loss of privacy due to the new pathways and bridge structure.
One woman who is undergoing chemotherapy says she was forced to sleep on her bathroom floor at the back of her home because her bedroom was being illuminated throughout the night by engineers.
She also said her drive has been blocked by works vehicles and when she challenged TfW workers she was “verbally abused”.
Michael, who has lived near the station for 11 years, says TfW cameras are pointing directly into his property and the new bridge which has been installed across the railway line allows views directly into his home.
The site once provided stunning views of Merthyr Tydfil’s iconic Giant’s Bite – a dramatic gap in the skyline quarried from the ridge top at the former Cefn Glas mine.
Michael told Nation.Cymru he had been attracted to the property because of its patio doors leading to a balcony offering beautiful panoramic views of the valley.
Now, he can see a “monstrosity” station with a large elevated footbridge completely exposed due to the amount of trees that have been cut down to make way for electric cables.
He said: “Transport for Wales has had no care or consideration for the residents in Quakers Yard. They don’t care about the possibility of devaluing our properties.
“How are we going to sell with that in front of us? You don’t work all your lives not to own something.
“It’s become very worrying. I’ve got cameras staring into my living room and there’s never any answer from TfW on whether they are looking into my land or property.
“That silence from TfW is a thousand words in my opinion. There’s no excuse for what they’ve done and how they’ve gone about it.”
Michael lodged an objection with the council with concerns about the proposed bridge structure and the lack of parking availability despite the South Wales Metro expected to boast 4 trains an hour.
Concerns have also been raised about the number of mature trees cut down and the loss of vegetation which attracted bees, butterflies and other insects.
Residents say prior to the station revamp the embankment provided cover for squirrels, foxes, owls and various native birds species.
Because Merthyr Tydfil Council were responsible for approving the TfW planning application, residents have written to the local authority calling for a reduction in council tax.
Loss of amenity
Yvonne, who has living in Quakers Yard for almost 40 years wrote to Merthyr Tydfil Council citing rural amenity loss, noise, litter, the constant obstruction of her driveway, newly installed lights and a loss of privacy.
Yvonne said: “My home is no longer functioning as an expected normal habitable residence due to the gross intrusions listed above.
“It is not functioning for normal residential purpose because of the Transport for Wales Quakers Yard Station Upgrade Project directly in front of my property.
“Obviously, because of these intrusions inflicted above there will be a negative impact on resale value of the property expected and my inheritor siblings will not receive the true value of worth for the property as they should have expected and realistically could even be faced with a property which is now unsellable.”
Roger has lived near the station for over two decades – he has also written to the local authority calling for a reduction in council tax.
He said: “The new walkway looks into every room in my house including my bedroom, bathroom and garden.
“As a result of this I cannot use my garden in the same peaceful and restful way that I have enjoyed for the last 24 years because the walkway acts as a public gallery with my wife and I the main attraction.”
Nation.Cymru invited Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council to comment but we did not receive a response.
In a joint statement, Plaid Cymru MSs Peredur Owen Griffiths and Delyth Jewell said: “We have met with residents living around the station on several occasions including one time in the evening to see the extent of the glare from the station lights.
“There is no doubt that people have had to put up with a lot of disruption and that the station alterations are more intrusive than was originally advertised.
“There appears to have been inadequate consultation and poor communication from Transport for Wales with the residents right from the outset.
“We have written to Transport for Wales on behalf of the residents to see if there is anything that can be done to mitigate the disruption and if there is any prospect of compensation for them.
“So far, the residents have had little to cheer about and we have every sympathy for them because there has been significant disruption, there are ongoing privacy issues and it has significantly impacted on their quality of life.”
We sent video footage and images taken by residents to TfW.
A spokesperson said: “Our dedicated community and stakeholder teams have been in regular contact with local residents living close to Quaker’s Yard station throughout the recent upgrade work.
“We take their concerns very seriously and will work with our contractors to make any changes necessary to minimise disruption.”
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