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The busy road that people say shouldn’t be 20mph

02 May 2024 7 minute read
Hadfield Road. Image: Ted Peskett

Ted Peskett Local Democracy Reporter

People who work on a busy road with no schools or homes on it said it should never have turned into a 20mph area – with one businessman saying that the change has lost him business.

Hadfield Road is one of a number of Cardiff roads that had its speed limit changed when 20mph speed limits were rolled out across Wales last year.

The rollout affected roads in built-up residential areas but also other non-residential roads in urban areas.

Review

Cardiff Council, like other local authorities across Wales, will conduct a review of 20mph roads after the Welsh Government announced a three-stage plan to turn some roads in the country from 20mph back to 30mph.

The introduction of 20mph along Hadfield Road, which is predominantly industrial and used to be 30mph, has been called “ridiculous” by those who work along it.

Kevin Gullet of Fryer Tuck said the 20mph on Hadfield Road has affected his business. Pic: Ted Peskett.

One man who sells food nearby, Kevin Gullet, said he has been losing business since the speed limit was reduced on the road.

Speaking from his food van called Fryer Tuck in Glynstell Close he said delays for workers getting between the workplace and his business because of the speed limit was the main issue.

Kevin said: “The problem we have got around here [is] the boys come out for lunch or a break… and what happens is we lose business because by the time they get here they can’t eat their food.”

He also said the traffic lights at the bottom of Hadfield Road make the issue worse.

“Traffic builds up so we are losing business in that way. It is about time they changed it back.”

“Targeted approach”

The Welsh Government’s announcement on the 20mph speed limit in April will not see a complete reversal of the policy but rather a more targeted approach of reviewing certain roads which local authorities will be responsible for.

Local authorities will have updated guidance they will have to follow when reviewing any proposed changes to speed limits.

Cardiff Council said it will carry out its review of 20mph roads across the city in autumn this year.

Council leader Huw Thomas said on S4C politics programme Y Byd yn ei Le that six streets could change in the city.

At another food van in Bessemer Close, off Hadfield Road, called Britain’s Finest Burgers, Julie Christopher said she thinks it is “a bit dull” that Hadfield Road was turned into a 20mph road.

Julie, who manages the food van which has been operating at the same location for 24 years, said the speed limit shouldn’t have been reduced “considering there are no schools by here”.

Commenting on what she thinks the road is like now during the day Julie added: “It is like everyone is avoiding it.

“It would be a bit better [if it changed back].

“It is not so bad for me because I come early in the morning. You can’t drive fast because there is loads of traffic [then].”

“Nuts”

A man who works in Hadfield Road, Jimmy Clark, who was waiting for his order at the food van, said: “It is ridiculous.

“School roads or certain side streets [should be 20] but not all of them.

“Anything else just leave it. It is nuts.”

The rollout of the 20mph default speed limit came into force in September 2023.

Local authorities across Wales were responsible for coming up with proposals for exceptions to the 20mph limit.

In Cardiff these mainly included sections of key arterial routes like Western Avenue, the A470, and parts of Newport Road.

Two men from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to Hadfield Road for work were perplexed to find the speed limit there was 20mph.

Paul Hughes said: “We were worrying on the way down about this 20mph because we don’t know if it is 20, 30, it is all different signs.

“We are braking, it is nearly causing accidents… The emissions are high because we are going through the gears and everything and it is confusing.

“Schools or hospitals, private estates and near parks… yes, it should be 20mph, but not [here]. It is just causing mayhem.”

Bryn Phillips, who was on Hadfield Road in Cardiff as part of his work, said he feels the road should not be a 20mph area. Pic: Ted Peskett

When asked for his thoughts on Hadfield Road Paul’s colleague, Bryn Phillips, said: “I think it is terrible. It is not warranted either. There is no need for it.

“Wherever pedestrians go, like private estates, housing estates or turn off the main route, that is fair enough, or schools… but I think the routes where you are travelling they should be 30 at least.”

Other busy roads in Cardiff that were not exempt from the 20mph default speed limit include Caerphilly Road and Excalibur Drive.

A section of Excalibur Drive passes through the ward of Lisvane and Thornhill. A Cardiff Council ward member there, Cllr Emma Reid-Jones, said the road was initially designed as an arterial route and has no schools nearby.

Speaking on the rollout of 20mph in the city more generally she said the implementation of the default 20mph by the Welsh Government has “wasted tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money”.

She added: “The money would’ve been better spent on enforcing the 30mph limits across our streets and trusting councils to work with communities, who know their roads best, to review speed limits on a road-by-road basis.”

Petition

A petition opposing the 20mph default speed limit law, signed by 469,571 people, was the biggest discussed at the Senedd in its history.

The cost of implementing the 20mph speed limit across Wales has cost about £33m.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We’re committed to working with our partners in local government in the weeks and months ahead and will provide them with the support and resources they need to make changes where it is right to do so.

“We know there is significant variation across Wales in terms of the way 20mph has been implemented and there may be fewer changes in places where there are already a large number of exceptions or where 20mph zones have already been in place for a number of years.”

A spokesman for Cardiff Council said: “Cardiff Council firmly supports reducing the speed of vehicles in our local communities to make it easier for people to walk and cycle and to make our city a better and safer place for people to live.

“The council understands that the revised guidance on the 20mph policy is expected to be published by Welsh Government in July.

 “In the meantime the council has been and will continue to monitor vehicle speeds in areas where the 20mph policy was implemented in September 2023, which will help to show any changes in vehicle speeds on different roads across the city since new legislation was introduced.

“Public feedback on the reduction in speed limits on specific roads and streets through the 20mph policy are also logged and reviewed.

“All of this information and data will be used as the basis of the 20mph review in Cardiff which will be carried out in autumn this year with reference to the revised Welsh Government guidance document.

“Whilst we recognise that there may be general comments about the policy of the default 20mph limit we won’t be able to log these comments as these are a matter for the Welsh Government.

“Any further changes to speed limits will require a traffic regulation order which is subject to a public consultation process.”


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Alwyn
Alwyn
22 days ago

Hadfield Road is one of the FEW 20 mph roads I agree should revert to 30 mph.

blc
blc
21 days ago
Reply to  Alwyn

There’s definitely a few in Cardiff I can think of where it doesn’t make sense. Hadfield Road is one example, Newport Road coming from Old St Mellons to Rumney Hill is another. The latter is a little trickier as there is a school on that road as well as housing estates on either side – although they are quite set back from the main road. A good chunk of Cardiff in and around the city centre, as well as the more populous suburbs, were already 20mph long before this change. In fact there are some roads, such as where I… Read more »

Last edited 21 days ago by blc
Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
21 days ago

You would have thought that roads such as Hadfield Rd could have been used strategically by the council, keep it as 30mph to encourage traffic to keep away from Sloper Road. The same could have been done in Colomendy Industrial estate in Denbigh to avoid the town centre or St Asaph business park to take traffic away from St Asaph town. However the arguement as always is overcooked. Hadfield Rd is a mile long, 1 minute difference between speed limits if the road is unobstructed so strongly doubt it is the cause of any drop in trade at Burger bar,… Read more »

Chris
Chris
21 days ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

100% agree – any speed limit increase wouldn’t help any of the businesses here.

If anything adding a pedestrian crossing or two to the road would promote shoppers crossing the road and would lead to more business.

Charles
Charles
21 days ago

I do not understand how a speed limit impacts on a business.

Simondc1711
Simondc1711
21 days ago

The lack of actual factual evidence to support these speed limit changes is criminal? In theory every road should be 20mph and only motorways at higher speed. In realty for the past 50 years our roads have become safer. This is factually evidenced by research on traffic management nationally. The problem that is under reported are the variables involved in each fatal road traffic accident. Recently on the national TV news a fatal road accident occurred in a 30mph speed limit zone where the speed of the offending car, containing three young men who had stolen the vehicle and at… Read more »

Jack
Jack
21 days ago

The road is less than a mile long, going down it at 30mph will not change anything.

The lack of a pedestrian crossing at the junction with Penarth Rd is already dangerous enough even with a 20mph limit

Pobun
Pobun
21 days ago

The problem with all this discussion is that the Senedd have always said that all the speed limits would be open to local review by the local councils concerned. The anti brigade have hijacked that negotiation with the phrase ‘blanket speed limit’ which was not what happened. The anti brigade caused more uncertainty.

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