Planning permission for next community route work in Rhondda Fach

Planning permission for next community route work in Rhondda Fach

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Jack Sargeant MS
Pensions Committee
Welsh Parliament
Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1SN
[Returned via email to petitions@senedd.wales]
14th March 2024
Dear Jack Sargeant MS,
Re: Petition P- 06-1299 Welsh Government Freeze on road building to include a clause for
cases that pose a danger to life (Rhondda Fach Relief Road)
I refer to your letter dated 12th December 2023 and apologise for the late response on this matter.
I would confirm that the Porth Relief Road which was a single carriageway from Porth to Pontygwaith
was successfully constructed between 2004-2007 and was fully funded via the Welsh Assembly
Government’s Transport Grant Fund.
The Upper Rhondda Fach Relief Road which is the continuation of the Porth Relief Road is from
Pontygwaith to Maerdy and is identified in the RCT Local Development Plan up to 2021 (adopted
March 2011) under policy no NSA 20(2), the route is currently safeguarded for this scheme. I would
respectfully bring your attention to the fact that the Local Development Plan is under review and
subject to statutory and public consultation and is being led by RCT’s Planning Service Area.
Furthermore, the relief road was included in the South East Wales Valleys Local Transport Plan
(Jan 2015) which will be subject to a Regional Transport Plan which work is currently underway and
led by the Cardiff Capital Region.
As the local highway and planning authority in Rhondda Cynon Taf, the Council recognises that the
construction of new infrastructure can facilitate economic development in an area as well as mitigate
against the adverse effects of traffic congestion and poor air quality in an area.
The ability of the Council to progress this proposed scheme would be subject to the outcome of a
comprehensive business case and appraisal covering this scheme and then securing funding to
take it through the various stages. The Welsh Government’s latest transportation strategy “Llwybr
Newydd : The Wales Transport Strategy 2021” clearly identifies the priority to focus on walking ,
cycling and public transport to encourage a modal shift from car usage. In the recent Roads Review
undertaken by the Welsh Government, only two transportation projects in RCT were identified as
part of the process and underwent the review, the Upper Rhondda Fach Relief Road was not one
of these schemes as it was not sufficiently developed to be assessed.
A historic evaluation of the potential route was undertaken between 10-15 years ago and there were
significant constraints identified together with a very basic indicative range of estimated cost. Due
to the very indicative findings the route did not progress to feasibility stage, with the then Welsh
Government not supportive of this due to the issues involved and funding constraints. I confirm that
RCT has not bid for any funding from the Welsh Government to undertake a feasibility study and
costings of the Upper Rhondda Fach Relief Road and has also not utilised its own resources for a
said study.
The Council is always actively exploring ways of improving transport links within the Rhondda Fach
and ensuring that communities will benefit from the investment taking place in the South East Wales
Metro. It should be noted that the Council has:

  • Undertook minor infrastructure works along the existing Rhondda Fach active travel route for
    the removal of selective barriers to provide better access and undertaken various
    enhancements to ensure that the active travel route meets current standards.
  • Previously invested over £1M including a substantial contribution from Dwr Cymru Welsh
    Water to undertake the upgrade of nearly 2 miles of main road carriageway along the
    Rhondda Fach.
  • Has been involved in a Transport for Wales study to investigate options for improving
    transport links between the Rhondda Fach and the new transport hub in Porth.
  • Constructed Phase 1 and 2 of the Active Travel route from Maerdy to Pontygwaith which will
    link to the existing Active Travel route at Pontygwaith. Applied for funding from Welsh
    Government to construct Phase 3 and 4 in 2024/25 and design of Phase 5 with construction
    in 2025/26.
  • Yours sincerely,
    Andrew Morgan OBE
  • Arweinydd Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Rhondda Cynon Taf
    Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE
    Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

Find out more on the Petitions Committee website


South Wales Upper Rhondda Fach, Relief Road to continue from Tylorstown upto Maerdy has never been completed. Money was allocated from grants at one point and were then spent on other developments in other areas. It wasnt spent on the road it was intended for. A forgotten area.More details

This petition was rejected

Why was this petition rejected?

It’s about something that the UK Government or Parliament is not directly responsible for.

We can only accept petitions about things the Government or Parliament are directly responsible for.

Decisions about the Upper Rhondda Fach Relief Road are a matter for Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, not the UK Government or Parliament. You could therefore raise your issue with a local councillor who represents you. You can find out who your local councillors are, and how to contact them, by entering your post code here:

Decisions relating to the current moratorium on the building of new roads in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Government. You could therefore start a petition to the Welsh Government calling on them to end this moratorium so that this relief road can be built, if that is something you’d like to see happen. You can find out how to do this here: https://petitions.senedd.wales/

We only reject petitions that don’t meet the petition standards.

Planning permission for just a footpath in Rhondda Fach

The Council has received planning consent for the next two elements of the Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route – to build local community links in Maerdy, and upgrade the existing community route between Ferndale and Tylorstown.

The Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route will create a 10km pedestrian and cycle path between Maerdy and Tylorstown, across five phases. Phase one is complete, from a location north of the industrial estate in Maerdy to a point near the Gateway Memorial. Phase two is substantially complete, resuming the route through Maerdy, heading 1.5km south along the former railway line alignment.

Separate applications, seeking planning consent for phases three and four respectively, were considered by the Planning and Development Committee on Wednesday, June 6. The applications were recommended for approval in separate officer reports to Thursday’s meeting. Committee members granted full consent for each of the schemes.

Phase Three planning application

This phase will undertake minor work to improve the existing cycle path in Maerdy (National Cycle Network Route 881), and create a new path leading towards Richard Street and Ferndale Swimming Pool – on a former colliery spoil tip located north-west of the swimming pool. This element of work will require a significant operation to ensure the route has a reasonable gradient.

The application concerns two sections of land – an unmade footpath between Station Road (opposite the junction with Institute Street) and the rear of Blake Street, and an undeveloped area of colliery spoil north-east of Richard Street and Glanville Terrace. They make up a combined area of around 2.9 hectares and have a length of around 1.5km. The existing path passes near to the Rhondda Fawr river and includes a bridge over a small watercourse.

Officers recommended the application for approval as it is needed as part of a wider Active Travel upgrade, it will significantly upgrade the track surface and drainage, and will provide new safe and convenient community access points.

Phase Four planning application

This phase will continue the route being built in phase two, upgrading the path on the alignment of the former railway line. It will stretch across Ferndale from a point north of Ffaldau Terrace (near Maerdy) to a point that is north-east of Dolycoed Funeral Home (Tylorstown), passing Blaenllechau. Phase four will also include establishing a new link to Avon Street at the northern end of Ferndale, and constructing one bridge and repairing another in Blaenllechau.

The current route is an unmade footpath that is generally flat, running along the valley floor. It runs close to and passes over the Rhondda Fach river. Cut, fill and levelling work is needed to maintain an acceptable width for the path, and to repair eroded areas. The route is largely located away from residential properties, except for the section at Blaenllechau and the former station site.

Officers recommended the application for approval as it is a key phase of the wider Active Travel Route, it will improve an existing community route for users, and it will support placemaking and health and well-being aims.

Stephen Williams, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Director of Highways, Streetcare and Transportation Services, said: “The Council has previously outlined its intention to establish the Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route, by upgrading the shared path for pedestrians and cyclists stretching over 10km between Maerdy and Tylorstown. Active Travel benefits residents’ health and well-being and, by encouraging more people to walk or cycle as an alternative to driving, it also helps the environment and reduces congestion on our roads.

“The planning applications considered on Thursday were submitted by the Council following separate public consultations, covering phases three and four, that took place earlier in 2024. With planning consent now granted, officers will progress both phases – to improve connectivity at Maerdy and continue constructing the main community route through Ferndale.”

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