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Councillors to decide on next phases of Rhondda Fach Active Travel route

Ffladau Terrace In Ferndale (Pic: Google Maps)

THE NEXT phases of a major new walking and cycling route in the Rhondda are set to go before councillors for approval.

Applications for phases three and four of the Rhondda Fach Active Travel route are set to go before Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) Council’s planning committee on Thursday, June 6.

The 7km route will eventually connect the site of the Maerdy Colliery with Pontygwaith to the south-east.

The vast majority will follow the line of the former mineral railway and direct links are planned at various points to communities, as well as schools and leisure facilities.

Phase one has already been completed and phase two will run from the southern side of Station Road, Maerdy, to a point approximately 340m to the north of the A4233 at Ffaldau Terrace.

In this case, the phase three development area does not include that of the old railway alignment, but part of National Cycle Network Route 881 and a former colliery spoil tip to the north west of Ferndale Swimming Pool.

The purpose of this phase is to provide formal connections, with surfaced paths, to phase two via Station Terrace, Blake Street and Richard Street.

A new footbridge would also be built across a pond and watercourse which feeds into the Afon Rhondda Fach.

The planning report for phase three said that while the improvement and surfacing of the existing cycle path is unlikely to require much work, the new path leading to Richard Street and the swimming pool will need more significant engineering operations to provide a route of reasonable gradient.

No public objections have been received in relation to phase three and the report said the proposed development is required as part of the wider upgrading of the active travel route and that in addition to the considerable improvement to the surface and drainage of the track for users, it would provide safe and convenient off-road community access points enabling and encouraging convenient and easy all-year use.

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The phase four proposal includes the stretch of the former line from the point north of Ffaldau Terrace, where phase two ends, to about 95m to the north-east of Pitstop Tyres and Dolycoed Funeral Home.

The route will both pass close to Blaenllechau and include a linking section to the end of Avon Street at the northern end of Ferndale.

The planning report said that while the majority of the route is reasonably flat where it runs alongside the valley floor, the section up to Avon Street is at a reasonably constant gradient.

As was the case for previous phases some work will be needed to maintain an acceptable running width and also for the repair of eroded areas but the report said compared with phase three, these works are very minor.

The development will also include some bridge works, including a new bridge at Blaenllechau north to replace a missing link close to the western start point of phase four and a replacement timber footbridge at Blaenllechau south.

No objections from the public were received and the report said the development would help to improve accessibility and the location of the site and the nature of its use means it would not have a detrimental landscape impact and would not physically affect the amenity of the nearest properties.

It  said as an existing community route, the improved surface will make its continued use both easier and more attractive.