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Fourth phase of Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route plans revealed

Phase Four Of The Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route Will Have A Link To Avon Street In Ferndale (Pic: Google Maps)

PLANS have been revealed for the fourth phase of the Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route for walkers and cyclists.

The Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route which is a new walking and cycling route between Maerdy and Stanleytown in the Rhondda Fach valley.

The route will follow the alignment of the former railway line along the valley floor and will include links to local communities, shops, schools and leisure facilities.

This is phase four  of the route and is planned to be built along the former railway line between Maerdy and Tylorstown, with a link to Avon Street, Ferndale.

It would start at the southern end of phase two and end at the footbridge leading to the Rhondda Fach Leisure Centre.

The anticipated construction start date is late summer 2024 and it is expected to take approximately eight months to complete.

The planning, design and access statement submitted with the application by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council (RCT) said that phase four will be approximately 3.1km long and will meet the five key requirements of an active travel route, which are being coherent, direct, safe, comfortable and attractive, as set out in the Active Travel Act (ATA) guidance.

The existing site mostly consists of unmade footpaths, cycle routes and maintenance tracks, which are used for recreation as well as providing access to the rear of properties on Taff Street, Ferndale and to the National Grid sub-station.

The proposed site is within the ownership of RCT Council and Railway Paths Limited.

The Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route as a whole is 7km long and has been split into five phases with phase one being completed in January 2024 and phase two during spring 2024.

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Phases three and four, depending on funding availability, will be completed during spring 2025 and phase five during spring 2026, again depending on funding availability.

The statement said that the route will offer a far safer and more direct route for cyclists than the existing on road alternative through Tylorstown, Ferndale and Maerdy.

It said the high vehicle volumes, narrow carriageways, on-street parking and steep gradients makes cycling through these communities uncomfortable and unsuitable for most users.

It also said that “the route’s setting, away from motorised vehicles, adjacent to the river Rhondda Fach and amongst the natural flora, will create visual and sensory interest for users.”

The planning, design and access statement said that this proposal will acknowledge the sensitivity of its natural surroundings by adhering to the biodiversity mitigation and enhancement measures recommended in the Ecological Impact Assessment for the site and that construction working hours will be constrained and the phasing and programming of site works will be planned to reduce impact on residents and local businesses.

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