COUNCIL chiefs in Carmarthenshire will write to the Welsh Government urging it to build a bypass around Llandeilo as the only “practical” solution to town centre congestion.
The market town is bisected by the main trunk road from Swansea to Manchester, which narrows in the town centre. This causes problems for passing lorries, leading to queueing traffic and air pollution.
Cabinet members resolved to write to Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, restating their position after a meeting in which they endorsed a council-backed bypass motion.
Council leader Darren Price said: “The time for talking has ended; the time for delivering is now.”
Not for the first time, Cllr Price cited a 2017 agreement between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru – the party he represents – for a new bypass and the earmarking of £50 million towards it. He said it was critical that politicians adhered to such agreements. “Trust is absolutely fundamental in terms of any relationship and sticking to your word,” he said.
According to the council motion, an assessment of options in 2018 eliminated the concept of re-routing heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) away from Llandeilo bypass without a bypass as impractical.
The motion said Mr Waters was intending to potentially resurrect this re-routing option. It suggested this would be both unenforceable and result in HGV drivers using unsuitable rural roads nearby as a shortcut.
The motion also called on the Welsh Government to publish the findings of second assessment of bypass options which was carried out in 2020. Cllr Edward Thomas, Independent cabinet member for transport, waste and infrastructure services, said he suspected that the results of a public consultation carried out as part of the assessment “go against the Deputy Minister’s wishes”.
Cllr Thomas, who represents Llandeilo, said the town was served by just four train services per day and that bus services were “poor”.
In July this year Mr Waters said that a transport and logistics expert, Professor Andrew Potter, would explore the potential diversion of heavy goods vehicles (HGV) from Llandeilo. This would be in tandem with ongoing work to look at improving the narrow trunk road in the town centre.
Cllr Thomas said council representatives had met Welsh Government officers recently regarding its concerns about a re-routing option without a bypass, and were still awaiting a response. A report before cabinet said the council’s position was reaffirmed at the meeting and that there should be a commitment for the full bypass scheme “as that is the only practical solution”. The report said the Welsh Government officers present spoke about the “difficulties and challenges” associated with constructing a bypass, including financial ones, but that they would relay the council’s position to Mr Waters.
Asked to comment on the council’s impending letter, the Welsh Government said: “We continue to engage with Carmarthenshire Council on options to deliver transport improvements at Llandeilo. This includes looking at the possible diversion of heavy goods vehicles from Llandeilo and Professor Andrew Potter is supporting us with this work.”