Routes unveiled for £81m airport link

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Vale of Glamorgan Council

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Council leaders say existing roads have become a rat-run

Two possible routes for a new road in the Vale of Glamorgan serving Cardiff Airport have been unveiled.

The road would also link the M4 and A48, by-passing the village of Pendoylan to the west or east.

The eastern route would be more expensive at £81m as it would have to avoid a floodplain. A western by-pass would cost an estimated £58.6m.

Council leaders said it would make “a real difference to the lives of those living in this part of the Vale”.

This includes villages such as St Nicholas, Bonvilston and Peterston-Super-Ely.

The proposals, which would need Welsh Government funding, also include a future £25m new railway station and park and ride facility near M4 junction 34, as well as cycle and walking lanes.

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The eastern option inviolves a more expensive raised road to avoid the River Ely floodplain

The single-carriageway routes – around 5.6km (3.5 miles) – would connect junction 34 of the M4 with important employment locations in the Vale.

These include the aerospace enterprise zone at St Athan, with the British Airways maintenance base and the new Aston Martin factory, which is due to open in 2019.

£13.8m of public money has already been spent at the enterprise zone and 138 jobs have been created since 2012. But the consultants’ study accompanying the proposals says there is a potential for 4,000 jobs.

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The study warns that the Vale could lose out unless transport issues are tackled.

It points to “extensively poor” local roads, congestion and limited public transport options.

Council leader John Thomas said the lack of a proper transport link between the M4 and A48 has turned the roads through Pendoylan and surrounding villages into “rat-runs” for commuters.

“This is not good for anybody,” he added. “The current road is also unfit for cyclists and pedestrians.”

A public consultation has now been launched for views on the project.

“Our goal is to make the Vale of Glamorgan a more attractive place to live, work, and do business. This scheme will achieve not only this but also bring huge benefits to the wider economy,” said Mr Thomas.

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Villages such as nearby Peterston-super-Ely will also be affected

Spencer Birns, commercial director at Cardiff Airport, welcomed the proposals and said even a 5% improvement in journey times by road could help increase passenger numbers.

“As the national airport and a key gateway to the UK it is vital our customers can get to and from the airport easily from across south Wales and the south west of England, utilising road and public transport links,” he said.

But some villagers I spoke to in nearby Peterston were not convinced and worried about the road’s impact, fearing it would “erode the countryside”.

The proposals are still at an early stage and further detailed work – including securing funding – would be needed.

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