Slow progress for proposed Llandeilo bypass

PROGRESS on proposals for a Llandeilo bypass or road diversion scheme appear to still be in the slow lane.

The Welsh Government had expected to recommend a preferred option last autumn, and then when that didn’t happen, in the winter.

There was a shortlist of four options: three featuring a bypass which would skirt the east of Llandeilo; one incorporating traffic lights and the removal of parking in Llandeilo’s Rhosmaen Street, which runs through the town centre.

Many residents and businesses have argued for years that Bridge Street and Rhosmaen Street – the narrow road it becomes – were not suitable for the heavy traffic which trundles along it. Lorries frequently have to slow to a crawl in order to pass one another. Llandeilo is also a designated air quality management area due to historic breaches in nitrogen dioxide levels.

Work to build a bypass was initially supposed to begin in 2019, but this was delayed twice with a new start date of 2025 proposed. The Welsh Government consulted the public on its shortlist of four options in 2020.

The bypass was mentioned in a Carmarthenshire Council planning committee meeting last week during a discussion about the new Towy Valley cycle path to link Carmarthen with Llandeilo. A planning officer said the very final section between Ffairfach and Llandeilo had been omitted because of the proposed bypass. The project was one of the few road schemes which weren’t scrapped by the Welsh Government following a wide-ranging review of the country’s roads.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked the Welsh Government if it had recommended a Llandeilo bypass or road diversion option by now and if so what would happen next. A spokesman replied: “We are working with Carmarthenshire Council to develop options to resolve traffic problems in Llandeilo and Ffairfach. This will include options to accommodate the Towy Valley cycle path.”

Asked whether any of the four options had been ruled out, or new ones ruled in, the spokesman said he couldn’t expand on the statement.

Llandeilo councillor Edward Thomas said: “The vast majority of people are in favour of a bypass and are annoyed by the delays in pushing forward the plans.”

He said bypass funding had been allocated in 2017-18 and that it was now time for the Welsh Government to “face up their obligations”.

Cllr Thomas said he had regularly written to Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, on the subject. A letter he received from Mr Waters in May said public and stakeholder consultation responses were still being considered before moving on to the next stage. It added that Welsh Government officials met Carmarthenshire Council representatives last December 2022, and that the council’s feedback was also being considered.

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