Welsh Government appears to have done a U turn on a road plan for Llanbedr. Campaigners have been fighting for years to get a bypass for the village, which has been blighted by heavy traffic. The Welsh government axed the Llanbedr bypass in 2021, citing concerns about climate change.
Social media has been full of accusations and arguments over why the village should have a bypass. Some campaigners accused the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters of completely ignoring the community. Opposition politicians also expressed their dismay at the complete closure of the door to any talks on an alternative to the problems facing residents.
Now the Deputy Minister and Welsh Government have said they will look at a slow speed bypass and other measures for the village. Campaigners said that Transport Minister Lee Waters has now told them the Welsh government would support a new low-speed plan. Mr Waters said he would work on a “scaled-down” road option.
One of the main campaigners @llanbedrnightmares had been posting consistently on social media highlighting the chaos caused by traffic in the village.
Campaign group POBL said on Facebook that Mr Waters “has agreed to a package for the future of Llanbedr which includes financial backing, pavements, footpaths, cycle paths, sustainable travel… and yes a low speed relief road around Llanbedr high street.
Cymuned Llanbedr Community – Eryri/Snowdonia organised a protest walk to Bron Pwll on Saturday and carried placards depicting Lee Waters and Mark Drakeford as Laurel and Hardy. Feelings have run high throughout the campaign but it appears that some common ground has been found and “There is light at the end of the tunnel,” according to campaigners.
Mabon Ap Gwynfor MS said: “Excellent news today. The Welsh Government has agreed to support a wide package of transport measures for Llanbedr, including a relief road consistent with the roads review and our ambition to cut our dependence on carbon. There’s work to be done but this is a huge step forward. This follows eighteen months of working and cooperating. The people of Llanbedr put aside their initial anger and buckled down to lobby and work constructively for the sake of their community. Thank you to those campaigners.”
A spokesperson for the campaigners said: “It’s the correct decision based on the real safety issues faced by locals. Not even the rail replacement busses could get to the station without risking our lives. As a community we wanted to depoliticise this, this wasn’t about cars and roads policy for Llanbedr, it was a clear community need. Lee waters has done the right thing, we just hope as a community that he can deliver soon, lives are at stake, he must move ahead quickly. His “exemplar” scheme for Llanbedr will be the framework for other schemes, let’s hope he can deliver something that works for local people and the planet in equal measure, and in a timeframe that doesn’t leave Llanbedr residents in danger for much longer.”
The decision will be uplifting to residents on Sandy Road who have been experiencing the same problem but multiplied tenfold. Ray Jones has been an outspoken campaigner for a bypass for Sandy Road. On hearing the decision Ray said: “However you want to dress it up and whatever spin you want to put on it, it is a bypass. We hope that Welsh Government and Mr Waters will now revisit Sandy Road and stop passing the buck to Carmarthenshire County Council and help his constituents in their plight to improve the health and well being for future generations and put in place an active travel plan and road network, which will be something walkers and cyclists could use without taking their life in their hands. I congratulate the campaigners in Llanbedr. It just proves that with effort and keeping the story alive in the media there comes a time when there really is no hiding place and no excuse to avoid the truth of what is happening to people in communities in Wales. The Cardiff bubble has burst on this one.”