Penarth Marina Residents have been told that the long-awaited lighting for the Zig Zag Path – the controversial £227,000 combined foot-and-cycle path which runs from Penarth Heights down to Terra Nova Way at Penarth Marina – is now planned “for 2017” .
Currently it’s dangerous to use the path at night – particularly in the winter months – because of the lack of lighting. However Penarth Marina Residents Association members have also been told that the Vale Council has “no legal obligation ” to install any lighting and that they will need to continue to bring continual pressure to bear to get this done.
Back in November 2013, however ,the Vale of Glamorgan Council had confirmed hat it was to spend an additional £1o0,000 on lighting for the Zig-Zag . The lighting was supposed to have been installed within the “2015/16 financial year ” at a cost of £75,000 – but it never happened.
What the council called “preliminary design work” – costing an additional £25,000 – was carried out in 2014 but no actual physical work was done on the path itself.
The zig-zag path originally opened on May 23rd 2013 but has remained unlit ever since – despite the Vale Council having announced a decision in principle to illuminate the path back in August 2013 – after local residents complained it was impractical and downright-dangerous for pedestrians or bikes to use the zig-zag after dark.
In November 2014 the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s ruling “cabinet” took the decision to decision taken to fund the lighting of the path – subject to planning permission (from the Vale itself) and to comments from Penarth Town Council .
The path is easier to walk up than ascend on a bike, but is not actually as steep as it appears to be . The Penarth Marina Residents Association, which has been pressing for the path to be available for use after dark – especially during the winter months had welcomed the news that the long-awaited lighting project was – as they thought – going ahead after 14 months of delay. In the event however nothing was done .
The construction of the path was originally carried out by Penarth Heights developers Crest Nicholson (who, in felling the trees, helped improve the views from their properties). Maintenance of the Zig-Zag is the responsibility of the Vale Council’s Parks Department.
The path was the initiative of the Vale of Glamorgan Council in collaboration with SEWTA (the South East Wales Transport Alliance) and the pro-cycling “charity” Sustrans
Most Sustrans income is derived from projects paid for by public money but it also receives direct funding from bicycle manufacturers. The funding for the Zig-Zag path project was originally estimated to be £227,000 comprising:-
- £150,000 from Sustrans – subject to the project being physically completed by the end of December 2012 – (which it wasn’t)
- £25,000 from Crest Nicholson.
- £52,000 from Vale of Glamorgan Council (to cover the shortfall)
In the event construction over-ran by five months and the eventual total cost was estimated to have been well-over £250,000. The additional lighting, now to be installed, will bring the total cost of what has been described as a Labour Party “vanity-project” to £350,000.
It’s also now envisaged that seating, trees and planting as well as “street-art” will be placed on each bend of the Zig Zag.