The Vale of Glamorgan Council has finally completed the installation of night-lighting on the £227,000 zig-zag path which links Penarth Heights with Terra Nova Way.
When the path first opened on May 23rd 2013 , local residents walkers and cyclists were dismayed to discover that no lighting had been included in the scheme and pointed out that the lack of lighting on the steep pathway – with its multiple bends – made it dangerous to use after dark, particularly in the long winter months .
In August 2013 the council promised – in principle – to install lighting on the combined foot-and-cycle track but later appeared to be backtracking and delaying the scheme.
In November 2014 the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s ruling “cabinet” took the decision to fund the lighting of the path – subject to planning permission (from the Vale itself) and to comments from Penarth Town Council .
Penarth Marina Residents Association members were informed at one point that the Vale Council had “no legal obligation ” to install any lighting – but the association continued to put pressure on the council to get on with the work
The Council then agreed to spend an additional £1o0,000 on lighting for the Zig-Zag within the “2015/16 financial year ” at a cost of £75,000 plus £25,000 for “design work” . However the installation did not happen.
Only now – in the 2016/17 financial year has the lighting been installed and switched on – ironically at a time when the Vale Council is switching-off public street lighting across the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan .
Whilst thousands of street lamps across the Vale are being switched off at midnight and faded down to reduce power costs and save money, the Zig Zag Path however has a total of 31 LED timer-controlled mains-powered lamps which stay on from dusk all the way through to dawn .
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 clients’ 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 received 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 installed, brings the total cost of what has been described as a Labour Party “vanity-project” to £350,000.
It was originally envisaged that seating, trees and planting as well as “street-art” would be placed on each bend of the Zig Zag. That is something which local residents are still waiting for .