Labour Party AMs and Vale Labour Councillors boycotted a packed community meeting in Dinas Powys last night in which there was an overwhelming vote by local residents in favour of building the much-needed and long-awaited Dinas Powys By-Pass.
The meeting had been convened – on a strictly non-political basis – by Penarth’s Conservative AM Andrew R T Davies who is leader of the Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly.
In a show-of-hands, a capacity audience in Dinas Powys Parish Hall voted overwhelmingly in favour of building the By-Pass and were in favour of tighter controls on traffic through the village.
But although representatives of other parties attended the public meeting, it appeared that every Labour representative who had been invited, failed to turn up.
Amongst those who had been asked to attend – but didn’t – were:-
- Ken Skates AM (Welsh Government Infrastructure Minister )
- Jane Hutt (Labour AM Vale of Glamorgan)
- Vale Cllr Bronwen Brooks, (Labour Court Ward Barry,’cabinet’ member for housing) .
- Vale Cllr Peter King (Labour Cornerswell, ‘cabinet’ member for ‘transport’).
Cllr King had written to say that he wasn’t going to come to the meeting because “a discussion with the community is premature” and that in any case “as a member of the Planning Committee I need to maintain an open mind”.
However a number of local residents in the audience were concerned that Labour Vale AMs and Labour Vale councillors had not been prepared to take last night’s opportunity of listening to the concerns of the village.
Andrew R T Davies told the packed audience that it was clear that Dinas Powys needed the By-Pass. It was a development which would help not only the village itself, but would help ease congestion across the whole of the Eastern Vale including Barry and Penarth.
Until now, he said the Vale of Glamorgan Council had claimed the Welsh Government would not fund such a scheme – but last month Welsh Government Infrastructure Minister Ken Skates had publicly declared he would “happily play a part in facilitating a solution” .
Andrew R T Davies called on the Welsh Government and the Vale Council to work together with all other interested parties to “deliver the by-pass” and stressed that this was the “time for action”
Some members of the audience couldn’t fathom why the Vale Council didn’t want the By-Pass built .
Phrasing his way delicately around the issue, to avoid party politics, Vale Cllr Chris Franks (Plaid Cymru Dinas Powys) said he thought it was because the Labour administration in the Vale did “not regard it as one of their priorities”.
Andrew R T Davies told the audience that had it been up to the Vale of Glamorgan Council to put proposals before the Welsh Government – but the Vale Council had not advanced any proposals for the Dinas Powys By-Pass .
However in UK Government’s Autumn Statement an extra £400,000,000 has been allocated to Wales for infrastructure projects – some of which could now be used for the Dinas Powys By Pass .
Against the background of the Vale Council’s LDP proposals to build 10,000 new homes in the Vale of Glamorgan, Andrew R T Davies suggested that the Dinas Powys Community Council should now put pressure on the Vale Council “not to allow future development until all issues of transport are addressed and sorted out ” . This was – he said – “a not unreasonable option” to put to the Vale Council.
He said “local democracy” would then dictate that if the Vale Council didn’t listen, then people could – as he put it – “cast their view at the ballot box” in next May’s council elections . That would be the option people would have next May.
Andrew R T Davies asked whether people thought the by-pass was the solution. The overwhelming majority of people in the packed hall voted “yes” . Davies said the problem was that the views of the public “had not yet registered with politicians” and had yet to recognise that the By Pass was “a priority which we’ve got to deliver”.
Papers circulated around the hall provided everyone in the audience with an opportunity to register their names .
The meeting was also addressed by Steve Thomas – chairman of the Saving Sully Group.
Sully has a common interest with Dinas Powys – and with Penarth – in opposing the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s plans for future housing development as all three communities stand to suffer from consequent increased traffic and strains on local infrastructure .
Later Andrew R T Davies issued a statement saying “Huge turnout at my public meeting in Dinas Powys this evening on the campaign for a by-pass for the village. It is clear that local people want the project delivered and it is vital that the Council bring forward proposals to the Welsh Government to make that happen”