If the Mark II Penarth Headland Link is built – then cyclists “MUST” have the right to ride along the pedestrian part of Penarth Esplanade’s promenade – according the pro-cycling advocate Sustrans.
Sustrans – which is funded partly by taxpayers and partly by bicycle manufacturers – had been commissioned [ i.e. paid] to provide a so-called “Transport and Economic Evaluation of the Penarth Headland Link” as part of the Vale Council’s assessment for the Mark II version of the Penarth Headland Link.
In their report Sustrans says consideration MUST be given to a shared-use route (i.e. cycles and pedestrians together) “utilising Penarth Promenade”.
The implication is that cyclists should not be limited to just using the road along the Esplanade but should be able to cycle – in both directions – along the pedestrian promenade as well.
Sustrans says:- “in order to maximise the potential benefit of the Headland Link, particularly for cyclists consideration MUST [PDN italics] be given to providing a continuing shared-use route from the Penarth end of the route utilising Penarth Promenade and the wider highway network. Currently cyclists wishing to access the area around Penarth Pier would be required to travel on carriageway (sic) descending either Beach Road or Bridgeman Road, both of which terminate at the promenade which has no shared use access currently”
The Sustrans report also attempts to shore up the shaky case for building the Mark II Headland Link and makes some eyebrow-raising claims for the supposed economic benefits of the scheme (The cost of building the Mark II Headland Link is estimated at an unrealistically low figure of £10,000,000).
The Vale of Glamorgan Council has homed in on Sustrans’s data and – in polite language – has trashed the extravagant claims made for the Penarth Headland Link.
Sustrans claims that no fewer than 341,963 cyclists a year would use the Penarth Headland Link (were it to be built) along with 621,726 pedestrians – resulting in estimated health and economic benefits of up to £36,511,031 a year.
However the Vale Council has poured cold water on Sustrans’s inflated claims. It says that the conclusions reached by the Sustrans report “are not totally robust” and points out a number of factors in the report which “question the validity/usefulness of the Report’s conclusions”. Witheringly, the Vale Council also points out that Sustrans used a total sample-size of only 97 ( that’s ninety-seven) people.
A new Mark II version of the Penarth Headland Link scheme is being promoted by an limited company called Penarth Headlink Link Ltd – based on the group which in 2015 launched a re-treaded version of the disastrous original scheme . [See http://tinyurl.com/opohqne ]
The new scheme is currently still on paper and being amended – but it envisages building a cycle/pedestrian causeway around Penarth Head linking the Esplanade to the Barrage.
The causeway would be built of rock armour – on top of which there would be a pathway used by both cyclists and pedestrians. The height of the elevated 6-metre wide pathway along the top of the artificial causeway would be massive 9 metres above the “mean sea level at Newlyn” (the average level of the sea around the UK between high and low tides) – but it would still risk walkers and cyclists getting drenched in onshore windy weather with big waves . It would be lower than the Cardiff Barrage.
The Penarth Headland Link would have huge rocks – or rock armour – facing the sea which would also make it impossible for boats or small craft – or swimmers in the water to reach safety. Penarth lifeboat crews (as in the picture above) would no longer be able to reach a cliff fall casualty – as they now can.
The pathway would be positioned at least 20 metres from the face of the Penarth Head Cliff – a distance which would “result in low risk of rock fall impacts on users.”
However, environmentalists say that an edifice of this size would destroy the existing stony beach – a well known fossil-hunting ground – and completely change the character of the foreshore.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council is to carry out a public consultation on the entire project .
PDN BACKGROUND ON PENARTH HEADLAND LINK
The background story of the original – defunct – Mark 1 Penarth Headland Link proposal which collapsed in acrimony and cost millions in lost public funds is here :- http://tinyurl.com/p638hcz
An account of the 2015 public meeting at which the Mark II version of the Penarth Headland Link was launched is on http://tinyurl.com/opohqne
The background on the proposed Tidal Lagoon (which is unconnected with the Penarth Headland Link but may impact upon it) is on:- http://tinyurl.com/nwygqxk
The background on the disappearance of Penarth Esplanade’s original multi-storey car park is on:- http://tinyurl.com/nqykvfz