NIA Griffith MP and Lee Waters AM have called on the Council to implement an immediate ban on right turns into and out of Sandy Road after a public consultation launched by the pair revealed overwhelming public support for easing congestion.
The AM and MP have submitted their results to Carmarthenshire County Council, after the council failed to respond to public concern. Organised by Nia Griffith MP, Lee Waters AM and Pwll Councillor Penny Edwards, the recent consultation – which surveyed more than 400 people over a two-month period – revealed compelling public support for a series of measures that would ease pressure in the short term.
The leading suggestion, supported by 61% of respondents, was to trial a ban on right-hand turns into and out of Maesycoed from one of Llanelli’s busiest roads.
In a meeting organised as part of the consultation process, the suggestion of creating a new entrance into the Parc-y-Strade estate was also raised. The idea would see a new entrance road from the Sandy roundabout near the Sandpiper, into the housing estate.
Lee Waters explained, “The consultation threw up an interesting suggestion that we think should be considered, given the level of congestion that we are now seeing. A number of people at our event wanted the Council to revisit the original plans for a second entrance and exit to the estate. We understand the council looked at a slip road from the Sandy Roundabout when the estate was being planned and it should be looked at again. It could be a much quicker and cheaper option than a bypass. It obviously needs to be done sensitively as there are currently people living in the row of cottages where the new slip road would go, but, with a proper compensation scheme, it seems that rehoming a small number of people could be the least worst option to address dangerous level of air quality further down Sandy Road”.
Public support for a bypass – the subject of a large petition – was significant, but the consultation revealed opinion was divided; just over half of respondents (55.8%) indicated their support, with one in four respondents revealing they were strongly against such a scheme. Many respondents who were opposed raised concerns over where a bypass would go, as well as the cost and time it would take for the new road to be built.
The idea that attracted least support was increasing the staggering of start and finish times at the schools on Sandy Road, which received only 25% support, quite possibly linked to the fact that the survey revealed that respondents experienced congestion outside of the school rush hour.
Nia Griffith MP said: “Many thanks to everyone who took the time to come to our Sandy Road lights consultation or who filled the questionnaire in online. What is abundantly clear is that everyone wants the council to make sorting this out a priority.
“This is really affecting lives badly; many people have had 20 minutes added to their morning and evening journeys, which is having a massive impact on them and their families. It is also a nightmare for residents as far back as Pwll with the fumes and loud music coming from stationary cars.
“A large majority of respondents support the idea of trialling a ban on turning right into or out of Maesycoed. This is an idea that was suggested some time ago. It’s now time for the Council to either trial it or explain clearly to the public their reasons for not doing so and set out alternative measures that would be as effective. As was pointed out to me at the consultation meeting, simply adjusting the sequence to keep the lights on green longer for the main A484 road alone could help a lot.
“The survey also showed a majority in favour of a bypass, but the priority must be measures that can be implemented now. We cannot wait any longer.”
Lee Waters AM said: “This is an issue the Council have allowed to fester, and people are rightly angry. The Council need to act quickly and respond to public concern.
“The focus must be on actions that can have an immediate effect – banning right turns into and out of Maesycoed would do this at minimal cost.
“I’ve always been open about my opposition to a bypass – it’d cost millions, take years to build and wouldn’t address the underlying problem, and with such strong local opposition would in all likelihood get tied up in a public inquiry and legal challenges.
“Sandy Road residents need to see improvements quickly and that should be our focus. And in the longer-term we need a modern public transport system that people want to use,” the AM added.