Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and the local community – represented by Penderyn Traffic Management Group - have announced important road safety plans for the village of Penderyn.
The plans come after months of discussions and negotiations to put in place a scheme for the village, following concerns raised by residents about the speed of traffic travelling along the A4059 in Penderyn, particularly outside Penderyn Primary School, and the associated danger this poses to pedestrians particularly pupils attending the school.
Residents and other stakeholders will be given the chance to air their views on the proposals, which include a reduced speed limit, part-time 20mph zone, new traffic signs, and new street lighting in the village.
The important development follows months of negotiations, after calls from the community for a reduced speed limit in the village and further reductions around the school.
Campaigners believe the existing 40mph speed limit was unacceptably high and poses significant risk to children making their way to and from school, as well as other residents, with the busy nature of the road and high numbers of lorries and bikes presenting further problems.
While it is one of a number across Wales located on a 40mph road, concerns were raised that Ysgol Penderyn was the only primary school in Wales on a 40mph road. As a result, individuals and organisations – such as the school, Community Council and local businesses – began sending letters calling for a reduction in the speed limit.
A petition signed by 250 residents and 91 individuals were gathered and the campaign culminated in a march last year attended by 150 residents, school children, parents and teachers.
Discussions to secure a resolution to the issue have been ongoing with the Council since last August and the Council has not only supported the calls of residents for a 30mph speed limit through the village and a 20mph time-bound limit outside the school but has exceeded requests with additional calming measures and the reduction of the speed limit on the road approaching the village.
Cllr Andrew Morgan, Cabinet Member for Frontline Services, said: “This is an issue we have been working on for months, in partnership with the local community, as we shared the concerns about the speed limit.
“The Council said from the get go that it was committed to the issue of road safety across the county borough and would do all it could in relation to this particular issue.
“However, it was never going to be as simple as just reducing the speed limit outside of the school, as reducing the speed limit does not reduce the speed at which drivers travel.
“This is why our road safety and highways experts have worked extensively with Penderyn Traffic Group and the local member, Cllr Graham Thomas, to put in place a far-reaching proposal that also includes signage, lighting and more.
“Delivering such proposals at a time when the financial challenges we face are significant is no mean feat. But we maintain our commitment to communities and will always consider such schemes on an individual basis, investing where it is needed the most.
“The successful negotiation of these plans is testament to the commitment of the community of Penderyn and we are pleased to have been able to work with them.”
The plans will be shared with the community and consultation undertaken. It is hoped preparatory work, including replacement of street lighting in parts of the village and the school to begin on March 18.
As a result of the concerns raised, the Council is proposing to amend the speed limit between Penderyn and the A465 roundabout and improve signage to highlight the presence of the school and encourage slower speeds.
The proposals will include:
• The extension of the existing 30mph speed limit throughout the village.
• A part-time 20mph limit operating during school hours outside Penderyn Primary School.
• A review of the existing National Speed Limit between the southern end of the village and the A465 roundabout.
Bethan Winter of the Penderyn Traffic Management Group, which was launched early last year to campaign for a 30mph speed limit through the village and a 20mph time-bound limit outside the school, said: “The Traffic Management Action Group would like to extend a massive thank you to all those that have supported the campaign, in particular local residents, Penderyn Primary school, parents and children attending the school, local businesses as well as politicians - Assembly Members and Councillors of all political persuasion.
“We must also thank the Local Authority for finally acknowledging the necessity for the change demanded which, once introduced, will make our village a much safer place. We look forward to continue working in partnership with the LA to ensure the safe and smooth installation of the scheme in Summer 2013.”