Most of the businesses in the Llanbedr village say they rely for most of their income on tourists and much of that from either passing trade or from those who see what the village has to offer as they pass through and return later – if only we had some decent parking for them! You only have to see how quiet it is in the Winter to realise this. Quite understandably most of the businesses do not wish to speak out as they believe that they would receive a lot of ill-will from some in the community.
What about us having pavements on the road and traffic calming so we can all walk to the village feeling safer but still allowing the businesses to survive?
There is an alternative to a Llanbedr bypass.
- These proposals will cost a small fraction of the £14.3 million bypass.
- They will achieve all of Gwynedd Council’s stated transport objectives (see below)
- They score highly against the Welsh Government’s Impact Area criteria (see below)
- They will be less damaging to the environment.
- They will not damage the views from the village.
- They will not increase the background noise in the village.
- They will not increase the flood risk in the village.
- They do not compromise the Shoreline Management Plan.
- They will support the businesses on the main road that depend on passing trade for their survival.
- They will ensure that pedestrians feel safe on the road.
- They will protect existing footpaths.
- They will not harm the setting of the Meini Hirion standing stones.
- They will ensure that we do not suffer from the sort of junctions that made the Dolgellau bypass a death trap.
- They will curtail speeding and make it safer for vehicles to join the main road.
- They will provide proper parking for visitors who wish to enjoy the village and its hinterland.
- They will improve the traffic flow especially at the Mochras Road junction.
- They will provide improved access to the airfield should development occur there.
No-one is suggesting that these proposals will be easy to achieve, but the end result has to be worth the effort. If necessary, they can be introduced in stages to spread the cost.
If there had been proper consultation from the outset these proposals could have been independently assessed and the taxpayer could have saved the £1 million already spent.
Transport Planning Objectives
Whilst we all have our own view of the traffic issues in the village, Gwynedd Council identified the following as their issues in proposing the bypass:
- Reduce traffic congestion at the Mochras Road/A496 junction.
- Reduce the negative impact of traffic on the community of Llanbedr.
- Improve transport connectivity to and from Llanbedr Airfield.
- Improve the efficiency and reliability of all transport to and from Llanbedr Airfield.
- Improve the actual and perceived safety of travel for all travellers within Llanbedr and along Mochras Road.
- Improve freight transport access to and from Llanbedr Airfield.
- Improve travel opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists within Llanbedr and along Mochras Road
- Minimise the impact of transport improvements on local environmental and heritage features.
- Be resilient to local effects of climate change, particularly future increases in flood events.
The alternative proposals meet all of these criteria, some in a better way than a bypass.
Welsh Impact Areas
The Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance (http://www.protectllanbedr.org/documents-and-links/) lays down certain criteria which transport schemes are judged against. These are:
- Transport Economic Efficiency
- Economic Activity and Location Impacts
- Local Air Quality
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Landscape and Townscape
- Water Environment
- Transport Safety
- Personal Security
- Physical Fitness
- Social Inclusion
- Equality, Diversity and Human Rights
The alternative proposal scores positive on every one of these criteria and scores better than a bypass on some of them.
Summary of Proposals
- Provide free off road car parking in the village at several identified locations
- Provide pedestrian footways in the village in several key identified locations
- Install speed cameras and/or traffic calming at identified locations
- Control parking on the A496 and Mochras Road either side of the junction
- Provide short stay parking bays in front of the shops.
- Provide unloading bay for shops
- Provide a footbridge over the river so that the pavement on the bridge could be used as part of the road providing an extra 1m of width
- Realign the south western end of the bridge parapet.
- Provide yellow box hatching at the two junctions with the main road either side of the Vic.
- If necessary construct a new access road from a roundabout on the A496 south of Llanbedr to the airfield perimeter road.