Calls have been made for a the restoration of a railway bridge that was removed last year after a lorry got stuck underneath the structure, shutting a major road for several days.
Glanhwfa Road in Llangefni was closed to traffic for three days last October as a result of the incident, forcing the removal of the bridge after experts judged the previous structure to be unsafe.
But several months later, the potential for a replacement bridge remains unclear and is dependant on the track’s owners, Network Rail.
According to Network Rail, however, any new bridge will only be installed if the necessary funding is secured.
In a bid to heap pressure on the agencies involved, last night (Monday) saw members of Llangefni Town Council pass a resolution calling for action.
According to Cllr Victor Hughes, the vote was unanimous and follows concern that no action has seemingly been taken to sort out a replacement.
“Since the removal of the bridge, its led to more traffic travelling down Glanhwfa Road instead of the industrial estate, which is much more suitable for large vehicles,” said Cllr Hughes.
“Many struggle when they reach the junction near the Bull Hotel, and it seems like the railway bridge acted as a deterrent while it still stood.”
He added, “As I understand it, Anglesey council is looking at the possibility of widening Glanhwfa Road to allow two cars to pass near the registry office, but I think that the current contraflow system works pretty well.
“As a town council, we are very supportive to the return of the railway into Llangefni and would rather see efforts concentrated on firstly restoring the railway bridge.
“As I understand it, the lorry driver that caused the damage was not working for a UK company, but that shouldn’t make any difference if Network Rail are looking to recover the costs of a new bridge with their insurers.”
But a Network Rail spokesperson said: “Last year a lorry hit Glanhwfa bridge, which carries a disused railway line. Our engineers took the difficult decision to remove the bridge to ensure the safety of road users and pedestrians.
“Should funding be made available in the future, we would be pleased to explore options for restoring the structure.
“Bridge strikes cost the taxpayer millions of pounds each year so we would like to remind all drivers to check the height of their vehicles before passing under any bridges.”
Anglesey Council’s acting head of highways, Huw Percy, said, “The bridge in question was a Network Rail asset and, when the structure was damaged in October 2018, it undertook all assessments and clearance work.
“From the County Council’s perspective, we would be happy to discuss options moving forward with relevant partners.”
Primary school for 360 kids given the green light
Plans for a new 360 pupil primary school have been given the green light by planning chiefs, which could see work start as early as the spring.
Last April, Anglesey’s Executive rubber-stamped a decision to close Ysgol Bodffordd and Ysgol Corn Hir, to be replaced with a brand new facility at Bryn Meurig, Llangefni.
Governors at Ysgol Corn Hir had broadly backed a new school due to it already being oversubscribed, with concerns also being raised over the condition of the building.
But the community of Bodffordd battled hard to keep its village school open which, with over 80 pupils and close to capacity, also houses the community centre.
But this afternoon, a major hurdle was crossed after the authority’s planning committee approved the new multi million pound school which is set to have enough spaces for 360 pupils as well as another 90 nursery places.
The site of the school will be a currently empty field near the junction of Cildwrn Road B5109 & B4422, not far from the existing Ysgol Corn Hir site.
Approval was given despite some reservations from Llangefni Town Council regarding a lack of 20 mph traffic calming measures.
Cllr Bryan Owen also noted that due to its proximity to Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni and Canolfan Addysg y Bont, the roads could be “extremely busy” at the start and end of the school day.
But according to highways officers, an independent survey did not suggest any major problems.
“Concerns raised by both the public and the local community council’s around an increase invehicular movements, numbers and road safety are satisfied by the Highways response and the proposed conditions recommended,” noted the planning officers’ report.
“This is supported through the findings and implementation of the traffic calming and other mitigation measures outlined within the Traffic Impact Assessment to ensure the scheme will not have an adverse effect on the existing transport network.”
As a result of planning approval, construction could start as early as May, taking over a year to complete, with Bodelwyddan-based Wynne Construction having been awarded the contract.
Officers had recommended approval for the application, submitted by the authority’s own education department,
Decision on chicken farm shelved
A decision over what would be Snowdonia’s biggest ever poultry farm has been deferred by Snowdonia National Park planning chiefs to allow the applicant to provide more information.
Glyn and Janet Pugh, of Ty’n Pwll, Llanegryn, have applied to build the unit on 2,700 square metres of farmland at Fferm Castell Mawr, Llanegryn, which is near six ancient woodlands and three Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
But after concerns were raised by planning officers over potential dust and odour, committee members voted to defer any decision to allow the applicants to allay such fears by providing more complete reports.
The development, roughly the size of a football pitch, was visited by members of the Snowdonia National Park Authority’s Planning Committee (SNPA) last November with a decision on the fate of the application having been delayed for several months.
Park planning officers had recommended that that the authority should turn down the application -despite the promise that two jobs would be created if given the green light.
Roger Parry, the agent for the applicants, said that the unit would help to ensure a future for the next generation to carry on, citing the need for farms to diversify in order to survive.
Noise levels, they say, are also acceptable with a management plan in place to help control the odour.
Cllr John Pughe Roberts, addressing this morning’s meeting at Plas Tan y Bwlch in Maentwrog, said that he had some sympathy with the applicants and believed that they should have been informed earlier of what impact assessment reports they should compile.
But 130 letters of objection have also been sent to the national park authority, citing concerns over the scale of the building, visual impact, increase in traffic, manure and vermin as well as the impact of noise, dust and smells.
A social media movement known as ‘STOP proposed Industrial Poultry Unit in Dysynni Valley Snowdonia National Park’, has also voiced concern regarding the proposed development.
The national park’s planning committee’s next scheduled meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 3 where a decision is expected.
Park and ride gets go ahead
A park and ride area, aimed towards car sharing commuters, has been rubber stamped by Anglesey council planners.
The plans, submitted by the authority, will include enough spaces for 116 cars and set up near junction 7 of the A55’s eastbound carriageway, near the Menai Science Park in Gaerwen.
The approved plans also include cycle storage, six electrical charging facilities and a bus stop, which is hoped will encourage motorists to lift share.
According to the planning documents, it had been envisaged it would be used by Wylfa Newydd construction workers but with the fate of that project currently in the air, officers told this afternoon’s planning committee meeting that it would be available for general commuters.
This was in response to a point raised by Cllr John Griffith, who noted there is already such a facility between Llanfairpwll and Menai Bridge with another having recently been given planning permission at Four Crosses.
But planning officer, Nia Jones, stated that the application was in response to a general need for such facilities on the island and would remain available for those sharing lifts if Wylfa Newydd goes ahead or not.
Not all members were happy, however, with Cllr Trefor Lloyd Hughes stating his view that there was a bigger need for such a facility in the west of Anglesey, adding his view that it would be nothing more than an auxillary carpark for the M-SParc.
But local member, Eric Wyn Jones, added: “Despite there being a large car park at M-SParc, its often full as I found out myself during a recent visit when I had to park on the verge.
“In my view we do need something like this and agree with the officer. The facility at Llanfairpwll is often full as it is, so I certainly back this application.”
Concerns have been raised about fly-tipping in the heart of the Vale of Clwyd.
Rubbish including clothing and furniture was found dumped in Llanrhaeadr near to the site of the old Bryn Morfydd Hotel, yesterday.
Pictures show items strewn around woodland on the edge of the village.
And concerns have been raised locally that this is part of a pattern of fly-tipping incidents occurring in the area.
Cllr Elfed Williams chair of Llanrhaeadr community council, said: “This is not the first time rubbish has been dumped by the side of the road to Brynmorfydd, this time it is a big industrial bag like the one’s you see on building sites full of old clothing and furniture.
“But in the past, on more than one occasion, it has been old tyres. This rubbish is not only harmful to wildlife, blights our beautiful countryside but adds costs onto our councils who have to clear up this mess.”
Cllr Williams argued that dumping rubbish without the correct permissions was costing all rate payers money.
Last month the Welsh Government moved to change the rules on fly-tipping, meaning anyone who gives their rubbish in good faith to firms for disposal which is then found fly-tipped could see hit with a £300 fine.
He added: “The people who dump rubbish on the side of the road are trying to get around paying themselves for this waste to be cleared away but what they are doing is making all of us pay for their rubbish as we, through our council tax, have to pay for the rubbish to be cleared away.
“I have asked our community council secretary to contact Denbighshire County Council to come and clear the site. We will also be asking the council what action they will be taking in the future to prevent this happening again.”
Members of the public wanting to report an incident of fly-tipping can do so online at Fly-Tipping Action Wales http://www.flytippingactionwales.org.
Denbighshire Council has been asked to comment.