Castle Inn footbridge replacement supported

Written by on 25th March 2022

The Planning and Development Committee has supported Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s application to replace Castle Inn footbridge in Treforest – to re-establish the important link over the Afon Taff while reducing the flood risk at this location.

At the Committee’s meeting on Thursday, March 24, Members agreed with officer recommendations to grant full planning permission to construct a replacement bridge. Castle Inn footbridge spans the Afon Taff between River Street in Treforest and Cardiff Road in Glyntaff, providing an important local link between the B4595 and the A4054. The bridge was severely damaged in Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis (February 2020), and has remained closed since to ensure safety to users.

A report to Thursday’s meeting noted that the planning application is part of a series of measures aimed at addressing and improving the ongoing risk of flooding at this location. A Baseline Flood Modelling Report commissioned following the storm events found that the existing bridge was a contributory factor to flooding, due to its constricting effect on river flow at this location.

An application for Listed Building Consent to demolish the existing structure to reduce the flood risk locally was sought from the Welsh Government Planning Directorate (WGPD), which has consulted with Cadw – the Welsh Government’s historic environmental service.

A Cadw inspector concluded that the proposed demolition is justified as the proposals would greatly improve river flow characteristics for the community’s benefit, and would not significantly impact the Castle Square Conservation Area. In considering this assessment by Cadw, the WGPD granted its approval for the bridge’s demolition.

The Council’s application to Thursday’s meeting was to construct a single-span replacement bridge and associated infrastructure, which includes replacing a section of river retaining wall at Cardiff Road. It would be modified to provide a short flood wall upstand, further mitigating the risk of flooding.

Officers consider that the bridge replacement will significantly reduce the flood risk at this location and greatly benefit surrounding properties – outweighing a smaller, increased risk to a grass flood plain further downstream. Natural Resources Wales raised no objection to the plans.

The bridge itself would be constructed with hollow steel elements, spanning around 35.1 metres – with the structure’s undercarriage carrying a Dwr Cymru Welsh Water foul sewer pipe. The 3.5 metre wide bridge is designed for both pedestrians and cyclists, with handrails at either side and a non-slip surface.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Transportation, said:

“Castle Inn footbridge in Treforest is one of the Council’s key priority schemes as part of its wider ongoing effort to repair infrastructure following Storm Dennis, and to reduce the flood risk in local communities. This location is prone to flooding, and was again badly affected in Storm Dennis. Residents will have noticed a series of works at Cardiff Road to divert utilities over recent weeks, in preparation for the replacement works commencing later this spring.

“The proposed scheme put forward by the Council, and approved by the Planning and Development Committee on Thursday, is designed to maintain the vital link between River Street and Cardiff Road for the local community – while also reducing flood risk, as the existing bridge was found to be a large contributing factor in recent flooding. The new bridge will also support a wider shared path for pedestrians and cyclists to use.

“Since Storm Dennis, the Council has carried out £13m in flood alleviation work, while we continue to fund repairs to structures – with £6.441m secured from Welsh Government to progress schemes at Berw Road (White Bridge), Tynybryn footbridge and Feeder Pipe footbridge, as well as the Castle Inn footbridge scheme, in 2022/23. As part of our Highways Capital Programme, a separate £5.65m investment will deliver repairs to Imperial Bridge, Nant Cwm Parc Cantilever/Institute Bridge, and Llanharan Railway footbridge in 2022/23.

“The Committee’s approval on Thursday is an important landmark for the Castle Inn footbridge replacement, and officers will now progress the scheme for delivery this summer. Further details about the arrangements for the main works will be communicated to local residents in due course.”

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