Planning permission for next community route work in Rhondda Fach

Written by on 12th June 2024

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has received planning consent for the next two elements of the Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route – to build local community links in Maerdy, and upgrade the existing community route between Ferndale and Tylorstown.

The Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route will create a 10km pedestrian and cycle path between Maerdy and Tylorstown, across five phases. Phase one is complete, from a location north of the industrial estate in Maerdy to a point near the Gateway Memorial. Phase two is substantially complete, resuming the route through Maerdy, heading 1.5km south along the former railway line alignment.

Separate applications, seeking planning consent for phases three and four respectively, were considered by the Planning and Development Committee on Wednesday, June 6. The applications were recommended for approval in separate officer reports to Thursday’s meeting. Committee members granted full consent for each of the schemes.

Phase Three planning application

This phase will undertake minor work to improve the existing cycle path in Maerdy (National Cycle Network Route 881), and create a new path leading towards Richard Street and Ferndale Swimming Pool – on a former colliery spoil tip located north-west of the swimming pool. This element of work will require a significant operation to ensure the route has a reasonable gradient.

The application concerns two sections of land – an unmade footpath between Station Road (opposite the junction with Institute Street) and the rear of Blake Street, and an undeveloped area of colliery spoil north-east of Richard Street and Glanville Terrace. They make up a combined area of around 2.9 hectares and have a length of around 1.5km. The existing path passes near to the Rhondda Fawr river and includes a bridge over a small watercourse.

Officers recommended the application for approval as it is needed as part of a wider Active Travel upgrade, it will significantly upgrade the track surface and drainage, and will provide new safe and convenient community access points.

Phase Four planning application

This phase will continue the route being built in phase two, upgrading the path on the alignment of the former railway line. It will stretch across Ferndale from a point north of Ffaldau Terrace (near Maerdy) to a point that is north-east of Dolycoed Funeral Home (Tylorstown), passing Blaenllechau. Phase four will also include establishing a new link to Avon Street at the northern end of Ferndale, and constructing one bridge and repairing another in Blaenllechau.

The current route is an unmade footpath that is generally flat, running along the valley floor. It runs close to and passes over the Rhondda Fach river. Cut, fill and levelling work is needed to maintain an acceptable width for the path, and to repair eroded areas. The route is largely located away from residential properties, except for the section at Blaenllechau and the former station site.

Officers recommended the application for approval as it is a key phase of the wider Active Travel Route, it will improve an existing community route for users, and it will support placemaking and health and well-being aims.

Stephen Williams, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Director of Highways, Streetcare and Transportation Services, said:

“The Council has previously outlined its intention to establish the Rhondda Fach Active Travel Route, by upgrading the shared path for pedestrians and cyclists stretching over 10km between Maerdy and Tylorstown. Active Travel benefits residents’ health and well-being and, by encouraging more people to walk or cycle as an alternative to driving, it also helps the environment and reduces congestion on our roads.

“The planning applications considered on Thursday were submitted by the Council following separate public consultations, covering phases three and four, that took place earlier in 2024. With planning consent now granted, officers will progress both phases – to improve connectivity at Maerdy and continue constructing the main community route through Ferndale.”


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