Residents living on a Cwmbran housing estate say they are concerned about the impact of increased traffic if a 3G pitch is built in Llantarnam.
The entrance to James Prosser Way, a cul de sac, is used by residents living in the 226 homes and is also the only road for parents and teachers who drive to Llantarnam Community Primary School. When planning permission was given for the new homes in 2015 the application also included an S106 agreement. This is a contribution from a builder to negate any loss to the community from a development.
The application for new homes was approved and Barratt Homes agreed to pay £859,094 to replace the loss of three playing pitches and the leisure centre with a 3G facility. There have been delays to the plans progressing and in October 2022, councillors voted in favour of ‘preparing and submitting a planning application, detailed designs and going out to tender’.
‘We are really concerned’
Amy Knibbs, a resident from James Prosser Way, said: “As residents we are really concerned with this road.
“The issue comes with the concept of having a 3G pitch where the only access is down here. Say you do have enough parking for two teams who are playing against each other. In theory, you’re going to end up with some overflow.
“My biggest concern is we bought this house and didn’t know about it so nobody told us that this was something that was going to happen. Obviously, when we bought the house we knew there was a school here and anticipated that there will be people that want to drive to school.
“There was talk by residents of having an entrance and exit through the (Llantarnam) industrial estate. There is a bit of no-mans land that can be bought and completely change things for us. But for us, the situation is our road isn’t suitable for the volume of traffic. It isn’t even suitable for school opening and close times.
‘Single track with nowhere to pass’
“The biggest issue with this road, not only does it become single track with nowhere to pass, at school time, you end up with queues as no-one can pass. The school has been fantastic trying to liaise with us and work out the best thing for the school and the children’s safety and for other residents. The problem is we are working with the logistics of this road, that’s the biggest issue.
“And I just don’t see how it was given planning permission for this road to be the direct access to a school, given that it’s not suitable to pass if you have parked cars, and then they want to add a football pitch into the mix.
‘Do we, the local residents, want it?’
“This is never going to be suitable for that 3G pitch. The council knows there are plans afoot, but it’s the lack of consultation and detail. The council don’t know if we (the local residents) actually want it. Has anybody got statistics on the number of 3G pitches we’ve got (in Torfaen), and how utilised they are, for the need? I don’t think things are thought through in enough detail or at least that thought process is not communicated with and I don’t why that is. But for most people, understanding ‘why?’ is the biggest reason to accept something.
“We bought the house not knowing about it as it would not have come up in any searches. You can imagine if football matches are going on, and there are lots of them, how much chaos this could become. it causes major issues for the entrance to the entire estate.
“A lot of people I have spoken to our concerned about getting rid of the green space. And a lot of people are using it as a dog walking and exercise field.”
‘The extra parking will not reduce the amount of cars driving through the estate’
Chris Thomas, another resident on James Prosser Way, said: “Myself and other residents are extremely concerned about the development of an artificial football pitch next to Llantarnam Community Primary School.
“This development will increase the already-dangerous levels of traffic on James Prosser Way, cover a large amount of the minimal green space we have left to walk our dogs, cause noise and light pollution, and the pitch won’t even be free to use, which it would have been if it was just left as grass.
“Part of the plans are to add another car park, whilst removing space from the school car park, which will add some additional space, but will not reduce the number of cars travelling through the single road which already provides access for the 200+ house estate and a school. The congestion from this additional traffic will heighten the risk to young children and other pedestrians in an area where I’ve already heard of multiple collisions, bumps and near misses with pedestrians.
“There are already plenty of pitches available nearby in Cwmbran Stadium, the boating lake, Girlings, and Croesyceiliog already. Lots of locals use that field to walk their dogs off-lead, which they are now unable to do in the boating lake.
“Even though these issues are obvious, there doesn’t appear to have been consideration for alternative options in the planning, including road access off Court Farm, or locating the pitch off Llantarnam industrial estate, which would cause no loss or risk to residents.
“Myself and many other residents would rather no changes were made. These plans are dangerous, a huge inconvenience and loss to local residents, and ultimately a waste of hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
At the full council meeting in December, councillors were told that the project was being supported by the property consultancy team at Blaenau Gwent Council.
Last week, a Torfaen Council spokesperson told Cwmbran Life that timescales and next steps were still being negotiated with Blaenau Gwent Council.
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