A closer look at the Vale LDP: The spur is still in there…

On closer examination, the rail spur from the Vale line into Cardiff Airport is still a part of the Vale of Glamorgan’s thinking, if not their immediate plans.

In our previous post. we reported that the rail spur had been taken out of the Vale Council’s immediate plans for development in the county, but now that we’ve had the chance to take a closer look at the Local Development Plan, we’ve noticed that they hold out the possibility of building the rail spur at some (unspecified) time in the future, to support the Enterprise Zone at Cardiff Airport.


Reference to the Cardiff Airport Rail Spur in the Vale of Glamorgan’s Local Development Plan (page 71)

The reference comes in a section that deals with the Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone on pages 70 – 71. the enterprise zone is an initiative to create employment opportunities in the aerospace and defence sectors, and is located at the Aerospace business park in St Athan and the land adjacent to Cardiff Airport and Port Road.

The LDP says that a “Masterplan” is being prepared by the Welsh Government, and will inform part of the future planning and development of the land, and will address a number of issues including the development of the land for employment, the provision of an energy centre and “Safeguarding of a route for a potential rail link to Cardiff Airport across the site…”.

In order to “Safeguard a route”, the Welsh Government will need to identify that route, and this prompts questions about where it will go, what habitats it might disturb and the impact that it may have on the Vale line. As we have shown before, a spur from the Vale line to the airport will disrupt the important commuter connection from Llantwit Major and Rhoose into Cardiff, just as the electrification of the line is announced.

So could Vale commuters see their Vale line increase to half hourly trains only to be quickly pegged back to the existing (and inadequate) hourly service? How will this “Masterplan” will be put together, including crucially, will the people of the Vale have a democratic opportunity to respond to the plan while it is still in a draft form?

How the rail spur threatens the Vale line

The proposed rail spur to the airport will compete with the Vale line to Rhoose and Llantwit Major for line capacity and resources.

With an estimated capacity of 4 trains per hour after upgrade work is completed in Cardiff, the Welsh government aims to increase Vale lined services to two an hour. With 3 trains an hour proposed on the airport link, plus hourly freight services to Aberthaw power station, something has to give.

With the level of political and financial investment required to make the rail spur happen, the Vale line would almost certainly lose out to the new rail line. So as well as destroying the local environment, local livelihoods and failing to help Cardiff Airport in the slightest, the spur would damage a vital transport link that’s being used by 360,000 people a year.

Please sign the petition to lodge an objection to this plan. We have until Monday 2nd of April.

Public exhibition of the plans, including the rail spur plan

Here’s a useful bit of info concerning the Local Development Plan from Vale of Glamorgan Council’s website:

During the consultation period, the Council is holding a series of public exhibitions at the following locations where Council staff can help explain the LDP process and answer any questions you may have…

Saturday 17 March 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Dock Office, Barry
Tuesday 20 March 2 p.m – 7 p.m. Cowbridge Town Hall
Saturday 24 March 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Llantwit Major Town Hall

Members of the LDP team will also be available to discuss the Deposit LDP and associated documents at the Council’s Dock Office in Barry throughout the consultation period during normal working hours.

The Council’s Dock Office in Barry is at:

The Vale of Glamorgan Council
LDP Team
Dock Office
CF63 4RT

Although much of the planning info is available on the web, it’s a great opportunity to put your questions to council officers.

Stop The Spur campaign: 148 on Facebook and support is growing

A quick update from the Stop The Spur campaign…

The issue started with our concerns about a local development plan in Vale of Glamorgan with no media presence. We realised that we would need to at least plant a seed online in order to make people realise the folly of the rail spur plan. So we put some info online and have been really encouraged by the support that we’ve seen in a relatively short space of time. This week we have received more messages of support, people subscribing to our updates and some enquiries for further info.

At the time of writing we have had 148 people pledge their support on our Facebook page and growing.

We’re also trying to encourage anyone involved in the Vale of Glamorgan: make sure you have your say and send your feedback to the Vale council. That includes not only residents but regular visitors, people who work here and so on. We’ve put together a friendly guide to the response form.

Please do stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter or the email subscription in the sidebar.