(Title Image: Cycling Weekly; note that it’s for decoration only and has no relation to the article)
In 2016, Coity Higher Community Council (which covers Litchard, Pendre, Parc Derwen and Coity village itself) started work on a community-sourced action plan to improve walking and cycling routes.
As the work was too much for the community council to take on by themselves, they decided to work in partnership with Bridgend County Council (BCBC). They initially focused on “modal shift” (getting people to ditch cars for walking and cycling), but BCBC recommended the original plan be reworked as a “Safe Routes to School” scheme to present a better case for Welsh Government funding.
Several bids were unsuccessful, but they didn’t give up and a revised bid was completed during 2018. The community council were assured that the entire bid would be submitted. During this time, however, the officer in charge left BCBC.
Earlier this year, the Welsh Government approved around £220,000 towards the Coity Higher Community Access Plan. While this was welcomed, the sum of money seemed to fall far short of what would be required to meet the community council’s ambitions – which included several interventions in Coity and Parc Derwen, such as a long-sought-after footpath along Heol Spencer and traffic calming measures through Coity village.
To the disappointment of the community council, it was revealed this summer that instead of the full range of works, Bridgend Council only started the procurement process for two schemes – an extension of the cycle path through Litchard Park (from Parc Derwen) towards Litchard Hill and improvements to the footpath between Litchard Primary School and Wildmill (via the railway footbridge).
The Chair of Coity Higher Community Council, Cllr. Martin Williams (Ind), recently revealed that BCBC had submitted the words of one of the bids, but had seemingly only priced the two Litchard works.
The decision can’t be undone. Leader of BCBC, Cllr. Huw David (Lab, Cefn Cribwr), has apologised to Coity Higher Community Council, citing confusion caused by the departure of the officer (who’s blameless).
BCBC has also reportedly committed to delivering the access plan in full but phased over several years.