Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has agreed pilot projects to deliver highways improvements at seven private roads, including carrying out a Welsh Government pilot for one of the locations. Each road will then be permanently adopted by the council.
At their meeting this week, cabinet members considered a report proposing a pilot programme of works at seven streets in the County Borough.
All seven locations are privately-owned roads, and the council considers that their condition is unsatisfactory, requiring improvements ranging from levelling to paving, along with sewerage, channelling and street lighting works.
The report notes that the Highways Act 1980 gives councils the power to improve private streets up to a satisfactory standard and adopt them as highways maintainable at the public’s expense. Private streets can vary from footpaths and back lanes to primary access roads to residential properties.
The report recommended that the council invests £250,000 in a pilot across six schemes – including a £50,000 contingency allowance for likely issues arising due to the unknown makeup of each road.
The council has also been successful in securing £157,000 from Welsh Government, available to pilot such projects. This allocation will be used for an initial phase of work at Belle Vue – and the council will bid for further funding for subsequent phases if Welsh Government’s funding is continued.
Following Cabinet Members’ agreement to progress the six council-funded schemes and the additional Welsh Government-funded scheme, all works will be completed in the 2021/22 financial year. Each road will then be adopted.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Transportation, said: “I’m pleased that Cabinet Members have agreed the total investment of £407,000 to improve and then adopt seven private roads in the County Borough, which the Council has determined are in a poor condition. We welcome the £157,000 pilot funding from Welsh Government for one of the schemes, with the remaining six funded through existing Council resources.
“We know that the maintenance of private roads is a common problem for residents and Local Authorities, and we have been working with Welsh Government over the past 18 months, with a working group set up to look at the wider issues across Wales. The funding secured by the Council will help inform Welsh Government about the issues faced in this area – and we will report back to them with what we’ve learned following their pilot scheme.
“Running parallel to this, the Council’s work at six further locations will inform a separate pilot project. I visited each location over the summer, and they have been chosen for the different types of interventions required – and this mixture will help inform the issues we will face going forward if further investment is brought forward for private roads. We also took the opportunity to speak to residents, receiving valuable feedback about the issues they face.”