PEOPLE who oppose a new cycle path in Swansea are threatening to chain themselves to trees which are set to be cut down, according to a councillor.
Linda Tyler-Lloyd said there was significant opposition to the council’s plan for a new cycle route along Mayals Road, which links the seafront to Clyne Common and beyond.
The council said the 19 trees in question were either diseased or dying and posed a risk, and would have to be felled anyway.
The authority said the Mayals Road cycle path would eventually lead to a new link from the seafront all the way to Bishopston.
But a public meeting on Zoom this week did little to quell concerns, say residents who tuned in.
“Everybody is up in arms,” said Cllr Tyler-Lloyd, who represents Mayals.
“Cyclists I have spoken to are quite happy about going up Mayals Road as it is.”
She added: “It is a beautiful avenue with mature trees. People are threatening to chain themselves to the trees.
“I have only had one email saying they were for it.”
Angry residents contend they haven’t been consulted on the plans.
Mark Parkin, of Mayals Road, said: “It looks like a done deal. The first I knew about it was a snippet in the Evening Post about three months ago.”
As well as the trees, Mr Parkin said people were concerned about a narrowing of the carriageway to accommodate the cycle path. He said residents would have to cross the cycle path to access Mayals Road from their drives, as would delivery drivers, and that when buses pulled in at bus stops more traffic would be queueing behind, polluting the air.
Mr Parkin also reckoned that experienced cyclists wouldn’t use the cycle path anyway because it was for pedestrians as well.
He joined the remote meeting, during which council officers talked about the scheme.
Mr Parkin said he felt it was “a lecture” rather than a discussion, although there was opportunity ask questions and make comments remotely.
The council has secured more cycle path money from the Welsh Government than any other council in Wales for the last three years, but schemes must be completed during the financial year in which the money is allocated.
That leaves less than five months for the Mayals Road cycle route to be completed.
Cllr Mark Thomas, cabinet member for environment enhancement and infrastructure management, said the 19 trees in question would need felling at some point.
“The assumption that trees along Mayals Road are being felled to make way for a cycle route is wrong,” he said.
The council also plans to plant two new trees for every one cut down.
Cllr Thomas said: “Not acting now and leaving this work until later, not only puts lives at risk from trees collapsing but also leaves the council without the funds needed to carry out a replanting programme.”
He added that Mayals Road had been identified as a key cycle route in 2017 when the council completed a city-wide map of existing and proposed cycle routes.
“This map was the subject of a three-month consultation,” he said.
The council said Mayals Road will feature a mix to two-way cycle routes along the bottom and top, and a single route either side of the carriageway along the middle section. Crossings to help cyclists and walkers transfer from one section to another will also be installed.
Cllr Thomas said: “Swansea Council is serious about extending its cycle network and encouraging more people to choose cycling instead of driving.”
John Sayce, the chairman of Swansea Bay cycle campaign group Wheelrights, said it welcomed the funding for the Mayals cycle route, and looked forward to a longer-term link across Clyne Common.
“The current plans have several aspects that we are supportive of,” said Mr Sayce.
“We are pleased that cyclists are being given precedence over motor traffic at several junctions, that road space has been reallocated for cyclists’ use and that there are separate lanes on both sides of the road to avoid possible conflict with pedestrians.
“However, at the moment, Wheelrights’ members do not have an agreed position on the current plans, so are currently compiling a list of concerns that they wish the council to address.”