Residents angry over road closure for funeral...
PEOPLE in Cardiff have reacted furiously over how the police and council handled the closing of a busy road due to a funeral for a member of the traveller community.
The Chief Constable of South Wales Police has said that officers faced more than 50 vehicles obstructing Rover Way and that they put public safety first.
He has said that the force will look for lessons and review evidence to consider whether “enforcement” should have been used.
But it comes too late for businesses that say they lost thousands of pounds due to the closure of Rover Way, one of the main roads into the Welsh capital, which was closed more than 18 hours ahead of Thursday morning’s funeral for Wesley Sykes.
Drivers also saw 15-minute journeys turn into frustrating trips of more than two hours.
One man, who has run a local haulage business for 25 years, said he was still calculating the losses.
“It runs into the thousands,” said the business owner who did not wish to be named.
“We are still in the process of calculating it.
“I realised the road was closed last night because I had been out with my wife visiting my daughter in Caerphilly. On the way back, at about 9.30pm, I saw there were signs saying that Rover Way was closed.
“I just thought it was a normal incident and nothing out of the ordinary.”
He says that his business relies on deliveries hitting specific time slots else they receive a financial penalty.
“You have to hit time slots. A lot of companies today don’t have warehouse space anymore.
“The computers are designed to order automatically. Those deliveries have to be on time so the company can keep going.
“Normally when there are closures like this it is because there has been a nasty accident.
“You don’t close a major road into Cardiff because of this. It is ridiculous, I am baffled. If I was to park there I would face a fine or be towed.
“Other businesses in Lamby Way have had the same problem.”
“What is wrong with this city’s council and police force allowing this to happen? If any other citizen parked or blocked a major road than there would be consequences, such as a fine or towed away – totally unacceptable.
“This is costing businesses a lot of money and fuming doesn’t start to cover it.”
Other people have used social media to express their displeasure.
Kate Bell said: “Although I feel for anyone dying in tragic circumstances and their family, it is outrageous that the police and council have allowed this to happen presumably through fear of what would happen if they intervened.
“Then when you complain about a group because of their culture you need to be cautious not to look like you are being prejudice.
“It isn’t about being intolerant of cultures, it is being intolerant unfair rules from the council and police.
“Treat us all equally regardless of our cultural background is what people want.”
Michael Woodington, of Tremorfa, said: “Can we have an assurance that this will never happen again? This could have cost lives as emergency services would have struggled to reach people where I live.
“Why should so many people be inconvenienced when this would never be allowed for most of us? Was there no other option that could have ensured the funeral went ahead smoothly and caused no disruption to the rest of us?
“We need more than the statement offered.”
Lyn Davies agreed saying: “Let’s be honest, both the police and council have some explaining to do.
“Why could it not have been open to one way traffic to let people out of the city? What if someone had died in Splott because an ambulance could not get through the grid lock that was caused. Sorry South Wales Police, not good enough.”
One Cardiff resident, who did not want to be named, asked why a full closure was necessary.
She said: “Rather than closing the road in both directions, causing pandemonium, why did they not use their resources to instruct and direct the travellers to a park and ride car park on the outskirts of the city and tell them they would need to arrange for coaches to follow the funeral cortege?”
Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan said:“We were aware that a funeral was taking place today, but we were not informed of its scale and the number of vehicles involved did not become apparent until yesterday afternoon, when an increasing number arrived at Rover Way. Eventually, this number totalled 50.
“We know that the result of this was significant traffic problems on the road yesterday evening. A decision was subsequently taken to close the road...
“This decision was taken with public safety being paramount. Given the nature of the incident, it was proving extremely difficult to identify the owners of the vehicles involved, and it would have been impracticable for officers to have attempted to remove them.
“Because our primary concern is keeping users of the road safe, a road closure was deemed to be necessary to minimise any risks from having vehicles continue to travel along a blocked road...
“Clearly, however, this had a major knock-on effect for many road users in Cardiff and a post-incident debrief will be carried out alongside partner agencies, to include a review of what action may be appropriate in future.
“Two vehicles have been recovered in relation to insurance and obstruction issues.”
On Twitter, Chief Constable for South Wales Police Matt Jukes said: “[We] will look for lessons and review evidence to consider enforcement.”
Rover Way was closed because of a funeral
Traffic queueing at the Newport Road junction of Broadway in Cardiff