NEW ROW ERUPTS OVER SANDY ROAD TRAFFIC
LLANELLI’S Welsh Assembly Member Lee Waters has sparked a war of words after accusing Plaid Cymru of playing party politics over the traffic headache that is Sandy Road.
The Labour AM has called on Plaid Cymru-controlled Carmarthenshire Council to reveal its ‘ secret plan’ for the road.
He accused Plaid Cymru of playing politics with commuters, who are fed up with traffic congestion on Llanelli’s most logjammed artery.
In a press statement, Mr Waters, pictured, said there were “rumours that local Plaid Cymru campaigners have said that Carmarthenshire Council have a plan for tackling congestion on Llanelli’s Sandy Road - but will not unveil it until just before the next Assembly election in 2021, to help the party’s election chances.”
Mr Waters’s punch at Plaid earned two heavy counter blows from the party - from the ruling Plaid group on Carmarthenshire Council and from his scheduled big fight opponent in the next Assembly election, Helen Mary Jones.
Cllr Alun Lenny, Plaid’s media spokesman on Carmarthenshire Council said: “It’s extremely ironic that Lee Waters has made these comments.
“In making the totally unfounded accusation that the Plaid-led council is playing politics, he indulges in such behaviour himself.
“It’s not the standards one would expect from a government minister (Minister for Transport in the Welsh Government).
“While Sandy Road is a problem at peak times and under constant review by the county council’s highways department, his accusations are baseless.
“It appears that Mr Waters is rattled by the huge investment proposed for Llanelli and the exciting and practical initiatives, such as the one to address poverty and degradation in Tyisha ward – a Plaid-led initiative which members of all parties on the county council now support.”
Plaid Cymru’s Helen Mary Jones, the Mid and West Wales AM and Llanelli candidate for the 2021 election, said: “This is such a curious statement by the current Labour AM for Llanelli.
“I’m at a loss to understand what he means.
“The reality is his party are in disarray over Europe, anti-Semitism and locally they’ve been hit by resignations by councillors in the Llanelli constituency.
“This is just a smokescreen from his disastrous comments last month where he admitted he is likely to be defeated in Llanelli by the Plaid Cymru team in May 2021.”
Mr Waters said in the statement that sparked the row between Plaid and Labour: “If the council (Carmarthenshire) have got a plan for Sandy Road they need to bring it forward now, not wait until the next Assembly election in 2021. “The impact of poor air quality is harming people’s health every day and there shouldn’t be a moment’s delay in easing the congestion.”
Mr Waters said he had been campaigning with Llanelli MP Nia Griffith for a solution to the issues on Sandy Road since traffic lights we re
installed at the junction of Sandy Road and Maesycoed in 2017.
Frustrated by the refusal of the council to consult with local residents, the pair organised their own chance for residents to have their say and submitted a series of options to Carmarthenshire Council after a consultation involving more than 400 people.
Mr Waters added: “It is well over a year since we presented the results of our consultation to the council, and they have still not taken the action necessary to deal with the Sandy Road traffic.
“We have been chasing the highways department for the results of traffic modelling work we were promised at a meeting last year, and Nia and I have suggested switching off the lights for a trial period to test the impact on congestion.”
Mr Waters said he had also been working with local schools and colleges to help them develop travel plans to encourage students and staff to car share and use public transport in order to ease pressure on Sandy Road during the school run.
“The large number of emails we still receive about this issue show that not nearly enough is being done to tackle this, and frustration is only building as time drags on. People deserve better,” he said.
“Even though I’m a Minister for Transport in the Welsh Government, only the council can act to resolve the issues on Sandy Road, but I’ll be doing all I can to keep up the pressure and to find long lasting solutions for everyone who lives and travels in the area.
“I hope these rumours are false, party politics should play no part in this decision.”
A spokesman for Carmarthenshire Council’s press office said that they could not respond to political stories.
But the spokesman added that a statement about Sandy Road would be released soon.
Traffic congestion on Sandy Road, Llanelli.