New camera will stop drivers using popular shortcut in Llanishen

Visitors will not be fined so long as they enter and exit via the same route

A CONTROVERSIAL new camera system which will fine non-resident drivers for using Fishguard Road as a rat-run has caused controversy in north Cardiff.

Residents of Fishguard Road will be issued permits from Cardiff Council that will allow them to pass the camera without incurring a fine.

Non-residents can enter Fishguard Road and Crystal Glen, but not pass from one to the other.

Fishguard Road and Crystal Glen are currently ‘access only’ areas, meaning only residents are allowed to use them.

But traffic levels have increased as drivers ignore the signs to bypass the busy Fidlas Road to the east, inspiring the camera plan.

The camera will be installed on the T-junction where Fishguard Close joins Crystal Glen, near St Brigid’s Catholic Church.

John Caddick, 73, who has lived in the Fishguard Road horseshoe for 20 years, said: “Generally I can see the wisdom of the new system and I will welcome the changes. It will be safer for children playing in the area.”

Llanishen Councillor Tom Parkhill said: “The new camera system is a long-term solution to the traffic problem on Fishguard Road and Crystal Glen.

“The road has been used as a rat-run since its inception. It has been an issue for 50 years so we’re happy to finally have a solution,” he said.

But not all residents are happy with the council’s plans.

Driver Craig Burris, 38, of Whitebarn Road said: “Can visitors, carers, taxis and delivery vans pass the camera? Where will the extra rush hour traffic go now? Won’t this create concentrated emissions in other areas?”

Watch this video to find out more about the camera controversy.

Here, Llanishen Councillor Tom Parkhill, MP Anna McMorrin and MS Julie Morgan respond to concerns ahead of the 18-month trial scheme.

Can visitors, carers, delivery vans, taxis and emergency services pass the camera without getting fined?

Coun Parkhill said: “There is full access available for all to enter Fishguard Road and Crystal Glen, so long as you don’t pass through the camera gate.”

This means if you live on Crystal Glen and have a visitor to stay, they must enter and leave via Heathwood Road.

Similarly, visitors to Fishguard Road must enter and leave via Ty Glas Road to avoid a fine.

Map of the Fishguard Road area showing the new traffic regulations.

Coun Parkill confirmed: “Delivery drivers will not be able to pass the camera without a fine.

“If we made an exemption for deliveries we wouldn’t be able to check if they were actually delivering, opening the system up to potential abuse, although by a much smaller number of vehicles than currently.”

On emergency services, Coun Parkhill said: “They will be allowed through. There will be no physical barriers and they will be similar to bus gates elsewhere in the city.”

Who qualifies for a permit, how can they get one, how many will be issued per household and how much the fine will be?

Coun Parkhill said: “All residents inside the no-access zone will get a permit. This includes residents of Fishguard Road, Crystal Glen and adjoining roads.”

“The council will send letters out to the households in the area and residents will have to apply for their permit,” said Coun Parkhill.

The number of permits per house is undecided, but Coun Parkhill said: “My preference is for three per household and I have communicated this to the council.”

The fine is currently unknown. “I am not certain, but I would be surprised if it differs to other areas in the city where camera enforcement takes place,” said Coun Parkhill.

Will the camera increase traffic on nearby Fidlas Road and Caerphilly Road?

Residents worry the camera will increase traffic on nearby roads like Fidlas.

Neil Ross, who grew up on Fidlas Road in the 70s and 80s, said: “I’ve witnessed Fidlas Road turn into a busy artery feeding Thornhill and Caerphilly, it’s become a death trap to try and cross.

“The camera allowing Fishguard Road private status just rubs salt in the wounds.

“There is no school on Fishguard Road, so I just don’t get it. They need to take some of the burden off Fidlas Road,” said Mr Ross.

Llanishen resident Sheila Smith agreed: “My concern is that traffic will be funnelled onto Fidlas Road and Caerphilly Road, both of which struggle with excessive traffic.”

Coun Parkhill said: “Through traffic is not allowed on the road, it is just impossible for the police to stand there all day, seven days a week to enforce the rule.

“With regards to increasing traffic elsewhere, I believe the issue lies in the council not spending enough on new road provision having only built 1km of new road since devolution.”

Why are bollards not put across the road, like at Kimberly Terrace?

Coun Parkhill replied: “Putting bollards along the road will block residents from entering and exiting the road.

“In this scheme, residents of Fishguard Road, Crystal Glen and adjoining roads can enter and exit from both Heathwood Road and Ty Glas Road.

“This will work like the bus gate scheme on Malvern Drive in Llanishen, which has worked successfully for the residents of the Ty Glas Estate.”

Coun Parkhill concluded: “The camera will be assessed after 18 months to see whether the scheme has been a success.

“As part of the assessment the council will also consider whether the no- right turn at the end of Crystal Glen is still needed.”

‘Except for access’ signs at the Heathwood Road / Crystal Glen junction.

Anna McMorrin and Julie Morgan, MP and MS for Cardiff North respectively, emphasised the work they had done in securing the camera, including holding two street surgeries.

Ms McMorrin said: “I’m really pleased to see this long-term solution put forward after our extensive efforts to work with the local community to mitigate speeding and safety concerns in the area.

“Julie and I have been working with local residents for some time to reach a consensus on what measures they’d like to see. We organised street surgeries, wrote to local residents seeking their views and worked with Cardiff Council and the Police to see it delivered.

“Once installed, we’ll monitor the impact of these measures and continue to work with local residents to help make our communities safer,” said the Labour MP.

In the summer, Ms McMorrin and Ms Morgan wrote to all residents of Fishguard Road and Crystal Glen inviting them to a street surgery for residents to have their views heard.

This was held at St Brigid’s Catholic Church in June 2021. In October 2021, they held a follow up meeting with residents to hear their preferred options to implement. Cabinet Member for Transport Caro Wild was present.

Anna McMorrin MP and Julie Morgan MS holding a street surgery at St Brigid’s Church in October 2021.

Mr Caddick added: “Many years back the police used to sit on Crystal Glen and stop people using the road. But I appreciate policing it might not be the solution.”

The new camera system is being set up by the council as a temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TRO).

Coun Parkhill said: “We don’t have a date as of yet, but we are hoping it will be this year.”

In the 1970’s a no-access order was put in place, but it was never properly enforced.

Residents are also confused why residential Fishguard Road has a 30mph speed limit whereas the adjoining Ty-Glas Avenue has a 20mph limit, likewise for Fidlas Road.