Conservatives welcome Welsh Government recognition of Chepstow transport issues
Recognition from the Welsh Government that transport is a problem in Chepstow has been welcomed by Conservative councillors – although they remain unconvinced about promised action.
A transport plan for the town will have to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport, according to the Welsh Government, which has agreed to work with Monmouthshire County Council, having accepted the border town “has genuine transport problems”.
But three Conservative county councillors who represent wards in and around the town, say they fear a further 12 months of talking and have called for politicians to commit to supporting a relief road or bypass.
A statement issued by Paul Pavia, who represents the town’s Mount Pleasant ward, St Kingsmark ward member Christopher Edwards, and Louise Brown, who represents Shirenewton, also questioned if the proposals will achieve the aims of tackling congestion in Chepstow.
Their statement said: “Given the town’s topography, active travel measures will have limited scope and appeal and the Welsh Government is cutting budgets for public transport solutions.
“The fact of the matter is that there is not enough road infrastructure capacity. Even if we all moved to electric cars and buses, a breakdown on the A48 brings the town and surrounding villages to a standstill.
“So instead of trying to create cycle lanes which have limited impact, the Welsh Government must lift its new road project ban and start talking to the UK Government to get a relief road approved and funded as soon as possible.”
The Welsh Government has said it has introduced tougher criteria for it to support new road building projects, rather than a ban on such schemes, while Monmouthshire council’s deputy leader Paul Griffiths has repeatedly warned councillors a by-pass or relief road would be dependent on a funding decision from the UK Government.
The Labour councillor for Chepstow Castle and Larkfield, who has said addressing the Highbeech Roundabout is a decision that can be taken in Wales, has previously told councillors that counterparts in Gloucestershire have been previously been focused on a new road in the north of the county which has recently had funding approved.
Congestion in the town includes traffic heading over the M48 Severn Bridge as well as north to south traffic on the A466 which meets with east-west traffic on the A48 at the Highbeech roundabout on the town’s western approach.
The councillors said a 2016 Welsh Government study recognised changes to the Highbeech roundabout would improve capacity and air-quality, but said nothing had been done about it.
By BBC LDRS
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