Minister discusses plans to tackle traffic problems in Chepstow
A transpot plan for Chepstow will prioritise walking, cycling and public transport, a Welsh Government deputy minister has said.
Lee Waters, the deputy minister for climate change, acknowledged long-standing traffic problems in the town following a meeting with Monmouthshire County Council cabinet members.
In comments, released by the council, Mr Waters said the town’s “genuine transport problem” is “largely due to changes to work and travel patterns across the region”.
Traffic on the nearby motorway network and congestion through the town has been a long-standing concern which residents and councillors have called for action on.
The Welsh Government is only willing to support plans for new roads if they can help support its transport policies and net zero ambitions, which has been described as a “ban” on building new roads as there is now a higher test to be met for its support.
Mr Waters suggested improvements to the town’s Highbeech roundabout – a notorious congestion point – would need to demonstrate how that would improve public transport.
He said: “We want to work with Monmouthshire Council, Transport for Wales, and neighbouring English authorities, on a proper transport plan for Chepstow – prioritising walking, cycling and public transport.
“If changes at Highbeech roundabout are required – to make bus journeys more viable for example – we should absolutely look at that, provided it’s part of a wider package of sustainable transport measures.”
Mr Waters who met with the Labour/Green Party-run council’s deputy leader Paul Griffiths and cabinet member for climate change Catrin Maby, also acknowledged numerous studies have been conducted in Chepstow and said: “We should short-circuit that and get everyone round the table to work on affordable and practical solutions that will make a real difference.”
Cllr Griffiths, the Labour member for the Chepstow Castle and Larkfield ward, said the agreement with the Welsh Government was that they would work together on “solutions” to the traffic problems, including road improvements.
He said: “The agreement we made with Welsh Government is that we will work together to develop solutions that we will both act upon.
These solutions may include investments in walking and cycling routes, more trains and greater use of our buses, as well as road improvements which do not simply attract more vehicles.”
Last month Cllr Griffiths told a council scrutiny committee addressing issues on the Highbeech roundabout is “very much in the gift of us in Wales” while a possible by-pass would be dependent on UK Government support as the road would be in England.
The council’s cabinet has also agreed to work with Chepstow Town Council to establish a group to lead on developing a masterplan for the town which will guide regeneration including potential traffic improvements.
Cllr Griffiths told the council’s most recent cabinet meeting addressing transport issues requires the council and the Welsh Government to meet with Gloucester and Forest of Dean councils.
By BBC LDRS
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