Posted: Tue 23rd Apr 2024

Welsh Transport Secretary Urged to Decide on Chepstow Congestion Relief /

WALES’ new transport secretary has been asked to make a decision on long running debates to ease congestion at Chepstow’s notorious Highbeech roundabout. 
Monmouthshire County Council has also asked the Welsh Government to back a plan to connect Rogiet to the M48, one of many schemes it said it would no longer support following a review of its approach to building new roads. 
Council Labour leader Mary Ann Brocklesby has written to Ken Skates following his appointment as cabinet sectary for transport after Lee Waters, who held the brief, left the cabinet when Vaughan Gething replaced Mark Drakeford as first minister in March. 
“The leader has written to Ken Skates asking for work on the Highbeech roundabout to be brought to a conclusion and asking also for a change to Welsh Government policy regarding access to the M48 at Rogiet,” said deputy leader Paul Griffiths who reminded councillors  a working group to address the problems has been established.
Last June Mr Waters said changes to Highbeech roundabout could be considered if they would help support public transport journeys and the Welsh Government wanted to work with Monmouthshire council, Transport for Wales, and neighbouring English authorities, on “a proper transport plan for Chepstow”. 
He also said those involved “should short-circuit” the numerous studies that had been commissioned and “work on affordable and practical solutions that will make a real difference.” 
Cllr Griffiths was responding to a question from Conservative councillor for Chepstow Mount Pleasant, Paul Pavia, who asked for an update on improving the town’s transport infrastructure. 
Labour member for Chepstow Castle and Larkfield, Cllr Griffiths, also said both he and Cllr Pavia have attended meetings to discuss “how best to allocate” a potential £5.8 million from the UK Government towards a Chepstow transport hub. 
The cash was announced in the government’s autumn statement and described as investment in the bus and rail station. 
Cllr Griffiths said: “The council responded to the UK Government on February 2 with a proposal to allocate to a bus terminal interchange and active travel improvements as well as a shared study with Gloucestershire County Council on a means of reducing the congestion impact of the flow of Gloucestershire residents through Chepstow. 
“The UK Government has not yet responded to that communication.” 
Chepstow is blighted by congestion from 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 its western approach. 
Cllr Pavia said he welcomed “some progress” on looking at “a potential Chepstow relief road or bypass”. 
The council has previously said a by-pass would have to be funded by the UK Government, as it would be in England, and questions have been raised over the prospect of cash being available. 
Cllr Pavia said Monmouth Conservative MP David Davies has already invited Mr Skates to Chepstow and asked if Cllr Brocklesby would agree to holding her proposed meeting in the town. 
Cllr Griffiths replied: “I take your point the best place would be alongside those roads and we’ll work to achieve that.” 
He also said Transport for Wales this year intends increasing the frequency of trains through Chepstow, which with cross country services, would lead to trains calling every half hour through most of the day and added though some bus operators will change, due to a retendering of contracts, there will be no reduction in service. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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