A CAR park with 37 spaces that took nearly 10 years to build and cost an eye-watering £870,000 has been little used since opening last month.

The Monmouthshire Council-owned Wyebridge Street car park in Monmouth came in for criticism when the project went way over-budget and cost the equivalent of £23,500 per space.

Wyebridge Street car park cost £870,000 for 37 spaces, but hasn't been used very much yet

The Beacon has visited the site during the daytime in the last week and saw no more than seven cars parked there - less than 20 per cent of capacity, which works out a project cost equivalent of £124,000 per space.

Drivers can’t access the paid-for car park from the town centre owing to 'no entry' signs at the top of Wyebridge Street, designed to prevent motorists driving onto the A40/Wye Bridge junction below.

Anyone coming from the town centre has to drive right down through the high street, over the Monnow and back up the dual carriageway, which may go part of the way to explaining its apparent lack of use.

Indeed, anyone coming along A40 from the West Midlands' direction has to come down Dixton Road and then the high street and back, or proceed over the A40 lights and come off over the Gibraltar tunnels and back to the lights.

A dearth of cars in the new Wyebridge Street car park
A dearth of cars in the new Wyebridge Street car park (Beacon)

Monmouth Conservative MP David Davies was told last summer the cost could be in the £500,000 region, which he thought high, and was astonished to find it had blown out to £870,000 by January

He labelled the final bill "extraordinarily high for what should be a fairly straightforward construction project".

"While I appreciate there needs to be excavation work, ground levelling and drainage pipework, etc, even a cost of £500,000 seems over the odds.

"But to then soar to £870,000 in just over six months is astonishing," he said.

Plans for the car park, behind the Queen's Head pub, were approved nine years ago, but it was only completed last month.

A council spokesperson said in January: "The difficult ground conditions and additional drainage requirements, which included relocating an uncharted sewer and revising the drainage scheme accordingly, along with unprecedented inflationary cost experienced throughout the construction industry, have significantly increased the scheme's cost and delayed completion."