A clash of Monmouth’s political groups resulted in a decision to U-turn the recent changes to active travel group by a single vote.
Prior to the agenda item where the future of the group was decided, members of the public took to the chamber floor to speak on active travel in Monmouth. Cllr Emma Bryn was praised by one member of the public for her hard work as part of the travel group.
Another reflected on the fact that parts of Monmouth include steep hills unsuitable for cycling and that active travel should focus more on pedestrians, outlining that the state of Monmouth’s pavements is in desperate need of improvement.
The council was petitioned to reconsider the decision to change the active travel working group to a council subcommittee. As a subcommittee the group would be under much tighter controls of elected councillors, where as a working group would allow for more informal participation from members of the public as well as councillors.
Councillors all weighed in on their thoughts on what the future of Monnow Street should look like. Whilst traffic has increased exponentially over the past 100 years, the space has remained the same. Dealing with how to manage a limited amount of space that thousands of people make use of every day is never going to please everyone and Monmouth councillors are tasked with allowing all voices to be represented.
Some argued for more space for cars, others for more room for cyclists, and others for more benches for pedestrians.
Long standing grievances between councillors were also aired, possibly as a result of numerous councillors not re-standing for election.
The mood of the meeting shifted when Cllr Jaime Treharne reflected with sadness on the failure of town councillors to work together and pleaded for compromise.
He added that the Welsh Government drafted proposals for active travel, putting cars at the bottom, after public transport, cycling and walking. He said that the proposals were written by people in suits, in a city, where there are numerous travel options. This didn’t reflect the requirements of Monmouthshire residents.
With seven votes in favour of reinstating the active travel group and six votes against, the active travel working group will remain as it has done.
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