MONMOUTHSHIRE County Council has been accused of treating Kings Wood Gate housing estate as a “private village” by frustrated residents who feel “neglected”.
The houses are still not sufficiently linked up to the town and there are long-standing concerns about the lack of safe and sustainable access travel routes, with questions over why allocated funding was not used on infrastructure to properly connect the estate to Monmouth town centre.
A temporary matting path across the meadow linking King’s Wood Gate to Wonastow Road Industrial Estate is gradually sinking and does not stand up well to inclement weather or soggy ground.
Despite repeated requests, there is no safe pedestrian crossing in the industrial estate nor on the busy Link Road at the Wonastow Road junction.
While a footpath has now been surfaced with tarmac, it is still wedged between metal fencing on both sides and the newly installed low-level lighting does not work.
Monmouth MP David Davies said ““There are mobility scooter users living on the estate, as well as families with children in pushchairs. The temporary path over the fields is simply no good, especially when it is wet and muddy.
“If the council doesn’t want to turn this into a proper public footpath, then the priority should be improving the Link Road crossing point and looking at safe pedestrian access through the industrial estate.”
There has got to be a solution here somewhere.”
• David Davies MP with Charles Emes, secretary of King’s Wood Gate Residents’ Association, and resident Chris Baber.
An MP has written to the Minister for Climate Change, asking for Welsh Government intervention in prioritising the Skenfrith flood scheme after it was revealed that just £5,000 was spent on work to protect the village from future flooding before the project was paused.
Homes and businesses in Skenfrith were particularly hard hit after heavy rainfall in October 2019 and again just four months later when Storm Dennis struck in February 2020.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has been drawing up various options for flood prevention measures – with £104,000 budgeted to develop a Strategic Outline Case into the viability of a possible scheme.
But they confirmed at the beginning of September that it is looking to save money and has placed the project on hold until the start of the new financial year, with officials hoping to kick start it again “as soon as possible”.
MP David Davies, who has been supporting village representatives to lobby for better flood defences, said his overriding concern was that it appeared “virtually nothing had been done” before the plug was pulled.
“NRW set a budget of £241.9m for 2022/23, so it seems extraordinary that £104,000 cannot be found to put towards the Skenfrith scheme” he said.
NWR’s head of operations for South East Wales, Steve Morgan, stressed projects were not being cancelled or stopped entirely, but there was simply not enough “money or staff resource” to deliver “everything we had planned”.