Temporary Covid-19 measures in town centres set to stay for 18 months
TEMPORARY measures put in place to support town centres during the Covid-19 pandemic could be kept for a further 18 months, despite claims that it isn’t working in Chepstow.
Monmouthshire County Council is planning to keep the current arrangements in place in Monmouth and Abergavenny as well, including flower planters, pods, outdoor trading spaces and “active travel infrastructure”.
The council say the measures could be kept while longer-term plans are drawn up and considered.
Councillors said the scheme had proven successful in Abergavenny and Monmouth, but concerns were raised over measures in Chepstow at an economy and development select committee meeting on Tuesday (September 7).
Measures proposed to be kept in Chepstow include part-time closure of High Street to traffic except for blue badge holders accessing disabled parking, and changes to crossing areas on Moor Street/Welsh Street and at Beaufort Square.
Following feedback from the scheme, a zebra crossing will be provided at Beaufort Square, and additional disabled parking on Upper Nelson Street to ensure there is access to events.
The meeting on Tuesday heard some blue badge holders had received ‘abuse’ for driving up High Street, while other motorists had ignored the closure.
And Chepstow councillor Jez Becker (Lib Dem, St Mary’s) also raised concern over “the quality of the scheme”, pointing to planters which needed replacing and issues over steps to a memorial and a crossing.
“What we have done has come quite late in the day and it is already falling to pieces,” he said, urging that works are carried out to repair the issues.
However councillors said the measures have proven popular in other areas of the county.
In Monmouth the scheme has included widened pavements on Monnow Street, alongside planters and outdoor trading space, while similar arrangements have been in place in Usk and Magor as well.
Measures in Abergavenny include part-time pedestrianisation of Cross Street, planters, outdoor trading space and a contraflow cycle lane on Lion Street.
Abergavenny councillor Paul Jordan (Welsh Con, Cantref) said the measures had “hugely improved” the town.
Cllr Giles Howard (Welsh Con, Llanfoist Fawr) added: “They have had a massive impact and made the town centres look much more welcoming.”
The council’s cabinet will make a final decision on extending the measures at a meeting next Wednesday (September 15).
If approved, the measures would be in place for up to a further 18 months, but they could still be withdrawn or changed during that time.
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