WORK on improving white line marking to improve traffic flow at Chepstow's High Beech roundabout should be completed by the end of March, townspeople have been told.

A packed public meeting at Chepstow School was told that a feasibility study on the measure - one of a number suggested as a way of helping ease congestion at the roundabout and on approach roads such as Hardwick Hill - has been completed and will be implemented.

Simon Jones, director of economic infrastructure for the Welsh Government, delivered that news to a 300-strong audience who had come to hear a progress report on suggested short term measures to mitigate traffic problems in Chepstow that one campaigner said had left the town as a "poor relation" in terms of transport services in south Wales.

Mr Jones - at the meeting in place of transport minister Ken Skates AM, confirmed too, that feasibility tests on possible road widening at High Beech roundabout is also under way and should be completed by the end of the month, though he stopped short of guaranteeing that such work would go ahead.

He conceded however, that "it is wholly unacceptable that people are sat at the bottom of Hardwick Hill (on the A48 at Bulwark Road) for so long".

"It is no wonder that Chepstow’s air quality is so bad,” he said.

“This is something we recognise to be very serious, and we are committed to the work we have set out to do.”

The public meeting was hosted by the Congestion Free Chepstow group, comprising local activists and experts who have put forward short term solutions which were first aired in public at a meeting in the town last April.

Mr Jones was among a five-strong panel at the meeting, which also included Congestion Free Chepstow co-ordinator Tim Melville, group members Gerry Moss and Claire Faulkiner, and Monmouthshire County Council leader Peter Fox.

“With hundreds of new houses being built in the area, it is clear that we need short term solutions as soon as possible,” said Mr Moss.

South Wales Argus:

From left - Simon Jones, Claire Faulkiner, Gerry Moss, Tim Melville and Peter Fox

Mr Jones confirmed too that Lydney will be included in the South Wales Metro, with plans being considered to - from 2025 - run trains four times an hour from the Gloucestershire town to Chepstow and Severn Tunnel Junction, connecting commuters with trains travelling to Bristol, London and into south Wales.

“First and foremost, we need to make sure we are making more trains in order to operate our current timetable efficiently, and that is something we are in the process of doing,” he said.


The meeting was discussing only possible solutions that could be implemented during the next few years, a move Councillor Fox criticised as it omitted discussion about the M4 relief road and a Chepstow bypass.

South Wales Argus:

300 people crammed in to hear what the panel had to say

“If we don’t start a conversation about a bypass or a relief road then we’ll never get anywhere with it,” he said.

He confirmed that the council will introduce bus shelters across Chepstow, including seating, and real-time timetables at each bus stop, to make public transport more accessible.

Mr Melville, who sold his house on the A48 because of the impact of excessive air pollution on his daughter’s asthma, said: “Chepstow is the only place in Wales where air quality worsened in 2019.

“It's not right that we pay so much for transport services and don’t get value for our buck. We feel like the poor relation.”

He hopes more people going in and out of Chepstow will use public transport, with campaigns including walking buses and car shares under way.

South Wales Argus:

Tim Melville addressing residents during the meeting

“We are currently having very positive discussions with the local authority in Gloucestershire to try to get people parking in a secure car park there, and then share cars to drive to Chepstow,” he said, adding that he hopes it will lead to the beginning of a "renaissance" in public transport use.

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