A CONTROVERSIAL decision to close Chepstow’s High Street to encourage social distancing as shops reopen this week has been met with criticism.

But others have backed the plans and called for the pedestrianisation of the High Street to become permanent.

The road closure, which came into force earlier this week, means vehicles cannot access the High Street between 10am and 4pm, apart from deliveries.

But some people in the area, including owner of St Mary’s Collectables Dawn Floyd, have said the decision needs a “serious rethink”.

She also raised concern over signage informing drivers of the road closure, saying it was unwelcoming.

“We come back to the town after three months away, and this is what we are repaid with," she said.

She also raised concerns over what the closure will do to an already increasing traffic issue in the area, saying it will add to bottlenecks at Tesco and Larkfield roundabout.

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“To add salt to the wound, they will open it all day on Sunday for the open market when none of the shops are open to benefit from that,” Ms Floyd added.

Hannah’s Music owner Carol Mutlow questioned the signage too, saying: “I would like to say it is a great idea to close the high street to traffic to allow for social distancing, but a big sign saying ‘road closed’ – really?"

Jon Amphlett, joint manager at Toytastik, questioned the decision to pedestrianise High Street, saying it had led to a build-up in traffic elsewhere in the town on Monday and Tuesday.

South Wales Argus:

“The high street needs to change,” he added, “but the infrastructure needs to be there to make sure those changes do not have a knock-on effect elsewhere.”


Cllr Jez Becker said he is confident a pedestrianised high street could be the start of something good for the town.

“There is a necessity element to keep people safe,” he said, “but I also think there is an opportunity to help our high street.

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“We have to realise the dire straits this town was in and Covid-19 has exacerbated that.

“I don’t think there is another option in the age of online shopping than pedestrianising High Street.”

On the issue of traffic, Mr Becker said issues will be there until a bypass is implemented.

Resident Simon Lockhart echoed Mr Becker’s sentiments, adding: “Abergavenny and Caldicot are both pedestrianised and they are pleasant places to walk around. I’d be happy to see more events in the high street like open markets and entertainment.”

A spokesman for Monmouthshire council said: “The closure of High Street is a trial and allows space for residents and visitors to shop safely as well as offering the potential for businesses to have outdoor seating areas.

"The measures were drawn up following feedback from county councillors, representatives of the Town Council and the business community plus nearly 1,500 responses to our community consultation.

"The measures are a trial, and we welcome and will respond to feedback. Comments can be submitted via the council’s chatbot, Monty."