DISGRUNTLED traders and shoppers in Monmouth have said the social distancing measures put in place by Monmouthshire council (MCC) are damaging the town.

To help lessen the risk of Covid-19 transmission, the council has set up a one-way system on Monnow Street using temporary traffic lights, and has taken away parking on either side of the road, with a temporary cycle lane put in place.

But some have said the changes have caused gridlock on the A40, which runs through the town, as it’s the only feasible way to navigate the new system, while parents living in the area have said they are worried about the impact on congestion during school rush hour.

Marianne Jones, who is from Monmouth and has been visiting the area to see her parents, says many shoppers are going elsewhere.

“Accidents and the sheer volume of traffic have resulted in regular total gridlocks,” she said. “So far on my trips into town I have seen a car driving the wrong way up the street towards me, pedestrians walking in the cycle lane, mobility scooters driving in the middle of the road going the wrong way up the high street. It’s causing confusion and making trips into town by car an ordeal.

“My parents have now stopped coming into the town until things change.”


Sam Perry, who runs a traders’ community group in the town and has his own business based in Monmouth, said he can smell car fumes all day from his office.

"Many people have stopped coming here because of this,” he said. “The ironic thing is one of the aims of this system is to be environmentally friendly, yet congestion clogs our town every day.

South Wales Argus:

Work ongoing last month to allow for social distancing in the town centre

“It’s highly unlikely most people who come here to shop do so by foot or cycle, so why have we made the shopping experience more difficult for the vast majority of our shoppers?”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We will continue to monitor the situation, conscious that traffic flows will change as the town’s three secondary schools return. The increased pedestrian areas have been widely welcomed by shoppers and businesses.

"The recent spike in cases in the last few days emphasises the importance of social distancing, which is the core aim of the measures.

"As well as monitoring the traffic flow, over coming weeks we will be replacing the barriers with a simplified set of bollards. These will improve pedestrian permeability and will more clearly highlight where parking and loading bays are located.”

MP David Davies added: “There has been a debate going on for years about the pros and cons of having a one-way system through the town. Once the Covid situation is over, these measures could be reintroduced, but that will only happen if the town wants them and can see an advantage to them.

“I would suggest we all think carefully about what we want. I would especially encourage those who have businesses in the town to see how things work out over the coming weeks and be ready to express a view to the council."