AN ACTIVE travel group within a town council is being disbanded following accusations from one councillor that it had become a "sleeper cell" of cyclists.

In a transcript of the Monmouth Town Council meeting held on Monday, January 24, which has been shared with the Argus, a councillor has launched a scathing attack on the town's Active Travel contingent.

Cllr Mat Feakins claimed that the group, responsible for promoting greener and healthier forms of transport, had "in absolute terms operated beyond the remit of what they are allowed to do as councillors".

He said that the group had, in essence, been conducting clandestine meetings away from the rest of the council.

"This group seems to have gone off and, almost like a sleeper cell, we've got a council operating outside of a council," he said.

"I can't remember that this has ever happened before."

But Cllr Emma Bryn, who is one of the members of the Active Travel Group, said she was "gobsmacked" at the accusations from Cllr Feakins.

She reminded Mr Feakins that he was also a member of the group and therefore able to attend the meetings.

"I wish you'd just attended a meeting and we could have discussed this prior to this public debate," she said.

Cllr Feakins also claimed that the members of the Active Travel Group were "hell bent on doing everything for cyclists and nothing for anyone else".

He accused members of not having declared interests in such matters, saying: "Most of the members of that group are cyclists, they should all be declaring personal interests."

Cllr Bryn, however, said that - while it was true that a number of the members did cycle - it also included "many who have never cycled, a driving instructor, a partially-sighted pedestrian and a representative for the local walking club", among others.

Cllr Kelly Jackson-Graham said that she was surprised by Cllr Feakins' "ridiculous suggestion" that cyclists in the group be made to declare an interest.

Chair of the council Terry Christopher proposed that the Active Travel group be disbanded and replaced with "a sub-committee of the People & Places committee".

This was accepted, with six voting for and four against.