THE COST of Monmouth’s new public car park has risen to £870,000, it has been revealed.

Main construction works on the 37-space Wyebridge Street car park, behind the Queen’s Head Inn, have been completed and an official opening is anticipated in the coming months.

The “pay and display” site will include two dedicated bays for EV charging and one for disabled parking. Additional disabled parking spaces have been made available at the short-stay car park on Glendower Street.

But the project, which commenced in November 2022, has been hampered by “unforeseen issues” which have pushed the council hundreds of thousands of pounds over original spending plans.

A spokesperson for Monmouthshire County Council attributed the increase in costs to “unforeseen ground conditions” and “rapid inflation”.

In May 2023, Monmouth MP David TC Davies was told the expected completion cost was £520,000. However, a Freedom of Information request from the end of the year showed the final estimate stands at £870,000.

The Welsh secretary said the car park was an “important piece of infrastructure” for the town, which would facilitate more shoppers to take advantage of Monmouth’s retail offerings.

“I am surprised by the length of time it has taken and I must question the cost, which seems extraordinarily high for what should be a fairly straightforward construction project,” he said.

“While I appreciate there needs to be excavation work, ground levelling and drainage pipework, and so on – even a cost of half a million pounds seems over the odds.

"But to then soar to £870,000 in just over six months is astonishing. That equates to £23,515 per parking space and is only an estimated cost too, so the final total could be even more.”

“At a time when Monmouthshire County Council has issued a stark warning on its future financial sustainability, I have been contacted by several constituents who are understandably concerned about how this overspend has been allowed to spiral.”

'Unprecedented inflationary cost'

A council spokesperson said: "The cost of the car park has increased due to unforeseen ground conditions and rapid inflation costs and was budgeted within the Highways' overall budget. The facility will be a central car park for Monmouth, providing much-needed support to the local businesses and community.

“The car park is almost complete and will undergo a safety check before opening to the public shortly. This project will deliver a car park that is much sought after within Monmouth.

“The initial estimate was based on budget allocation and not updated work costs. The difficult ground conditions, additional drainage requirements, and the unprecedented inflationary cost experienced throughout the construction industry have significantly increased the scheme's cost.

“Most of the work required to develop the new car park was undertaken by the Council's Operations Department. The net cost of construction work paid to external parties was £572,240."