MONMOUTH town has become the focus of a political battle between its Conservative MP and Labour-run council - aggravated by a landslide in England.

Welsh Water is upgrading more than 28km of clean water pipes in and around Monmouth. The work started in October 2023 and is not scheduled to finish until March 2025.

Now, local MP David TC Davies has accused Monmouthshire County Council of “adding fuel to the fire” for high street businesses by commissioning a 12-week project to install an active travel route along Dry Bridge Street and Wonastow Road.

A council spokesperson says the improvements will provide a “long-term safe solution” for residents and visitors - and called on Mr Davies to “use his political standing” to speed up a landslide clean-up on the A40.

'More misery'

Mr Davies met with Chamber of Commerce president Sherren McCabe-Finlayson and high street stalwart David Christopher earlier this month.

The Conservative MP determined that “very poor decisions” from the council had “all but destroyed town centre trade”.

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“The retail and hospitality industries are still struggling to rebuild and compete with the internet post-Covid,” he said.

“We have the Labour Welsh Government slashing business rates relief from 75 per cent to 40 per cent and the Labour-run Monmouthshire County Council is seemingly content to pile on more misery.

South Wales Argus: Monmouth during Covid: David TC Davies says retail and hospitality is 'still struggling'Monmouth during Covid: David TC Davies says retail and hospitality is 'still struggling'

“Without support during this testing time, there are real fears about the future of our once vibrant and busy high street. As I witnessed, footfall is dramatically reduced, which is impacting terribly on sales, and if we don’t act now, we risk losing these retailers for good.

“There is a great deal of anger and frustration over the lack of consultation and timing of these works - especially as the council said it was confident the two projects happening at the same time wouldn’t be a problem.”

Mr Davies said the timing of the roadworks, which span half-term and the Easter holidays, would lead people to “spend their money less than 20 miles away in Ross-on-Wye, Abergavenny or Coleford with ample parking and fully accessible high streets”.

'Use his political standing'

The Welsh Secretary has asked the council to stop the work in Drybridge Street and stop all but essential work in Monmouth until Welsh Water has finished its upgrades.

He said he would be meeting with Welsh Water to discuss the situation.

A spokesperson for Monmouthshire County Council said: "The Active Travel improvements along Dry Bridge Street and Wonastow Road will provide a long term safe solution for residents, their children and visitors to walk and cycle for work, school and shopping in Monmouth.

South Wales Argus: MonmouMonmou (Image: Google)

“This route is a key component within a network of Active Travel schemes previously constructed, connecting to the Kingswood Gate housing estate. All the car parks in town remain open and the route from the skate park into town is easily accessible.

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“The Council is working closely with the Chamber of Commerce and Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water to reduce the impact of these much-needed improvements to the water supply across Monmouth.

“The Chamber of Commerce, Monmouthshire Town Council, and Monmouthshire County Council appreciate the concerns these works are causing but call on all residents to support our high street businesses and shop locally.

“Whilst MCC recognise there are geotechnical constraints at Ganarew on the A40, MCC is calling on David Davies to use his political standing to ensure these works are treated as a priority by National Highways in England and that future contingency arrangements do not impact our communities of Buckholt and Wyesham."