Communities in Monmouthshire will benefit from a £3.5m grant earmarked for spending by March 2019. The cash is an award from the Welsh Government to fund local transport projects to improve walking and cycling, road safety and public transport.
A total of £765,000 will support walking and cycling opportunities in Abergavenny’s town centre. The public realm improvement works on Lion Street and the middle part of Frogmore Street are already complete, and these will continue along the remainder of Frogmore Street to the cenotaph. Caldicot’s Cross and Church Road areas will also benefit from a grant – of £305,000 – to enhance walking and cycling opportunities and regenerate the area as set out in the recent public consultation.
The Welsh Government has also provided nearly £900,000 to start pre-works on the proposed Abergavenny-Llanfoist walking and cycling bridge for which planning permission was granted last month. Design details are the subject of negotiation with National Resources Wales so this scheme will start later in 2019 subject to Welsh Government agreement.
In addition, the announcement also includes £750,000 towards a third lane to reduce traffic congestion on the A40 at Monmouth Wye Bridge. However, the council requires confirmation from the Welsh Government on the future funding so this project may now start in the next financial year.
Meanwhile, the council’s Grass Routes Community Transport service, which provides transport connecting outlying communities with the county’s towns, will receive £317,000 to purchase additional vehicles.
Up to £175,000 is allocated to develop improvements to key walking and cycling routes, following the Welsh Government’s acceptance of the council’s integrated network maps which set out the proposed active travel networks. Of this, £75,000 will be spent on outline design and appraisal of options for a new active travel bridge to provide a safe and convenient walking and cycling connection between Monmouth and Wyesham. A public consultation is planned for spring 2019.
Further funding is allocated to Safe Routes in Communities/road safety schemes and to progress the council’s plans to develop and upgrade Abergavenny and Chepstow stations, including better bus-rail interchanges.
Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for county operations, Councillor Bryan Jones said:
“This funding will help to support the active travel agenda and public transport, and will offer incentives for people to opt for active travel and ditch their car journeys in favour of safer and healthier cycling or walking. The money allocated for investment in our Grass Routes service will further help to link people in remote communities as well as contribute to tackling loneliness and isolation which we have identified as a major issue in a large rural county like Monmouthshire.”