Closes: 17:00 hrs. Wednesday 24th December 2014

NB Our four one stop shops will close at 15:00 hrs on Christmas Eve
Re-opens: 09:00 hrs. Tuesday 30th December 2014

Closes: 17:00 hrs. Wednesday 31st December 2014
Re-opens: 09:00 hrs. Friday 2nd January 2015

We are undertaking essential maintenance works to the Wye Bridge in Monmouth. Part of these works involve the repairs to the upstream parapet and face of the bridge. Plant and equipment will need to be situated on the footway and the eastbound carriageway towards Wyesham. The permanent lights to the junction of the A40 have been replaced with temporary lights in order to accommodate the lane closure and these will be controlled manually onsite between 7am and 6pm in the evening. Pedestrians will be able to cross either side of the works and use the downstream footway while we undertake these works.


We apologies for any inconvenience however the maintenance will ensure the bridge remains safe work should take approximately 3 weeks.

Gilwern Community Centre and Library will host a Readers’ Day on Saturday, 19th September giving the county’s residents an opportunity to share their enthusiasm with others who enjoy the world of books.  Set in a relaxed and tranquil setting, this occasion will focus on the theme of courage and poet Paul Henry will present in his own wry and inimitable way on what it takes to be courageous.

This will be the second Readers’ Day organised by Monmouthshire Libraries and follows a successful inaugural event held at Gilwern last July.

The Reader’s Day will run from 10.30am to 3.30 pm at a cost of £3 to include teas and coffees throughout the day.  No food will be available so those attending will need to bring a packed lunch.  To reserve a place contact Abergavenny Library on 01873 735980 or email


A new £4.5million school in Raglan opened its doors to pupils for the first time today.

 Raglan VC Church in Wales Primary School has been part funded by Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Education Programme and built as part of the council’s 21st Century School programme.

 The cabinet member for education, councillor Liz Hacket Pain, said: “While we know that there is more to good schools than bricks and mortar, it is widely acknowledged that the environment in which pupils learn plays a pivotal role in their achievement.

 “This new state-of-the-art school is designed to get the very best out of our pupils and I’m confident that it will inspire them.

 “I’m sure that the whole community looks forward to taking advantage of this wonderful new community facility.”

 The former Raglan school site suffered poor energy and high maintenance levels with limitations over access, comfort levels, light levels and ventilation. The new school is so eco-friendly, it has been awarded a platinum Eco Flag.

 Raglan Primary School head teacher Jeremy Piper said: “The pupils, staff and the whole school community are really looking forward to starting in our new learning environment.

 “Through its innovative design, we will be able to develop cross-phase, cross-class and cross-curricular learning opportunities more effectively to meet the needs of all pupils. The learning environment is designed to be flexible, allowing us to adapt the learning environment to enable even more innovative and exciting ways of learning to be developed.

 “The school is a vibrant, welcoming environment that will clearly motivate staff and pupils to be the best they can be, and an environment of which the whole community can be proud.

 “We are committed to our continued partnerships with the local and wider community, and hope that the school will continue to be a place in which groups can come together for the benefit of the community as well as the school.”

 The minister for education and skills, Huw Lewis, added: “Our ambitious 21st Century Schools programme aims to provide learners with state-of-the-art facilities that inspire them to fulfil their potential. The opening of this new school in Raglan is an excellent example of what we, in partnership with local government, are trying to achieve.

 “This significant investment will benefit not only the pupils who attend the school but also the wider community.  In addition, capital investments of this nature provide numerous employment and training opportunities, which is excellent news for the local economy. I wish everyone involved with the school the very best for the future”. 

 Welsh Government’s ambitious 21st Century Schools and Education Programme is a commitment to invest in building and improving schools all over Wales. It aims to transform the learning experience of students, ensuring they are taught in classrooms with the technologies and facilities needed to deliver a 21st Century curriculum.

 Monmouthshire County Council and Welsh Government have committed an equal share of the cost of the £4.5m building.


Monmouthshire County Council welcomes Claire Marchant as the new Chief Officer for Social Care, Safeguarding and Health. Claire will join the team in November. Claire is currently Head of Community Care and Commissioning for Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. Claire came through a challenging and robust recruitment process and it was a rare combination of experience, enthusiasm and insight which led to her success.

Originally from Newport, Claire attended Cardiff University where she obtained a first class degree in politics. Claire began her public sector career in housing before spending 10 years in the National Health Service in a variety of strategic and operational roles.

Claire is committed to delivering services which offer a range of choices and promote independence. She has delivered a number of significant projects including the development of extra care housing, integrated community health and social care teams and a range of community based early intervention and prevention services. She joins the council at a challenging time and is keen to make a full contribution to advancing the organisations purpose of building sustainable resilient communities

Outside of work Claire is married with 2 young children. She likes to keep fit and enjoys live music, travel and socialising.

Chief Executive Paul Matthews feels that Claire has the potential to be an outstanding Chief Officer and is a great addition to the leadership team. She will bring energy, fresh thinking and will be a tremendous advocate for the people and communities of Monmouthshire.

Councillor Geoff Burrows, Cabinet Member with responsibility for social care and health said “We’re really looking forward to Claire joining our leadership team. I am sure that Claire will build on the great work that is already underway to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in Monmouthshire.”

Claire can’t wait to start. “I join up on 2nd November but will be looking to spend as much time as I can here before my start date. I’m really excited about the opportunity of working in such a beautiful place with a great team of people. There are plenty of challenges out there and I promise that I will give my all to help people live the life that they choose”

  • Please meet our new Chief Officer for Social Care and Health in this short clip

Monmouthshire Council’s performance across a range of national performance indicators has seen significant improvement for a third consecutive year with 84% of all indicators showing improvement while nearly half are ranked among the top performing authorities in Wales.

Particularly pleasing was better results at all key stages of education, reductions in the numbers of people who are delayed in hospital while social care arrangements are made and maintaining a high recycling rate.  At the other end of the spectrum the council has also seen, for the third consecutive year, a reduction in indicators ranked amongst the lowest performing in Wales.

The council has continued its commitment to improve services and outcomes for the people and communities in Monmouthshire.  The Partnership Administration has focused its resources on three areas; education, the protection of vulnerable people and promoting enterprise and following engagement with local communities introduced a fourth priority – maintaining locally accessible services.

To provide a fuller picture of performance the council has highlighted its performance against these local priorities in its Performance Bulletin available at

Some key messages from this include:

  • Improved educational outcomes for the Core Subject Indicator at Key Stage 2 and Key stage 3 and an increase in the number of students achieving five GCSEs grade A*-C in English or Welsh and maths.
  • The number of people delayed leaving hospital while social care arrangements were put in place fell to 13.
  • Maintaining the lowest level of older people needing local authority-funded residential care in Wales.
  • Significant improvements have been delivered in five areas of identified underperformance in Children’s Services
  • 122 businesses were able to start-up in the year with support from Monmouthshire Business and Enterprise and partners.
  • Monmouthshire’s residents continue to recycle and compost their waste helping sustain a high recycling rate at 63%.

Commenting on the published data, Council Leader Peter Fox said: “I am pleased to see our continued focus on service delivery for local communities and improving our performance has been reflected in many service areas.  It is also equally pleasing that we have improved our performance compared to other councils in Wales and that we are one of the nation’s top performers.”

The council’s Improvement Plan 2015/17, available at , sets out what the council aims to do in the year ahead to prioritise resources and continue to improve services for the benefit of the people and places of Monmouthshire.

 Monmouthshire County Council is to host a meeting for people aged 50 and over to be held in County Hall, Usk on Wednesday 16th September from 2pm to 4pm.  It will be streamed live via YouTube to allow those unable to attend to play a part.

 Organised by the council and local equalities organisation, SEWREC, which runs a project called Monmouthshire Voices, the forum offers a chance for people to influence services, policies and decisions that affect them.  Councillor Phil Hobson, cabinet member with responsibility for equalities, will chair the meeting.

 Pennie Walker of Monmouthshire Voices commented: “We will receive an update from the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales as well as information on stroke provision, elder abuse and technology discrimination.  It will be a wonderful opportunity for people to discuss issues and gather information.”

Those wishing to attend or to receive further details about Monmouthshire Voices should contact Pennie  via email: or telephone 07949 040538.

Lunch will be provided at 1pm and people who require transport should contact Pennie by Tuesday, 8th September.

 Before lunch, The Access for All Forum for people in Monmouthshire with disabilities will meet from 11am to 1pm to discuss benefits.

 ·         Monmouthshire Voices is funded by the Big Lottery and run by SEWREC – the South East Wales Regional Equality Council.


Monmouthshire County Council is to host a meeting for people living with disabilities to discuss benefits.  The Access for All Forum will gather in County Hall, Usk on Wednesday 16th September from 11am to 1pm.

Organised by the council and local equalities organisation, SEWREC,  which runs a project called Monmouthshire Voices,  the forum offers a chance for people with disabilities to influence services, policies and decisions that affect them.  Councillor Phil Hobson, cabinet member with responsibility for equalities, will chair the meeting.

Pennie Walker of Monmouthshire Voices commented: “This will be our fourth Access for All forum and I am hoping it will be as successful as our previous ones.  We will welcome representatives from Jobcentre Plus to provide information on Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and pensions followed by a question and answer session.  It is a wonderful opportunity for people to discuss issues and gather information and I’m so pleased to see how well it is supported. Unfortunately, restrictions on filming Department of Works and Pensions staff mean that this forum will not be streamed for public viewing via the council’s YouTube channel.”

Those wishing to attend or to receive further details about the Access for All Forum should contact Pennie – email: or telephone 07949 040538.

Lunch will be provided at 1pm and people who require transport should contact Pennie by Tuesday, 8th September.

Following lunch, a forum for the county’s over 50 year olds will be held from 2pm to 4pm.

  •  Monmouthshire Voices is funded by the Big Lottery and run by SEWREC – the South East Wales Regional Equality Council.


Over twenty Monmouthshire properties will publicly promote environmentally-friendly methods of living which also save money at an event to be held across the county next month.  Sustainability group Monmouthshire Community Climate Champions will hold its fourth Eco Open Doors Weekend event on the weekend of 12th/13th September demonstrating how to make the most of renewable energy, energy saving and sustainable living.

Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet member for sustainability, Councillor Phil Hobson commented: “Eco Open Doors is organised by Monmouthshire Community Climate Champions, a partnership including the council and local transition town groups.  Its aim is to help people find out how to reduce their energy use.  Visitors will be able to chat to homeowners about how features work, what they cost and what they are saving, to help decide whether it would be suitable for their own home.”

Visitors to previous Eco Open Doors events have found them invaluable, with comments ranging from: “great to see these technologies in action” and “very interesting and inspiring” to “extremely interesting, informative and very impressive”.  Details can be accessed at where features include solar power, hydropower, wind power, biomass, insulation, rainwater harvesting and organic gardens.

The 22 properties are situated across the county and include the former Forestry Commission house, Nant y Bedd at Fforest Coal Pit in the Black Mountains.  Nant y Bedd has a micro hydro scheme to generate electricity from a small stream, a wood burning stove, solar hot water and a beautiful and productive organic garden which also features a natural swimming pond.

Many farmers such as Alan Williams of Hendre Glyn Farm in Upper Llanover have benefited from the Renewable Heat Incentive.  As well as a hydropower scheme, visitors can see how he uses wood from his farm in biomass log boilers which generate heat and dry logs for sale.

In contrast, Llandegfedd Reservoir’s new visitor centre features sustainable cedar cladding and an air source heat pump.  Visitors can also learn about the water cycle and water treatment as well as enjoy a snack in the café.

TV personality Kate Humble’s farm and rural skills centre in Penallt will also participate in Eco Open Doors this year.  Visitors to the Humble By Nature site can learn about its aquaponics solar greenhouse built last year.  The structure combines aquaculture (fish farming) with hydroponics (growing plants in water rather than soil) to create a hugely productive farming system.  Other eco features will attract attention, together with a café and adventure playground.

The newly-built eco property, Holmbrook in Llandogo, is made of SIPS (Structural Insulated Panels) with extra internal wall insulation.  This, together with heat recovery, means that no heating is needed upstairs.  Solar panels provide hot water and electricity, toilets and the washing machine are filled with rainwater and there is a wood pellet stove.

In contrast, Ingleside in Penallt is a 19th century cottage where visitors can learn about wood processing and biomass.  The cottage has a biomass boiler, wood fired cooker, woodworking workshop and saw bench, with a charcoal kiln and solar wood drying unit.  When woodlands are well-managed and replanted, wood is a great renewable energy source.

The headline sponsor for this year’s Eco Open Doors event is Gwent Energy, a community interest company which installs solar panels in many locations, particularly on community buildings.  Support has also come from local architect Simon Brown, FWT Ltd and the Green Open Homes network.

Monmouthshire County Council is to offer people residing in the Usk area the opportunity to own their own home.  The council is to sell two houses in the town’s Castlewood neighbourhood which initially will be offered to people living within the communities of Usk, Llanbadoc, Gwehelog Fawr and Llantrisant Fawr.  If no applications are received the council will extend the offer to adjoining community council areas.

The two-bedroom terrace properties were built in 1989 and are available at 50% of full market value with an interest-free equity loan provided by the council for the remaining 50% of the cost.  The current full market values are £145,000 and £146,000.

Contact Mrs Shirley Wiggam on 07769 616662 or email: for an application form or more information.

Monmouthshire County Council is making contingency plans to close the A466 at Tintern on a temporary basis over the bank holiday weekend when high tides on the River Wye flood the main road in Tintern.  The road will be closed for short times when each tide reaches its morning and evening peaks, though only if tidal water overflows onto the highway – air pressure and winds affect the height of each high tide.

Because any closures last for only approximately 30 minutes no diversions will be signed – in line with a longstanding system.  Council lorries will be placed just north of the Royal George Hotel and by the Wye Valley Hotel to block the road while closures are in effect.

Council officers will be working over the weekend to deal with any issues arising from the forecasted high tides.  Closure times have been identified as:

  • Sunday 30th August – 9.05pm to 9.45pm
  • Monday 31st August – 8:30am to 9:05am
  • Monday 31st August: – 9.50pm to 10.25pm
  • Tuesday 1st September – 10.15am to 10.50am
  • Tuesday 1st September – 10.35pm to 11.10pm

Roger Hoggins, Monmouthshire County Council’s Head of Operations said: “This arrangement to close the road for the short time while it is in flood has been used for many years.  Closure times are estimated and based on the forecasted tide times.  The highest tide currently forecast is on Monday night – when road closures are most probable.  The tide heights will be monitored as they occur, with temporary closures only being put in place if water is about to flood the highway.”

Natural Resources Wales will monitor the situation and issue flood warnings as necessary.