Monmouthshire County Council has secured funding from the Welsh Government to provide amenity areas and planting along Chepstow’s High Street as well as to support an initiative for a 20mph zone. This work, in response to the current pandemic, will supplement measures introduced last summer to ensure that residents and visitors can safely return to the county’s high streets with room for pedestrians to socially distance without stepping into oncoming traffic.
The work will include a raised area on Beaufort Square to encourage lower speeds, resulting in improved pedestrian connectivity between High Street and St Mary Street. This will mirror current behaviour and supports social distancing by allowing pedestrians to cross at convenient locations rather than at the pinch point created by the controlled crossing. In addition, temporary kerbing and bollards at the Town Arch and its Moor Street junction will allow the removal of the current barriers and signage.
As lockdown eases and the amenity areas – known as parklets – and planters come into flower, these measures will improve the appearance of the High Street, offering an attractive environment for shoppers to safely enjoy a coffee and relax when visiting Chepstow. The scheme has also taken account of the town’s market with stalls set up between the parklets and planters in addition to other spaces during busy periods.
While these changes – scheduled for March and possibly early April – are not intended to be permanent the work has been designed to match existing materials. It will offer an opportunity to trial a new layout for improving pedestrian access within the town.
Monmouthshire’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Councillor Jane Pratt said: “The Welsh Government grant has come at an opportune time as we anticipate a possible relaxation of lockdown. The scheme will offer the opportunity to create a safe and pleasant environment for visitors and is an excellent example of cooperation between the council, Chepstow Town Council, the Chamber of Trade and local councillors to help transform the town and support businesses after what has been a very difficult and challenging time.”