Have your say.

  • Thank you visiting this site. Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) and its local partners are seeking your views on proposed improvements to existing pedestrian and cycle links across the River Usk, and through Castle Meadows and Ysbytty Fields (linking Llanfoist, Abergavenny Town Centre, and Abergavenny Rail Station).
  • Tying into the already permitted Llanfoist Active Travel Bridge over the River Usk, the aim of the scheme is to provide improvements to the connections through Castle Meadows and Ysbytty Fields.  More specifically, the scheme proposes to:
  • Provide a new shared pedestrian / cycling bridge over the River Usk (which already benefits from planning permission).
  • Improve existing connections through Castle Meadows, linking to/from the new shared pedestrian / cycle bridge over the River Usk.
  • Improve existing connections across Ysbytty Fields.
  • Introduce a potential new active travel route from Ysbytty Fields to Station Road and onwards to Abergavenny Rail Station.
  • Improve accessibility to National Cycle Network (NCN) Routes 42 and 46.

Why improvements are needed?

Abergavenny is one of the key strategic sites not only in Monmouthshire but for the County’s bordering towns. It acts as the main retail, educational, and cultural centre for an extensive rural area, extending into the old Greater Gwent authority areas and Herefordshire.

The A4143 Merthyr Road connects the two communities of Abergavenny and Llanfoist via the existing Llanfoist Bridge crossing over the River Usk.   Castle Meadows and Ysbytty Fields are important leisure areas for the community and are crossed by Public Rights of Way (PRoW) and National Cycle Network routes 42 and 46.

To-date, study findings suggest that many people who would otherwise walk or cycle between Llanfoist and Abergavenny are deterred. This is due to the poor pedestrian and cycling connections provided across the existing Llanfoist Bridge crossing over the River Usk, as well as through Castle Meadows and Ysbytty Fields.  Those with impaired mobility are particularly disadvantaged by the current poor connections.

Key issues relevant to the scheme’s area have been identified during the early stages of the study and are summarised below:

  • The existing Llanfoist Bridge crossing over the River Usk provides a very narrow footway on one side and does not cater for cyclists.
  • Local surrounding roads (Llanfoist Bridge and A40) are heavily trafficked and do not lend themselves to active travel use.   Additionally, owing to the high volumes of vehicles using existing these routes, there is a perceived safety risk which further deters pedestrians and cyclists from using existing routes.  
  • Existing routes across Castle Meadows and Ysbytty Fields do not comply with current active travel standards, and do not cater for all users, especially those with mobility impairment.
  • The potential growth in the number of residents in Llanfoist may further impact on local highway performance, in turn making existing routes less attractive for future pedestrian and cyclist trips.
  • 15% of drivers in the local area travel less than 2km, and 8% between 2km and 5km. These trips could be accommodated by improved active travel modes if an adequate infrastructure would be provided.

Objectives of the Scheme

The objectives of the scheme have been derived through identification of key issues (as summarised above), and also according to the objectives set by the MCC and Welsh Government (WG) transport policies.  The objectives are as follows:

  • Ensure connection from the town centre through Castle Meadows to Llanfoist are fit for purpose and accessible to all, and provide an alternative to a private car use.
  • Increase the number of pedestrians and cyclists using Castle Meadows for commuting and leisure purposes;
  • Make a positive contribution to air quality by promoting active travel and supporting the reduction of Carbon Dioxide around the Abergavenny / Llanfoist area.
  • No significant adverse impacts on environmental sensitive receptors during construction and operation, protect and enhance the historic, built and natural environmental including landscape and settlement character of the area.
  • Introduce safe and accessible active travel links and remove conflicts between users on Llanfoist Bridge.

It is anticipated that the scheme proposals will encourage the public to adopt walking and cycling as preferred modes of travel. Also, it is considered the scheme may help benefit the local environment by reducing carbon emissions.   

Scheme Proposals

Llanfoist Active Travel Bridge

MCC and its partners are working to develop a new and safer cycling and walking route between Llanfoist and Abergavenny.

Current access between Llanfoist and Abergavenny is over the existing Llanfoist Bridge, which is a Scheduled Monument which crossed the River Usk. This route is considered to be unsafe due to its substandard footway width, and lack of cyclist facilities.

Consideration has been given to widening the existing bridge, however, the impact of this would be too significant from a cultural and heritage perspective. Therefore, it was determined that a new bridge is required downstream.

The design and location of a new shared pedestrian and cycle bridge was agreed through engagement with both the public and stakeholders (held between 2016 and 2018).  MCC and its partners also regularly collaborated with the Design Commission for Wales (DCfW).

An application was subsequently submitted, and planning permission was granted in 2018 (reference DM/2018/00408).

The new bridge is proposed to be 60m long and 3m wide.  A ‘Y’ shaped pier will support the bridge in the river channel, allowing the design of the bridge to be slender and sympathetic to the surrounding landscape. The bridge will comprise of timber and stainless steel deck construction. 

The bridge has been designed in accordance with active travel standards and will be suitable for shared pedestrians/cyclist movements and also users of all abilities.

Castle Meadows

The scheme proposes improvements to the existing walking and cycling routes across Castle Meadows.  This entails re-surfacing and widening the existing routes across Castle Meadows to 3m wide active travel compliant shared pedestrian / cycle routes. 

The proposals also include a replacement of the existing footbridge over the River Gavenny, with a new 3m wide active travel compliant shared pedestrian / cycle bridge. 

The existing routes around Abergavenny Castle will be bounded and widened to 3m wide, with local narrowing to 2m – 2.5m where the existing profile does not allow for a 3m width.

The proposal will also assess the NCN 46 Cycle route between Merthyr Road and Castle Street / Mill Street, with the potential for re-routing over Llanfoist Active Travel Bridge, forming a continuous 3m wide active travel cycle path through Castle Meadows. This will include a review of the existing signage strategy.

Each of the proposed new routes, including the upgraded bridges, will be fully lit by a low-level lighting. In addition, it is proposed to upgrade the existing gates on entry / exit from Castle Meadows, to make them more accessible to all users. These gates will allow to retain the cattle within Castle Meadows.

A planning application will be submitted to cover the above elements in the coming months.

Consideration has been given to providing a suitable access for all users of Castle Meadows and Ysbytty Fields to and from the external network. A hybrid access solution is proposed at each entry/exit point, comprising a gate and cattle grid. This will allow free flow for the users and will also help stop cows venturing off the meadows.

Route surfacing is considered the most important part of the user experience, with smooth and continuous surfaces being the most inclusive. Where it is proposed to upgrade existing routes, asphalt surfacing will be adopted, which is considered the most robust material, with a long service life. To further improve structural integrity and to protect against flood events, it is proposed to edge the upgraded routes with concrete edging. Where possible, recycled materials will be used to construct the routes, which will help reduce the carbon footprint.

Drainage forms a key component of the designs, where during rain events surface water is proposed to run off the route surfacing and into the sub-base, thus not affecting the surrounding meadows. In addition to planning, the proposed drainage strategy will be agreed with the Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) Approving Body (SAB), therefore it will be policy compliant.

Figure 5: Proposed Access Arrangements

Careful consideration is being given through the design process of minimising impacts on local ecology/environment. A series of species-specific ecology surveys have been undertaken to inform the scheme designs, and where necessary the scheme designs have been amended to be sympathetic to the environment (for example inclusion of nectar rich plants and the provision of native hedgerow). The impacts of the proposals on ecology/environment will also form a key consideration of the planning application.

The existing River Gavenny bridge is narrow and does not lend itself to two-way pedestrian and cycle movements. The proposed replacement bridge will fully comply with Active Travel Act standards and will improve user experience and comfort. The proposed replacement bridge will adopt the same footprint as the current bridge, but will include shorter and less steep ramps, which will help minimise impacts on the local environment.

Ysbytty Fields

 The scheme proposes improvements to the existing walking and cycling routes across Ysbytty Fields, in line with active travel standards, including new connections to Abergavenny Rail Station. 

More specifically, it is proposed to re-surface and widen the existing route across Ysbytty Fields to 3m wide active travel compliant shared pedestrian / cycle routes.   A new 3m wide active travel and Equalities Act 2010 (formerly Disability Discrimination Act 2005) compliant shared pedestrian / cycle ramp linking Ysbytty Fields, and the A40 / Station Road is proposed which will provide a new bound-surface connection, with new crossing facilities on the A40 (enabling pedestrians and cyclists to access Abergavenny Rail Station).

Figure 6 Ysbytty Fields improvements

Your Opinion

This survey is now closed. Thank you to all those who shared their views with us. The results of the survey will be announced in May, after analysis of them has taken please. Thank you.