Residents offered hour free car parking to support local businesses

Monmouthshire County Council is working with businesses across the county to support a #ShopLocal #ShopMonmouthshire campaign.

For Monmouthshire’s town centres to prosper and for traders to survive then they need everyone to support them. Many residents have been walking and cycling more over the last few months and it’s hoped that this will continue. Equally it is acknowledged that a return to public transport is likely to take some time to return to pre-covid levels. One-hour free parking in Abergavenny, Chepstow and Monmouth and additional Blue Badge parking provision is being provided to encourage people to return.

One-hour free parking and additional Blue Badge parking provision will be introduced as follows in coming weeks:

Abergavenny: 48 additional ‘one hour free’ spaces and 17 Blue Badge spaces (Tiverton Place car park) offsetting the restricted access to nine ‘30 minutes free’ spaces and eight disabled parking bays on Cross Street and the loss of six ‘30 minutes free’ spaces on Frogmore Street. If accessed before the road closes at 10am, the Cross Street disabled parking bays remain available for use, and Blue Badge holder can exit via Market Street.

Chepstow: 63 free Long Stay spaces at Chepstow Leisure Centre while the centre remains closed for business. 15 additional ‘one hour free’ spaces in addition to changing the 15 ’30 minutes free’ spaces on Welsh Street to ‘one hour free’. There will also be the provision of 10 additional disabled parking bays. The five spaces that are within the road closure on Bank Street will be reopened as soon as the amended legal Order is in place and access is made safe for motorists and pedestrians.

Monmouth: 35 additional ‘one hour free’ spaces and 12 additional disabled parking bays at Cornwall House car park, offsetting the loss of 35 ’30 minutes free’ spaces on Monnow Street. The disabled parking bays on Monnow Street and Blestium Street remain available for use, including the four bays just within the Monnow Street road closure.

Councillor Bob Greenland, Deputy Leader of @monmouthshirecc, said “It is our hope that the ‘one hour free’ parking scheme will welcome more residents and visitors back into our towns, encouraging everyone to Shop Local, Shop Monmouthshire. We are also looking to offer some additional Blue Badge parking provision. It has always been our aim to do everything we can to help businesses get back on their feet after the devastating impact of COVID-19. We are hoping that the loss of income from our car parks will be offset by more people being able to feel confident in returning to our high streets, and spending their hard-earned money by shopping locally. This scheme will be in place until at least 30th September 2020.”

“We have made physical adjustments in many of our towns to make it easier and safer for pedestrians to move around. We recognise that this presents some challenges to motorists and we have mitigated these where possible. We have been asked by some to provide free parking up until the end of the year. If we could we probably would but such an approach would cost the council in excess of £500,000. Our finances are in a precarious position already given the demands around flooding and pandemic work in the first half of the year, so we can’t stretch this far.

Speaking about changes in the layout of some town centres Cabinet Member Councillor Jane Pratt said “We have listened to residents’ feedback on these schemes, which are part of an ongoing trial. We have never had to introduce such measures before, so it’s been a learning process for everyone. Our concern is, and always shall be, the safety of our residents. We’re doing everything we can to enable shoppers and businesses to follow social distancing guidelines, which includes keeping pedestrians out of harm’s way from traffic. In addition to this we must ensure that our high streets are accessible to all, and that means addressing the needs of those who use Blue Badge parking bays. I believe that the plans being introduced now will address this and if residents have concerns about where to park and accessibility, our contact centre is there to help on 01633 644644.”