Published: 20 February 2020

Members of the Project Group met yesterday to discuss the feedback from the Exhibition and Engagement Event.
From the outset all were impressed by the number that attended, the quality of debate, the contributions from the public and the general levels of interaction that was achieved during the day.
Obviously, the time available and the number of contributors limits the level of detail that can be discussed at such an event. However, the written feedback received since is extremely impressive both in terms of numbers and also the constructive contributions, many in some detail, that correspondents have offered.
The draft Masterplan covers a wide range of proposals and comments were received about many aspects of the plan but the main matter that created feedback was the traffic management proposals and the suggestion that a one way system be trialled.
It was clear at the exhibition and through subsequent feedback that whilst most agree that the town centre environment needs improving as part of a wider ‘plan’, there is a great deal of concern and opposition to the one way system trial, as proposed.
As such, the Group decided that the section that included this proposal (section 6.2 – Bridge Street – A Place) be fully reviewed.
The purpose behind the one-way trial proposal was to investigate how the Bridge Street issues might be improved (air quality, pedestrian safety and the commercial environment in particular). An issue that has been the subject of major concern for many years.
Consultants, ARUP will now be asked to revisit this part of the draft Masterplan to give further consideration to other options that would bring improvements to the town centre.
In addition, moving forward, the Project Group will establish a stakeholder forum with representatives from the councils, residents and businesses to examine the options in greater detail taking into account traffic orders, car parking capacity and active travel as well as rerouting or stopping traffic flows.
Although the exhibition and engagement event was dominated by the one way debate there was also positive feedback on various other aspects of the report and the group will be seeking ways of developing solutions further (officers have already bid for grant funding from Welsh Government to expand ideas such as improving pedestrian links through the town (and to Usk Island) and improvements to Twyn Sq).

If the applications are successful then further work can be undertaken – if not then the partnership of the authorities will look for other ways to take the plan forward.
The idea of the Masterplan was to develop a collection of ideas and options - short, medium and long term but there is a long way to go to turn the ideas and options into detailed and funded plans and the Group recognised that there is a great deal more work to do to take the plan forward.